By Leonor Magtolis Briones
The Business of Governance
The phrase “student power” came into vogue during the sixties. This was the time when thousands of students all over the world marched on their governments, whether in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Asia or Africa. A common theme was the war in Vietnam . The global call of the students was for the United States to get out of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh, and Che Guevara were the most popular icons. So it was in the Philippines.
The students also found reason to engage their respective governments on other issues as well. American students complained about the activities of the CIA in developing countries. They rebelled against the draft which would have sent them to Vietnam. In England , students criticized their government’s domestic policies. Rallies drew students by the thousands.
In Paris, they tried to recapture the days of the French revolution where the students played a major role. Students stormed Paris a number of times to set up their version of the Paris Commune. In UP the students took over the university and established the Diliman Commune.
In the Philippines, the focus was on American imperialism. The battle cry was “Ibagsak ang Piyudalismo, Pasismo at Imperialismo!” “Maoismo, Marxismo-Leninismo” were frequently uttered by students. Privately, the women would complain about “Machismo-Leninismol”
Teach-ins would last till morning. Those of us who were members of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation would camp in the house of Dodong and Princess Nemenzo. We would cross over to the house of Merlin Magallona and pester him with questions.
And the mammoth rallies! I must say the youth rallies of today can’t match the vast numbers of students who would march from UP Diliman , walk all the way to Tondo and end up in Malacanang—singing, chanting, and shouting all the time.
Student Power and the 2010 elections
Time to “fast forward” to the present. Since the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship, it seemed that student power like Merlin the Magician has faded away.
Globalization is largely to blame. Students spend their time getting ready for jobs here and abroad. During the 60’s, the most powerful lure was radicalism. At present, students have many more choices.They can go abroad. They can get cushy jobs. They can spend long hours in cyber space with their laptops. They can do many things— set up businesses, become chefs, write plays, make movies and even enter show business.
Things have changed, though. The emergence of political, social and economic crises is radicalizing the students. They are aware of the disarray in governance They now attend rallies and assemblies in greater numbers. They are busy organizing forums and symposia. Slowly, the sleeping giant is awakening.
Their elders are beginning to see the potential of student power. Now it is fashionable for young and old personalities to go on campus tours and stir the students into action either for their candidacies or for national reforms.
Two trends are discernable. Students are seduced with offers to be on the staff of 2010 candidates. As early as last year, the bulletin boards of the College of Public Administration and Governance were plastered with ads inviting students to be part of the team of a presidential candidate. Political parties are busily organizing youth organizations. The students are beginning to sense their power.
Another trend is to encourage students to participate in reforming the present system. The “I Am Change” Movement started by Harvey Keh is going on campus tours. “Kaya Natin ‘To” is led by Governors Panlilio and Padaca. From Ateneo, they are crossing over to UP and on to the other schools. The Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO) is also going on campus tours.
The Young Turks are themselves politicians. However, they are introducing new politics to the students. Traditional party members usually stick together and spend their waking hours plotting the destruction of the other parties. Atty. Adel A. Tamano, Mayor JV Ejercito, Cong. TG Guingona, Cong. Erin Tanada, former Cong. Gilbert Remulla and Prof. Danton Remoto come from different parties, but they have bonded together in order to reach out to the young. They encourage students to dialogue with them on political, economic, and social issues. Their theme is, “there is hope” in response to the apathy and indifference of the youth to national problems.
To repeat, the decade of the 60’s saw the global rise of student power. Students of that decade proved they were a formidable force. They contributed mightily to the downfall of dictators, fascists, and warmongers all over the world.
Will Filipino students rise and mobilize their power to reform this country, or will they succumb to the siren call of tradpols ? Let us see.
Press Release: August 11,2008
For more info: Eero Brillantes, 09276702831, firstname.lastname@example.org
Young Generation of Politicians Barnstorms Schools, Connects with the “Internet Nation”
A multipartisan political group called the “Young Turks” led by Genuine Opposition Spokesperson and Pamantasan Lungsod ng Maynila President Atty. Adel Tamano has started to go the rounds of colleges and universities all over the country. Tamano, along with other young political personalities Nacionalista Party spokesperson and former congressman Gilbert Remulla, Ateneo English Professor Danton Remoto, Congressman Erin Tanada, Congressman TG Guingona and San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito are doing the rounds of campuses advocating for youth involvement in governance.
