UP Mindanao students, faculty experience harassment after NPA recruitment allegations

Published May 22, 2022, 3:44 PM

by Manila Bulletin

The University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao expressed grave concern after its students, faculty, and staff experienced distress both in-person and online after a red-tagging allegation that circulated on social media.

(UP Mindanao Facebook page)

“The impact of this baseless allegation and irresponsible publication through social media has created distress among our faculty, students, and staff,” said UP Mindanao Chancellor Lyre Anni E. Murao in a statement issued Saturday, May 21.

Murao is referring to the Facebook post of Choyax Cagape, UP Min alumnus, where it was alleged that there have been “active recruitment” activities carried out by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) within the campus during his stay.

“To my classmates in UP Mindanao, I do not know how to react when you post denials that there is no active recruitment of the NPA in UP Mindanao. Yes, there is (an) active recruitment,” said Cagape on his FB post dated May 14.

He also shared that the recruitment was assisted by one of their teachers.

The said post gained an appreciation for his bravery and some even shared their own experiences on the same matter within the university.

It was later magnified by the National Security Council of the Philippines (NSC), the country’s principal advisory body on the proper coordination and integration of plans and policies concerning national security.

“The post may have been based on an experience of the concerned individual while he was a student about two decades ago,” Murao said. “This does not warrant the citing of the post as the basis of allegations from the National Security Council of the Philippines,” she added.

Fight against baseless red-tagging

Murao promised to take necessary legal actions to protect the welfare of the UP Min community especially its students and that they are “committed to remain vigilant” against any forms of undue attacks.

“We are one with our students in the call against any form of harassment because of this recent red-tagging and hasty generalizations,” Murao said.

She also called on the academic community to work together in achieving academic freedom and critical thinking.

UP Mind also expressed support to other universities that have been identified as recruitment havens for “enemies of the state.”

“Let us all, as one community, join efforts to assert academic freedom and encourage critical thinking,” she added. (Luisa Cabato)