The decision to remove books and other reading materials from a university library is done by individual higher education institutions (HEIs) in the exercise of academic freedom. There are reasons why some HEIs have decided to remove materials donated by government-declared Communist-Terrorist Groups (CTGs) in their libraries. School authorities in these HEIs are in the best position to explain why. They are given sufficient administrative discretions under existing laws.

Three state universities – Kalinga State University, Isabela State University, and Aklan State University — recently pulled out reading materials from their libraries and turned these over to the regional National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) and/or the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

HEIs must respect these decisions of other HEIs in the spirit of mutual respect and proper governance of their institutions.

I know that there are many HEIs that are critical of the policies adopted by the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman officials and the way they run their campus but they are not issuing statements out of mutual respect for the governance of individual public universities.

I urge UP Diliman officials to do the same.

It would be best for the Chancellor of UP Diliman and other officials to be more prudent, circumspect, respectful and discerning in issuing statements especially involving the exercise of academic freedom of other higher education institutions.

Commission on Higher Education

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