Written by Jeys Cabral
“Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.”
I can’t even remember how many times I’ve heard this in my 22 years of existence and it’s funny how soooo many Filipinos claim to support this statement/quote by Dr. Jose Rizal, but refuse to believe that teenagers and youngsters today are politically aware or politically “woke” enough to stand up for what they believe in.
3 months ago, November 18, 2016, the late President and Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos was buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. in Taguig, which came as a surprise for many, including myself. The last news I heard, before the controversial S U R P R I S E (because surprise naman talaga, hello! #SneakAF) burial, was on November 2016, when the Supreme Court allowed a “hero’s burial” for Marcos by a vote of 9-5. Journalists, however, weren’t able to get the exact date as to when the remains of the late president will be brought to the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
I thought that November 18, 2016, was just another boring day in the office, but boy, was I wrong. HAHAHAH. I saw a news report link on Facebook, which was posted by Rappler saying that the remains of Marcos were being flown to Manila for the burial rites and was scheduled to be buried a few hours past lunch time. His burial surprised lots of people and he managed to ruin my lunch! I mean, can you be more evil than that? Okay, but kidding aside, this definitely #Shookt me to my core. And it still angers me to this day whenever I think about it. And I could go on and ramble about why this still upsets me, but I think that it would stray away from the point of my blog entry (and also I don’t want to bore you guys to death).
Naturally, most of Marcos’ critics protested out on the streets once they caught wind of what was about to happen, this included the students from my former and present schools: St. Scholastica’s College, Manila, DLS-CSB, and DLSU. And I was so proud of these young men and women for being so woke and for exercising their right to be heard at such a young age. (see photos below)
Most unfortunately, and as expected, there were many who didn’t think it was apropriate for “kids” to be protesting outside of their classrooms at a very young age. It all started with a post from Mocha Uson’s Facebook page. If you haven’t heard of Mocha Uson, she’s a former sexy star, she was part of the group called Mocha Girls, and she had a blog that gives sex advices to couples. Currently, she’s hardcore supporter of the Duterte administration, runs a Facebook page called “Mocha Uson Blog” which has approximately 4 million followers, a columnist for the Philippine Star and an MTRCB board member (appointed by none other than President Duterte himself). Wow, from 0 to 100, REAL quick, diba? Hahahahaha!
Anyway, on November 17, 2016, Mocha Uson posted this on Facebook (see photo above). She posted a conversation that she had with a “concerned parent” from St. Scho, Manila. The parent claims that the school required the students to join the noise barrage to protest the burial of Marcos. The parent also claims that this is a form of “child abuse” and this led to people assuming that my school forces students to shove their beliefs on other people’s throats. Suddenly, my school was being bashed for allegedly “abusing” the students and requiring them to protest on issues that they “don’t understand” because they’re “too young” to know about these things. Thanks for underestimating the youth, folks! *sarcasm*
One of my high school batchmates posted a photo of two kinds of circulars distributed by the school (see photo above), she clarified that the “blank” circular was not entirely blank, and that the parents will always have the option to prohibit their children from attending such activities and that this is not considered child abuse if the child knows what she is fighting for. Pero siyempre, magpapatalo ba si ka-DDS Mocha? (see photo below) The sexy starlet turned columnist took a screenshot of my batchmate’s post and retorted saying that she never said anything about child abuse and told my batchmate to “research research din pag may time.” That’s rich coming from her. HAHAHA. Dami mo nang fake news and credit grabbing news na pinapakalat, ‘wag ako, bes. Nakakaloka ka. Hahaha.
I know this blog entry should have been posted 3 months ago, but just in case this reaches her highness, Mocha Uson today, I would just like to point out a few things as an alumna of SSC:
- St. Scho N E V E R required its students to join any protest that was against the students’ beliefs, nor was it considered part of the grading system of the school. There will always be a circular/reply slip provided by the school informing the students’ (this includes grade school, high school, and college students) parents or guardians about an outside-of-school activity. The parents and guardians will always have the option to allow or prohibit their children from attending certain activities they don’t agree on.
- Second of all, SSC is and always has been committed to providing holistic formation to mold their students into critically aware and socially responsible agents of change. This means that the students are not confined to the four walls of the school. We were immersed and exposed to different kinds of environment so that we can understand the situation of our society better and get to know the issues first-hand. We weren’t trained to be robots, we were trained to be socially aware and be of service to others. Bakit nung nagkaro’n ng noise barrage ‘yung Scho to raise awareness sa Lumad Killings, sa SAF44, etc. wala kaming narinig mula sa inyo? Luh, nag-nitpick sila oh.
