Pangilinan files bill banning uniformed personnel in state colleges and universities

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Senator Francis Pangilinan has filed a bill seeking to ban the operations and presence of uniformed personnel from the police and military in all of the country’s state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Senate Bill No. 2016 or the proposed Academic Freedom Act primarily filed by Pangilinan also primarily seeks to preserve academic and basic freedoms in SUCs.

“All institutions of higher learning, especially all state universities and colleges (SUCs), should be centers of free thought – environments that encourage new thoughts and test old ones,” Pangilinan said in filing the bill.

“Intellectual liberty is foundational to a democracy. Our nation’s top political, legal, business, economic, civic, and scientific leaders, both past and present, are fruits of the enjoyment of unimpeded and unrestrained academic freedom by institutions of higher learning,” he further said.

Pangilinan’s measure only allows the conduct of operations by uniformed personnel only after coordination with the administration of the SUC.

Also, no uniformed personnel may enter the SUC premises except only in the case of hot pursuit and similar occasions of emergency or in cases of “ordinary transit through the premises.”

On the issue of serving of warrants for arrests or searches on any SUC personnel or student, this could be done only after prior notification to the proper SUC official “as far as practicable.”

Pangilinan filed the measure as the Department of National Defense presses for the abrogration of its agreement with the University of the Philippines (UP), which bans uniformed personnel inside its campuses. DND’s move has come under fire from the UP community.

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