THE University of the Philippines-Mindanao (UP-Min) called out the "baseless allegation and irresponsible publication" of a social media post alleging that the school has been a recruitment haven of the communist group New People's Army (NPA).

In a statement posted on Saturday, May 22, UP-Min Chancellor Lyre Anni Murao said the accusation had affected the school community and caused harassment.

"The impact of this baseless allegation and irresponsible publication through social media has created distress among our faculty, students, and staff," Murao said.

"Some are currently experiencing harassment, both in person and on social media. We are one with our students in the call against any form of harassment because of this recent red-tagging and hasty generalizations," Murao added.

The statement was issued following the social media post of the National Security Council (NSC) of the Philippines, sharing the news report of the Philippine News Agency (PNA), with the texts of its publication material, "UP MINDANAO ALUMI CONFIRM: NPA RECRUITMENT IS HAPPENING WITHIN THE SCHOOL."

According to the PNA report, Choyax Cagape, a former UP-Min student, said in a Facebook post on May 14 confirmed that recruitment activities are being carried out by NPA, sometimes even with the help of their mentor.

“Yes, there is (an) active recruitment. Let me correct you in your denial that there is no active recruitment on UP campuses. There is, and it starts with the words critical thinking,” Cagape said in the post.

Arian Jane Ramos alias "Marikit," former secretary of an NPA unit under the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, also confirmed in various press conferences that the school has been the "NPA's favorite recruitment grounds."

Ramos, a UP-Min Bachelor of Arts in Communication graduate, said her journey with the NPA started with being an activist until she was introduced to NPA's legal fronts inside the school.

UP-Min to take legal actions

Murao said they will be taking legal actions, if necessary, against those harassing their students and employees.

"We will take legal action due to harassment, when necessary, to protect the welfare of our constituents, especially our students," the official said.

"Furthermore, we are committed to remain vigilant and to uphold the welfare of our students and the entire UP Mindanao community against undue harassment by any form or mean," Murao added.

Murao said the school, for the past 27 years, has produced graduates who are now serving as public servants, health workers, educators, scientists, lawyers, communicators, business professionals, development workers, etc.

"As the country’s national university, UP is a community of diverse personalities, ideas, and beliefs. This is encouraged as part of its respect for academic freedom and to develop critical thinking among its students. These form the foundations for their discernment and decision-making to build their capacities for leadership roles," she said.

The UP head also cited the 1987 Philippine Constitution, particularly Article XIV, Sec. 5.2, that “academic freedom shall be enjoyed in all institutions of higher learning.”

"Let us join the fight against baseless red-tagging. We call on our students, faculty, staff, and alumni to protect the enabling environment for responsible freedom of thought and expression," Murao said.

She also shared the sentiment of other universities that have been previously identified as "recruitment havens of so-called enemies of the state."

The UP-Min University Student Council, in a separate statement, called on the NSC, along with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) to be accountable for the "irresponsible portrayal" of the school.