THE Philippine National Police headed by General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday agreed to a “healthy dialogue” with student leaders of the University of the Philippines but said one of their conditions is they be given access to UP campuses to investigate and help thwart criminality and other lawless activities including those by the New People’s Army.
“A civil and healthy dialogue is precisely what we want. The PNP does not intend to encroach on academic freedom. However, our call for access to campuses will remain,” said PNP spokesman Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac.
He issued the statement amid a challenge aired by UP student-led institutions to debate on academic freedom following their August 20 walkout to protest the proposal to allow military presence in schools.
Banac said “we just want to listen and engage students in healthy discussion on peace and order, criminality, illegal drugs, cybercrimes, cyber libel, online scams, disaster response, sexual harassment, rape, violence against women and children, love of family, respect for parents and teachers, responsible citizenship, love of country, other topics that concern the welfare of the youth, and how we can serve them best.”
“Upon mutual agreement, and if acceptable with school authorities, we want to increase police visibility enough to deter criminal or drug syndicates from preying on students, all for the greater good of national priorities to enforce the law, ensure student and public safety and to end local communist armed conflict which is also paramount; and protecting students from possible illegal activities is the duty of the police,” Banac said.