BAGUIO CITY – University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) community and other student organizations from different Baguio universities gathered in UP Baguio on November 8, 2022, to condemn the recent red-tagging and political vilification held in an online National Service Training Program (NSTP) class discussion on peace and national security last November 7.

About 400 students were present during the said lecture where retired Major General Peale Jon Bondoc, former Commander of ARESCOM, outrightly tagged progressive legal organizations, including duly recognized organizations in UPB such as Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students, as fronts of Communist-Terrorist Groups (CTGs).

In the Statement of Concern that the Office of the Director for Student Affairs and Student Relations Office, they said that “categorizing duly recognized organizations as NUFC under the Communist Terrorist Group is a form of red-tagging which may compromise the safety and welfare of our students.” In the protest action, 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 mentioned class.

Abansi reassured the UPB community that the administration will install mechanisms to protect the students, faculty, and other university personnel against red-tagging. All UP Academic Employees Union – Baguio Chapter expressed their strong condemnation against the act of vilification done by the retired
general in the mentioned NSTP class. AUPAEU Baguio Chapter said in their statement that 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 redtagging 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.

Amianan Balita Ngayon