University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo has emphasized the university’s role in producing leaders in different fields such as engineering, arts, medicine, science and technology, and education, amid accusations that the university serves as a cradle for communist rebels.
“For those who say that UP is just a breeding ground for communists, they conveniently forget that UP produces scientists, engineers, educators, doctors, economists, artists, and mathematicians. These are the people UP is known for,” he said.
“What we provide is a learning environment,” he stressed.
UP Prof. Butch Dalisay said the university is “everybody’s recruitment ground.”
“All kinds of organizations recruit at UP. Of course, the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) is not seen openly recruiting,” Dalisay added.
“Whatever decisions they (students) make, these are mature students, and they take responsibility for their decisions,” Nemenzo said.
Dalisay pointed out that what students decide for themselves is part of being a UP community member and “part of their business of being responsible for themselves and their future,” he said.
UP Prof. Emeritus Solita Monsod meanwhile suggested looking over UP’s grievance procedure to make sure that students are not being coerced to join leftist organizations.
Monsod said she had a friend whose daughter tried to join a communist organization 10 years ago.
“She came to me crying because she said her daughter was in somewhere at the university and she had joined a leftist group and refused to come home. I referred her to the Dean of the college. I don’t know what happened but I should have taken a more active role,” she recounted.
“But after six years this girl had been enticed and she went. But finally she came back and now all is well. She got her degree but she’s now no longer part of the (communist) group,” Monsod said.
Dalisay said those who are accusing UP of cradling communist rebels is not UP’s fault. “They might as well accuse all universities of this fault.”
“These are very silly observations that disregard the role that the universities play as purveyors of all kinds of ideas,” he added.
Nemenzo recommended that universities across the country should have an agreement similar to the UP-Department of National Defense (DND) accord to ensure the upholding of academic freedom.
This, he said, will make sure that “academic freedom of all universities are respected and protected.”
“It’s about time we talk with other universities. Our concerns are their concerns as well,” Nemenzo said.