UP-DND accord still terminated after top execs hold dialogue. What’s next?

Published February 5, 2021, 8:33 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and University of the Philippines (UP) President Danilo Concepcion has finally met to discuss the terminated accord between the two parties that set a heated discussion on the government’s anti-communist insurgency campaign.

(photo from DND)

However, the status of the 1989 UP-Department of National Defense (DND) accord, which prevented state forces from entering UP campuses without prior coordination, remained unchanged.

The Department of National Defense (DND) described on Friday, February 5, the meeting between Lorenzana and Concepcion as a “a positive development” after weeks that it battled criticisms due to the unilateral abrogation of the accord.

Lorenzana and Concepcion met on Thursday in Quezon City along with Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero de Vera III.

Major General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, revealed that the status of the accord “remained the same” even after Lorenzana and Concepcion aired their positions on the issue.

He said Lorenzana and Concepcion agreed to hold more dialogues so they can come up with a solution and resolve the issue.

“During the meeting, they were able to explain their sides and they talked about the way forward. That way forward is continuous engagements to determine what can be further developed,” Arevalo said.

Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the DND expressed its openness to listen to the position of the UP administration.

“We are also hopeful that the members of the UP community will be open to working with us to ensure that our youth do not become victims of those who would lead them down the path of lawlessness and destruction,” Andolong noted.

Last January 18, Lorenzana confirmed that he unilaterally terminated the UP-DND accord as part of the military’s intensified campaign against communist insurgency. 

He had described the UP as a “haven” for communist recruiters, and justified the abrogation of the accord by identifiying UP alumni who were allegedly killed or arrested in military clashes.

Concepcion had denied Lorenzana’s claim as he asked for a meeting with the latter to iron out their differences.