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CHED, De Vera slammed

Republika

Following the pull-out of so-called ‘subversive’ reading material from their libraries, the University of the Philippines slammed Prospero De Vera III, chairman of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for reportedly failing to uphold academic freedom.


“We are appalled that our call for solidarity for all HEIs (higher education institutions) to participate in the defense of academic freedom has been used by Commission on Higher Education Chair J. Prospero De Vera III to criticize UP and its leaders,” the UP Diliman University Council said in a statement on Monday.


“As such, he (De Vera) has failed to fulfill CHED’s mandate as stated in Republic Act No. 7722, which is the defense of academic freedom,” it said further.


Last week, on Nov. 2, De Vera told UP to “respect” other state schools’ decision to remove ‘subversive’ material from libraries. The UP Diliman University Council – of whom UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo is a member – then stressed that “removal of books based on ideological criteria is anathema to academic freedom and undermines the role of academic institutions as repositories of thought.”


They added that this “sets a dangerous precedent and a move towards the censorship of our universities.”


Despite this, De Vera described the controversial move as one of academic freedom, adding that other schools were also critical of UPD’s policies but did not release statements “out of mutual respect for the governance of individual public universities.”


In a statement, the CHED chief said: “It would be best for the Chancellor of UP Diliman and their officials to be more prudent, circumspect, respectful and discerning in issuing statements especially involving the exercise of academic freedom of other higher education institutions.”


Previously, Kalinga State University, Isabela State University and Aklan State University gave up books centered on peace talks between the Philippine government and National Democratic Front to the military. The Commission’s Cordillera office released a memo asking schools to surrender allegedly subversive publications.


UP however is not alone in their view. Other groups see this as an attack on academic freedom and freedom of thought.

Photo: Rappler


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