NPA recruitment to prosper under UP Security bill: youth group
By Lade Jean Kabagani / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – The bill institutionalizing the 1989 University of the Philippines (UP) - Department of National Defense (DND) accord into the UP Charter will allow communist terrorist groups to continue recruiting more students into the armed conflict.
Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (KKDAT) national spokesperson Franz Arabia, in a statement Friday, said the long history of disappearances of UP student leaders has been linked to the underground recruitment of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) legal front organization inside the state university.
"To institutionalize the UP-DND Accord is to free the terrorist from terrorizing the students and the youth. This is our collective stand, as the youth of this nation. The KKDAT denounces the institutionalization of the UP-DND Accord. We look at the University of Philippines as a home for young professionals, whom we idolize because of their intelligence, skill, and capacity to banner the nation's pride and honor of producing globally competitive Filipino Students," read Arabia’s Facebook post.
He said they denounce the bill “to promote a safer, better, and more secured University of the Philippines. This is for a better academic institution, for the rising generation".
Arabia noted that the CPP and its armed wing, New People's Army (NPA), are getting more members by swaying the youth into believing false ideologies.
"The KKDAT strongly believes that UP and its students must be protected from any form of harm, abuse, and harassment," he said.
House Bill 10171 or the UP Security bill, which seeks to amend Section 11 of Republic Act 9500 (University of the Philippines Charter of 2008), was approved on final reading on Sept. 21, 2021, getting 179 affirmative votes.
Nine days later, the approval was rescinded and the bill was brought back to the Rules Committee for its disposition.
Cavite 7th District Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla made the motion to rescind the approval, saying the legislative process for the UP Security Bill was rushed and did not undergo much scrutiny and deliberations.
The UP-DND accord is an "executive agreement that should be left alone and left to the Executive", Remulla said, stressing that lawmakers should not meddle with the affairs of another branch of government.
The bill seeks to prevent state security forces, such as the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines, from entering and enforcing its operations in all UP campuses without prior notice to “the President or the Chancellor of the constituent university or the dean of the regional unit concerned” except “in cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions or emergencies.”
It mandates university officials, whenever requested by law enforcers, to extend the necessary assistance in law enforcement within the premises of the UP campuses.
The DND-UP Agreement, signed on June 30, 1989, prohibits the military and the police from entering all UP campuses without prior notice to its administration, but the agency terminated the agreement effective Jan. 15, 2021.
DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the arrangement was "obsolete" and was the CPP-NPA’s means to turn UP into a breeding ground of "intransigent individuals and groups whose extremist beliefs have inveigled students to join their ranks to fight against the government".
Arabia, also the National Youth Commission ambassador for National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict Affairs, emphasized the need to stand up against terrorist recruitment, particularly inside academic institutions.
"The state should protect the rights and welfare of all Filipino students through the humane and legal implementation of laws that prioritize the safety and security of the students and the citizens at large. We need to protect students against the terrorizing actions of the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front)," he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)