The ‘unilateral’ termination of UP-DND Accord in fact has triggered the UP community unrest. And this protest, they say, is only the beginning of it all.

Photo by Jerico Tamayo

The evening of January 18 was met with public outrage on social media following the report of the abrogation of UP-DND Accord. This morning, the outrage has been materialized as group of protesters kicked off a mobilization protest at the historical Quezon Hall in University of the Philippines – Diliman in Quezon City.

Progressive individuals from sectors of labor groups, youth formations, and UP chapter national democratic organizations were present in the rally to express firm indignation and support the UP community against the termination of the pact.

To reiterate, the UP-DND accord is an agreement signed in 1989 which prohibits military presence within the premises of UP-wide campuses. Meanwhile, the pact also include that these state forces have to notify the university administration first upon entering.

Also present in the rally was the newly selected 38th student regent Renee Co, UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, and UP President Danilo Concepcion.

DND, Do Not Disturb

Student Regent Renee Co emphasized that the people can no longer stay silent amid the rampant killings in our country. That the people can no longer be mum over glaring issues of rampant harassments, arrests, killings, alongside government corruption.

“Ang UP DND accord ay ginawa ng napakaraming sakripisyo ng mga iskolar ng bayan at ng UP community, at ang pagtanggal nito ay ang pagtanggal ng institutional safeguard na nag-eensure ng security nating lahat,” the student regent added.

She also thanked the unwavering support from those who participated in the mobilization rally and urged to continue struggling with fight of UP community.

“Patuloy nating protektahan ang sanctuary ng UP bilang area ng academic freedom kung saan pwedeng makapunta ang ating mga kapatid, mga lumad, at iba’t ibang sector para makahanap ng proteksyon,” Co asserted.

Co also noted that the abrogation of the pact is beyond the historical role of UP as one of the most important institutions being the bastion of expression of dissent and criticism. That the UP community is “one among the demands of various sectors” which opened their grounds for them along with the community in airing legitimate grievances to the government.

We shall defend UP

 “Kung ang UP ay tatanggalan ng academic freedom, ang UP ay mawawalan ng saysay at kabuluhan,” said UP President Danilo Concepcion during the mobilization protest.

The UP President further discussed the importance of the accord.

“Maraming hindi lubos na nakakaunawa sa kahalagahan ng accord na ito. Hindi nila maunawaan na ang accord na ito ay nagbibigay ng kalayaan sa ating mga estudyante at mga guro na maging malikhain at mapusok sa pag-iisip at paglikha sapagkat alam nila na walang susupil sa kanilang mga gawain, sapagkat alam nilang walang nagmamanman sa kanilang kilos o galaw. Na wlang pipigil sa kanilang magpahayag ng kanilang kaisipan at malayang pagtatagisan ng talino at kuro kuro. Na walang busal na ipapasak sa kanilang mga bibig upang ipahayag nila ang kanilang saloobin at damdamin. Na walang titigil sa kanilang pagiisip at paglikha kahit pa ang kanilang ginagawa ay taliwas sa idinidikta ng mga umuukit sa pamahalaan,”

This, according to UP President Concepcion, is the summary of academic freedom

In his statement released on Tuesday morning, he noted that the agreement was terminated without prior consultation with the university administration.

“We regret that the agreement was abrogated unilaterally, without prior consultation that would have addressed the concerns you raised in your letter,” said in UP President Concepcion’s letter addressed to Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

He further noted that the scrapping of UP-DND is “totally unnecessary and unwarranted, and may result in worsening rather than improving relations between our institutions, and detract from our common desire for peace, justice, and freedom in society.”

“Instead of instilling confidence in our police and military, your decision can only sow more confusion and mistrust, given that you have not specified what it is that you exactly aim to do to put in place in lieu of the protections and courtesies afforded by the agreement,” the UP President added.

Meanwhile, UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo seconded that “scuttling the Accord sends a dangerous message that intellectual and cultural inquiry has limits.”

“Academic freedom is the lifeblood of UP. It is the air our community breathes and thrives on as it nurtures our critical minds and allows our imaginations to soar beyond the boundaries of conventions. In UP, anyone should be able to think and speak out, no matter what he/she espouses. One of the strengths of UP education is the exposure of our students to the widest range of perspectives. We trust that they will employ reason and critical thinking to discern and distinguish truth from lies, and right from wrong,” said Nemenzo in a statement.

He also noted that this is not the time to forget. As this year is the 50th commemoration of the Diliman Commune; while next year is the 50th anniversary of the martial law imposition.

Are we ready for Second Commune?

“Kung tayo ay takot sa estado, pasismo yun! Kung ang estado ay takot sa UP, ang tawag diyan ay academic freedom,” said UP professor Gerardo Lanuza.

Lanuza noted that it is only right to revolt so long that we are being assaulted by state fascism. He also called on bakwit or lumad students to not fear amid these alarming issues

“Wag kayong matakot, hangga’t nandito kayo sa kanlungan ng UP, walang makakagalaw sa inyo,” the professor emphasized.

Lanuza, meanwhile, posed a question to the UP community asking if they are ready for the 2nd Diliman Commune.

“Handa ba tayo sumama sa pangalawang commune ng UP Diliman?

“Wala tayong mga klase, ang daming upuan, ang daming mga silya, ang daming mesa, marami tayong susunugin, marami tayong ibabato, marami tayong magbabarikada, at marami tayo rito,” he firmly interjected.

Lanuza furthered that even if accord is truly abolished and neglected, it is not the accord which would struggle to uphold the safeguard of UP community.

“Hindi ang accord na iyan ang magtatanggol sa karapatan natin, hindi sila ang magpprotekta sa atin. Ang magpprotekta sa atin ay ang ating lakas, ang ating kolektibong pagpiglas, ang ating kolektibong paglaban. Mabuhay ang UP!” Lanuza concluded his remark.


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