The Philippine constitution guarantees the right to academic freedom, and this freedom resides at the very heart of our operation at the UP College of Engineering. The College construes the recent abrogation of the 1989 UP-DND accord as reprehensible and joins the collective voice of the UP community in condemning the unilateral action of the Department of National Defense (DND).
Academic freedom allows scholars, both teachers and students alike, to teach, learn and pursue relevant knowledge without the fear of repercussions from an external force. Politics and engineering do mix, and we want to be able to hold discourses on the matter liberally without being targeted for repression. The maintenance of such liberty should be the priority not only in the College but in all Philippine academic institutions. Indeed, such an agreement should be in place for all universities.
We are keenly aware that freedom carries responsibilities. Achieving a state of unbridled freedom is not our objective, as this is, in fact, destructive and unhealthy. Illegal activities have no place on the campus and will never be tolerated. The College knows the limits of academic freedom, has a strong capacity to discern when its members have breached the boundaries of such liberty, and has the necessary will to take actions to curtail such. But we should be trusted to do the right thing. Indeed, mutual trust and respect are the foundations of the accord and the basis of all strong relationships. The revocation of the accord is a clear sign of distrust in UP’s ability to properly exercise and uphold the tenets of academic freedom. Such an act is condescending and is unacceptable in any institution guided by principles of integrity and respectability.
We, therefore, fight to uphold academic freedom now, which has always been our priority, and reject all actions to repress it. We enjoin our faculty, staff and students to be vigilant and report any possible violations of intrusions not only in our College but in the whole campus. We need our voices to be heard now while we can still contain the pernicious effects of this abrogation. Because evil, if allowed to persevere, consumes everything in its way (Greg Weisman).
*This statement is endorsed by the College Academic Personnel Committee, Management Committee, and 93.8% of UPCOE faculty survey respondents.