Universities denounce military officials’ repeated ‘red-tagging’ of schools

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Members of the League of the Filipino Students hold a protest rally on red-tagging outside the Ombudsman on Monday, December 7, 2020 in time of the filing of administrative charges against government officials: Southern Luzon Military Commander Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr., PCOO Usec Lorraine Badoy, DND Secertary Delfin Lorenzana, DILG Sec Eduarduardo Ano, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and NICA Director General Alex Monteagudo. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Four universities released a statement refuting the accusation of a top military official that they are allegedly “recruitment havens” for insurgent groups in the Philippines.

The Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, and the Far Eastern University released a joint statement denouncing the earlier statement of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., spokesperson of the government’s anti-communist task force, that some 18 universities in the country are hotbeds of communist recruitment.

“We therefore object to General Parlade’s statement and emphasize that our institutions neither promote nor condone recruitment activities of the New People’s Army and, indeed, of any movement that aims to violently overthrow the government,” the joint statement read.

“As institutions of higher learning that are stewards of the youth, repositories and producers of knowledge, and builders of communities, we must retain independence and autonomy from the State and other social institutions,” they added.

Signed in the statement are ADMU president Fr. Roberto C. Yap, SJ, DLSU president Br. Raymundo Suplido, FSC, FEU president Dr. Michael Alba, and UST vice rector Fr. Isaias Tiongco, OP.

The senseless “red-tagging” of universities came into light again following the abrogation of the 1989 University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense Accord, citing that the state university has become a recruitment hub for communist groups.

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