Dispatch from Crame No. 1,022: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the termination of the UP-DND Accord


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UP is our finest academic institution. It is the national university. Year after year, they proudly represent us in the world’s top university rankings. Not only is UP a consistent participant in national conversations, they take part also in addressing our country’s problems.

UP experts are a constant fixture in policy discussions from legislative deliberations to national disaster coordination. Most recently, we have seen how they are aiding our policymakers in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of our leaders received UP education.

UP was able to do all that and more because we allowed them academic freedom, free from political harassment by, and interference from, government forces.

Now comes Duterte and his DND unilaterally abrogating that decades-long accord based on unsubstantiated statements that UP is a recruitment ground for the CPP/NPA.

Nothing prevented them from pursuing any legitimate case supported by evidence against any UP personality. That they fail to make their case after years of trying and billions of intelligence funds speaks more about their incompetence than any perceived disadvantage under the UP-DND accord.

This abrogation is a message to the UP Community that the Duterte administration is now taking its brand of fascism inside the campuses whenever they please. It is a warning to students, professors and staff not to speak ill of the wannabe dictator in Malacañang, lest they be branded enemies of the State.

We have seen how this regime has employed lawfare against the critics and truth seekers, how it has twisted the law to oppress its perceived enemies while ignoring and tolerating the real ones.

Anti-Terror Law. Persecution of human rights defenders. Red-tagging. Summary execution of red-tagged personalities. And now this, an assault on academic freedom. All aimed at enhancing this regime’s authoritarian project.

I support the UP Community and join them in defending the freedoms that no administration has the right to curtail.

#DefendUP #UPFight

(Access the handwritten version, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_1022)

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