19 January 2021


Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana
Department of National Defense
Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City


Dear Secretary Lorenzana,

I am acknowledging receipt of your letter of 15 January 2021 informing me of the unilateral abrogation by your office of the agreement signed on 30 June 1989 by then DND Secretary Fidel V. Ramos and then UP President Jose V. Abueva—an agreement that, you will recall, established certain norms and protocols governing relations between the University and military and police forces.

I must express our grave concern over this abrogation, as it is totally unnecessary and unwarranted, and may result in worsening rather than improving relations between our institutions, and detract from our common desire for peace, justice, and freedom in our society.

That agreement was forged with the formalities that attend the execution of agreements, imbued with the highest sense of fidelity of the parties. It was grounded in an atmosphere of mutual respect, which we were able to maintain for 30 years through the observance in good faith of its provisions. With few exceptions, protocols were observed and any problems or misunderstandings were amicably and reasonably resolved. The agreement never stood in the way of police and security forces conducting lawful operations within our campuses. Entry was always given when necessary to law enforcers within their mandate.

We regret that the agreement was abrogated unilaterally, without the prior consultation that would have addressed the concerns you raised in your letter. Instead of instilling confidence in our police and military, your decision can only sow more confusion and mistrust, given that you have not specified what it is that you exactly aim to do or put in place in lieu of the protections and courtesies afforded by the agreement.

Perhaps this will be a good opportunity to emphasize that we sought and secured that agreement not to evade or weaken the law, but to protect the climate of academic freedom—guaranteed by the Constitution—that makes intellectual inquiry and human and social advancement possible. We want to maintain UP as a safe haven for all beliefs and forms of democratic expression. In that, all the signatories to the agreement believed and bound themselves to uphold.

Our University community does not and cannot fear the fair and speedy enforcement of the law, and we value and appreciate the contributions of our uniformed services to our safety and security. We do not condone sedition, armed insurrection, or the use of violence for political ends.

At the same time, especially given our experience of martial law, we must reject any form or semblance of militarization on our campuses, which will have a chilling effect deleterious to academic freedom. This abrogation endangers the goodwill necessary for both of us to achieve our mission as responsible members of the same national family.

Our police and military authorities should have no fear of academic freedom. Indeed UP has bred rebels and nonconformists—as well as it has bred presidents, senators, congressmen, and business, civic, and even military leaders. All the world’s great universities have produced the same range of thinkers and doers. By and large, intellectual and political dissidents in UP have always been in the minority, but it is a critical minority that has historically been vital to the maintenance of a healthy democracy.

Left in peace, UP will continue to be a major contributor to the country’s development and to its national leadership in all fields. Its most recent international ranking—65th among the 489 universities in Southeast Asia evaluated by the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings—attests to the high quality of its achievements.

That performance, Mr. Secretary, is the result of its exercise of academic freedom—the freedom to think, to probe, to question, to find and propose better solutions.

May I urge you, therefore, to reconsider and revoke your abrogation, and request further that we meet to discuss your concerns in the shared spirit of peace, justice, and the pursuit of excellence.


Yours sincerely,

Danilo L. Concepcion


source: “Protect academic freedom”–UP President Danilo L. Concepcion responds to DND’s unilateral abrogation of the UP-DND Accord


Open Letter of UPD Professors Emeriti to the UP Board of Regents

January 24, 2021

The Honorable Members
The Board of Regents
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City


Dr. Prospero E. de Vera
Chairman, Board of Regents


Atty. Danilo L. Concepcion
President, University of the Philippines

Dear Regents:

We the undersigned, Professors Emeriti of the University of the Philippines Diliman, wish to register our protest in the strongest terms against the recent unilateral abrogation by the Secretary of National Defense of the 1989 agreement between UP and the DND providing for certain protocols to govern the entry of security forces into UP’s campuses.

We find no tenable or compelling reason why this agreement, which largely served its intended purposes for over 30 years, should now be abrogated without at least the consultation owed to the parties that signed and implemented it in good faith. The letter of abrogation provides no specific instances and no supporting proof of where, when, and how the agreement failed—especially on UP’s part. And instead of giving the University community a clear idea of what the military intends to do on campus in lieu of the agreement—the new rules of engagement, as it were—we are left to anticipate, with grave apprehension, the return of the kind of authoritarian policing that we suffered under martial law.

