UP has always been known to be at the forefront of activism. Back during my college days, activists trying to encourage other students to join their cause were a normal daily thing that I see while on my way to my next class. I guess it goes to say that being an activist is part of the package that you have to contend with when you become part of the UP community.

But I would have to say that one of my realizations in college was that activism have different forms. Mainstream knowledge will always associate activism as going out on the streets and shouting your lungs out in protest… well, it is not the only way and neither is it downright effective. I guess with the onset of the modern day technology, activism have taken various forms. In the same way, with the advent of better understanding on peaceful resolutions, I think the most effective way of activism is when both parties meet peacefully onto one table to discuss the matter at hand.

We have seen two different faces of activism from UP these past weeks. Two different approaches to which, from my point of view, one was straightforward, respectful, well-thought of, and delivered the right message while the other one was straightforward, offensive, embarrassing, and sent out mixed reactions. I believe that in both cases, the subject in contention was valid but the means that were used to deliver the message made the difference.

The UP Pep Squad made another milestone when it conquered the UAAP Cheerdancing Stage with their theme on “Equality”. I have watched the video of their performance and they have delivered their message right to the spot. It was amazing to see the guys being lifted by the ladies and doing aerial stunts that are usually assigned to their female counterparts. What was more amazing was that there were parts of the performance where you could no longer identify whether it is the men or the women who were being tossed around. It was a well-thought of performance that hit right on the spot. It made the rounds among the audience and, as it turned out, they may have not grabbed the top spot but their performance was the one talked about.

This kind of activism makes you proud to be part of the UP community. It was a creative approach to make and take a stand through a medium that is not a “usual” forum for this kind of advocacies and yet the group was able to deliver a heartfelt message that reached beyond the walls of Araneta Center. It made the right impact to the audience and it was talked about. I have to admit, that even in my work place, it was a topic that was discussed the day after. It was able to put to the front a subject that we proudly advocate as UPians and it educated a larger audience to this reality of inequality in our society.

Another incident that hugged the headlines last week was the mobbing of Secretary Abad by UP students as he was leaving the grounds of the School of Economics in UP Diliman. As I read through the report, Secretary Abad was invited as a speaker and as he was leaving the venue was assaulted by a mob of UP students hurling crumpled paper and placards on the Secretary. It even came to the point, that a student collared him as he was boarding his vehicle.

The whole incident was plainly embarrassing to our beloved UP. The act of these students was a show of disrespect and must not be condoned. I believe in what they are fighting for… the truth behind the PDAF but they have lost their bearing when they resorted to acts of violence against Secretary Abad. There is no room for violence inside the campus.

These groups and students probably think that they have sent their message strong. Yes, they did, along with the same message that a proper education does not guarantee an individual the strength of character. They have proven that and their actions speak of it. I don’t think that being physical with Secretary Abad gave them the bearing on what they stand for. Did they get to educate people about the PDAF issue with their mobbing incident? No. But they did get people to talk about the incident – how their means was plainly rude and an uneducated response that was totally uncalled for.

UP will always be a bastion of freedom and we all need to realize that with freedom comes responsibility. We need to creatively respond on how we address this illness in our society rather than resorting to violence. Our aim is to educate the people around us on how to be vigilant and to be proactively involved in building a better country. In my books, a wise man will exhaust all efforts to address the problem amicably and will never resort to violence unless it will solve the problem.

And that is a piece of my mind.

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Rave: The Christmas season has officially started in the Philippines. Lakas maka-good vibes! We are now seeing mall sales happening left and right. To add to the good vibes, some malls are already playing Christmas Carols to add to the cheers.

Rant: Traffic has been really bad. EDSA or C5 – it is all the same. To top it all off, the MRT is not helping ease up the congestion. Again, a concrete solution must be consolidated by the government to solve the problem.

Rave: Mount Mayon is on a tantrum episode but what is good about it is that their local government seem to be very adamant about implementing evacuation procedures to protect its constituents. Keep it up and I am hoping that with the measures that the local government is taking, no lives will be lost. Let us pray for everyone’s safety in Bicol.

Rant: Corruption accusations are being hurled left and right. I think this is the signal that elections are probably around the corner. Everyone is saying that they are innocent and yet everyone is saying that they are guilty. Be smart, Pinoys!

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