Tell it to SunStar: Problematic nature

·3 min read

By National Union of Students of the Philippines

Prospero “Popoy” de Vera’s irrational take on the UP-DND accord being “problematic” proves that he is a traitor to the interests of the students.

Just last week, Commission on Higher Education (Ched) Chairman Prospero de Vera pointed out the apparent “problematic nature” of the UP-DND accord, that, according to him, was “rich in intention but short on details, and is therefore prone to differing interpretations,” implying the errors of the 1989 agreement and the ambiguousness of it have led to vagueness as to how and why this should be enacted at all.

“What De Vera failed to understand was that the termination of the aforementioned pact between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) would endanger the safety and security of the students, faculty and staff, of the different constituent systems in UP due to intensified campus militarization among the campuses of UP that is likely to follow after the recent abrogation of the accord. Given that he is an alumnus of UP, he should go over the history of Diliman Commune that gave birth to this Accord and he seems to forget what history has taught us,” NUSP National President Jandeil Roperos countered.

Furthermore, this is also a huge breach in academic freedom and democratic rights of the individuals and groups in UP as universities, regardless if it is a public or private one. It should be an avenue for expressing one’s ideology and opinions freely, without having a single thought on the possible harmful repercussions that would befall them.

According to him, a meeting is set to happen among education experts to “define the meaning of academic freedom and the role of security forces in the protection of academic freedom and the welfare of students.”

“What’s problematic is that instead of upholding the rights of every Filipino student, faculty and staff, as he has the highest position in the Ched curriculum, Prospero de Vera has proven time and time again that he is a traitor to the student masses in their struggle to fight for their fundamental rights. Instead, he has chosen to become a mere puppet of the Duterte regime rather than to stand tall alongside the students and personnel of UP and other educational institutions,” Roperos added.

“Academic institutions must be safe and conducive spaces for the holistic growth and development of every individual, and the abrogation of the UP-DND accord would only further amplify student repression and not recognize the constitutionally-protected rights of the students to exercise their freedom to impart their ideologies and opinions with each other. With this being said, we call on all student councils to stand in defending our academic freedom amid these state-sponsored attacks,” she added.

The Union strongly denounces any form of student repression, and the termination of the UP-DND accord would only bring about more harm than good in the welfare and wellbeing of the Filipino masses.

Let us always remember that the discourse in the injustices and state fascism that remain rampant to this day will always be rooted in the criminal negligence and incompetence of the Duterte administration.