In an official joint statement, the Far Eastern University (FEU), De La Salle University (DLSU), University of Santo Tomas (UST), and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) called out Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr.'s statement on their campuses being tagged as recruitment havens for the New People's Army. In the letter, the universities stated that the charge was merely a rehash of a very similar public accusation the three-star General made in 2018, and that they are "irresponsibly since cast without proof."
The statement is a response to an interview given by the general on GMA News' Super Radyo dzBB, where the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spokesman claimed that in addition to the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and Manila, their intelligence operatives were able to monitor communist recruitment activity in the four universities, as well as the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), and University of Makati.
Meanwhile, University of the East (UE) Recto and Caloocan, Adamson University, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology, San Beda College, Lyceum of the Philippines, Caloocan City College, among others, are also being monitored by the NTF-ELCAC task force.
Read the official statement below:
"According to news reports, Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr of the NTF-ELCAC issued a statement yesterday alleging that 18 universities, including ours, are recruitment havens for the New People’s Army. This charge, though, is really “getting old”—a rehash of the public accusation the general made in 2018—irresponsibly since cast without proof.
"We assert that: As Philippine schools, we value the Filipinos’ basic Constitutional rights of speech, thought, assembly, and organization. As universities with high aspirations for our country, we seek to direct our students to engage in acts that contribute to the strengthening of social cohesion, defend the country's democratic institutions, and promote nation-building. And as institutions of higher learning that are stewards of the youth, repositories and producers of knowledge, and builders of communities, we must retain independence and autonomy from the State and other social institutions.
"We therefore object to General Parlade’s statement and emphasize that our institutions neither promote nor condone recruitment activities of the New People's Army and, indeed, of any movement that aims to violently overthrow the government.
"We take as a sacred trust our primary responsibilities to promote learning and safeguard the rights of the young who are entrusted to our care. We are committed to this mission and have always held ourselves accountable to our primary constituents, the learners, and by extension, their parents."
The statement was signed by FEU President Dr Michael M Alba President, De La Salle University President Br Raymundo B Suplido FSC, UST Vice Rector Fr Isaias D Tiongco OP, and ADMU President Fr Roberto C Yap SJ. A copy of the letter was posted on each university's official social media pages.