April 23, 2024

The University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) community and student organizations from Baguio universities condemned the recent red-tagging and political vilification held in an online National Service Training Program (NSTP) class discussion on peace and national security.
Around 400 students were present during the lecture where retired Maj. General Peale Jon Bondoc, former commander of Philippine Army Reserve Command, tagged progressive legal organizations, including recognized organizations in UPB such as Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students, as fronts of communist-terrorist groups (CTGs).
The Office of the Director for Student Affairs and Student Relations Office, in a statement of concern, said “Categorizing duly recognized organizations as under the CTG is a form of red-tagging, which may compromise the safety and welfare of our students.”
UPB Chancellor Corazon Abansi apologized for the lapse on the part of the administration and for allowing the retired military officer to have an avenue for red-tagging in the class.
Abansi reassured the UPB community the administration will install mechanisms to protect the students, faculty, and other university personnel against red-tagging.
All UP Academic Employees Union-Baguio also condemned the vilification done by the retired general in the NSTP class.
In a statement, AUPAEU-Baguio said the NSTP class should have served as a platform to discuss holistic and inclusive viewpoint on peace and national security. However, the recent incident served as an avenue for the military to instill fear among the students and to vilify legal and progressive organizations, impeding the academic freedom of the whole UPB community.
“While the UP Baguio community recognizes the apology pronounced by the UPB Chancellor, true accountability must come in the form of concrete mechanisms to actively combat the red-tagging being done towards various stakeholders of the university,” UPB University Student Council Chairperson Sofia Trinidad said.
“With the past and recent threats to UPB constituents, it was disappointing to hear that this happened within the control of the institution. Red tagging, no matter what shape or form, must not be welcomed nor tolerated whether it happens within or outside our schools and universities. Apologies are very much welcome and appreciated but should cases or similar cases like this happen again, or if there are no active steps in holding the state accountable for attacking our democratic rights and academic freedom, we will hold the UPB administration accountable,” Trinidad added. – Press release