The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said Friday that the agreement between the Department of National Defense (DND) and the University of the Philippines (UP) prohibiting State forces from entering UP campuses was “destined to be problematic.”
CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera III said the recent row between the DND and the State university is expected to happen as the pact between the two institutions has “no clear operational details for implementation.”
“I assert that the implementation of the DND-UP accord was destined to be problematic. The accord has no clear detailed operational details to implement the provisions of the agreement,” De Vera, a faculty member of UP for almost four decades, said.
“The Joint Monitoring Group composed of UP regents and administrators, military, and police officials has not met regularly to determine compliance with the agreement, review alleged violations, determine appropriate penalties, and recommend revisions in the accord given the changing time,” De Vera, a vice president and chairman of the Board of Regents of UP before joining CHED which supervises Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the country, added.
While the accord is rich in intention, De Vera said that it is short on details and is prone to differing interpretations.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana informed UP President Danilo Concepcion in a letter that they have revoked the 1989 agreement as it hinders government forces from conducting anti-communist operations inside UP campuses.
The move was criticized by the UP community and other progressive groups, as well as government officials, who claimed that the abrogation of the pact translates to discourage dissent among the youth.
With CHED’s mandate to attend to the welfare of students and their schools, De Vera called on concerned institutions to jointly discuss the issues hounding the termination of the agreement, adding that “everyone has the same goals of student protection, academic freedom, and promotion of education.”
“In the next few days, I will be constituting a Panel of 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,” he said.
“CHED is offering its offices to bring together not just UP and DND but all public and private HEIs so we can find common ground to protect the interest of our 3.1 million students while upholding academic freedom,” De Vera added.