Opposition Rep. France Castro of ACT Teachers Partylist on Monday called on Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero De Vera to help protect the academic freedom of learning institutions instead of issuing declarations that tend to back the “baseless accusations of the security forces” against schools.
Castro aired the appeal as Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago chided De Vera for the alleged “anti-student stances” he had take in connection with the controversy surrounding the UP-DND accord.
“Popoy De Vera’s callous remark on the unilateral of the 1989 University of the Philippines – Department of National Defense (UP-DND) Accord by the DND. As the chairperson of both CHED and UP Board of Regents (BOR), De Vera’s play-safe opinion and view that the issue was politicized are lamentable as these just cater to the side of the military and their intent to infiltrate schools,” said the partylist organization.
The lawmakers were referring to De Vera’s statement that the agreement that restricted military operations within UP campuses “was destined to be problematic.”
He pointed out during a television interview that the agreement had “no clear detailed operational details to implement the provisions of the agreement.”
“The Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education himself is attacking the essence of education institutions by not condemning state security forces in terminating the UP-DND accord and further red-tagging most higher education institutions with their baseless and recycled lies of being so-called breeding grounds of NPAs,” Castro said.
“What is problematic with the historical accord fought for academic freedom by students and activists?” she asked the CHED chairman.
“By saying that the UP-DND accord is ‘destined to be problematic,’ the Commission on Higher Education is already colluding with the narrative and objective of state security forces,” she added.
Kabataan partylist said De Vera’s remark “borders on historical amnesia and blatant disregard of academic freedom and people’s struggles, and lacking pro-student action in terms of protecting the rights of students.”
“CHED, as an institution for higher education, is expected to uphold and protect academic freedom and ensure that colleges and universities are zones of peace for the youth and its academic community” the group said.