House approves on 2nd reading bill institutionalizing UP-DND Accord

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The House of Representatives approved a bill on second reading on Wednesday that institutionalizes the 1989 accord between the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) into the UP Charter.

House Bill 10171, which aims to amend Section 11 of Republic Act 9500, or the University of the Philippines Charter of 2008, was passed by the chamner through voice voting.

The bill requires the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), or any other law enforcement agency to notify the UP President or the Chancellor of the constituent university or the dean of the college concerned prior to conducting any police, military, or law enforcement operation in any UP campus nationwide.

It aims to prohibit members of the PNP, AFP, or other law enforcement agencies from entering any of the University’s campuses or regional units, except in the case of a pursuit or other comparable circumstances or crises, or when law enforcement officials request it.

It requires university authorities to provide required assistance in law enforcement within the UP campuses whenever law enforcement officers seek it.

It prohibits any student, faculty member, or employee from being subjected to a custodial inquiry without first informing the constituent university’s President or Chancellor, or the Dean of the regional unit concerned.

Within university grounds, members of law enforcement agencies are barred from interfering with peaceful protest actions by individuals or groups.

The DND-UP Agreement, which was signed on June 30, 1989, forbids the military and police from entering any UP campus without prior notice to the administration.

The deal was terminated on Jan. 15, 2021, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who described it as “obsolete.”

The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) allegedly leveraged the agreement to convert UP into a breeding ground for “intransigent individuals and groups whose extremist beliefs have inveigled students to join their ranks to fight against the government,” according to Lorenzana.

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