Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assured the University of the Philippines community that he will not allow the militarization of all its campuses despite his decision to unilaterally abrogate the agreement that prevents immediate and uncoordinated entry of soldiers in the schools.
Lorenzana made the assurance after meeting with UP President Danilo Concepcion to iron things out following the controversies triggered by the cancellation of the 1989 UP-Department of National Defense (DND) Agreement last month.
“I hope that this dialogue can shed light on the true and genuine intention—to protect our youth from the rising insurgency… I thank UP President Danilo Concepcion for his time. May this be the start of our collaboration towards building a safer environment for our youth—our Iskolars ng Bayan (Government Scholars),” said Lorenzana in a Twitter post.
After the abrogation of the agreement, several personalities brokered the meeting between Lorenzana and Concepcion. Lorenzana himself said that one of the people who brokered the meeting is someone he fully respects. He did not name the person.
“The militarization/police occupation of the campus did not happen despite many feared, and I intend to keep it that way. I assure you that the rights of its students and faculty will always be respected and protected,” said Lorenzana.
DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong, for his part, said that Defense officials had 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,” said Andolong in a statement.