We, members of the University Council of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, join our students, staff, and alumni in opposing the unilateral abrogation of the 1989 UP-DND Agreement (“Agreement”) by the Department of National Defense and the government’s broader campaign to “red-tag” members of the UP community.
The termination of the Agreement, along with the branding of UP faculty, students, and staff as “enemies of the state,” poses a significant threat to academic freedom, a constitutionally protected right enshrined in the UP Charter (Republic Act No. 9500).
Academic freedom is a precondition for the university to fulfill its mission of pursuing and disseminating knowledge.
It allows UP faculty, students, and staff to discuss, debate, and challenge ideas without fear of being silenced or punished.
It enables an intellectually vibrant environment where members of our community are exposed to a wide range of philosophical, political, or even religious perspectives.
It enables us to explore, to question and to propound alternatives, to discern right from wrong, and to take responsibility for our choices.
It allows us to not only produce qualified and competent graduates across disciplines but also to function as social critics pursuing evidence-based scholarship to contribute to nation-building.
Without academic freedom, we will be unable to fulfill our mission and we will be incapable of upholding our values of academic excellence and honor.
Red-tagging is a baseless labeling of people, organizations, and institutions meant to silence critics and stifle dissent. It is dangerous, and it has led to and will enable further intimidation and violence.
We therefore call on Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, as a sign of good faith, to immediately restore the UP-DND Agreement. We urge the Department of National Defense to ensure that its elements, especially members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, cease from red-tagging members of the UP community and take concrete steps to hold accountable those who have red-tagged members of the community.
Thereafter, in order to strengthen the Agreement and its guarantees for academic freedom, the dialogue between UP and DND should continue with the full participation of faculty, students, and other members of the community.
11 February 2021
NOTE: According to the UP Faculty Manual, the University Council (UC) is the highest policy-making body of each UP Constituent University composed of the Chancellor, professors, associate professors, and assistant professors of the autonomous campus. The Chancellor shall serve as Chair and the University Registrar as Secretary.