THE dialogue between the Regional Task Force-ELCAC 6 and UP Visayas officials on October 29, 2021 drew flak from different organizations of the university.
The following organizations made their remarks and demanded transparency and accountability:
- UP Visayas University Student Council (UPV USC);
- All UP Academic Employees Union – Iloilo (AUPAEU);
- UPV College of Arts and Sciences Student Council (CASSC);
- UPV School of Technology Student Council (SOTECHSC);
- UPV College of Management Student Council (CMSC);
- UPV College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Student Council (CFOSSC);
- UPV Tacloban College Student Council;
- UPV CAS Pagbutlak;
- Sandigan ng Mag-aaral para sa Sambayanan (SAMASA UPV); and
- SAMASA Alumni Association.
AUPAEU also described the presence of NTF-ELCAC as a visit that “spells speculations of opening the campus to surveillance and monitoring by agents of the repressive state.”
UPV CASSC further demanded that “there shall be no further engagements with the NTF-ELCAC.”
The University of the Philippines is a community of diverse thoughts and ideas.
While all the above-mentioned organizations underscored academic freedom and freedom of expression, they ironically stereotyped and typecast the advocacy of the task force in putting an end to the scourge of the communist movement in the Philippines.
How can you clamor for academic freedom, but circumscribe other people’s or groups’ ideas and views that are incongruous to yours? Don’t we have equal civil rights and freedom of expression enshrined in the Philippine Constitution? Can’t we share our personal accounts being part of the CPP-NPA-NDF while inside the university? Can’t we promote our advocacy to our fellow Filipinos especially the youth about the lies and deception of the movement we once advanced?
You have the audacity to assert your freedom but suppress ours!
Chancellor Clement Camposano said during the dialogue that “the best antidote to propaganda is critical thinking.”
How can critical thinking be achieved if one’s minds are not open? To claim that the accounts of former rebels who came from the university are fake is cynical and baseless. These are first-hand experiences and not hearsay.
Activism is in the DNA of the university, and I believe that this tradition should continue. The institution should remain a venue of academic freedom and critical thinking, as it always should be. As the 2008 UP Charter states that it is “a community of scholars dedicated for the search of truth and knowledge as well as the development of future leaders.”
Academic freedom, however, goes not beyond the Philippine Constitution. To be part of the CPP-NPA-NDF that aims to overthrow the government defects from the integrity of the constitution.
And if we are talking of the same academic freedom, then it is but prudent for us to take collaborative actions to defend our fellow youth and UP constituents from this deceptive and exploitative recruitment of the CPP-NPA-NDF, to the same degree with how you defend the institution from what you claim state abuses and repression.
As a former UPV student and a former member of the CPP’s organization inside UPV, I enjoin all peace-loving Iskolars ng Bayan to stand against and meet with resistance the deception and recruitment of CPP-NPA-NDF inside the university.
Joy James A. Saguino
Student Number 2007-61410
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