The University of the Philippines System has recently been barraged by allegations that it is a major recruitment ground of cadres of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Reacting to the claim, however, an alumnus of UP, who chose to remain anonymous, reached out to the PIA-NCR to offer a take on the matter.
“That is not fair to us, the silent majority of graduates of UP. We are all being dragged down by a noisy few who were made to believe by deceptive NPA cadres that being an active part of the armed struggle is the height of heroism,” the alumnus said.
“Consider this. Assuming without presuming that the population of UP Manila is 5,000. There could, at the most, be about only 50 members of the alleged legal fronts of the CPP-NDF-NPA in the campus. Only about 20 percent, or 10 of them, will be radicalized enough to join the ‘Kabataang Makabayan.’ And only one or two will most likely join the NPA. Is two out of 5,000 reason enough to condemn the university?” the alumnus explained.
For his part, Ernesto Angeles Alcanzare, also a UP alumnus and organizer of the Yes for Peace–Bayanihan ng Bayan campaign pointed out that the UP Board of Regents resolved during its 1056th meeting in December of 1992 that, “UP be declared a ZONE OF PEACE, FREEDOM AND NEUTRALITY.”
Alcanzare said UP as a zone of peace is a society whose constituents have agreed to: firstly, develop harmonious internal and external working relationships with each other and with their environment; secondly, respect and uphold each other’s right regardless of religious, political, and cultural beliefs in the spirit of openness; thirdly, create and provide opportunities for satisfying the needs of all regardless of their respective socio-economic status; and lastly, serve as mediating parties and offer a venue for the immediate resolution of conflicts among antagonists who have opted to muse violence in the pursuit of their respective causes.
Mama S. Lalanto, al Haj, Chairman of the SEC Registered Yes for Peace, Inc., meanwhile, underscored that the UP Board of Regents also resolved, “UP shall offer its campus as a possible venue open and multilateral peace talks between the government and all armed revolutionary groups, and serve as mediating institution in peace talks.”
“UP has actually provided the venue and a powerhouse of academically prepared and non-partisan group of silent facilitators during the final round of talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” Lalanto noted.
Banking on the said resolution of the UP Board of Regents, Yes for Peace asked for permission to kick-off the Yes for Peace–Bayanihan ng Bayan inside the UP Diliman campus to commemorate the “International Human Rights Day” on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The request for an open-invitation Mass Action was made amidst allegations that its administrators are supporters of the CPP-NPA-NDF and would therefore not allow a Mass Action, will call for the following:
“Assert the Right to Peace!”
“End the Armed Conflicts!”
“Bayanihan ng Bayan for Peace, Progress and Prosperity”
Contrary to perceptions that UP is pro-communists spread over various social media platforms, UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo stated that he is one with Yes for Peace in the search for peace and development for all and advised them to comply with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on Mass Actions.
UP Diliman Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Aleli B. Bawagan then suggested that the activity be held at the Andres Bonifacio Centennial Carillon Tower, which was dedicated to the national hero on the occasion of 100th Anniversary of his death to instill upon all UP graduates the ideals and love of country of the heroes of 1896.
UP Executive Vice President Ted Herbosa sees that kick-off of Yes for Peace, “It is a Carillon call for UP Alumni to contribute to the best of their individual and collective abilities in solving the social problems that are being used to justify the armed conflicts.”
In an undated message, UP President Danilo Concepcion congratulated “Yes for Peace–Bayanihan ng Bayan in its staunch commitment to the proactive involvement and collective participation of the Filipino people in the attainment of a lasting sense of peace across the archipelago.”
“UP will likewise remain a committed partner in building on these gains that keep us united despite diversity, strong despite adversity, and resilient despite calamity. These ideals are essential to cultivating a democracy that welcomes all citizens regardless of the language they speak, the food that they eat, or the prayers that they speak,” Concepcion continued.
Concepcion elaborated, “We acknowledge the significant role of institutions in ensuring that war and armed conflict will no longer be facts of life for many Filipinos, but will instead be an obstacle that is possible to overcome. Young men get deployed to faraway places, separated from their families, while women, children, and the elderly get displaced in the middle of gunfire.”
For his part, Commissioner Yusof Mando of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos noted, “The call of Yes for Peace–Bayanihan ng Bayan to end the armed conflicts includes those with the communists, the break-away Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and the Muslim extremists.
Pursuant to the National Action Plan of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) submitted by Secretary Hermogenes Esperon and approved by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Yes for Peace–Bayanihan ng Bayan was refined to establish a national consensus and help mobilize the pro-active involvement and collective participation of the people to put them into the center of the Whole of Nation approach to end the armed conflicts through good governance.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wrote in a message for a planned caravan, “I recognize this noble undertaking of Yes for Peace–Bayanihan ng Bayan because it promotes a newfound culture of harmony and cooperation among our communities and across our regions.”
“I am also glad that many government agencies and partners are participating in this project,” Duterte noted.
The President concluded by calling on the Filipino people, “Together, let us shiow our solidarity in effecting real and lasting change in our society.” (Jerome Carlo Paunan, PIA)