Lobaton: From a different view


I ATTENDED recently the national conference of the Philippine Sociological Society (PSS). It is safe to gather participants as they will have to stay in front of their computer for the duration of the conference to avail the many discussions on topic very significant to the present situation.

This year’s conference was supported by the Ateneo de Manila University and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and participated by sociologists and students from institutions all over the country and abroad.

The conference was in time despite the limitations that it was done through an online platform. The topics are meant to enliven the sociological thoughts among individuals who have been trained in the discipline.

As I ponder on the role of Sociology in society, I realized how hard it could be to face the social problems in the Philippine society. This is because seldom we utilize the expertise of sociologists who have understood the dynamics of society.

Supposedly, this group of professionals could illumine the unconscious nature of Filipinos in dealing with social problems.

It is even worse because the reality in our workplaces particularly in government, is that we employ those with less expertise especially on matters that are technical. Thus, our institutions also function less within our people’s expectations.

I have emphasized in my class that a sociologist holds a difference in looking at things especially on the social arrangements that a simple individual could hardly explain.

One example is on the analysis of politics. We have a lot of those trying to become expert in discussing Philippine politics and its future in the coffee shop setting.

It is still something to appreciate that the Philippine society has many talents. That is why in trying to understand even the ordinary topic at home or on actual society, Filipinos have their personal views. However, in trying to solve the social problems and diagnose these ills to connect with social reality, we need experts who can bring us to the true understanding of society.

As in the case of politics and in running the affairs of this country, we are also flooded with great minds and talents who are gutsy enough to pretend having the expertise to connect with social reality. Yet, where we are as a society could prove whether we are seeing the situation based on reality and whether the interventions by government are fitted to solve problems or have made them worse.

I give it to individuals to view social reality especially on appreciating whether we still have prevailing social problems in our society, needs improvement or we are already in the perfect state.

If we recognized we still have to improve as a country and people, we can look down the line, piece-by-piece, the true state of our social dynamics as a society. I am sure we could see things differently from the lens of ordinary individuals.

The next would be to think about possible solutions if we need to address some problems.

In one parallel session of this PSS national conference, one topic crossed my mind when a study on the “balik probinsya” program was presented by an academic from Leyte. The other one presented the quarantine guidelines and the approach of the local government with the locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in the midst of this pandemic.

I said, we seem to experience the same issues and problems related to handling situations in this pandemic. But it is better that studies are conducted to somehow understand the complexities brought by the coronavirus and the backwardness Filipino behaviorism.

I am happy to see in attendance during the conference my friend and research mentor, Dr. Enrique Oracion, Research Director of Silliman University in Dumaguete City. I hope to join another conference for sociologists next month.


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