Morales challenges UP Cebu graduates to stand against dehumanization

Former ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales challenged graduates of the University of the Philippines Cebu (UP Cebu) to put being human at the center of service amid massive dehumanization through the internet.

Speaking during UP Cebu's virtual valediction of graduates of 2020, Carpio Morales said: “I ask my dear graduates, please consider humanism. I congratulate you for you are artists, communicators, biologists, experimental scientists, computer scientists, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, psychologists, political scientists and teachers. But, you are humans first.”

In her virtual address as guest of honor on Tuesday, October 27, the former associate justice of the Supreme Court discussed the weaponization of the internet in the global war of dehumanization.

“A scholar once observed that the internet is rapidly becoming the framework of our lives – private and public. There are parts of the world where mobile internet access is easier than access to clean water or sanitation facilities. In reality, the internet is in great danger of becoming invariably a loss in humanization,” she said.

Carpio Morales pointed out how internet users have been reduced to mere data capitals and as “mobs” to back up the agenda of deceptive politicians.

“Many political leaders who capitalize on national identity and popular support dehumanize people by behaving as if they are no more than mobs of their vacant call to attack and silence critics or to reference as legitimizers… of their malgovernment,” she said.

Her speech came just over a month after Facebook removed a Philippine network of 57 accounts, 31 pages, and 20 Instagram accounts linked to the local military or the police. According to the social media giant, the network of accounts were found in violation of its policy "against foreign or government interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government entity.”

Carpio Morales also talked about detained activist Reina Mae Nacino who was deprived of visiting her ailing baby, and given only 6 hours of furlough during the infant’s funeral.

“If the Manila Trial Court judge had only found her humanism early on, would jailed activist Reina Mae Nacino not have had the chance to still cuddle and hug her still alive baby River before she expired,” she told graduates.

The former ombudsman ended by reminding the graduates of 2020 of their role to restore humanism, to put individual rights and liberties at the center of the rapidly digitalized world.

“In response to this war of dehumanization, schools like the University of the Philippines Cebu along with its class of 2020 should be at the forefront of restoring humanism in our world. But especially, in our country,” she said.

“Each one of us has free will. Each one of us can decide to be human or otherwise. I have made my choice, what is yours,” Carpio concluded.

The virtual valediction ceremony was organized by the UP Cebu administration in lieu of physical graduation which was cancelled because of the pandemic. The event was streamed on the University of the Philippines Cebu Facebook page. –