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OPINION/CONVICTION
1/27/2008 9:05:11 AM

If not I, then who?
CTALK By Cito Beltran
Monday, January 28, 2008
UP or the University of the Philippines is often criticized for producing nothing but politicians and Godless activists. One group steals the peoples’ money or the peoples’ democracy while the other waste tax payers money by creating more chaos or fighting the police and the military in the hinterlands.

But from where I stand, UP has raised many but little appreciated individuals who have contributed not only in terms of professional expertise but even more in speaking out for an ideal or against a social or political injustice.

Every school, university or educational institution has raised their own share of “good citizens” but historically speaking, UP has trained more outspoken citizens or bold individuals who willingly risk personal comfort or professional persecution because their training makes it unacceptable to turn a blind eye or simply join the silent majority.

The average UP student cannot avoid being confronted by the questions: “Kung hindi tayo; sino? Kung hindi ngayon; kailan?”

“If not us then who? If not now then when?” I am told that those were the words of a courageous activist known as Voltaire Garcia. I have come to know many more men and women such as him during the many years I spent at UP.

Some of them were brave idealists who did not wait to graduate from the University. They took the message and spoke out. Others went to the streets and protested, while a few unnamed warriors took up arms and paid with their lives. The rest of us were just waiting for our time.

We were not all brave. We were not all idealistic. But in time and presented with the need and the opportunity just about everyone speak out or did something. It may be at PTAs, Barangay meetings, court rooms or board rooms or in front of the cameras. Because of our “outspoken nature, we are called Rebels and rebellious.

Hardly! I dare say. Plain and simple rebellion does not solicit respect from people who gained entry into an institution that accepts you because of your intellect, reasoning and not your parents’ wealth. Rebellion draws no crowds among an interdependent culture known for logic, excellence and organization.

We do not speak merely of our opinion as everyone seems to be obsessed in doing in today’s culture of “My opinion.com” or “Bloggers anonymous@Gaggle.com”. No it is not about opinion but about conviction.

We speak out against social and political injustices we learned and understood from our probinsyano batch mates who lived lives in hardship and poverty. We learned the realities of life and politics from our teachers and professors who cared to mentor us while they gave up opportunities to teach in exclusive schools and earn enough money for a house, a car and a better social status.

The opinions we formed were created by living in a real community. Not just an academic community but one where government employees lived in temporary conditions until they were no longer part of the system and therefore no longer qualified to live in the university grounds. That is as real as it gets.

As real as living in an academic community invaded and assimilated with squatter colonies, infiltrated by rebel scholars as well as deep penetration agents and military Intelligence officers in training and subject to the egos, politics and sexual disposition of government officials and politicians.



Comments



Imelda Alibuyog
1/30/2008 10:31:58 AM

hellooooooo anybody hereeeee!Atorney ayanmo aya?Naimbag nga orasmo kabsat!










Leo Beligan
2/12/2008 5:14:09 AM

Imelda, agyamanak unay iti isasangbay mo !




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