The kick-off started at Silliman University in Dumaguete City last July 10-11, 2008. Tamano described the event. “The bright students of Silliman University asked questions and we tried to answer them with substance and with style, with wit and cheer and laughter intact. It is because their questions seemed to deal with lack of hope, of being betrayed by their leaders, of abandonment. I hope we kept the spark plug of hope alive. We spoke in a chapel, a presentation room for business students, and the great church — all in one day. We hope the Sillimanians had a grand time, the way we did too, in our first campus tour.”
Eero Brillantes, CEO of Mindbullet Marketing and Public Relations, who maintains the young turk’s blog www.oppositeofapathy.wordpress.com, says that the blog has become hyperactive after the Silliman activity. Based on site metering, he noted interest in what the group has to say. “The blog has just recently been put up. Yet it has already been visited almost 10,000 times. It is currently ranked number 13 for politics and government by topblogs.com.ph. Its just one notch lower than the “Mar Roxas for President 2010 blog which is at number 12. The blog definitely has momentum. With the campus tour catching fire, the blog is poised to be a prominent fixture in new politics for the country. The Young Turks and the Internet Nation has become properly introduced.”
For his part, Remoto was upbeat about the launch and how the internet was able to disseminate the event exponentially. “Skycable showed the complete proceedings that night of July 10, and we also had coverage from two radio stations, two newspapers and the Sillimanian college paper as well as its website. Not to mention the many blogs of the bagets from Silliman, which are now being read and re-sent and re-read all over the borderless world of cyberspace. ”
Moreover, Congressman Tanada emphasized the need for dialogue between the young batch of political leaders and the youth. He said that it is important for the youth not to lose hope and for them to assert their rights. Remulla asserted that there is still hope and it resides in the youth, and the young generation should not be afraid to stand for what they believe in.
On August 26, 2008, the Young Turks will visit the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance from 1-5 p.m. This will be followed by a tour to University of the Philippines at Los Banos in September. xxx
I dug up this editorial in the world wide web of the Internet. Our first campus tour at Silliman University was widely covered by tri-media: Skycable showed the complete proceedings that night of July 10, and we also had coverage from two radio stations, two newspapers and the Sillimanian college paper as well as its website. Not to mention the many blogs of the bagets from Silliman, which are now being read and re-sent and re-read all over the borderless world of cyberspace. Next stop: UP National College of Public Administration and Governance, August 26, Tuesday, 1-5 pm. Watch us rock. See you there — Danton
Visayan Daily Star
July 26, 2008
It should not be taken against the Filipino people if most of our countrymen remain discontented with the state of our national affairs. While we wait with bated breath for what President Arroyo will say on Monday in her State-of-the-Nation Address, various sectors of society have been playing soothsayers by almost taking the SONA from the President’s mouth and speaking for her.
If we believe what the critics of the administration are saying, it would seem that doomsday is just around the corner. Much of the pessimism stems from the myriad of crises that we are experiencing. To top it all, the latest word from our economists revealed that the Philippines has wrested the top spot as the most corrupt nation in the world.
Thus, the recent visit of the so-called Young Turks to Dumaguete recently, meant to kick off their series of campus tours, was an eye-opener of sorts insofar as their ideologies are concerned. The Young Turks is composed of, among others, Danton Remoto, founding chairman of Ang Ladlad; broadcast journalist and former Congressman Gilbert Remulla; Genuine Opposition spokesperson, lawyer Adel Tamano; and, Congressman Lorenzo Tañada III.
Though they are all members of the opposition and, therefore, are espousing change and reform, the collective message of the Young Turks was one that struck a sensitive chord among the diversified members of the audience. It is that of hope – that, for as long as there is hope, all is not lost for the Filipino people. The Young Turks likewise offered an alternative of injecting young blood into the otherwise humdrum political scenario composed of so-called traditional politicians.
As the saying goes, hope springs eternal. Although we should not remain callous and indifferent to the ills of society, we should not persist in our skeptical attitude either. No one can give us hope except ourselves. If we have even just a tinge of hope in us, then we will survive.*
Sun Star Dumaguete
Published July 12, 2008
YOUNG politicians from Manila visited Dumaguete City and Negros Oriental recently in their series of campus tours throughout the country. The young politicians who call themselves “Young Turks” visited Silliman University first.
