House OKs bill institutionalizing UP-DND accord

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 21) — The House of Representatives has unanimously approved on third and final reading a bill that will institutionalize the abrogated 1989 agreement prohibiting the entry of police and military forces to campuses of the University of the Philippines without prior notice.

With 179 affirmative votes, lawmakers on Tuesday passed House Bill No. 10171, or the Act Institutionalizing the 1989 University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense Accord.

The bill seeks to amend Republic Act no. 9500, or the University of the Philippines Charter of 2008, to incorporate the accord into the institution's charter.

This will ensure state forces will not be permitted to enter any UP campus without prior notice, as well as ensure the right to procedural due process is followed to any member of the university.

Police and military forces must first follow a procedure before they are granted entry to university premises.

It also aims to protect UP campuses from intervention of law enforcers, harassment, and intimidation. The police and military are prohibited from interfering with peaceful protests held by individuals or groups in any UP campus.

In January, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana abruptly ended the three-decade old agreement, claiming it is now obsolete because there is a need to protect Filipinos against the university that has become "breeding ground" for communists.