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Lorenzana to UP: Explain deaths of students in armed encounters






DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced Wednesday that he is open to meet with the management of the University of the Philippines (UP) to discuss the unilateral abrogation of the UP-Department of National Defense (DND) Accord of 1989 if they will be able to explain the deaths of their students during armed encounters between the military and the New People’s Army (NPA).

“Yes, I am open to dialogue with them,” Lorenzana said in a press briefing held at the DND building.

He then presented a list containing the profiles of 28 alleged UP students who supposedly became members of the NPA. Of these, 17 died from 1975 to 2020, four were captured, while the rest are still being monitored by the military.

Lorenzana said he appreciates the intercession of “well-meaning people” like the members of the Senate who passed a resolution to ask for a dialogue, as well as Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque who offered his office for a meeting between him and UP President Danilo Concepcion.

“I’m willing to talk to him (UP President Concepcion) pero sagutin muna nila kung bakit namatay itong mga tao na ito na kasama ng NPA,” Lorenzana noted.

The defense chief also demanded the UP management to explain to the public why they “failed to protect” their students who were supposedly recruited into the underground movement.

“[E]xplain to me bakit nangyari ito sa kanila, why they failed to protect these young kids in joining these organizations and they get killed? As a parent, I really feel sad for these kids na mamatay sila ng ganito. So explain nila ‘yan,” Lorenzana said.

“If they can explain that, we will talk. If not, then forget it,” he said.

The termination of the accord received mixed reactions from the public, with some saying that it was a move to suppress academic freedom while others favoring it to end the 50-decade-old insurgency problem in the country. (Martin Sadongdong)

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Written by Tempo Desk

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