For the second semester of our National Service Training Program, we were asked to become interns of Non-Government organizations that our Professor has carefully selected, and that task officially came to an end last Monday, March 17.
I remember my very first poignant memory of FDC. A man very fluent in English was speaking with someone on the phone. He was explaining how their “demonstration” against ADB will go about. He said that the protest will start from the inside. I then pictured a conference room filled with a lot of people, when suddenly a group from FDC will interrupt the program and start protesting. What was extremely surprising was that the man explaining had a very casual expression upon his face, as if this was a normal occurrence.
As I cautiously entered the main office, I felt like I was reliving the old days of activists. It was a neat place, but it was also filled with people who were at different stations of the office, busy with their own activities. Honestly, if I take the interior design into consideration, it didn’t seem like an office, but a headquarters of some sort, ready to take down the government at any given time. The supposed long main table was a combination of two different kinds of table. The chairs differed, too. At the sides, there were shelves with documents stacked together. Before entering another section of the office, there was a corkboard filled with posters exclaiming different fights.
But, although the place was screaming extreme sides of activism, the kind I have not been deeply immersed nor subjected to, we had very kind “bosses”. The one in-charge of our group was Sir Sammy Gamboa. He was a good-natured fellow who spoke softly and considerately.
Truth be told, our internship did demand much from us. I dare not sugarcoat what we have been through, but as much as we were asked of, I think Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) was very sincere in trying to forward their perspective to us, the younger generation.
I think two of my most important learning of all is the concept of Illegal debt & Climate Justice.
I agree that Marcos’ debt should not be shouldered by the Filipino People. Furthermore, if we talk about the concept of responsible & ethical lending, the other countries should not have lent money to the Philippines, given that they knew that we were under Martial Law & a tyrannical ruler. It was also their responsibility to take into consideration the situation of the citizens in the Philippines. They would incur huge losses, yes. And, that would be a result of their irresponsible decision. The Filipino people should not be burdened by debts that did not benefit them.
On the other hand, Climate Justice is a concept that greatly affects the welfare of the countries whose climate has dramatically changed, at the fault of industrialized countries excess “pollution.” The countries responsible should compensate the countries affected by Climate Change.
I think my knowledge on these issues (as well as other national issues) has significantly increased because of FDC. The environment of an activist’s headquarters propelled me to such, and I am still quite grateful for these important learning.
Although our internship has come to an end, I think my learning shall stay with me and guide me in my future decisions and opinions on national matters.
– Dianne Argamosa, 2012 – 03335