Raffy’s Note on Activism

Last Monday, 24 June 2013, we heard Atty. Rafael Aquino, Managing Partner of the Santos, Parungao, Aquino, Abejo, and Santos Law Offices. Atty. Aquino also spoke at one of the events during the celebration of CSSP’s 30th Anniversary Celebrations in February of this year. Interaksyon published his speech and you can read and listen to it here. He recalled his early student days in UP overhearing Prof. Dodong Nemenzo commenting to a TV reporter that “If activism was no longer in UP, then we would have a problem.” Raffy, in his speech, goes on to define activism, “For me, I define activism as the habit of trying to change society–trying to change society through social action.”

In defining activism, Raffy highlighted the importance of intellectualism as a feature of an activist from UP. Why so?

UP provides ready-made structures for critical inquiry, social research, and intellectual labor in general, and also provides access to an amazing body of scholarship and theoretical knowledge. In short, UP provides the activist excellent opportunities to transform himself into an intellectual, and, by all means, the activist should exploit this – for two reasons:

FIRST: The activist must exploit UP’s academic opportunities and resources because he is morally bound to train himself for that time when he finally leaves Diliman, before he inflicts himself and his activism on the rest of the Filipino people. It would be a crying shame, if by the time he faces the people he proposes to serve, he would have nothing between his ears except a big mouth. Mag-aral tayo para pagharap natin sa ating sambayanan na gusto nating paglingkuran ay meron tayong ibubuga. May kaunti naman sanang competence to match yung kalakihan ng ating bunganga.

SECOND: The activist must exploit these opportunities to build intellectual adeptness and ideological sharpness because these are his own weapons, these are the only weapons which will enable him to survive in UP, and beyond that, to thrive in it and to dominate in its environment. Just like any other school, UP is an ideological institution. Ideas are its currency; ideological contention is its core activity; and, intellectual accomplishment is its most important hierarchy. There is no equivocation about this. There should be no qualification about this. If the activist is to dominate in UP, the activist must be ideologically confident and intellectually superior. (Rafael Aquino, 20 February 2013)

What about you? What do you think activism is about? When is activism synonymous with serving the nation?


UP Foundation Day

Professor Emeritus Francisco “Dodong” Nemenzo, Jr. was one of 12 Centennial Fellows when the University of the Philippines celebrated its 100th Foundation Day in 2008. His lecture carried the title Beyond the Classroom: UP’s Responsibility in Rebuilding a Damaged Nation. In this lecture, Dodong encourages us in UP to raise the level of political discourse in the nation and to counter “intellectual stupor, apathy, cynicism, and self-centeredness” that pervades public dialogue. He also spoke of the role of mass media in educating the citizens of the nation and therefore mass media should become an integral part of the educational system.

UP celebrates its 105th Foundation Day today! The UP General Alumni-Faculty Homecoming and Reunion will be held on June 22 at Ang Bahay ng Alumni at the Diliman Campus.

Independence Day 2013

To celebrate Philippine Independence Day 2013, I suggest a visit to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Read the essay written by Ian Christopher B. Alfonso entitled Bonifacio, the Katipunan, and the Philippine Independence Day. Alfonso argues that understanding the stories behind the series of events that led to the declaration of independence in Kawit until full sovereignty in 1946 necessarily entails that we look back to the origins of the Filipino nation.

Tracing the Filipinos’ struggle for independence undeniably forces us to go back to our origins as a nation. The Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan was the spark that lit the fires of freedom in the heart of the Filipinos–spreading the cause of independence from Luzon to the Visayas and up to Mindanao. Although Bonifacio did not live to witness the realization of his dreams, he remains in his exalted place as the “Father of the Philippine Revolution” without which we would not be celebrating Araw ng Kalayaan every 12th of June.

You can also read Alfonso’s other article Si Maypagasa at ang Bayang Malaya.

For more on Bonifacio, we don’t have to go too far. Take a walk around the academic oval and check out the art banners. You can see the originals at the UP Vargas Museum until 18 June 2013. The banners were put up by Art-NGO CANVAS as part of their Looking for Juan Outdoor Banner Project.  Below is work by Jef Carnay entitled Grab Your Bolo. Share a pic of the art work that captured your attention.