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PUP president apologizes to family of missing SHS students

Polytechnic University of the Philippines president Emmanuel de Guzman apologized Wednesday to the family of missing senior high school students allegedly recruited by left-leaning groups, although he admitted that a similar incident will not happen again.

“Ako po ay nag-a-apologize sa kanila dahil ‘yung mga anak nila na nasa PUP ay na-recruit kahit na ito ay labag sa aming kalooban. But we cannot commit na 100 percent na wala ng ganito. We are hoping this will not happen again,” De Guzman said during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.

He assured the committee that PUP is taking measures to prevent such incidents from happening again. 

“Ang PUP, kahit noon pang panahon ng martial law ay lugar na ng mga aktibista, pero maliit na minorya lamang sila sa aming malaking populasyon. Unti-unti nang lumiliit ang bilang dahil naglagay na kami ng reporma,” he said.

De Guzman said they have already removed students who were staying at Gabriela Silang Hall and their leaders were charged before the PUP Legal Office.

He added Student Regent Karl Pauli Anareta, who was allegedly protecting the militant students, had been removed in 2017 as he has not been enrolled for one year and therefore disqualified from holding the post.

De Guzman further said they have drafted a new student handbook, and implemented dress code and mandatory drug testing.

When asked by Senator Francis Tolentino if he is willing to issue a circular allowing police inside the PUP campus, De Guzman said police officers are already visiting the campus every now and then, but he expressed apprehension on issuing a formal order.

“Wala naman sa aming kapangyarihan na pigilan ang pulis. Pero kung maglalabas ng dokumento, baka maging counter-productive sa gusto nating mangyari. Kapag finormalize, ibig sabihin ay merong kalaban na pinapapasok, baka mas magkaroon ng pagtutol,” he said.

However, De Guzman said he will raise the issue with the Board of Regents.

Senator Ronald dela Rosa, committee chairman, asked why there is a restriction on the presence of police while suspected communist members are free to roam the campus and recruit.

“Lagi nilang ini-insist ang academic freedom, pero ang hinihingi nilang academic freedom masyadong one sided. Ayaw nilang papasukin ang pulis dahil madidisrupt ang kanilang academic freedom, whereby allowing the communist to recruit students sa loob ng kanilang campus,” he said after the hearing.

But he agreed with De Guzman that there is no need to have a circular to allow the police inside the campus.

“Oo internal lang, ‘wag na raw gawan ng papel para di ma-agitate,” he said. — RSJ, GMA News