The University of the Philippines (UP)-Department of National Defense (DND) Accord, which the government unilaterally abrogated earlier in 2021, will not be restored under the Duterte administration, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a Rappler Talk interview on Wednesday, August 4.
Lorenzana said the decision was made after “much scrutiny and study” of defense officials.
“After much scrutiny and study, we at defense department concluded that hindi na kailangang ibalik kasi ‘yun namang functions ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) noon, noong under pa niya ‘yung PC-INP (Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police) ay lumipat na doon sa PNP (Philippine National Police) o DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government). Hindi na yan sakop ng defense,” Lorenzana said.
(After much scrutiny and study, we at the defense department concluded that it doesn’t have to be revived because the functions of the AFP before, when the PC-INP was still under it, was transferred to the PNP or DILG. The defense department no longer covers that.)
Lorenzana explained that the accord only covers the Philippine Constabulary, and not the entire military and police. However, the accord, which was signed on June 30, 1989 by then-UP president Jose Abueva and then-defense chief Fidel V. Ramos provided the guidelines on both military and police operations inside UP campuses.
In January, the defense department unilaterally scrapped the agreement, which kept authorities from entering UP campuses without prior coordination with the UP administration. DND cited alleged in-campus recruitment activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for its decision.
The defense chief said that since the PNP is under the DILG, UP should talk to that department instead.
“As far as we are concerned, the agreement is moot and academic. And dapat makipag-usap ‘yung UP doon na sa DILG (the UP should talk to the DILG),” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana referred to the UP-DILG Accord, which also restricts the presence of the police inside the UP campuses without prior notice. But unlike the DND Accord, UP’s agreement with the interior department is still in effect.
The defense chief admitted that he made a “mistake for not informing them beforehand, before I abrogated the agreement.”
Lorenzana also revealed that the military’s intelligence operations will continue inside UP campuses.
“‘Yung active intelligence sa loob, tuloy pa rin ‘yun dahil open naman lahat ng bansa naman. Wala namang exclusive na hindi pwedeng pasukin ng intelligence,” the defense chief said.
(The active intelligence inside the campus will continue because the country is open for intelligence. There’s no exclusive place where intelligence cannot operate.)
Lorenzana assured the UP community that intelligence officers will not violate any rights amid fears of abuse in the absence of the accord, and with the implementation of the anti-terror law.
“Very strict ‘yung implementation ng aming rules diyan. Alam naman ng intelligence kung anong dapat gawin. Alam nila yung consequence if they violate the rights of people, especially students,” the defense secretary added.
(Our implementation of the rules is very strict. The intelligence knows what to do. They know the consequences if they violate the rights of the people, especially students.)
Following the abrogation of the UP-DND Accord, the military released a list of alleged New People’s Army members, including UP alumni. The list had been debunked. (FALSE: List of dead, captured former UP students who became NPA)
Lorenzana earlier relieved Major General Alex Luna and Major General Benedict Arevalo of their posts because of the erroneous list, but later re-designated them.
In early June, the House committee on higher and technical education approved the bill that seeks to institutionalize the abrogated accord. The bill is now at the House plenary level for sponsorship.
Senator Joel Villanueva filed Senate Bill No. 2002. The bill is still pending at before the Senate committee on higher and technical and vocational education. – Rappler.com