No to military reserve in UP Mindanao! Stop campus militarization!

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MANIFESTO OF UNITY AGAINST MILITARY RESERVE IN UP MINDANAO AND ALL FORMS OF CAMPUS MILITARIZATION

The UP Mindanao University Student Council was notified by a report that the 11th Regional Community Defense Group, Army Reserve Command inside the premises of UP Mindanao requested the City Council to ask President Rodrigo Duterte to allocate at least 20 hectares of land inside the said campus. According to the report, the military reservation is imperative to become the training grounds for the army reserve command's incoming mandatory Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC). With this, the University Student Council condemns campus militarization and any forms of military intrusions as it violates academic freedom and freedom of speech.

According to the report by Sun Star published last June 6, the army reserve command will use the requested land for military reservation and will be called as “Camp Gov. Vicente Duterte”. Vice Mayor Paulo Duterte has made an endorsement letter through the Administrative Assistant IV Jeanette Tinoy and addressed it to Davao City Councilor Bernard Al-ag last May 15. The UP Mindanao USC took initial steps for this issue through a dialogue with Chancellor Concepcion. She confirmed that no letter nor request has been received by her office regarding that issue, however Concepcion reiterated that the Board of Regents has the final decision. However, with the Duterte administration's venture on its military path, approval of the request is possible. It is alarming that members in the Duterte cabinet would possibly become manifestations of a fascist military agenda especially under Martial Law. For some time now, the revolutionary movement has been wary of Duterte’s steps towards fascism and militarism.This has been made apparent by his idolization of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and Martial Law, his revival of the ROTC program, his repeated threats to impose Martial Law, as well as his appointment of several military men to key cabinet positions. The martial law declaration and the state-perpetrated violence that ensued thereafter indicating a sharp turn to the right for the Duterte regime. The real purpose of Martial Law becomes clear, then. It is a means to attack the people and the revolutionary movement. Since the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao, several illegal arrests have been made.

Harassment cases continue to increase vehemently in various campuses of UP with the involvement of military elements and students' intelligence networks. This can be related to the disappearances of the students who are linked with progressive organizations and formations such as Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, from UP Diliman, who are still missing since December 2006. These human rights violations (HRV) are perpetuated by the decade-old counterinsurgency programs of the government, such as the Oplan Kapayapaan under Duterte regime where progressive alliances are considered as the enemies of the country. State fascism and campus militarization still continue to plague our continue as the existence of military elements still gain entry to the campus despite the existence of the laws that prohibit its intervention in the schools.

It was in the Sotto-Enrile accord, an agreement between UP, through then President Jose Abueva, and the Department of National Defense (DND), that state security forces are prohibited from entering the university. This was to prevent the surveillance to any student and faculty activists from targeting them merely due to their political beliefs. There had been reports in the past about threats, harassments, and intimidations experienced by students from these military forces, especially by student leaders and activists. If their stay becomes legalized and official, the provisions in the signed agreement are violated. Moreover, Article X, Sec. 22 of Republic Act 7610 or The Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination shall be observed as it prohibits the use of schools for military purposes. UP, as an educational institution that holds the academic freedom of its constituents, shall not be used for a military encampment. It shall continue to stand as a free public space without violence.

We shall be vigilant and never let suppression in the countryside reach the grounds of our University. We will not be deterred to fight against campus militarization. We challenge everyone to continue upholding the academic and democratic orientation of the institution without the presence of military elements. The image of the University of the Philippines as the bastion of democracy and activism would always continue to flourish even the system finally favors the interests and welfare of the people. Resolutely, we will oppose any form of military intrusion! The role of the youth becomes even more urgent. The youth must play an active role in building and strengthening unities with the masses in this time of crisis, both by engaging in the anti-fascist mass campaigns and propaganda.

CALL TO ACTION


We, student councils, organizations, fraternities, sororities, publications, and concerned individuals, are united against the military reserve request of the 11th Regional Community Defense Group and all forms of campus militarization. We shall be vigilant and never let suppression in the countryside reach the grounds of our University. We will not be deterred to fight against campus militarization. We challenge everyone to continue upholding the academic and democratic orientation of the institution without the presence of military elements. The image of the University of the Philippines as the bastion of democracy and activism would always continue to flourish even the system finally favors the interests and welfare of the people.



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