‘Bato’ asks academe to be fair, allow gov’t to educate students on dangers of Communism

Published August 20, 2019, 12:55 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Rizal Obanil

Senator Ronald “Bato” De la Rosa said that the academe should exercise genuine “academic freedom”, and allow students to choose which side they want to be on.

Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

“So kung gusto n’yo talaga ng academic freedom, bigyan ninyo ng liberty ang lahat ng estudyante na pumanig kung san nila gustong pumanig.” De la Rosa said in an interview over GMA-7’s Unang Hirit.

(If you really want to exercise academic freedom, give all your students the option to choose which side they want to be on).

The neophyte senator made this appeal to the academe while explaining his side on his proposal to allow the police and military to enter school campuses and educate students on the dangers of joining left-leaning groups or the New People’s Army (NPA).

He explained that there have been testimonies by former rebels, who surrendered that they started with being mere student activists into becoming full-time rebel combatants.

Senator Dela Rosa said that he was well aware that it was the advocates of academic freedom that were strongly against the presence of the military or the police on campus.

He also criticized the stand of some “academic freedom” advocates, who were against his proposal out of fear that campuses will be become militarized and students may be exposed to abuses from agents of authority.

“Anong gusto nila NPA session? Kasi yung agreement na yan is very one-sided. Binabawalan nila yung pulis or military na pumasok sa campus in the guise of bawal ang militarization and academic freedom kuno. Habang yung kabila pinapayagan nila na pumasok. Hinahayaan nilang pumasok yung kaliwa,” he said.

(What do they want, an NPA session? That agreement is very one-sided. They bar the police and military from entering campus in the guise of preventing militarization and protecting so-called academic freedom. On the other hand, they allow the other side to enter. They allow leftist groups to enter freely)

When asked by Unang Hirit host Mariz Umali on the tendency of some students to rebel even more when stricter policies are imposed on campus, the former PNP chief urged everyone to keep an open mind to it.

“Let us be open-minded. Hindi naman lahat ng estudyante, ganoon ang paningin nila sa pulis at sundalo. Eh iilan lang naman ‘yang aktibista diyan na ayaw na ayaw talaga,” Dela Rosa told GMA’s Unang Balita on Tuesday.

(Not all students have the same view about the military and the police. There are just a few of them, the activists who are firmly against it)

No armed combatants on campus

Dela Rosa in the same interview divulged how he can convince the public to buy into the idea of deploying the police and military on school campuses, which is being viewed by some as a form of militarization.

“Hindi naman yung mga sinasabi natin na mga armadong pulis or sundalo. Sabi ko nga yung kanilang mga police community relation units ng pulis tsaka yung mga civil military operations personnel ng AFP yun yung pwede lang na makipagusap dun. Para walang militarisasyon na mangyayari,” Dela Rosa said during an interview over GMA-7’s TV program Unang Hirit.

Dela Rosa said that he is not actually against student activism and is actually for it.

“Well ako mismo I am for student activism. Kailangan natin yan, yung youth activism kailangan nandyan. Pero ang tanong ko sa kanila: Where do you draw the line between youth activism atsaka yung pag-akyat sa bundok para maging armado at lumaban sa gobyerno? “ the former PNP chief said when asked about his view on student activism.

Despite the strong opposition to his proposal, De la Rosa said that he still does not have a stand of the proposed anti-subversion bill. He explained that he has yet to study it.