End the malignment against activism in the Philippines!

End the malignment against activism in the Philippines!

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Neil Espino started this petition to PH Government

It is hard to imagine this present society without the basic norms and regulations we have today. We live in a democratic nation, with values founded upon the ideas and beliefs of our forefathers, and their forefathers before them. 


One might be surprised to find out how much of our lives we owe to activism. Usually frowned upon, today’s Filipino activist is pelted with criticism, judged as deviant subjects with tendencies towards the formation of complaints. However, it is of great essence to understand the purpose behind activism: a man becomes an activist when he notices a flaw within the workings of the operating society and decides to work towards fixing it. Understanding this basic concept is key to accepting the truth about the Philippines; this country is built on the blood and sweat of our activists. The Constitution is proof of this, alongside our democratic government, and our very freedom from Spain itself. In this present society, wherein activism is highly discouraged and suppressed by the current administration, it is important to take a stand for our right to take a stand. Despite how negatively portrayed activism is in the Philippines, it remains an essential aspect of our lives, and must be preserved.


One of the most heated issues as of recently is Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and his utter opposition towards student activism. After having established his claim that activism encourages students to take up arms against the government, he has indeed proven nothing but the need for an extensive explanation on the topic of activism and how it functions in today’s society. Activism is not, as he claims it to be, the usage of propaganda to propagate rebel ideology. Student activism has been a crucial aspect of Filipino society since the early 1960s, with different groups each fighting for different causes. It is not as Bato claims it to be, which is a mass brainwashing tool used to recruit rebels against the administration. Looking around us, one can see the products and results brought to us by our efforts towards change and reform. Surely, it is easier to believe in the concrete facts, than ideas which seem to be drawn straight out of science fiction.


Activism is a right. Even CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia understands this fundamental truth; the aforementioned also just recently expressed dissent towards the administration for operating under suspicion, and suppressing the work of activists by linking them to groups working to overthrow the government. While there may indeed be similarities between their goals, it is important to acknowledge that Rizal was no member of the Katipunan, yet he fought day and night by pen and propaganda to reform the society during his day. Such is analogous to our present situation with today’s activists. Merely expressing their desire for societal change is not rebellious behavior, instead it is the very essence of patriotism as they work to make the Philippines a better place for future generations.

 

Another fundamental truth about PH youth activism: it has been around for generations. In the early 1960s, during the regime of Marcos, student activist fought relentlessly, literally sacrificing blood, sweat, and tears to bring about social reform. By allowing activism to be painted in the light Bato paints it in, we besmirch the values of our forefathers, invalidating their hard work for democracy. For a long time, activism has been a key aspect of our democracy. It is not the administration’s place to tell us what or what not to fight for. Let us not dishonor the likes of Liliosa Ilao and Etta Rosales by allowing the perpetuation of a fascist society.


Silence is acquiescence. It is evident that today’s society is rife with injustice and oppression. Is it not our place as Filipinos to fight for the nation and its people? What other medium does the common man have to let his voice be heard, to compel those in power to act for the masses? Activism is the one weapon the masses have against injustice; where there is wrong, there will always be an activist for its correction. We cannot allow them to take this away from us.

 

Let our voices be heard. Activism is the very manifestation of our democracy, our freedom to express our dissent towards the growing blight within our society. It is through such that we strike down injustice and create a better future for our children, and their children to come. As patriotic Filipinos, we must support the activist movement, and fight for true democracy.

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