Two days ago, P.O. 1017 was lifted. Prior days to that event, various groups, who strongly oppose to such order, showed vigilance to what might be the president’s next move. It was really hard for these groups to assemble and rally in the streets and in some public places because certain dictatorial measures were being drawn by the government such as orders of warrantless arrests, dispersal of rallies and certain guidelines for the media.
It was really hard, I must say. Having had experience the period during the emergency rule, considering that I am a resident in one of the dormitories in the UP Diliman Campus, I felt so hysterical on the country’s situation now.
When I was in my first year high school, during EDSA II, I was aware that such a people power revolution occurred in the Philippines . I knew what the country’s talk was at that time. I knew that the people were asking for Erap’s resignation and GMA’s taking over his position. I also learned how those brave people who were part of the revolution worked hard and took courage to fight for democracy and justice. But it was all just news for me. It was all just a theory for me. In other words, it was out of my concern then. Not until I have lately experienced the same experience they had before during EDSA II. Now that I have witnessed how things worked under P.O. 1017, I said to myself: this must be serious.
I felt the significance to participate and be involved in educational discussions about P.O. 1017. As a student-activist, awareness to such issues like this is essential. I need to know by myself what really this means to the country and to the people. I need to be informed on this critical issue the country is now facing because this is really a crucial one.
Last Tuesday I attended a huge mobilization led by the University Council at the Oblation of UP Diliman. Two of the speakers were Former UP President Nemenzo and UP Professor Randy David who talked about the emergency rule and discussed what UP’s stand is regarding the matter. I was impressed on the content of Nemenzo’s speech. It was very challenging and hopeful that it made me realize some important points. Let me paraphrase what he said: UP students, and as such the Filipino students, drive for academic excellence. But it does not only stop there. It is also our task as responsible students and concerned citizens of the country to actively be involved on each and every national issue the country will face. Moreover, it is our duty to exercise our democratic principles in the governance of our country’s affairs and lift up our sense of patriotism to our country in accordance with such a right to democracy.
Based on that, I realize that what we Filipinos lack and what we should try to overcome as a nation is our characteristic of, in our own dialect, ija-ija, aho-aho. I mean it’s not really bad at all, but it’s not also good. It is so depressing how some citizens act upon on such event. While others show deep concern to this issue, some people maintain nothing to say about such issue. Whatever goes for them. My point is that these people who actively fight for justice and democracy have already set a powerful voice that made GMA panicky (and for such, released P.O. 1017). How much more if everyone will work and contribute to socio-political and moral change? How much more if we continue our fight for this change? How it would be better if we stand up and be involved, actively involved in our society?
We want change, right? We are claiming for change. This is cliché but we have to start it first among ourselves.