Four private universities in Metro Manila denounced the claim of a military official that their campuses serve as recruitment hubs for the New People’s Army (NPA).

In a joint statement issued on Sunday, the Far Eastern University (FEU), De La Salle University (DLSU), University of Santo Tomas (UST), and Ateneo De Manila University (DLSU) said they “neither promote nor condone” NPA recruitment activities and said they must retain independence and autonomy from the government and social institutions.”

This after Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), included them in the list of 18 schools that supposedly serve as recruitment grounds for the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). 

“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,” the statement read. “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.”

“As Philippine schools, we value the Filipinos’ basic Constitutional rights of speech, thought, assembly, and organization. As universities with high aspirations for our country, we seek to direct our students to engage in acts that contribute to the strengthening of social cohesion, defend the country’s democratic institutions, and promote nation-building,” it added.

The four universities also called Parlade’s remarks “a rehash” of a public accusation and “irresponsible” since he was unable to provide proof.

In a DZBB interview on Saturday, Parlade named the following schools as communist recruitment sites: The University of the Philippines (UP), the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, University of Makati, FEU, UST, DLSU, and ADMU, among others.

The other universities have yet to issue statements on Parlade’s accusation. 

The NTF-ELCAC spokesman mentioned the schools while talking about the recent abrogation of the 1989 UP-Department of Defense (DND) accord that prevents state forces from entering any UP campus without prior notice.

Duterte Youth Partylist Rep. Ducielle Cardema also called for the termination of the 1990 PUP-DND accord, which states the same provisions, to prevent giving “special treatment” to any university.

Source: Manila Bulletin (