PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday insisted there is no “militarization” taking place in colleges and universities since police only enter school campuses if they have permission from concerned authorities.
“There’s no such thing as militarization in campuses since hindi naman pumapasok ang pulis sa mga eskwelahan without coordination with school authorities. It’s also very normal for us to be there to keep peace and order in line with our regular Oplan: Balik-Eskwela program,” the PNP chief said during a press conference at Camp Crame.
Some militant student groups and organizations held various protests in Metro Manila tagged as “Walk Out from Campus” yesterday, the PNP chief said.
“While we may not agree with some of their sentiments, especially that minors are involved, we will make sure they will be able to fully and freely exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression,” he explained.
Albayalde reiterated that they have no problem with student activism so long as it is expressed only through actions within the ambit of the law.
“As a policy, our security forces will remain tolerant to lawful activities, but we will be firm and uncompromising in addressing acts of willful violence, disobedience, anarchy and disrespect for the rule of law.
“The PNP would like to call also the attention of parents of students to be cautious of extra-curricular activities that are not sanctioned or approved by school officials,” he added.
He said only a minority -- militant groups in particular -- is over reacting to their presence in colleges and universities.
“It’s actually for agitation purposes only,” said Albayalde, adding that leftwing organizations have been recruiting young students to join their movement and later the New People’s Army.
“Activism, criticisms of the government are not illegal but when you start recruiting students to join the NPA, that’s sedition, that’s illegal and against the law,” Albayalde pointed out.
He said contrary to what the militants have been saying, there’s no “massive surveillance” being undertaken in schools.
“We go by the bounds of the law but we have to prevent too the massive recruitment, the radicalization of students especially those coming from far-flung areas,” he said.