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Senate bid to institutionalize UP-DND deal ‘reasonable’

MALACAÑANG on Thursday viewed as “reasonable” the Senate’s proposal to institutionalize the University of the Philippines’ (UP) 1989 deal with the Department of National Defense (DND) that limits the government forces’ entry in university campuses.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement a day after several senators filed a bill seeking amendment to the UP Charter by including a provision similar to the scrapped DND-UP Accord of 1989.

We leave that to the wisdom of Congress because that is an issue of national policy. Although as I said, it sounds like a reasonable legislative proposal,” Roque, a UP alumnus, said in a virtual Palace press briefing.

Senators Joel Villanueva, Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, and Grace Poe, on Wednesday filed Senate Bill (SB) 2002, which intends to incorporate the 1989 pact that was unilaterally abrogated by the DND.

The bill aims to insert a new provision in Republic Act 9500 or the UP Charter which would prevent the military, police, and other law enforcement agencies from entering the premises of UP campuses nationwide “except in cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions of emergency.

It also requires cops and soldiers to notify the UP officials before entering UP campuses, serving warrants, or arresting any UP student, faculty member, or employee.

The service of warrants and the like shall only be done “after prior notification is given to the UP President, Chancellor, Dean of the regional unit, or respective officers-in-charge,” according to SB 2002.

Roque said the proposed measure needs to get the support of President Rodrigo Duterte before it can be enforced.

We always respect the prerogative of our legislators to legislate national policies ‘no. So sa akin po (for me), that seems to be a reasonable proposal but that has to be enacted po into law,” he said.

Lorenzana on Jan. 15 unilaterally abrogated the 1989 accord with UP as the communist movement was using the deal as “shield” for on-campus recruitment.

No need for PRRD intervention

UP president Danilo Concepcion on Tuesday asked Lorenzana to reconsider the revocation of the DND-UP deal and invited the Defense chief for a meeting.

Asked if Duterte’s intervention is necessary, Roque said: “Itong bagay na ito, hindi na po kinakailangang makarating sa level ng Presidente (This issue does not need to reach the level of President).

On Wednesday, Roque expressed willingness to mediate between Lorenzana and Concepcion.

Roque said Lorenzana had already accepted his offer while Concepcion has yet to respond to his proposal.

And as I have said, I have offered my good offices. Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has accepted and I continue to await word from President Danilo Concepcion,” he said.  Philippine News Agency