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A Response to the Military’s Red-tagging of Xavier University as a “breeding ground” of CPP/NPA

 (Delivered at the Forum “Pakighinabi: University Actions in Nation Building” organized by the XU-Central Student Government)

In my eleven (11) years in Xavier University, I never heard of any recruitment activities on campus by armed ideological groups or organizations like the NPA or its affiliated parties. If there was any, certainly it was unknown to the administration and absolutely with no recognition and much more support from the university. Given the usual close interactions among tertiary students within and outside their organizations, on-campus recruitment activities even done secretly could have leaked and become known to students and faculty. Also, there was no report ever made about the systematic involvement of Xavier Ateneo’s alumni in the ranks of the NPAs.

In this context, I saw no need to write and issue a university statement against the allegations made by Lt Gen Parlade and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). Why put the burden of proof on the university and not on the general and the NTF?  If the military can show valid proofs, then I am obliged to explain.

But now in this “Pakighinabi” I feel it is my duty as your president to share with you my own statements against the false report. I also value the importance of the exchanges of ideas with other members of the university particularly with our students on this important issue at present.

The statements of Lt General Parlade and the NTF-ELCAC that tagged some colleges and universities in the country including Xavier University as a place for CPP/NPA recruitment activities are totally false, baseless, and unfortunate.  

It's baseless because the report did not substantiate its accusation against XU and other colleges and universities. The truth is it does not have anything to substantiate its false claims.  Listing names to accuse falsely is very easy but proving the list as true, especially, in the case of XU, is an impossible thing to do.

It's reckless because the false accusation put the lives of tertiary students in danger. Our students become potential targets of the military for harassment and arrest if ever there are military operations against the NPAs and their supporters. The allegations will also discourage and frighten students and other university members from involving in noble engagements among the poor and marginalized sectors of the society.

Our engagements in societal development work outside the university is an essential component of the holistic quality Jesuit education which aims to form our students to become “men and women for others”. We have to engage and serve the outside communities appropriate to our competence, resources, and availability guided by Catholic Ignatian principles and values to remain true to our vision and mission.

Thus, the following statements from me, and I hope will clarify XU’s response to the red-tagging and will gather support against false and baseless accusation from anyone.

Xavier University as a Filipino, Catholic, and Jesuit university strongly adheres to the Catholic values and principles that oppose to any ideological groups espousing violence, armed conflict, and Godless ideology.

Xavier University vehemently denies any support to or even tolerance of CPP/NPA recruitment activities anywhere.

Xavier University is strongly opposed to red tagging of schools as armed group’s supporters or any form of false reporting because it puts the lives of students and other university personnel in danger.

Xavier University would like to assure our parents, alumni, and the government that we intend to fulfill our noble mission of forming graduates of character, commitment, and compassion to become better instruments in nation and church building.

Xavier University through its various clusters and offices have been an active partner of the city and government line agencies in various fields of societal concerns towards nation-building in normal times and during periods of calamities. XU commits to continue these partnerships for the benefits of its students and of the local communities.

Xavier University as a higher Catholic Jesuit institution stresses academic freedom which means schools are spaces where free exchanges of ideas and learning happen for the sake of finding the truth and that this space should be free from external pressures. Truth is defined appropriately in a particular field of learning like science, arts, literature, religion, philosophy, politics and always aimed at fulfilling the fullest potentials of each student as a child of God and a citizen of the country.