What follows is the response of one of my former students in the University of the Philippines Visayas to an article entitled To the somebody who has been my student:, 2008/07/26 at 4:30 PM
been your student
-sir, the members of these radical groups that you were talking about may have lived with the masses for weeks to see how these people fight for their survival.
-these groups are shouting along the streets to inform the government what the masses really feel about the issue on poverty and others that directly or indirectly affect them.
– the masses are being represented by these radical groups for they may wonder if rallying could really help solve problems or they were afraid to be hit by the policemen’s paraphernalias.
-these radical groups, i think, are not telling us what our nation needs. they simply represent and/or share the same sentiments that the masses have.
– they are not imposing things on what the government should do. they are just proposing what they think is better. and i believe, that proposals are not those that should be followed. it must be amenable to everyone.
-our administration here is just waiting for a collective action. and i wonder why some organizations here are pro-tofi although they always say “for the students, by the students”, that would mean they care for the students. Sir, do you think being a pro-tofi organization protects the right of the students to an “affordable education”, where in fact, the parents of these students who are poor are having a hard time just to let their son/daughter enroll to UP because of tofi?
“a president has been ousted because of a collective action. and tofi, i believe, will be junked if only the students will do a pro-student action.”
(i would like to make this clear. i am not affiliated to any of the two opposing organizations here in the university. i am just trying to express what i feel on the issues that obviously affect me as a student and as a part of the state.)
Until now I am trying to remember the time I spent in Miagao and make a guess as to who this has been my student is. He/she could have been enrolled in one of the Journalism or Literature courses I taught in the span of two semesters of stay in the university. I am trying to recall the way my former students wrote and how they gave meaning and structure to the thought they have that were shaped by their experiences and influenced by the people they meet or the organizations they belong to. But I think it is not a matter of importance now, what is more significant is to take a look at the points has been my student raised and scrutinize the assumptions he/she based the arguments she raised in a comment posted above.
How do we understand a phenomenon, a concept, a person, a group of people, a country as a whole? How do we say that indeed we have truly understood something, someone? Radical activists seemed to have mastered this area of human affairs–“understanding”. But does living with them for a week enough to truly understand them? I hear of so many radical activists decrying the oppression that most of these underprivileged have suffered. But the way they tackle an issue is nothing different from that of the way government does–a top down approach. Okay, what we all want here is to make the lives of all Filipino people regardless of class, ethnic origin, language as decent as possible. How do we do that?
We empower people to make them realize their worth in a realm contradictions. By empowering them, we allow them to see for themselves how they can help themselves and eventually help other needy people without too much reliance on an unreliable government, such as the Philippine government, needless to say.
We empower them by making them recognize the problem and solve the problem using the resources that they in themselves without too much reliance on a group of radical activists who bombard them with sweeping statements and tell them over and over again that they are poor and helpless and oppressed as if these poor people lack the understanding that they are poor, that they are not listened to.
When we look at the basic tenets of radical student activism, at least as far as my understanding of the matter in the Philippines is concerned or they can deny that if they want to, it tries to call for a change in leadership in the national politics. While at the same time they ask these same leaders in the national government to provide land reform, better treatment for political prisoners, or rice subsidy, for example, which understandably are the duties of the government. Well and good. But if you declare something as inutile and useless, the adjectives radical student activists use to describe the government then it appears not so sensible for me to expect something from a government that is “tuta ng pasista” or “puppet”. A contradiction radical student activists have not reconciled up to this time.
Again we seemed lost because we place higher premiums on the wars in tactics and slogans instead of the merits of the arguments.
…i wonder why some organizations here are pro-tofi although they always say “for the students, by the students”, that would mean they care for the students. Sir, do you think being a pro-tofi organization protects the right of the students to an “affordable education”, where in fact, the parents of these students who are poor are having a hard time just to let their son/daughter enroll to UP because of tofi?
I see the sense in increasing the tuition in UP because it is necessary. With inflation, weak peso, trailing national economy, a 200-peso tuition per unit in simply not enough. If we truly want to compete in this changing world order then we have rationally weigh things. Seeing the logic in this decision of the UP administration doesn’t make someone a pro-tuition increase. Who in his right mind would want to pay higher? Nevertheless, it is necessary. Let’s look at it this way, consumer of rice all want the price of rice to be 1 peso a kilo, but it does not make sense so consumer pays 26 pesos a kilogram, but these consumer who are willing to pay that amount for a kilo of rice do not automatically become pro-price increase. The same applies with tuition increase.
Moreover, the chance of bringing back the tuition in all UP campuses to its level two years ago is already gloomy despite future stern collective actions against it.