Ateneo community reflects on Marcos protest, plans next steps
MANILA, Philippines – "Ang sigaw natin ay iisang Pilipino tayo.” (Our call is that we are one Filipino people.)
This was the message of Koko Quilatan, Vice-President of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Sanggunian, to the audience assembled during the university's Kapihan Session, an open forum for members of the AdMU community, at 5:00 pm on Monday, November 21.
“Alam natin ang katotohanan...We shouldn’t stop with the mobilizations,” Quilatan added. (We should continue seeking the truth.)
The Kapihan Session came as a response to the stealthy, unexpected burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Friday, November 18. It was followed by a mass student-led protest by the university along with other schools in Katipunan.
The purpose was for older members of the Ateneo community to impart knowledge to the students on how to address the social climate, and to discuss possible steps for plans moving forward.
The consensus was that more had to be done for anti-Marcos groups to understand the opposition, and that they should keep attempting to convince pro-Marcos groups to be on their side.
"What is our end-in-mind?," questioned AdMU math professor Carlo Mallari. “We all talk about what people need to know, but we don’t do anything about it."
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Political Science professor Carmel Abao lauded the millennials for taking action, and asked the youth to give suggestions on what concrete steps to do next.
"Who are we really fighting? How do we influence public opinion? How do we also influence government?” she asked. (READ: Students told after Marcos burial: 'Bigger lessons outside classroom')
The event featured performances from the Ateneo College Glee Club and Ateneo ENTABlado, and was followed by a community mass at the Church of the Gesu.
ADMU has been very vocal in its opposition against the Marcos burial. In a memo released to the community on Friday, November 18, ADMU President Father Jett Villarin urged older Ateneans to heed the youth's call.
"I urge all of us to listen to what our young people are protesting and mourning. Let us mourn for what we have lost and what we are losing. Let us strengthen our resolve to right what is wrong, to tell the truth, to care for the weak and those who have been hurt, and to deepen our love of country," Villarin wrote.
The university's Communication Department will also screen films about the wrongs of the Marcoses and the abuses during the Martial Law period for free.
The Sanggunian assured the community that more Kapihan Sessions will follow. The university has yet to announce whether they will join the mass protests that willl happen on November 25 and November 30.
Meanwhile, ADMU's sister school Ateneo de Davao took a stand on Monday against the Marcos burial.
Alo Lantin is a senior Communications Technology student from Ateneo de Manila University.