AFP denies militarization of schools, universities

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The University of the Philippines held a 'day of walkout' on Tuesday to protest against deemed threats to academic freedom from state authorities. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 23)— The military on Friday denied claims of militarization of some schools despite the reported presence of soldiers and policemen in campuses.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said there was no basis for militant groups’ allegations that letting security forces inside universities would curtail academic freedom.

“The entry in schools by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines will not be in the scale and magnitude of a combat deployment, what militarization?” the military said in a statement.

“There is no curtailment of academic freedom because we do not intend to and will not intervene in the determination of what subjects to be taught, who will teach, and how it will be taught,” it added.

The Philippine National Police earlier proposed to increase police presence in universities and colleges to address supposed recruitment of students by leftist groups.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. backed the suggestion, saying intensified presence will prevent violence in the said areas. 

This prompted the University of the Philippines (UP) students to hold a “day of walkout” on Tuesday. Student of the country’s premier state university said the school is "currently under a target of police and military intrusion." 

A UP high school in Laguna also called for tighter security after policemen attempted to enter the school premises. 

The PNP earlier denied militarization in universities.