UP CIDS Program Opens “National Day of Protest” with a Public Forum

Shortly after the UP Carillon’s 65th anniversary ceremony in the morning of September 21 followed “#MAYPASOK: Isang Malayang Talakayan ng mga Nagbabagang Isyu” – a public forum jointly organized by the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies Program on Peace and Conflict Transformation (PCT Program), the UP Department of Political Science, and the Third World Studies Center.

The PCT Program had earlier hosted an informal discussion where faculty, students, and civic groups shared their opinions and raised their concerns regarding the current political and social conditions in the country. In the discussion, the public forum was conceptualized as a course of action in response to the tense political atmosphere brought about by the recent threat from the Philippine president of a nationwide imposition of martial law.

Adopting the title “#MAYPASOK” reiterated the importance of dialogue and participation, notwithstanding the suspension of work and classes in government and public schools on the ‘National Day of Protest’ declared by the President. The forum sought to contextualize a range of national issues to foster a more holistic understanding of the Duterte administration’s actions and policies.

During the event held at the UP Diliman Carillon Plaza, speakers Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Eduardo Tadem and Josephine Dionisio spoke on issues such as the culture of violence and impunity surrounding extrajudicial killings, the weakening of political institutions, regressive tax reform policies as well as a looming debt crisis. Speakers Pedro Abraham Jr. and Amado Mendoza Jr. also discussed their experiences and thoughts from the Martial Law era of President Ferdinand Marcos. In light of current political conditions, the speakers called for a renewed will for public service and vigilance.

“I have learned to forgive all my torturers, all my keepers… Unfortunately also, I cannot forgive some. I cannot forgive Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, Imelda Marcos, Bongbong Marcos… all those technocrats who deodorized, prettified that murderous regime – enabling that regime to borrow billions of dollars which we are all paying for today.”

“I renew my commitment of service. My commitment is to you. To our people. I will do everything I can to serve you as public intellectual, as teacher…” – Prof. Amado “Bong” Mendoza, Jr.

“…[K]ailangan din nating maalala kung papaano sistematikong sinikap ng mga puwersa ng kadiliman na puksain, pigilan at busalan ang mga grupo na nagdadala noong intensyon na palalimin yung mga demokratikong institusyon at proseso sa ating bayan. [A]ng challenge ay para sa henerasyon niyo na alamin yung kasaysayan at maging mapanlikha sa pagtatayo ng iba’t-ibang paraan ng pakikipag-isang hanay.” – Prof. Josephine Dionisio

The PCT program hopes to continue these efforts to conduct relevant discussions and fora engaging the wider public, especially in the context of issues related to the evolving peace and conflict situation in the Philippines.

[Photos taken by Richard S.M. De Leon, College of Mass Communication]