PNP: Talks with schools on to avert communists' recruitment of students

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The PNP Chief assured that the police will not intervene nor suppress academic freedom of speech.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 8) — The police are closely coordinating with education authorities to protect students from the influence of leftist groups, police officials said Monday. 

"We have initiated consultations with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and started opening lines of communication with school authorities to help discount the possibility of campus infiltration by extremist groups with their violent ideals," Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Dir.Gen. Oscar Albayalde told the media.

"We're just concerned about the welfare and education of our students dahil napakadaling maimpluwensya ang ating mga kabataan [because our youth are easily influenced]," he added.

Metro Manila Police C/Supt. Guillermo Eleazar said they spoke with CHED Officer-In-Charge Popoy De Vera on Saturday on engaging school authorities in dialogue with the PNP.

"Through our consultation with CHED makikipag-ugnayan din sa iba't-ibang mga presidents at authorities ang mga universities not only here in Metro Manila, kundi pati na rin sa ibang rehiyon and then form there mag-eencourage sila ng dialogue between the PNP and the leadership of these universities," Eleazar said. 

[Translation: Through our consultation with CHED, they will coordinate with the presidents and authorities of the universities, not only in Metro Manila but in other regions as well, and from there they will encourage dialogue between the PNP and leaders of these universities]

The dialogue will be conducted in clusters in the presence of the PNP Chief under the supervision of CHED. Eleazar said they are expecting De Vera to approach university leaders within the week regarding this proposal. 

This comes after Albayalde criticized students of state universities who are involved in protests against the government. 

"In state universities, you are given free education by the government. And yet, hindi ka pa naka-graduate [you haven't graduated yet], you are already going against the same government that gives you free education," Albayalde said on Thursday. 

READ: PNP to state scholars: Why go against the gov't that gives you free education? 

The statement was in response to a military official releasing information that said 18 universities were "notorious for school activism" and are being used by the Communist Party of the Philippines to recruit more members. 

READ: AFP official: CPP recruits in Manila schools through martial law film screenings

However, Albayalde maintained that the police respects student activism for as long as they abide by the rule of law. 

"The police recognize that student activism is a healthy sign of a vibrant democracy which our country now [has] but to the extent of taking up arms or inciting to take up arms against the government is definitely in conflict with the law, that the PNP is duty-bound to address with appropriate police response," he said. 

He assured that the PNP will not intervene nor suppress academic freedom of expression in school campuses. 

"I assure you that there will be no police intervention to suppress academic freedom of speech, expression and other fundamental liberties expressed in our campuses," Albayalde said.