- I HONESTLY don’t understand why a parent would directly contact Mocha Uson with her concerns about a circular produced by the school. What kind of parent would even think of contacting Mocha Uson first? If she was really concerned about the safety and well-being of her child, she can directly contact the administration office, the high school or grade school principal, or even the section adviser of the child. Sa dami-dami ng p’wedeng pagtanungan sa loob ng St. Scho, bakit so Mocha Uson pa? Taga-dun din ba siya? *rolls eyes*
We were forced, however, to eat those free German cookies they distributed after our retreat and were costumes for dance class, but those weren’t… ya know… serious. So don’t tell me that we are “too young” to know what’s going on.
After that seriously infuriating series of events, and after a hundred thousand more hateful comments from the “supporters” of Mocha Uson and the Marcos administration, of course, we weren’t going stand idly and let them cyberbully our young Scholasticans. An alumna of SSC created a Facebook page called “Ora et Laban” and asked (ASKED okay, NOT FORCED) for the support from our fellow Scholasticans, to read and sign an SSC Concerned Alumnae Statement (see photo above) stating that the we, as Scholastican alumnae, stand in solidarity with and support the students, parents, teachers, and administrators in their protest against the burial of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and condemning the attacks against our alma mater claiming that young Scholasticans are being abused and forced to protest to advance a political agenda.. The statement was released to the different broadcasting companies (ABS-CBN, GMA, Rappler, etc.) on November 24, 2016 with more than 1000 e-signatures from the alumni attached to this statement. Major broadcasting companies speculated that the administrators of St. Scho The incident also triggered former and current students to change their profile pictures on Facebook and sharing their experiences in St. Scho. The hashtag #ThankYouStScho also became viral in an attempt to counteract Mocha Uson and her (troll) supporters. Senator Risa Hontiveros, an alumna of SSC high school even joined the bandwagon! 🙂 (See photo below)
And I thought that was the end of our counteract against these haters. However, less than a week after release of the statement, I learned that SSC together with DLSU and CSB will be having their own protest/noise barrage in Taft Avenue on November 30, 2016. This was in line with the protest against the burial of Marcos at the EDSA Shrine. (see photos below) Thank the heavens and the 1987 Constitution for our right to protest!
It was a tough November for the Scholastican community and for the youth in general, and I think that it’s amazing and scary to think that new media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can really make a difference in our lives. The issue started from a simple post on Facebook, and it automatically had a ripple effect that spread out, if not the entire country, throughout the metro. The issue last for a little bit over two (2) weeks and it was mainly because Mocha kept posting so much about the protests and complaining that most of the protesters weren’t even born during the martial law period to understand the issue.
If Malcolm Gladwell were to critique the campaign against Mocha Uson and the cyberbullies, he’d say that it didn’t count as activism because the statement that was released, the #ThankYouStScho, and the changing of people’s profile picture on Facebook was all done in the comforts of our home. However, in our most recent discussion in Pop Culture, Zuckerman discussed the power of participatory civics. To refresh our memories, participatory civics are a form of civic engagement that use digital media as a core component. Which means the actions of the Scholastican Alumnae weren’t wasted after all! Woohoo! Zuckerman also discussed that there are two types of participatory civics: the thin participatory civic and the thick participatory civic. I think the events that transpired are both thin and think participatory civics. Thin participatory civic was seen when my fellow alumnae placed their e-signatures on the SSC Concerned Alumnae Statement, when they changed their profile pictures to one of their picture in high school and added the hashtag #ThankYouStScho in their captions, and when they showed up to the protests. Thick participatory civic was evident when the administrator of St. Scho organized the noise barrage and handed out circulars for the students’ parents seeking their approval. Thick participatory civic was also seen through the subsequent actions of the Alumnae when the collaborated with different schools to protest against Mocha Uson’s claims and more importantly, against the burial of the late dictator.
It’s frustrating to think how most of the elders think of us millennials to be, what the Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar labeled us, temperamental brats. Can we go back to the time when people could actually appreciate and see the potential in the youth? I saw a recent post on Buzzfeed addressing the politics in the Philippines. The last bullet of the post goes something like, “ANG HIRAP MONG MAHALIN PILPINAS,” I hate to agree with that, but it’s true. Pero sabi nga nila, ‘di ba ‘pag mahal mo, ipaglalaban mo? #Hugot Labyu, my motherland!