Chancellor, UP library vow to stand against book censorship
October 31, 2021
QUEZON CITY – UP
Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, Ph.D in a forum on book censorship
and academic freedom last Friday, 29 October 2021, strongly
condemned attempts by the military and the NTF-ELCAC to remove books
that are deemed “subversive” from the libraries of universities and
colleges in different parts of the country.
“Mariin tinututulan at
kinukundena ng UP Diliman ang ginawang pagtanggal ng militar sa mga
sinasabi nilang subersibong libro, dokumento, at materyales ng ilang
state university libraries. Ito'y paglabag sa kalayaan ng mga
pamantasan na makapagturo, magsaliksik, at magpalaganap ng kaalaman
nang malaya at walang kinatatakutan,” said Nemenzo.
“Desisyon natingmga guro
kung ano ang ipababasa o hindi ipababasa sa ating mga estudyante, at
ang tamang desisyon ay ipabasa ang lahat. Gusto natin ay buksan ang
kanilang isipan para makita nila ang lahat ng ideya, lahat ng punto
de bista, lahat ng alternatiba,” said Nemenzo.
UP Diliman's stand comes
in the wake of the latest attempts to clampdown on academic freedom
with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the Cordillera
Administrative Region issuing regional memo nos. 113, series of 2021
calling on all universities and colleges to surrender so-called
“subversive” books and materials to authorities. UP Visayas
Chancellor Clement Camposano has previously made a stand against
describes the removal of books and readings as a form of censorship,
violence, and repression of ideas: “Ang kanilang mga aksyon sa mga
pamantasan ay lalo pang nagdudulot ng takot sa ating mga estudyante.
Tinatanggalan sila ng kalayaang mag-isip, magtanong, at magsaliksik,
kalayaang tumuklas ng kalayaan batay sa kanilang sariling kakayahan,”
Former UP Faculty Regent
Ramon Guillermo, Ph.D, said the military intrusion on libraries is a
concrete example of the intensifying attacks on academic freedom
under the Duterte administration, which he compared to state forces
repressing feelings and ideas that are not acceptable to those in
power. “Ang pagpasok sa aklatan ay talagang pagpasok sa puso ng
pamantasan,” he said.
“Sa pagtatanggol ng ating
mga aklatan, hindi tayong maaaring bumigay ng kahit isang centimeter
dahil kung bibigay tayo nang kahit isang centimeter ay sa susunod ay
magiging isang meter na yan. Pagkaraan ay magiging isang kilometer
naman. Hindi lamang sa isang iglap nawawala ang kalayaan,” said
One of the highlights of
the forum is a discussion by UP Diliman's Deputy University
Librarian Eimee Rhea Lagrama on the martial law papers special
collection at the UP Diliman University Library.
These include the
Philippine Radical Papers, composed of banned documents, brochures,
flyers, manifestoes and clippings during the dictatorship years that
were secretly donated by individuals and anti-Marcos groups to the
library, and the SELDA Papers which includes legal documents, police
reports, eyewitness reports and other memorabilia on human rights
violations during martial law that were donated by the Samahan ng
Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA).
Chancellor Nemenzo vowed
to protect these special collections and other library materials
from military repression to keep UP Diliman a “sanctuary of academic
freedom and ideas on peace and social justice.”
Amidst the fear and
intimidation wrought by the military on libraries, UP Diliman Head
Librarian Elvira Lapuz likewise called on librarians especially in
smaller state universities to stand their ground against attacks on
freedom of information and academic freedom.
Since September 2021,
books relating to the peace talks and other writings by
revolutionaries have been removed from the libraries at the Kalinga
State University, Isabela State University, Aklan State University,
and University of Antique at the behest of the military and the
About two hundred UP
Diliman librarians, research, extension and professional staff,
faculty, and library sciences students attended the forum which
concluded in an online zoom protest with participants holding paper
placards with the calls #HandsOffOurLibraries and #DefendAcademicFreedom.
The forum was organized by
the University of the Philippines Diliman Office of the
Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development in cooperation with the
All-UP Academic Employees Union-Diliman and Congress of
Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy.