“Academic freedom is less a matter of individual preference than the power and duty of a collective to defend human lives against killing machines, truth against lies and historical revisionism, and spaces of freedom against institutional complicity.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — Concerned faculty and alumni of the University of the Philippines issued a statement against what they called as “the UP administration’s accommodationist disposition towards the current political rehabilitation of the Marcoses.”
UP President Danilo Concepcion addressed the audience of the reunion of Kabataang Baranggay (KB) organized by Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos held Aug. 25 at the UP Bahay ng Alumni.
“The reunion of the KB and Marcoses is antithetical to the radical and militant tradition of the University, and an affront to Marcos’s victims, many of whom have ties to UP,” the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (Contend) said in a separate statement.
Members of the UP community fought and died in the resistance against the fascist Marcos dictatorship. Hundreds, like former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, were imprisoned for standing up against Marcos.
In her Facebook post, Taguiwalo described the event as “dancing on the graves of those killed by the Marcos dictatorship.” She enumerated some of the UP martyrs who were honored for fighting the dictatorship.
“No Mr. Danilo Concepcion, we are not moving on!” Taguiwalo said.
Just last week, following the commemoration of the 35th death anniversary of late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., Imee Marcos told her family’s critics to move on.
For UP faculty and alumni, the Filipino youth still suffers from the consequences of the Marcos plunder, cronyism, human rights violations and impunity.
“Academic freedom is less a matter of individual preference than the power and duty of a collective to defend human lives against killing machines, truth against lies and historical revisionism, and spaces of freedom against institutional complicity,” they said.
They added that Concepcion’s attendance at a Marcos event “is dangerous and might be misconstrued as UP’s official stance.”
“He ought to be reminded that his public actions and words reflect on the university,” they said. “Thus, it is our duty to draw the line and assert our claim on academic freedom: UP is not a marketplace of political interests, not in these dark times.”
UP faculty and alumni juxtaposed Concepcion’s recent action to late UP President Salvador Lopez, who “used the authority and prestige of his office to stand off the military from campus grounds,” and former UP President Emerlinda Roman, who honored the martyrs of Martial Law memorialized at the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani.
For its part, Contend urged fellow faculty members and workers “to be vigilant and oppose all the attempts of the Marcoses to dupe our people, especially our students and youth, inside and outside the University.”
“At a time when Imee Marcos exhorts the people to ‘move on’ from the Marcoses’ unpunished crimes, we must amplify our voices to expose the deceit that is setting into motion the establishment of new chapters of tyranny,” the group said.