The DND’s characterization of UP as a “safe haven for terrorists” and its attempt to hold the entire university responsible for the death of some of its students at the hands of government forces ignores a much larger aspect of UP that has consistently striven for peace, justice, and development in our society. We bemoan those tragic deaths, which we lay at the feet of the social ills that provoked the decisions those students took, and which we as a nation must seek to address. But we cannot allow them to be trivialized into a pretext to threaten academic freedom.

Indeed we see in these recent initiatives of the military establishment—not just in UP but in many other campuses as well—an effort to bring civil governance in these institutions to heel, to compel academic administrators to conform to State authority, no matter how unreasonable or contrary to time-honored academic practice. Our military institutions—and even our highest academic and administrative officials—must be reminded that UP is an intellectual meritocracy, as great universities should be, which is how it can best serve the nation.

We Professors Emeriti have served this University for most of our working lives, and have devoted our time and talents to the improvement of the Filipino future. We continue to work for our people’s peace and prosperity, and leave behind generations of students imbued with the same ideals of honor and excellence. We wield no power but that of our minds and our experience—which our government, business and industry, and society at large have freely drawn upon.

But at this crucial point in our beloved UP’s history, we feel compelled to speak as a body, organizing ourselves into an Oblation Forum, in defense of the need to keep UP—all our constituent universities—as a safe space for intellectual inquiry, without fear of external and internal threats from whatever source. We draw particular attention to the need for acknowledging our faculty as the prime authority with regard to their disciplinal expertise, and for this principle to be respected in all matters of academic governance. This, too, is a basic element in the operationalization of academic freedom.

We call on our Chairman, Dr. Prospero E. de Vera, and our President, Atty. Danilo Concepcion, to join us in working to strengthen the ramparts of our academic freedom against those who seek to weaken them, and, to that end, to uphold meritocracy over mediocrity, and collegial self-governance over authoritarian diktat, in both the long-term horizon and the day-to-day decisions of the Board.

We extend the honorable members of the Board our best wishes and our pledge of assistance in this fight ahead, and will await, with keen attention, your next decisions and actions on the issues facing the UP community.

Para sa sambayanan,

Gemino H. Abad
Grace J. Alfonso
Virgilio S. Almario
Violeta V. Bautista
Dante B. Canlas
Apolonio B. Chua
Ma. Cecilia Gastardo-Conaco
Gisela P. Concepcion
Lourdes J. Cruz
Jose Y. Dalisay Jr.
Randolf S. David
Emmanuel S. de Dios
Ma. Serena I. Diokno
Erlinda S. Echanis
Raul V. Fabella
Cecilia A. Florencio
Cristina P. Hidalgo
Elena R. Mirano
Solita C. Monsod
Francisco Nemenzo
Ernesto M. Pernia
Norma A. Respicio
Rafael A. Rodriguez
Emerlinda R. Roman
Ramon P. Santos
Gerardo P. Sicat
Polly W. Sy
Guillermo Q. Tabios III
Edita A. Tan
Michael L. Tan
Nicanor G. Tiongson
Amaryllis T. Torres
Corazon D. Villareal
Roy C. Ybañez
Rosario L. Torres-Yu


[NOTE: The University Faculty Manual defines professor emeritus as a title for life and is conferred upon retired faculty members in recognition of their exceptional achievements and exemplary service to the university.]


Other links

Tinig ng Plaridel Statement

Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas Statement


UP College of Mass Communication Statement

UP College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Statement


UP Integrated School Statement

UP College of Arts and Letters Statement

UP School of Library and Information Studies Statement

UP College of Education Statement

UP College of Fine Arts Statement

UP College of Science Statement

UP Office of Student Projects and Activities Statement

NCPAG Statement on Mr. Michael Castillo and the 1989 UP-DND Accord

Statement of UP Student Regent Renee Co on UP-DND Accord Abrogation