The University of the Philippines (UP) has responded to red-tagging issues and communist recruitment allegations by the government in a statement, saying “This is not its mission.”
This came after President Rodrigo Duterte’s address last Tuesday, November 17, where he threatened to cut the funding of UP due to their participation in anti-government rallies. “Yung mga eskwelahan, UP? Fine. Maghinto kayo ng aral. I will stop the funding,” declared the President. “Nandiyan ‘yan, wala na ginawa itong ano kundi mag-recruit ng mga komunista diyan tapos nag-aaral kayo. Ang gusto ninyong binibira ang gobyerno. Masyado naman kasuwerte kayo. Huwag talaga kayong manakot, kasi I will oblige you.”
Stating its core mission of “knowledge and innovation creation, production, and dissemination, using various approaches of knowledge transfer,” they pointed out that UP has been significant in training professionals who can spark change and improve the lives of Filipinos through various studies and advancements.
The University of the Philippines issues a response to the most recent acts of red-tagging and claims of recruitment for communist insurgents made by certain high-ranking government officials. pic.twitter.com/4s8C3KcfTB— University of the Philippines (@upsystem) November 19, 2020
“During the past months of the pandemic alone, UP mobilized its multidisciplinary research expertise to address multiple COVID-19-related imperatives,” the top university declared. “For instance, it had more than 200 projects focusing on the molecular biology and clinical features of the virus; clinical trials on and evaluation of treatment (e.g., convalescent plasma); infection control measures; development of a COVID-19 testing kit; projections on the state of transmissions based on LGU data, and municipal/city density mapping of current active cases; engineering solutions (e.g., prototype adult ventilators, disinfectants and decontamination through different means); the development of apps (e.g., apps for more efficient case-finding and monitoring, job risk calculators for the workplace); and analysis of the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts (e.g., effects on the supply chain), among many others.”
Further supporting their statement, the institution added that it’s been part of all government branches—with 15 of Duterte’s Cabinet officials who graduated from UP and were/are still part of its faculty, staff, and academic personnel. This includes Secretaries Herminio “Harry” Roque Jr., Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Leonor “Liling” Magtolis-Briones, Fortunato “Boy” dela Peña, CHEd Commissioner J. Prospero “Popoy” de Vera III, Wendel Avisado, and Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr.
They highlighted the university's value for academic freedom, which they described as “the freedom to think, to speak, to study, to teach, and even the freedom to disagree.” They continued, “UP encourages critical thinking which, at times, may manifest as an attitude of dissidence and anti-authoritarianism.”
UP stressed that they cannot be called anti-government, “because its mandate is clear: UP is the national university. Its community of scholars is dedicated to the nation’s quest for development.”
That being said, UP will carry on with their purpose of providing service to the country and the community. “The University of the Philippines continues to serve the country and humanity in a myriad of ways, and its faculty, students, staff and alumni, who represent the country’s best and brightest, continue to uphold its principles of honor and excellence in the service of the Filipino people,” UP concluded.
Article thumbnails taken from UP's official Twitter account