– The Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) has expressed full support to the decision of the Department of National Defense (DND) in terminating its agreement with the University of the Philippines (UP).
The 1989 DND-UP accord mainly prohibits the military and police from entering the UP campus without permission or notification from the UP administration except in hot pursuit or in similar emergency cases and if it was requested by state university officials.
Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., Nolcom commander, said in a statement on Thursday the termination of the accord is a sign that “we are no longer in the times that our freedom is curtailed and the academe is prevented from thriving in its environment.”
He said the move does not mean censorship as academic freedom remains and will be advocated and safeguarded by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“We want to prevent an instance where there is actual danger and we cannot respond and protect our people,” Burgos said.
He also said most of the schools and universities in Nolcom’s area of operation do not have that kind of agreement but still they exercise academic freedom.
“Most if not all of our schools and universities here in Central and Northern Luzon do not have this accord but have grown into fortresses of learning and development,” he said.
Burgos assured that they will respect the need for prior notice before any lawful operations, with proper warrants.
“This is already guaranteed by the law, and the accord makes it redundant. Your soldiers have already reached a level of maturity and we will act with prudence on the matter as the law requires us,” he said.
Nolcom has close ties with the academic community, having installed a member of the academe as head of its multi-sector governance council.
Source: Philippines News agency