MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman’s History Department called out the attendance of University President Danilo Concepcion at the Kabataang Barangay reunion held at the UP Bahay ng Alumni. Concepcion served as president of president of the Kabataang Barangay Metro Manila chapter from 1976 to 1978.
His appearance drew criticism and controversy as photos of him and Imee Marcos made its rounds on social media.
In a statement published Friday, August 31 on their Facebook page, the Department said the event’s celebration in the campus and Concepcion’s attendance is an insult to the memory of the members of the UP community who fought against the Marcos dictatorship.
“Ang pagpayag na idaos sa loob ng kampus ang nasabing pagtitipon, at ang mismong pagdalo ng Pangulo ng Unibersidad, ay pagyurak sa alaala ng mga taga-UP na nagbuwis ng buhay upang tumindig laban sa diktadurang Marcos mula sa pagsiklab ng First Quarter Storm noong 1970 hanggang sa pagkabuwag ng rehimen noong 1986.” (Allowing the event to take place inside the campus and the attendance of the University President is an insult to the memory of the members of the UP community who risked their lives to stand up against the Marcos dictatiorship from the outbreak of the First Quarter storm in 1970 until the end of the regime in 1986.)
Concepcion issued a statement on Wednesday, August 29 saying he regrets the pain his attendance caused and intended no offense. (READ: U.P. president ‘regrets’ pain caused by appearance with Imee Marcos)
“I would like to assure the UP community that the university under my watch will never forget the dark period of our country during the Martial Law years and will continuously hold in high esteem the university’s best and brightest who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for freedom and democracy,”
The history department, however, found his explanation wanting.
“Hindi rin katanggap-tanggap ang naging paliwanag ng Pangulo ng UP tungkol sa kanyang pagdalo sa nasabing pagtitipon. Ang UP bilang isang demokratikong espasyo ay hindi dapat ginagamit upang magbigay-daan sa mga walang pakundangang kilos at salita, lalong higit sa kasalukuyang panahon na umiigting ang banta sa ating demokrasya.” (The University President’s explanation about his attendance at the event is unacceptable. UP as a democratic space should not be used to excuse reckless words and actions, especially in these times where threats to our democracy are escalating.)
The statement also called on members of the community to fight back against historical revisionism.
“Hinahamon namin ang mga opisyal ng pamantasan na sumandig sa danas ng Unibersidad sa panahon ng Batas Militar. Bilang pambansang unibersidad, akuin natin ang responsibilidad na labanan ang kolektibong paglimot sa malagim na karanasang idinulot ng diktadura,” (We challenge the officials of the University to lean on the experience of the University during martial law. As the state university, let us own up to the responsibility to fight against the collective forgetting of the grim experience brought by the dictatorship.)
Read the statement in full: