The Ateneo and La Salle administrations’ failure to protest human rights violations

Administrators of two elite Philippine schools seem to prove what some have been suspecting all along – that the teachers in the country are teaching students what to think instead of how to think. Before the first encounter between the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and De La Salle University (DLSU) in this year’s UAAP basketball season held recently, the heads of the adminstrations of both schools issued memorandums asking students and spectators alike to wear black during the game “to express [their] solidarity with victims of human rights violations and with all others struggling to uphold human rights in the country.”

ateneo-dlsu_wear_black_gameThe directive was an epic fail. Only a handful of spectators wore black. This is also a failure on the part of the administrators to read the sentiments of the public, which includes their own students. Worse of all, they were trying to inject politics in a basketball game that’s supposed to foster first and foremost, sportsmanship. It’s such a shame the faculty members were promoting partisanship instead. It’s a good thing most people saw through the agenda of these faculty members.

The administrations of the two schools also complicated matters for themselves when they suggested that wearing black also meant that the wearer is opposed to the possible burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The school administrators were including too many issues in one protest. Some critics said these school administrators looked desperate because they were trying to use a captive audience to rally their causes. They probably knew that organising a street rally would be difficult nowadays seeing that rallies have become passé thanks to the embarrassing failures of previous people power revolts that did not bring about real change in the country.

What is so baffling is the fact that there were so many victims of human rights abuses during former President BS Aquino’s term, but the Ateneo and La Salle administrators did not ask basketball fans to wear black during games in the past to express solidarity with victims of human rights violations and with all others struggling to uphold human rights in the country. No wonder some people find their request so lame and lacking in conviction.

If these school administrators were really serious about upholding human rights, they would have spoken out during BS Aquino’s term too when the Lumads, indigenous people of Mindanao, were being massacred in their own lands. There was also the Kidapawan farmers who were gunned down during a protest against a lack of government help during a prolonged drought. Incidences of murders perpetrated by “riding-in-tandem” assassins were already rampant during BS Aquino’s term too. It’s not like they only started happening when Duterte took over the Presidency. But some people make it look like “extra-judicial killings” only started in the last few months.

As a matter of fact, BS Aquino’s human rights record was considered a failure by Human Rights Watch in a report published January 2016:

An international watchdog condemned the human rights record of President Benigno Aquino III, saying he has failed to make the reforms needed for a lasting legacy.

In its World Report 2016 released on Thursday, January 28, Human Rights Watch said there has been “no real progress on justice for serious abuses” committed under the Aquino administration.

It added that with just 5 months left in the President’s 6-year term, his performance when it comes to human rights has been “disappointing.”

“Since his election, President Aquino held out the promise of a rights-respecting Philippines for which he has sadly been unable to deliver,” Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

[…]

Human Rights Watch said 65 leftist activists, human rights defenders, and alleged supporters of communist rebels were killed in the first 10 months of 2015 alone, according to data from local groups.

Since Aquino rose to power in 2010, nearly 300 have been killed.

Justice remains elusive as well, said the global watchdog, because “killings implicating the military and paramilitary groups almost never result in prosecutions.”

Academics from elite schools like the Ateneo and La Salle should be smart enough to realise that protests about issues should not be forced upon others. If people want to wear black and make a statement, they can do it on their own and if others want to join them, that is well and good. How the respective administrations of the AdMU and DLSU did it was a bit pathetic. It was akin to begging people to join their cause. But the timing was bad. They should have known not to mess with basketball fans and their basketball game. As they say, sports and politics don’t mix.

[Photo courtesy Manila Bulletin.]

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28 Comments on “The Ateneo and La Salle administrations’ failure to protest human rights violations”

  1. Dear Ateneo & DLSU admins, why don’t you teach your students on not to take drugs, how to make changes & progress in our country & help the poor & marginalized people instead of making a protest against our current president? So this is the reason why our country didn’t progress very well because you’re using your freedom of speech & expression in a wrong way, in other words your spreading hateful & ignorant expressions. Move on guys, and please instead of making a protest on it, why don’t you help our president on bringing down the drug problems like construct more drug rehabs for the drug addicts, give a decent jobs & livelihood programs for them, etc. Its simple as that for the sake of our country!

  2. Aquino had donated a huge amount of our taxpayers’ money, stolen by Aquino thru DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel, etc…to Ateneo and La Salle !

    It is not surprising they are giving back the favor in return.

