Galvez backs increased police visibility on campuses, revival of anti-subversion law

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FILE PHOTO. Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 20) — Police forces should be allowed to increase their presence on campuses to ensure the safety of students and prevent the alleged recruitment of students by rebel groups, President Rodrigo Duterte's peace adviser said Tuesday.

"I believe the state police should not be restricted to enforce the law, kasi kung magkakaroon po ng restrictions, there is a possibility po na magkakaroon po ng security gap," Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., a former military chief, said in a media briefing.

[Translation: I believe the state police should not be restricted to enforce the law. Because if there are restrictions, there is a possibility that we will have a security gap.]

"Any campaign [with] so much restrictions, it will be disadvantageous to security forces," he added.

Galvez said more policemen in schools will deter leftist groups, such as the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA), from recruiting students.

"Ang ine-exploit ng CPP-NPA is walang counter presence [ng security forces], so they can manipulate that disadvantage," he said.

[Translation: The CPP-NPA exploits the lack of counter presence of security foces, so they can manipulate that disadvantage.]

"Normally, in countering terrorism and countering 'yung tinatawag nating violent extremism, and also 'yung recruitment, 'yung deterrence eh, importante 'yung tinatawag na visibility," he added.

[Translation: Normally, in countering terrorism and countering what we call violent extremism, and also the recruitment, deterence, visibility is important.]

Citing the recent shootings in the United States and the "vicious cycle of violence" in other countries, Galvez said an intensified police presence is needed to prevent such occurrence in schools.

"Kapag may mangyari ngayon sa schools, may mangyari ngayon na shootings, sabihin natin military failure, security failure. In the first place, you don't allow us to be there. Ngayon, ang masisira ang security forces," he said.

[Translation: If a shooting happens in schools, they will say it was because of military failure or security failure. In the first place, you don't allow us to be there. The security forces get a bad name.]

Galvez also noted that forms of violence are changing and becoming "hybrid." "The terrorism can be made by only lone wolf," he said. "Sometimes, violence is being instigated by the frustration by a mere individual."

The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier proposed to increase police presence in universities and colleges around the country because of the alleged recruitment of students by leftist groups on campuses. Neophyte Senator Bato dela Rosa, a former PNP chief and Bureau of Corrections director, said he will push for the enactment of a law that will make this possible.

The proposal has drawn opposition from different sectors, including students.

On Monday, University of the Philippines (UP) students staged the "UP Day of Walkout and Action" to protest the alleged militarization of its campuses. UP Diliman is among 18 universities tagged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines last year as recruitment grounds for communist rebels.

However, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde, on Monday, maintained that there is no militarization in the university.

Albayalde said militant groups are abusing the 1989 agreement between the university and the defense department, known as the Sotto-Enrile Accord, which prohibits police and the military from entering UP campuses without prior coordination with university officials.

"May medyo overreaction ang mga militanteng group dito. There’s no such thing as militarization... Until now hindi naman po kami pumapasok basta-basta sa campus ng may campus, sa university ng may university, kung wala kaming coordination at kung wala kaming business doon sa loob na 'yan," Albayalde said.

[Translation: The militant groups are overreacting. There's no such thing as militarization. Until now, we have not entered any campus or university on a whim, if we do not have coordination and if we do not have any business there.]

On anti-subversion law

Galvez also expressed his support for Interior Secretary Eduardo Año's proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Law, or Republic Act 1700, which criminalizes membership in communist groups.

He said this will boost government's efforts to conduct localized peace talks with rebel groups in the country.

"'Yung mga organizations na affiliated sa CPP-NPA, we can curb them and we can 'yung tinatawag nating issue warrant," he said.

[Translation: Those organizations affiliated with the CPP-NPA, we can curb them and we can issue what we call a warrant.]

READ: Despite criticisms, DILG chief stands by call to criminalize subversion

The measure was repealed in 1992 as then President Fidel Ramos initiate peace talks with the communist rebels. The previous law declared the CPP illegal, along with any other organization that seek to overthrow the government. It states that anyone who "knowingly, willfully and by overt acts affiliates himself with, becomes or remains a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines and/or its successor or of any subversive association shall be punished" by up to six months in jail. Those found guilty will also be permanently barred from public office and stripped of their right to vote.