Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has assured the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman of her support for academic freedom and vowed that the local government will protect the university from erring police officers.

University of the Philippines (up.edu.ph)

Belmonte on Tuesday said that “academic freedom will always be protected and upheld” in her city as she acknowledged its importance following her previous teaching career in the university.

“I was a lecturer at the UP before and I know how important academic freedom is in an educational institution,” the mayor said in a statement.

“True learning will only happen in an environment where there is a free discourse of ideas by all members of the community,” added Belmonte, who previously taught Master of Arts or MA students at UP’s Archaeological Studies Program after completing postgraduate degrees in Archaeology and Museum Studies in the United Kingdom. 

As state forces can now enter UP campus following the Defense department’s unilateral abrogation of accord with the state university, the local government pointed out that it has the Executive Officer of the People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) that will protect the members of UP community should police officers commit irregularities.

“We pledge that disciplinary action awaits possible abusive conduct by policemen inside the UP Diliman campus.  Please be reminded that we all live in a democracy where basic freedoms, including academic freedom, must be upheld,” PLEB Executive Officer lawyer Rafael Calinisan, who is also a university alumnus, said.

On January 19, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana ended its agreement with UP as he noted that the accord only serves as a “hindrance” to government forces that cannot conduct anti-communist operations inside the campuses. 

The move was not welcomed by members of the UP community and drew protests and backlash from various individuals, including several lawmakers.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/01/26/mayor-belmonte-vows-to-protect-up-dilimans-academic-freedom/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mayor-belmonte-vows-to-protect-up-dilimans-academic-freedom)