Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s termination of the 1989 University of the Philippines (UP) and Department of National Defense (DND) accord on 15 January has elicited various reactions from different groups and also celebrities.
Actor Agot Isidro, who finished Interior Design at UP Diliman, said in response that they better “keep off UP.”
In another tweet on 19 January, Agot said, “All Filipinos are guilty unless proven innocent. Defend our freedoms now, before it’s too late.”
Journalist and television presenter Atom Araullo, meanwhile, denounced DND’s blacklisting of his alma mater. He said: “The DND should ask: why is the UP community troubled by the unilateral abrogation of the accord? Surely they don’t think all of the people there are communists.”
In August 2020, Atom was red-tagged as a communist by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict over an i-Witness docu on Lumad students.
Megastar Sharon Cuneta and Senator Kiko Pangilinan’s daughter Frankie Pangilinan have directly accused DND of red-tagging UP students. She further said that such a move is an effect of the government feeling “insecure and threatened.”
The 20-year-old added: “This sort of unprovoked desperation from the establishment only proves that change is possible, and likely very close — continue to speak out and fight for what’s right. We stand with you.”
Metro Manila Film Festival 2020 best director Antonette Jadaone called DND’s claims as “unsubstantiated.” Concurrently, Enchong Dee, Angelica Panganiban, Richard Juan, Juan Miguel Severo and the newest Kapamilya Janine Gutierrez aired their support for UP in light of the abrogation.
The said accord was inked by UP and DND on 30 June 1989 by then UP president Jose Abueva and former Defense Chief Fidel Ramos. The agreement prohibits the entry of state forces on the university’s premises without prior notice to the university administration (unless in “hot pursuit,” a report says). Lorenzana’s termination of the pact now means that the military and police can enter at will.
In a statement, Lorenzana defended his move stating that “times and circumstances have now changed.”