Ideology, dissent, 2

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


AT THE time when the Philippines won its independence from the United States of America (USA) in 1946, then newly elected President Manuel Roxas became a sort of shock absorber, as well as heir of the national ails that the post-war nation and
fledgling young republic in Southeast Asia had to face.

In sum, it was during this period when the seeds of discontent and dissent over the American presence in the country began to take root.

Somehow, the situation worsened as the dissension increased with the constant pounding of the government by the growing number of individuals who took to heart their dissatisfaction against the establishment.

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This was fueled, of course, by sources of varied ideological and political hue and by the rising intensity of the people’s poverty. Thus, the developing minds of the young Filipinos were constantly told of the so-called American exploitation of the Filipino workers.

The death of the duly elected first president of the republic, and the assumption to power of Vice President Elpidio Quirino did not ease the prevailing situation any.

On the other hand, the brunt of the problem that was aroused through a social milieu that generated economic discontent was further compounded by the national leadership that, as the national media reported that time, did not show efforts to initiate reforms, and stop graft and corruption in government.

In essence, the development of dissent in the country, as exemplified by the campus activism in our schools led by students of UP in Diliman is largely due to the perception of our youth about the inability of our government leadership to undertake efforts to curtail the ways and means of corruption in public office, at the expense of the perceived impoverished population.

On my third year in high school, I transferred to the newly opened UP high school in Lahug. We had our classrooms in the abandoned quonset huts of the US soldiers, right where the present library building now stands.

I belonged to the second batch of 17 UP high school graduates in l949. But since my public school teacher-parents could not afford to send me to UP Diliman, my father urged me to take an elementary school teachers test so I could earn my initial tuition fee.

But what is more material here is the campus environment into which our youth is somehow drawn. Youth activism is partly developed by the intellectual atmosphere prevailing in the school campus itself where a free exchange of ideas and attitudes emerge among student peers.

To say that students in UP Diliman are generally more aware of their civic and political responsibility to their society should not be taken as an over-statement at all.

I recall that during my initial months in the campus at UP Diliman, I was subtly introduced to the prevailing national political situation. A number of my new friends were scions of ideologues in their time that were also active in campus politics, and whose personal views were considered left of center.

Thus, the intellectual “division” in the Diliman campus cannot be denied.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 27, 2014.

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