Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the unilateral termination of the Department of National Defense (DND) of its accord with the University of the Philippines (UP)
The UP-DND Accord is more than an agreement limiting the entry of State forces in any of the UP campuses. Seen from a history of abuse of power since the dictatorship, it serves as an assurance that the freedom to express dissent, to protest, and the exercise of academic freedom will be respected by the government, particularly by the police and military.
For more than three decades, this Accord has served to protect the University’s students, faculty, and employees from arbitrary, capricious repressions of protected rights.
However, at this time, when human rights violations continue to abound, the unilateral termination of DND of the said Accord with UP serves to cast further doubts on its intent and aggravates the climate of distrust towards the government.
The UP-DND Accord does not place UP beyond the reach of the rule of law. The University continues to exist as a subject of valid restrictions inasmuch as it is guaranteed freedoms. No one is and should ever be above the law.
DND should have appealed to good judgment in expressing concerns to UP and finding ways to move forward, instead of immediately abrogating the Accord, in pursuit of the best interest of all.
The DND, with whom UP entered into the subject agreement, is in charge of the Armed Forces, whose mandate is different from that of the PNP. The primary concern of DND is to secure the State from external and internal threats. Maintaining peace and order is within the ambit of the Philippine National Police.
Read complete statement @chr.gov.ph
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