Learning Sociology in its real context

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Sunday, March 3, 2013


KNOWING that his teacher and the school will not allow him to go where the action is and take the responsibility should anything unlikely happen, one independent-thinking youth went out of his way and decided to go and observe the conduct of the people’s demands for assistance at the premises of the Department of Social Welfare AND Development (DSWD). It did not occur to him at all that he will actually be seeing society and how it works and learn first-hand everything that no textbook can ever offer.

Hence, in the three days that followed his self-assumed learning process, “Jose” saw with his naked eye the force that ordinary people have, even without weapons, and what potential power that they have in changing a decadent society.

He learned also that force, when met with brutal force can never be equal to peace. He was confused however, when something that he learned from the bill of rights did not materialize like what he expected.

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Section 4, Article 3 of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines states thus: No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. In class discussion of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws and likewise under the lessons discussed in their subject in the National Service Training Program (NSTP) of the government, the preceding statement was made clear.

And yet, this was not what he saw in the succeeding days that followed the exercise of these rights by the aggrieved people of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental who came all the way just to ask DSWD the promised assistance by its officials.

What he actually saw was the intolerance and irritation of government officials towards the legitimate complaints and concerns of the people, which was met with harsh order for dispersal. Jose was aghast to see the brutal lashes that the ordinary people got from the police, for instance, who were ordered by their next-in-command to confiscate the goods forcibly taken out some of the people gathered.

A grave question comes to his mind, which he later asked out loud to his mentor. “Is it wrong to air grievances to government officials concerned?” “Do citizens really have that particular right as enshrined in our Constitution and taught in all learning institution?”

If so, then why are all these happening in our society? It is a question from an intellectual who is suddenly thrust into the harsh lessons in the real world, which not one teacher can ever find an answer.

Thus, the Unibersidad ng Kanto it seems is gaining more and more adherents, in that, it is more of an effective teacher than those in the seemingly protective four corners afforded by the accredited schools and colleges in the country.

And yet local and national government leaders are missing the point. Again, when will they ever learn?

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 04, 2013.

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