An Iskolar ng Bayan in PUP: Of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Ideology. [Part 2]

(A continuation from “An Iskolar ng Bayan in PUP: Of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Ideology. [Part 1]”)

PUP is not your typical university. It could either be your everyday nightmare or your real-life encounter of life survival in the middle of a wild, uncertain forest—where cubs that you met along the way yesterday were devouring lions today. You have to maintain endurance when you blaze a trail.

Inside this University, everybody is unpredictable. Everybody has business. Every iskolar ng bayan in PUP is an opportunity you meet that is worth learning. Every struggle inside is a shot that will be worth the effort.

Despite all that, you will love PUP for its unrestrained academic freedom and openness, academic rigor, for its people of mixed backgrounds, its profound ideological commitment to different sets of belief systems, and for its rich social issues awareness and discernment.

To top it all, you will love PUP simply for being an iskolar ng bayan—paying for the lowest tuition for quality and responsive education.

Student Activist-Campus Journalist

I started being an activist in my core of thinking when I was even just a high school student. I became an activist on my own understanding when I started observing about how power came into play. How the gap between the haves and the have-nots is becoming wider and increasingly suppressing.

Furthermore, is it not revealing after all when I challenged my fourth-year high school Physics adviser right during my graduation night when I decided to deliver the valedictory address I wrote it myself instead?

But somehow, I delivered rather the one she reportedly copied from a valedictorian in another school who happened to be once my classmate. I managed to read only some parts of it uninterestedly. I just felt and understood myself so well that I was just not comfortable being controlled and restricted in some ways I knew that it should not be their way to prevail but my way.

In my freshman year, the first semester, despite having no experience at all in campus journalism even in elementary and high school, I took the official student publication’s written and oral examinations to become part of it as a campus journalist. I passed.

A month after, I was officially admitted to the official student publication. I joined the rest of the students and student leaders to attend the “Education Summit” held at UP-Manila.

I admit that I considered this gathering as a baptism by fire. This was my first time attending a student conference with a large crowd attended by students and student leaders from different organizations in different universities in Metro Manila. This student conference is designed to discuss the national education situation and to devise different actionable plan of actions to address such compelling problems in education budget cuts in all state universities and colleges in the country.

Consequently, I attended and covered more and more conferences, demonstrations, discussions, immersions, and other forms of press work as a campus journalist.

Moreover, as a member-publication that is affiliated with the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, these sorts of press work are considered every campus journalist’s duty and responsibility. That is, to keep them abreast of the current national situations and other updates vital for informational campaigns and organization among the ranks.

Being a campus journalist, often, if not always, I was labeled or tagged as an activist, aktibista, tibak, komunista, or demonyo, and whatever diabolical names were available.

As an old retort and so cliché, I spewed with a fiery look: “If being a defender of students’ rights and assertive to claim freedoms and exercise those rights is already activism, then I will be glad to consider myself an activist. Do we have a problem with that?”

Iskolar ng bayan in PUP Taguig walked our from their classes for tuition hike rally.
PUP-Taguig suspends classes as students out for tuition hike rally. (File Photo: ABS-CBN News | via dennis_datu)

Somehow, I thought that there was this fine and distinct line between an activist and a Marxist–Leninist–Maoist communist to begin with before tagging activists generally as communists.

(READ: Red-Tagged. Got Fired.)

I would claim myself as a student activist that considered taking actions through the lens of asserting students’ rights and civil liberties guaranteed under an existing and prevailing Philippine Constitution.

I would further claim myself as a social activist to stand by what is reasonable under equitable, sufficient, and objective reason and logic, most especially when it comes to social issues that undermined humanity and being humans.

The Editor-in-Chief of The Chronicler

During my stint as the editor of the official student publication, The Chronicler, my organizational mission-vision was perfectly unambiguous. It took me full courage to set my mission as discreetly as possible to lead the student publication outside the interference of any individual or group assumed or proven of having blindly influenced by Marxist–Leninist–Maoist ideology.

Furthermore, it took me full endurance to simplify things within the bound of neutrality while safeguarding the institutional and fiscal autonomy of the student publication that is also outright free from any intervention when it comes to editorial policies and guidelines.

My term was as arduous as a Herculean task finding myself alone to face the monsters inside and outside of the four corners of the University. I managed the publication hardly well. Yet, I succeeded to realize my organizational mission. That is, to let the student publication run independently having both the fiscal and institutional autonomy secured despite the widespread campus press suppression and fiscal autonomy repression throughout campuses in the country.

During my time as the editor-in-chief of the official student publication, the UP Philippine Collegian was its autonomy under siege. Student publications issued their headlines all caps to spread sentiments. Student publication’s autonomy under siege became the talk of the town in almost all campus publications in the country.

Despite my involvement in student activism in PUP, I still considered that my thoughts and grown-up perspectives were strictly guided by my self-conceived sense-experience philosophy.

I did understand so well about the differences between reality and illusion or between myopic stupidity and deadpan lunacy on social and economic issues.

Class struggles are fundamental elements and forces in a community where forces with a vested interest, or where progress, personal and institutional goals, and worst avarice coexist. Such a struggle never ends. Such a struggle is a consequence of the revolution of ideas that may be beneficial to some, yet surely onerous to the many.

Therefore, I did not buy any opportunity to fall prey to an MLM ideology. Such an ideology or philosophy has been so effective in utilizing class struggle, oppression and capitalism, nationalism, and worst its perceived root cause of the armed struggle. Such an ideology has been so antiquated in its utilization of propaganda to advance its organizational targets and goals. I might just either be too cynical to imbibe their machinations and get drunk along with them or too grown-up to be persuaded by any indoctrination of belief systems. I am always thinking. Always. ▲

Read: An Iskolar ng Bayan in PUP: Of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Ideology. [Part 1]


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