Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

THE sug­ges­tion by the head of the Na­tional Youth Com­mis­sion (whose name I couldn’t even re­mem­ber while I am sip­ping my cof­fee now) to kick out state schol­ars from the pro­gram for go­ing against gov­ern­ment poli­cies is re­flec­tive of the kind of prim­i­tive mind­set pre­vail­ing in gov­er­nance nowa­days. I was a stu­dent ac­tivist dur­ing the rule of then dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos and not even the dic­ta­tor could coun­te­nance what this young sip­sip hatched. The dic­ta­tor, at least was an in­tel­lec­tual, a ge­nius even. This youth leader is... never mind.

To think Mar­cos had to put up with the best that Filipino youth ac­tivism could of­fer. Re­mem­ber the “Dil­i­man Com­mune”? The clash be­tween state forces and the stu­dents then turned vi­o­lent at times. Of course, stu­dent ac­tivists would later get the brunt of the fas­cist at­tacks af­ter mil­i­tary rule was de­clared on Sept. 21, 1972. But at least Mar­cos was wise enough to de­clare mar­tial law first be­fore rais­ing the level of the harsh­ness of his at­tacks a mil­lion times.

I con­sider the fas­cist mind­set prim­i­tive be­cause rea­son is not its best suit. It knows only the lan­guage of force. When a prob­lem crops up, the first thing that comes to mind for those with that world view is to in­tim­i­date, ha­rass and even kill. That a sup­posed youth leader is sug­gest­ing a shake­down for ac­tivists who are fa­mously known as the “Isko­lar ng Bayan” shows how far the fas­cist mind­set has seeped down this coun­try’s bu­reau­cracy.

And in fair­ness to diehard Duterte sup­port­ers, not even the Pres­i­dent sug­gested that path in deal­ing with stu­dent ac­tivism, among whose best prac­ti­tion­ers are from state uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges. That is why I agree with Sen. Fran­cis Es­cud­ero’s re­sponse to that sip­sip NYC leader’s sug­ges­tion: his ut­ter lack of un­der­stand­ing of the per­ti­nent pro­vi­sions of the Con­sti­tu­tion (to that I might add a lack of re­spect for ba­sic free­doms) should prod him to re­sign from his post.

What the sip­sip youth leader ob­vi­ously wants is to purge state col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties of the ac­tivist mind­set that is a nec­es­sary com­po­nent of lead­er­ship. He wants to trans­form stu­dents in state col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties into sip­sips of which he is the great­est prac­ti­tioner. He wants col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties to be like the cur­rent ver­sion of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives that is be­ing led by a dis­cred­ited for­mer pres­i­dent.

The truth is many of the best prod­ucts of, say, the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines, and who even­tu­ally be­came among this coun­try’s great­est pub­lic ser­vants, were forged in the fire of stu­dent ac­tivism. Con­versely, those who be­came tyran­ni­cal as lead­ers weren’t. Crit­i­cal or an­a­lyt­i­cal think­ing can’t be de­vel­oped by “sip­sip­ism.”

Sip­sips, ob­vi­ously don’t have a mind of their own. They wait for ev­ery state­ment or act of their boss then nod their heads and even sing songs of praise for that state­ment or act. The pop­u­lar ex­am­ple: when their boss or­ders them to jump from a build­ing, their re­sponse is al­ways, “from what floor?”

Pathetic, isn’t it?/suns­tar Cebu

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