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PNP, university officials start talks on police access to campuses

Officials of the Philippine National Police and several universities met on Tuesday to discuss the proposed presence of security forces in the  learning institutions and its effects on academic freedom.

PNP chief Police General Oscar Albayalde said the "informal and exploratory dialogue" was a "confidence-building measure to foster better understanding on some pressing national issues."

He said Tuesday's dialogue was only the first in the series of consultations which aim to "explore common ground where government and the academe can fulfill its respective mandates."

"Wala pa 'yun. We have to discuss with them the following series of dialogue... Umpisa pa lang ito and we will probably talk about the detailed program," Albayalde said at a news conference.

"Hindi ito encroachment... this is just an access, actually limited access dito sa mga universities natin," he added.

Those who had attended the meeting were Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Prospero De Vera, University of the Philippines president Danilo Concepcion, members of the UP Board of Regents, Polytechnic University of the Philippines president Emmanuel De Guzman as well as representatives from the Ateneo De Manila University and De La Salle University.

Albayalde said the issue on the deployment of military and police in various campuses was not discussed in detail during the dialogue.

He said the PNP was looking to build a stronger collaboration among stakeholders while employing the "whole of nation" approach and protect campuses against criminal activities, drug syndicates and shadowy organizations that promote local communist armed conflict.

"Upon mutual agreement with, and acceptable to school authorities, we want to engage our students on ensuring public safety which are the mandated duties of the police," Albayalde said.

"We only have the best interest of the youth backing our pure good intention to establish police presence in schools against crime, exploitation and abuse," he added. —NB, GMA News