CHED on UP-DND Accord: ‘Nothing is set in stone’

Published February 1, 2021, 10:01 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III on Monday said that agreements are bound to be revised in order to adapt to ever-changing times.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III

De Vera made this comment in reference to the abrogation of the controversial pact between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) also known as the “1989 UP-DND Accord.”

“Ang isang kasunduan, hindi naman yan nakataga sa bato na hindi na mapapalitan habang-buhay (An agreement, it is not set in stone that cannot be replaced forever),” De Vera said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

De Vera explained that as the world changes, with extremism present is many universities all over the world, there is a need to adjust certain agreements. “Kailangan ang isang kasunduan ay regular na nire-review, tinitingnan kung meron bang problema, kung meron bang di pagkakasundo at ayusin ito (An agreement needs to be reviewed regularly, to see if there is a problem, if there is a disagreement and fix it),” he added.

The termination of the UP-DND Accord is heavily criticized by educators, students, and youth groups – others. However, De Vera maintained that there are things that need to be “fixed” especially in the mechanism and operational guidelines.

In particular, De Vera pointed out the lack of a Joint Monitoring Team which was supposedly present based on the Accord. “Yung mga kritiko na nagsasabi na walang problema, wala naman akong nakita na report ng joint monitoring team na ya nitong mga nakaraang taon (Those critics who say that there is no problem, I have not seen a report of the joint monitoring team in recent years),” he added.

De Vera also clarified that he never said that the Accord, itself, was destined to be problematic. “I did not say that the Accord itself was defective, the mechanism to implement the Accord was problematic,” he added.

If there were no issues with UP-DND Accord, De Vera asked why the supposed Joint Monitoring Team never met with the UP Board of Regents. “Ibig sabihin yung mekanismo para i-immplement yung accord ay mahina (What this means is that the mechanism to implement the Accord is weak),” he said.  

De Vera said that the CHED offered to assist in the dialogue between UP and DND. However, this is still under discussion. Nevertheless, he expressed hope that both will find be able to the common ground soon. “They both share the aspirations for the students so we should maximize the opportunities for dialogue,” he ended.