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UP open to talk with DND, demands clarity of claim on NPA recruitment

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The University of the Philippines administration is open to a dialogue with the Department of National Defense to discuss DND's termination of a 31-year-old agreement with the institution, but wants more information about allegations that students were recruited for the communist insurgency.

“Gaya ng sinabi na namin, ang UP naman laging open sa dialogo lalo na sa mga bagay na pareho nito,” UP Public Affairs vice president Elena Pernia said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV on Saturday.

Earlier, UP president Danilo Concepcion, in a letter to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorezana, urged the DND to reconsider the revocation of the 1989 pact with the university and suggested that school officials and the Defense chief could meet to discuss the latter's concerns in the shared spirit of peace, justice, and the pursuit of excellence.

“Actually, may sulat si president [Concepcion] kay Secretary Delfin Lorenzana pero wala pa kaming nakukuhang sagot mula kay SND at sa DND tungkol dito,” Pernia said.

Lorenzana, however, said he is open to sit with the UP management if they can explain student deaths during armed clashes between the military and the New People’s Army (NPA).

Also, Lorenzana presented a list of UP students who allegedly became members of the NPA, and of the recruits several have been killed, or captured, and being monitored.

Pernia said that the UP administration has not yet seen the list from the DND.

“Sa totoo lang wala pa sa aming naibibigay na mga listahan na ‘yan,” she said.

Pernia said it would be better if the DND could give them a copy of the list of students who allegedly became members of the NPA for better dialogue.

“It will lead to better dialogue, better discussion... That’s what communication is all about. We'll come together with some clarity kung ano ‘yung pinapagusapan natin,” Pernia said.

“Willing kami talaga [kung] ang impormasyon ay malinaw,” she added.

The unilateral termination of the agreement came to light last Monday after the Philippine Collegian posted on Facebook  a letter from Lorenzana dated January 15 informing UP President Danilo Concepcion of the DND's decision, citing information that communists are supposedly recruiting students inside UP campuses.

Under the agreement, the military and the police were prohibited from entering the premises of any UP campus or its regional units without prior notice to the UP administration.

The 31-year-old pact came about after a staff member of UP’s student paper, Philippine Collegian, was abducted, tortured, and forced to confess to the killing of an American soldier. —LBG, GMA News

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