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Bato backs UP-DND deal abrogation

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Former Philippine National Police chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa on Sunday maintained that there is no violation of academic freedom in the unilateral abrogation of the University of the Philippines (UP)-Department of National Defense (DND) accord.

In a radio interview, De la Rosa maintained his support for the abrogation of the Soto-Enrile accord, emphasizing that UP should not be afraid of military presence if there are no illegal activities happening inside the campus, specifically the student recruitment of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“That violation of academic freedom can only be considered during the Martial Law era. Tell me if the police and military are willing to interfere with academic freedom. If they do so, for sure, they will face charges,” he said.

The lawmaker said the so-called chilling effect of the abrogation of the pact can be considered a creation of Martial Law.

“The Martial Law is long gone and the military and the police cannot just commit mistakes because they will be surely removed from the service,” he added.

De la Rosa questioned why the UP community is very afraid of military presence inside the campus, saying the military only wanted to abrogate the said pact to allow recruitment of students to the military force.

“The NPA are free to recruit inside the campus while the military forces are not? We also want equal opportunity for all. For all we know, UP is a public institution funded by the government. Why don’t they allow the government inside their campus?

“Why are they allergic to the military? Are they hiding something? Are they hiding NPA recruiters or personalities that are being sought by the law enforcers?” De la Rosa asked.

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