They engaged Silliman students in a forum discussion held at the Silliman Church, as well as in addressing concerns on education, politics, economics, and cultural concerns in two earlier forums.
The Young Turks is composed of Danton Remoto, chairman of Ang Ladlad Party List and professor of English at Ateneo; Representative Gilbert Remulla, a former congressman, broadcaster and television personality; Adel Tamano, spokesperson of the United Opposition (UNO); and Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III of Quezon City, the son of former Senator Wigberto Tanada and the grandson of nationalist Senator Lorenzo Tanada. The forum was also initiated by the Arts and Sciences Department of Silliman University.
The Young Turks called on the students to organize among themselves and help in forming a new political landscape that would directly benefit the youth sector. Tamano, who is designated by the group as its spokesperson, said they set out on campus tours to get the sentiments of the youth across the country, be it in the politics involving the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The group has also expanded its discussion on family planning, reproductive health and music, among others. The Young Turks advocated equal rights for both sexes and an end to discriminatory traits for women and gays, since we all belong to one Filipino race and nation.
Tanada, for his part, explained that there is still hope in our country although several crises have been besetting it. He said this could be done if people reclaim their rights. Their visit, said Tanada, is considered a way of conversing the youth and, at the same time, hearing the youths’ sentiments direct from the grounds. “We want to engage you, we want to hear you, and we want to mobilize you,” he said. (EBS)
For more Philippine news, visit Sun.Star General Santos.
Boiled Green Bananas
Column in Business Mirror
by Liling Magtolis Briones
I am reprinting Prof. Liling Magtolis Briones’s succinct and moving account of our campus tour in Silliman University last July 10. Prof. Briones is a professor at the UP, former National Treasurer, and chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Silliman University. She invited us to the field of dreams, and we said “yes.” Imagine waking up at 4 am, then giving three speeches that should not leave the young audience comatose?
I was happy to be with Adel, Gilbert and Erin. We may not agree on all issues — we shouldn’t — and we may be supporting different presidential and vice-presidential candidates in 2010, but we talked about the issues from different perspectives. That, I think, added depth, substance and quality to the discussions.
I was tired but happy, only to know that next day, the faculty of the English Department and the undergraduate students were also waiting for me to speak. Uh-oh… — Danton
I am afraid we drove the Young Turks [Adel Tamano, Danton Remoto, Gilbert Remulla, Erin Tanada] to exhaustion. Imagine two small group discussions (meaning 200 young people as in the case of the Poli-Sci majors and standing room only in the College of Business Administration), culminating in an all-university convocation turned talk show that filled Silliman University Church to overflowing, attended by President Malayang, the Vice-Presidents, and the faculty?
All the questions were raised by the students. A persistent query was: the youth have been disappointed so many times. Is there still hope? Yes, there is still hope, answered Gilbert. The hope is in you, young people! We must reclaim government, was the rallying call of Erin. Everyone must have a seat at the national table! Make room for the marginalized! This was the message of Adel. Danton told stories of poor gays who care for their old and sick parents, beauticians who scrimp and save to send siblings to school, gays who contribute to literature, music and philosophy. And gays who help build this country and continue to do so.
Everything was discussed–-GMA, corruption at national and local levels, the search for oil in the Sulu Sea, gender equality, OFWs, employment for competent people from the provinces, alternative systems of government, and yes, recognition for gay organizations in the universities.
The four guys had to wake up at 4:00 A.M. to catch the first flights to Dumaguete. Upon arrival, they just grabbed a bite and started walking to the Udarbe Chapel, where more than 200 students waited for them. They hardly had time to catch forty winks before they met the business and economics students in the early afternoon. They were in the middle of coffee when they had to rush for the university convocation at the Silliman Church, like “a good Christian soldier,” according to Danton, describing himself.
I am a jaded veteran of countless symposia and talk shows. But I have never seen and heard before such a superb combination of panelists-–eloquent, knowledgeable, and brimming with fresh ideas –- but most of all, humble in spite of their degrees and positions. They said they came to listen to the young, and they did. They did not always have the same views-–especially on economic policies-–but they were one in saying that the youth must engage government and society, and that there should be room for everyone regardless of faith, religion, or sexual preference.
Yes, the young people and the rest of the Silliman community were very fortunate to have such an intense series of discussions, with lots of laughter and teasing in-between.
Next stop is University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance. See you there!