Eleazar Urges Dialogue with Heads of 18 Colleges, Universities Identified as NPA Recruitment Hubs

Manila Bulletin, October 7, 2018 | Go to article overview

Eleazar Urges Dialogue with Heads of 18 Colleges, Universities Identified as NPA Recruitment Hubs


By Aaron Recuenco

The head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) assured on Sunday the officials of colleges and universities in Metro Manila of his full respect to academic freedom and civil rights of students and faculties as he urged for a dialogue to clear things up and douse the heat brought by the allegations that some campuses are recruitment hotspots of the communist rebels.

NCRPO chief Director Guillermo Eleazar said he acknowledges the sensitivity of the issue and that is the reason why he is resorting to proper channels and protocols in inviting the heads of the 18 private and state colleges and universities in Metro Manila which were earlier branded by the military as recruitment hubs of the New People's Army (NPA).

On Saturday night, Eleazar met with Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) chairman Popoy de Vera for help and some pieces of advice on how to go about with the meeting with the presidents and leaders of the 18 colleges and universities identified by the military.

"We assure them that we will not take any action that would be misconstrued as an intervention or attack on academic freedom and civil rights of the students. We [do] not even intend to go inside any school in order not to further aggravate the already tense situation," Eleazar told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.

"I hope that my decision to meet with the good CHEd chairperson Popoy de Vera would serve as a proof to the presidents and leaders of the 18 colleges and universities that we are sincere in talking with them," he added.

Eleazar was tasked by Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), to hold a dialogue with the 18 heads of the colleges and universities after the military revelation was widely criticized.

Eleazar said he sought the help of the PNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr., to arrange a meeting with de Vera. Durana, it was learned, was once a student of de Vera, a professor at the University of the Philippines in Diliman before President Duterte appointed him as CHEd chairman.

The NCRPO director said the meeting was productive as de Vera himself assured the police of his assistance and even offered some insights on the controversial issue.

Broker

Based on the discussion, all the communication of PNP to the 18 presidents and leaders of the 18 colleges and universities will be coursed through the CHEd which, in turn, will arrange for a meeting.

"He (de Vera) is kind and accommodating. He offered his help in order to meet with the heads of these schools," said Eleazar. …

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