The Quezon City (QC) Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) carried out road clearing operations within the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus on Tuesday, April 23.

Vendors’ properties at UP Diliman’s Pook Dagohoy, Pook Palaris, Area 1, and Area 2 were reportedly destroyed and confiscated while the DPOS undertook its task.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, April 24, the QC local government said it conducted the clearing operations “upon the request of UP Diliman Vice Chancellor Roehl Jamon, who coursed the appeal through the Barangay UP Campus’ Punong Barangay Lawrence Mappala.”

“While this clearing operation was consistent with recent directives of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, there is clearly a need to remind those who implemented it that their job demands the highest levels of empathy, compassion, and respect for human rights,” the city government said.

“Full coordination should likewise be done with all the stakeholders, supported by clear and timely lines of communication,” it added.

The city hall admitted that there were lapses in the implementation of the road clearing operations and apologized.

“On behalf of the entire city government, therefore, I would like to extend my sincerest apologies to all those who were aggravated by the poor handling of our DPOS enforcers,” QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

“Please rest assured that we have already started drafting a framework for future operations of this nature, based on the principles of transparency, consultation, participation, the minimization of harm, and optimal outcomes for all concerned parties. Once this is finalized, we shall ensure that all our departments and agencies comply with its implementing rules and regulations.”

This statement contradicts the account given by UP Diliman Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Roehl Jamon to DZUP on Wednesday, in response to the incident.

When asked about the clearing operations, Jamon asserted that his office “was never informed.” “We are still trying to get to the bottom of this,” he said.

“Our offices were caught by surprise about the activity. Our teams are yet to investigate. There was no prior communication from [them],” he added.

As of writing, DZUP has not yet received a response from the Vice Chancellor in light of this development.

Immediately after the operations, multi-sectoral groups held a mobilization at Area 2 to protest against the clearing operations.

“Pinananawagan nating panatilihin, pangalagaan, at kilalanin ang ambag na serbisyo [ng] mga maliliit at lokal na lugar-kainan sa Unibersidad na nagbibigay ng abot-káya at malusog na pagkain sa ating mga estudyante at empleyado,” the UP Workers’ Alliance said in a statement. — with reports from Ivy Montellano and Rex Espiritu

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