According to news reports, Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr of the NTF-ELCAC issued a statement yesterday alleging that 18 universities, including ours, are recruitment havens for the New People’s Army. This charge, though, is really “getting old”—a rehash of the public accusation the general made in 2018—irresponsibly since cast without proof.
We assert that: 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. And 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.
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.
We take as a sacred trust our primary responsibilities to promote learning and safeguard the rights of the young who are entrusted to our care. We are committed to this mission and have always held ourselves accountable to our primary constituents, the learners, and by extension, their parents.
Dr Michael M Alba
Far Eastern University
Br Raymundo B Suplido FSC
De La Salle University
Fr Isaias D Tiongco OP
University of Santo Tomas
Fr Roberto C Yap SJ
Ateneo de Manila University