Senate of the Philippines

7 senators oppose end of UP-DND deal

Mara Cepeda
7 senators oppose end of UP-DND deal

UP OBLATION. The UP Oblation at the Diliman campus is pictured January 19, 2021, as students protest the termination of the UP-DND accord.

Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

Of the 9 senators who graduated from UP, only 3 co-authored the resolution condemning the UP-DND pact abolition

Seven senators formally opposed the Department of National Defense’s (DND) unilateral termination of the 1989 deal barring state forces from entering the University of the Philippines (UP).

On Tuesday, January 19, opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan led 6 other senators in filing Proposed Senate Resolution (PSR) No. 616. The other senators who agreed to sign PSR 616 are the following:

  • Risa Hontiveros
  • Nancy Binay
  • Ralph Recto
  • Leila de Lima
  • Franklin Drilon
  • Joel Villanueva

They are asking the Senate to “express its sense” to oppose DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s move to put an end to the UP-DND accord, forged in 1989 to protect students against campus militarization.

The resolution also wants the Senate to urge UP and DND to launch a dialogue to “find common ground that promotes peace and security, and protects academic freedom and the pursuit of excellence.”

Of the 7 senators, 3 are UP graduates: Pangilinan, Drilon, and Binay, all of whom earned their respective undergraduate degrees from UP Diliman. Pangilinan and Drilon went on to finish their law degrees at the UP College of Law.

Recto earned 36 units in UP Diliman’s Master of Public Administration program, but the senator did not complete his degree. 

But 6 other senators who graduated from the UP System did not co-author PSR 616. They are Senators Sonny Angara, Pia Cayetano, Richard Gordon, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Cynthia Villar, and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.

Though he did not sign the resolution, Angara did issue a statement asking Lorenzana to reconsider the termination of the UP-DND pact, echoing the appeal of other legislators

Pangilinan’s office later said Gordon has manifested his intention to become a co-author of the resolution. This will be manifested during the Senate session once the resolution is scheduled for sponsorship.

Lorenzana has justified the abrogation of the deal by claiming that UP campuses have become a “breeding ground” for extremists. But Vice President Leni Robredo, herself a UP alumnae, said that under the pact, authorities only need to give notice to university officials prior to operations.

UP President Danilo Concepcion already said that the abolition of the UP-DND accord is “totally unnecessary and unwarranted. – with reports from Jodesz Gavilan/Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.