I have not realized the gravity of our country’s present situation until our SocSci discussion this afternoon. We didn’t talk about gender and sexuality this time, instead, our prof lectured on the recent declaration of “State of National Emergency” and its repercussions on our lives as private citizens and as students of the University as well.
I was deeply moved by my professor’s statements, since she was a student activist of the university herself during her time. I was especially affected by how she highlighted the massive democratic space the Philippines currently bathes up on, and how other countries’ democratic spaces pale in comparison with ours. She told us not to waste the democratic space we so enjoy now — the fruit of the blood sweat and tears devoted by the people who fought for freedom — just by being apathetic and shunning a cold shoulder on the recent situation. I was so moved because I didn’t realize how right she was before this; that we, the youth, enjoy the freedom to make our own decisions, the freedom to stand up for our rights that are now being compromised, to freely express our views, and some are just wasting the opportunity to stand up for their convictions. Sooner or later, we never know, those rights will be all gone, and we could only cry tears of regret because we didn’t do anything to prevent it from happening.
I’m sure Proclamation 1017 and General Order No. 5 has spread like the Pinoy Big Brother dance craze all over the country already. Most people are getting sick of hearing it in the news, as a matter of fact. Not until now have I realized the grave consequences of having a “state of national emergency” in our country. True to its form, Proclamation 1017 really is, more or less, Proclamation 1081 revised, refreshed, and re-proclaimed. Just note the ending paragraph from both statements:
Proclamation 1017 (by Gloria Arroyo)
NOW, THEREFORE, I Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution … in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction
Proclamation 1081 (by Ferdinand Marcos, so-called Martial Law)
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Article VII, Section 10, Paragraph (’2) of the Constitution, …, in my capacity as their commander-in-chief, do hereby command the armed forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction
Notice the similarity? In essence, what GMA did was just take Proclamation 1081 from the Archives, add and remove some paragraphs, and give it a new name: State of National Emergency. As Prof. Luis Teodoro said, it was a “convenient ambiguity” for GMA. Ambiguous because the provisions in the proclamation umbrella almost everything that go against her administration, and convenient because she can use it as her arm to crush all her foes with.
I would like to ask, where is the emergency? Where are all the lawless violence? Where’s the rebellion? Surely there are no people killing each other in the streets, are they? Surely we do not violate any law in holding demonstrations, do we? Surely we do not compromise any economic and political hoopla by publishing news, don’t we? Apparently the emergency lies within Arroyo and her constant paranoia with all the people who “are trying to destabilize the government”. Well, news flash, Madam President, the government has always been unstable since you took power. Today the score is not between Pro and Anti administration, but it’s a battle between Arroyo’s Administration and the Filipino people, who have every right to fight for their government, because it’s the government of the people.
What came as a shock to me, and most of my classmates in SocSci, was the possibility of having an indefinite suspension of classes. When our professor told us about it, some of us quickly dismissed the thought, saying that it’s not possible. But when our professor started saying, “and because of this, I would like to make clarifications regarding our requirements. You still have two reflection papers, and just one exam. Your research paper is due Friday next week. And please keep an eye on the corkboard outside my room, since it’ll be our only venue of discussion if ever something comes up. Remember, all your requirements will be passed. Sulitin nyo na ang mga susunod na meetings, baka last na natin yun.” We were all shocked. She was serious about the indefinite suspension thing. We all went nervous. We never thought.
By this I would like to vow to attend every possible discussion regarding the current state of our country. Surely I was quite apathetic before this, but seeing as to how I was deeply moved just by looking at all the facts (the media is no good source of facts nowadays, since it’s filtered by the proclamation anyway) I just feel the responsibility to fight for my rights and the rights of my fellow as well.
Time to ignite the wick of the candle of activism. Let’s go Youth!
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