A year of resistance
This new administration set the tone from which this Collegian started its term. The popular president initially gained strong support from various sectors especially the poor, yet a year after, conflicts and contradictions remain to be the hallmark of the administration.
As such, the publication sought to challenge the president’s myth of change as the state yet again waged an all-out-war against the masses. This regime has blatantly disregarded the people’s right to life — from political violence through human rights violations (HRVs), police brutality and counterinsurgency, to economic violence against farmers, contractual workers and the national minorities.
At the front of this attack is the drug war which has claimed an estimated 7,000 lives in combined police and vigilante killings — widespread and targeted to the poor. Around 50 cases of political killings have also been documented by rights group Karapatan under the regime.
Amid these attacks, the people did not falter in asserting their rights. This year marked the breaking of hacienda walls as tracts of land were distributed to farmers like in Hacienda Luisita under the progressive leadership of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.
The appointment of progressive leaders like him and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo was a most welcome change for the people. However, the Commission on Appointments remains adamant in not confirming the two, even rejecting former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez who staunchly criticized big mining companies and closed illegal mines.
In this troubled national environment, the Collegian recognizes its crucial role in exposing the truth and siding with the marginalized. In a society marred by inequality and injustice, the media, with its power to effect real change, cannot afford to feign neutrality or objectivity.
The administration is quick to label such reportage that are critical of its policies as fake news. But in the continuing struggle for people’s rights, our most potent weapon is the truth.
The truth has become our rallying point in the resistance against the government’s atrocities and lies. Most vulgar of these is the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani which we condemned and protested in the streets. Despite not living in those dark days, the youth are not ignorant of the large-scale corruption, summary executions and enforced disappearances under his dictatorship.
This willingness to take defiant, decisive action is a testament to the media’s power to influence political consciousness and elicit action. The Collegian as the student publication of the national university will not back down from such a vital responsibility. It has always been consistent in its stand on crucial issues in the university and the country, from advocating for free education to supporting the peace talks with the government and the communist groups.
Yet, the publication recognizes the challenges it faced in the year that was, some of which will carry over to the succeeding term. In this term’s opening editorial, we vowed to defy the barriers that hindered the Collegian’s performance, from the lack of trained staff and editors, to releasing reportage in different avenues despite withholding of funds by the administration.
As such, we also confront the need to recruit more members and meet the weekly demands of our press work, for resistance must be sustained and silence is never an option.
After a year, the country is only faced with more conflicts and contradictions. The Collegian recognizes these conditions from which we continue to assess, historicize, analyze and criticize for as the prospects of change become bleak, the people’s resistance will continue to thrive. ■
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