The University of the Philippines (University of the Philippines) Diliman council on Thursday, Feb. 11, appealed for the restoration of the 1989 UP-Department of National Defense (DND) Agreement and a stop to the government’s campaign to “red-tag” members of the UP community.
The UP Diliman university council lamented how the termination of the agreement, along with the branding of UP faculty, students, and staff as “enemies of the state,” poses a significant threat to academic freedom, which they pointed out is a constitutionally protected right enshrined in the UP Charter.
“Academic freedom is a precondition for the university to fulfill its mission of pursuing and disseminating knowledge. It allows UP faculty, students, and staff to discuss, debate, and challenge ideas without fear of being silenced or punished,” it said in a statement,
“We therefore call on Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, as a sign of good faith, to immediately restore the UP-DND Agreement. We urge the Department of National Defense to ensure that its elements, especially members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, ceases from red-tagging members of the UP community and take concrete steps to hold accountable those who have red-tagged members of the community,” the council urged.
Thereafter, in order to strengthen the Agreement and its guarantees for academic freedom, it called for a continuous dialogue between the UP and DND with the full participation of faculty, students, and other members of the community.
The council noted how academic freedom “allows us to not only produce qualified and competent graduates across disciplines but also to function as social critics pursuing evidence-based scholarship to contribute to nation-building.”
Without academic freedom, the UP Diliman council pointed out that they will be unable to fulfill their mission and will be incapable of upholding values of academic excellence and honor.
“Red-tagging is a baseless labeling of people, organizations, and institutions meant to silence critics and stifle dissent. It is dangerous, and it has led to and will enable further intimidation and violence,” it said.