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Selective activism

/ 12:01 AM November 11, 2014

As an Iskolar ng Bayan, I am exposed every day to the activities of student activists. For me, activists have played an important role in society. They have fought for the welfare of students, not only of the University of the Philippines but of other state universities and colleges and schools as well. They have also participated in public conversations on pressing issues, such as rising gas and electricity prices. Their support for the abolition of the pork barrel is commendable, and should be continued.

However, I cannot help but wonder about their apparent silence on two current issues: the Chinese occupation of Philippine islands; and the charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

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While fighting (rightly) for justice for Jennifer (Jeffrey) Laude, they focus too much on proposing the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement, rather than on the murder case itself. A transgender was recently murdered in Quezon, but I haven’t seen any news of them rallying for justice for this victim. I am beginning to wonder if the Laude murder would have been quickly forgotten had the suspect not been an American. It seems every time anything that has to do with the United States happens, they almost immediately march to the US Embassy or to Mendiola Bridge. On the other hand, these activists have almost never marched on the Chinese Embassy, even at the height of the Scarborough issue. I am aware that a few activists have also spoken out against China, but they are very few; the most vocal are nowhere to be seen on the streets whenever an issue against China arises.

Another thing: They have filed a number of impeachment complaints against President Aquino. However, despite the many issues hounding Vice President Binay (e.g., the Makati City Hall Building II, the senior citizens’ cake issue, and the “Binay Hacienda”), they do not seem to be as eager to file an impeachment complaint against the Vice President. In fact, I have yet to see a news report of the activists rallying and burning effigies of the Vice President.

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I have been pondering this for a long time, especially because the activists mostly belong to groups affiliated with the Makabayan bloc. Their name implies that they truly love the country and will do everything for it. I believe that these activists are nationalistic, and their fight to maintain our sovereignty, their fight against corruption, and their support for the masses should be commended. The government is not perfect. It can, and does, make mistakes. It is the role of everyone—allies, opposition members or activists—to remind the government of its mistakes and what possible solutions should be done.

If these activists are to fully live up to their name, they must end their apparent silence on these two issues and rally for all Filipinos whether the issues involved hound the administration, opposition or other countries.

—EZEKIEL DE JESUS, Quezon City

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