Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns strongly condemns Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for unilaterally abrogating the 1989 agreement between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the DND which prohibits the entry of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the said university.
The termination of UP-DND accord would undoubtedly result to increased police presence and campus militarization which is in clear violation of international humanitarian law – one that prohibits armed elements from operating in schools and using them as bases for armed conflict while being used for educational purposes. Under Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation And Discrimination Act, public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, and rural health units shall not be utilized for military purposes such as command posts, barracks, detachments and supply depots.
Salinlahi believes that the termination of the said agreement is a blatant attack to academic freedom and may lead to the exacerbation of human rights violations. It aims nothing but to curtail the right to dissent, disregarding students’ inherent rights to protection and participation.
For many years, the University of the Philippines as an institution has been very vocal in its position regarding various issues such as the country’s deepening poverty, social inequality, government corruption, injustices and impunity, among others.
In particular, the UP community has condemned the anti-poor and anti-people policies of the Duterte administration including war on drugs, militarization and closure of Lumad schools, martial law in Mindanao, the passage of anti-terror law and the futile response against the coronavirus pandemic.
In the midst of worsening political repression and attacks against human rights defenders, we need to strengthen our unity in defense of our rights and freedom.
Salinlahi demands the Duterte government to reconsider its decision to unilaterally abrogate the pact with UP. At the same time, Salinlahi asserts that the government should focus more on addressing the health and economic crisis instead of attacking dissents and violating human rights.
Uphold UP-DND Accord!
AFP-PNP Keep out of UP!
Defend Academic Freedom!
Junk Terror Law!