Amid red-tagging and allegations on communist recruitment, the University of the Philippines (UP) maintained that it will continue to value academic freedom and will lead as a public service institution through providing service to the nation.

upd e1605515196764 - UP responds to red-tagging; cites COVID-19 response initiatives
University of the Philippines

In a statement on Thursday, the UP Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs, emphasized that the university does not recruit communists as this is not part of its mission as an educational institution.

“The University’s core mission is knowledge and innovation creation, production, and dissemination, using various approaches of knowledge transfer,” it said.

UP added that it has played a “critical role” in training professionals, high-level specialists, scientists, and researchers needed by the country to generate new knowledge in support of development needs and goals.

“With its critical mass of experts in a comprehensive range of disciplines, UP has contributed much in terms of research and technologies. During the past months of the pandemic alone, UP mobilized its multidisciplinary research expertise to address multiple COVID-19-related imperatives,” it said.

The University boasted its more than 200 projects focusing on the molecular biology and clinical features of the virus; clinical trials on and evaluation of treatment; infection control measures; development of a COVID-19 testing kit; projections on the state of transmissions based on LGU data, and municipal/city density mapping of current active cases; engineering solutions; development of apps; and analysis of the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts, among others.

Apart from its initiatives during this health crisis, the University shared that it is also present in all branches of the government as at least 15 members of President Duterte’s cabinet were UP graduates.

UP issued the statement as a response to recent acts of red-tagging and claims of recruitment for communist insurgents made by some high-ranking government officials.

Earlier this week, no other than President Duterte threatened to defund the UP system and accused them of only recruiting communists after state scholars criticized the government for its response to the recent calamities that lashed the country.

However, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who is also a graduate of UP, said that he has already clarified to the Chief Executive that the academic strike was staged by students of the private Ateneo De Manila University.

READ MORE: Palace denies Duterte red-tagging schools

The University pointed out that it encouraged critical thinking which at times, may manifest as an attitude of “dissidence and anti-authoritarianism,” but added that it values academic freedom — the freedom to think, to speak, to study, to teach, and even the freedom to disagree. 

“UP cannot be said to be anti-government because its mandate is clear: UP is the national university. Its community of scholars is dedicated to the nation’s quest for development.,” the University said.

“And so, UP will continue to lead as a public service university by providing service to the nation including scholarly and technical assistance to the government, the private sector, and civil society,” it added.

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