By January 26, 2021Opinion, Punchline

Hubris of UP, PUP

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


OUR colleges and universities in Pangasinan must be baffled by the furor created by the abrogation of the special accord entered into by the government with the University of the Philippines (UP), and Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) by the Department of National Defense.

Both UP and PUP are invoking academic freedom in protesting the termination of the agreement that bans presence of PNP and AFP in their campuses.

Their situation begs the questions: Is there no academic freedom in their campuses without the agreement? Do the two institutions think of our colleges and universities in the province and elsewhere in the country as having no academic freedom since they are without the accord??

From where I sit, it’s all about hubris (being UP and PUP) and continued protection of the CPP-NPA-NDF’s recruitment activities in their campuses who for 30 years were unhindered and unobstructed. As their own alumni will attest to, their university campuses were the hotbeds of subversion, and destabilization of government.

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By invoking academic freedom, the definition and arguments of the both UP and PUP officials are warped and self-serving.

 The academic freedom enjoyed by all other colleges and universities in the country and the attestations of distinguished alumni of the two alone easily refute the claim of the current officials of the two public universities.

 Allow me to reiterate some facts that I listed in my Facebook account on the issue:

FACT 1: UP, PUP and other universities have always enjoyed full academic freedom, fully backed by both the national and local governments. 

FACT 2: As the distinguished alumni of UP and PUP will attest, the special concession accorded the two institutions have made some of their officials, faculty and students think and feel ENTITLED to act without limitations, and without regard to the laws of the land.  

FACT 3:  Over the 3 DECADES, the officials UP and PUP consciously allowed the accord to be exploited by the ENEMIES of the STATE. They allowed persons affiliated with terrorist groups to operate and recruit in the university campuses whose subversive activities cannot fall under the ambit of academic freedom. 

 FACT 4: The two universities never acted to protect its students, and instead made them vulnerable to the clutches of terrorist and subversive organizations, notwithstanding reports of hundreds of their students eventually killed in armed engagements with the government. (Again, the distinguished alumni of the two universities can attest to this fact).

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IRRESPONSIBLE SENATORS. It is unpatriotic and irresponsible on the part of some senators to even suggest “to restore and institutionalize” the accord that was abrogated, instead of permanently prohibiting it.

Instead of pushing for the restoration of the terminated agreements, the senators should direct that all officials of colleges and universities be made accountable for acts inimical to the security and welfare of students and government in their campuses.

Curiously, colleges and universities are already being made accountable for irresponsible activities of fraternities and sororities, why should subversive activities in their campuses be an exemption?

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TREMOR-WATCH. Our PUNCH photojournalist Butch Uka briefed me on his on-the-job encounter with the new chief of police of Dagupan City. Given what I’ve come to learn about P/Lt. Col. Benjie Tremor, it’d surely be interesting to follow him throughout his term.

 That he is emphatic about intensifying operations contra illegal drugs in the city is worth watching. It’s been sometime since the city heard the chief of police say “It’s war between me and the drug lords!” In fact, PDEA’s reports of busting drug peddlers from Dagupan have been worrisome for the past year. The recent discovery of a drug den in the city alone is an indication that the drug trade in the city has proliferated. It was unheard of before 2019!

 Then, Mr. Tremor sounds to me to be a disciplinarian by nature. If so, then city residents can expect strict enforcement of the health and distance protocols. Panalo yan! Butch said the new police chief has also expressed partiality towards making police presence stronger and visibility higher.

 I sense that Mr. Tremor is a fan of PNP chief Debold Sinas, PNP Region 1 chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr, and PNP Pangasinan chief Ronald Gayo!  

If his vision is aligned with the three, then Dagupan City is in for real public service and protection from the new chief.  

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ONION FARMERS NEED HELP! At the rate our onion farmers are getting beaten by army worms, it behooves the provincial government to call for a summit soon to craft a plan to exterminate the pests.

It appears the persistent presence and attack of the pests is aided by the absence of a collective and united action by onion farmers with government. This has made the containment of the spread of the army worms practically impossible and nil.

As pointed out the municipal agriculturist of Bautista town, the army worm larvae only require 3 days to incubate before they begin to feast on the onions. That’s why it’s referred to as an army.

To beat the pests, there is a need to synchronize spraying of chemical control and that would require planting at the same time. A farm that is not sprayed is vulnerable to the pests that move out from a farm that’s being sprayed.

The provincial government must step in to provide the initial inputs and the basic support resources for farmers to realign their activities.

So far, Bautista and Bayambang have already reported losses in the millions! If nothing is done today, the farmers are doomed to remain in their impoverished state for a long time.

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FEAR OF VACCINE. The determination of Dagupan City Councilor Dennis Canto that many Dagupeños are uncertain about the getting their vaccine shots is true not only in the city but in most towns and cities here and in other provinces.

 News about the deaths in Norway, initially attributed to Pfizer vaccine, already aggravated the situation. Like in the case of Dengvaxia, despite clarifications of the government that it was not Dengavxia that killed over 40 children, fear and doubts have clouded minds everywhere.

 Then, there are the senators injecting their anti-China sentiments in the procurement of Sinovac by the Duterte administration, cast doubt on its efficacy even if a number of countries already ordered it in huge volumes for their citizens.

 The DOH can help mitigate the situation by the manner with which the trained personnel go about verifying and checking health profile of each person. That would show that our government is not doing a shotgun approach for the vaccination program.

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My sincerest condolences to the family of Jayceeken stalwart Molly Reyes who passed away last week. Molly’s booming voice and presence in Jayceeken activities will be missed for a long time.

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