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By Adrian Adove
"Mga ganap na taga-U.P. na tayo!" That was what a friend of mine said while we were on our way to the EDSA Shrine last January 18. And it is almost always true that the words activist, rallyist, and many other words with the same meaning are associated with the University of the Philippines and its students and faculty.
It is interesting that U.P. students remain vigilant at all times and that most of us join mobilizations and rallies rather frequently. This vigilance enables us to face and fight the problems that the University and the nation in general encounter. Through rallies, we have shown our disgust and dissention as well as over some of the government's policies. Mobilizations also provide a venue for us to articulate and protect our interests. And it is undeniable that the vigilance of the U.P. community has been instrumental in producing change, no matter how small or how large.
However, mobilizations and rallies should not dominate our activities such that our academic concerns would be taken for granted. We should remember that we are here in U.P. primarily to study and to prepare ourselves for the future. I remember another friend who opined (months ago), "Rally na lang nang rally. Ayaw na lamang mag-aral. Pagkatapos naman ng rally, balik uli sa dati 'yung ginagawa ng gobyerno. E hindi naman masyadong pinapakinggan ng gobyerno ang mga nagra-rally. Mas pakikinggan ka kapag nakatapos ka na ng pag-aaral. Kaya mas mabuti pa, mag-aral na muna tapos tsaka mag-initiate ng pagbabago." Although what he pointed out may be true in some cases but not in others, what I can see from his statement is that we should try to balance our participation in rallies and our academic performance.
If we really want to express our concerns over different issues, think of various ways to do so. Joining rallies and mobilizations are preferable, but in situations in which we may not be able to join such activities (for instance, our parents did not allow us to join the rallies; or our professors still wanted to push through with scheduled exams), we can still be part of the fight. A professor of mine suggested writing letters to newspaper editors, calling up radio and TV programs, and the like. There are numerous ways to allow our voices to be heard. We just have to think of the appropriate means in particular situation.