    During the Aquino era, there were: the Hacienda Luisita massacre of his peasants/serfs; the Mendiola massacre;the Maguindanao Journalists massacre; the Chinese Tourists Luneta massacre; the Lumad massacre; the Mamapasano SAF massacre , etc…

    No one encouraged no one, to wear Black. These were gruesome massacres…done during the Aquino era !

    It is obvious the Ateneo and La Salle academics are politicizing their students. They want them to beome YellowTards !

  3. The professors of both universities let their students speak for themselves. Both universities teach their students SOCIAL JUSTICE AND TRANSFORMATION where we put others before ourselves. I am a freshman Atenean and I have not experienced being brainwashed to “worship” the Aquino’s. We are free to think and uphold our beliefs. We students rallied against Lumad killings. We mourned for the death of Kidapawan Farmers. We are informed of the success and even the failures of PNoy and we do not despise Duterte’s goal of bringing positive change because we also want change just like the rest of our fellowmen. Stop thinking of nonsense and think rationally rather than thinking with hatred and anger.

    The actions of our admins may have disappointed many just like how we got disappointed by the wrong doings of Duterte. What I meant is, people have their own ways of “freedom of expression” and, at times, it may offend others. I do apologizes for offending you, but I do not apologize for expressing my thoughts and beliefs, which is just like how you stand for your what you believe in.

    I believe that both universities became united since they both believed that this MASSIVE AND NATIONWIDE EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS will bring negative effects to the country. Duterte’s support on this issue will make the society passive and ignorant on HUMAN DIGNITY which is the very foundation of a good and cooperative society.

    Duterte, as a degree holder of law, should acknowledge the individual right of every Filipino. He should think rationally of his actions as he holds the most “powerful” position in this country. Why support the killings of the people whom you must help and serve since YOU, Duterte, are a public servant of EVERY Filipino – the elite, the poor, the criminals.

    People may say that Aquino failed this and that but what matters is now, and we should not trap ourselves in thinking of the “bad” Aquino era and try to mold this present society into a society that promotes discipline and compassion. The country has been divided into two and we should try our best to find our common ground so that Duterte may set his actions right.

      1. Have the Ateneo and La Salle academics, commented about the Drug Lords, Shabu proliferation, Drug Lords intimate relations with former DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima ?

        How about former Interior Sec. Mar Roxas commenting, that he can show anybody where to buy their illegal drugs ?

        if Ateneo and La Salle academics commented on these issues. I would believe, there is no bias on them !

        1. Both universities support the Filipino people NOT the “Yellow Family”. We were against Pork Barrel and other issues in the past under PNoy’s term and now it’s time to look at the present and fix it.

    1. The vote is so important that the constitution does not grant minors full suffrage until they reach the age of 18. I do believe the 10,000-hour rule would apply as well when it comes to making an informed vote. Students are just not immersed enough yet to be able to get a good grasp of the political scene. For typical Pinoy kids, I even feel that 18 is still too young, and that voting age should be moved to 21 years of age.

      What those damasos did was an ECK – extra constitutional koercion…

      1. Why move the voting age to 21 when 18 year old people start paying taxes? They contribute to the economy and they give a portion of their earnings (tax) and so why do you have to take away their right to vote?

        1. save this thought of yours until you’re taxed on your first paycheck, and hopefully, not from the family business.

          not cool being too eager to brand anyone a ‘tard

          worrying where to park your car
          is much less compared to those tards’ problems

    2. Duterte, as a degree holder of law, should acknowledge the individual right of every Filipino. He should think rationally of his actions as he holds the most “powerful” position in this country. Why support the killings of the people whom you must help and serve since YOU, Duterte, are a public servant of EVERY Filipino – the elite, the poor, the criminals.

      Duterte can only help so much. Most of the killing were caused by drug lords and rogue cops afraid of being caught. If you want justice for these peddlers, support Duterte when he goes after the bigger fish.

      1. I do believe the president has his own limits in his power but he never showed any sign of concern the victims of the war. He may have the ambition and power but he uses it unjustly. The bigger fish will just give birth to another fish and the cycle will go on.

      2. Why spend the budget on killings? Why not build better jail cells, or build more rehab centers. Why not fix the very core of why drug use is rampant in the country which is poverty? Why not uplift lives of the people by creating more jobs and giving better education and not spread horror and fear especially that the lower class is most affected in this issue?

        1. He’s not spending budget on killings. Drug lords are doing the killings. There is already budget allocated in the 2017 GAA for rehab centers.

          Congress is the one in charge of the budget. The Executive can only work with what its given.

  4. I don’t exactly know what the Ateneo & DLSU people did to read such a negative write-up about them.

    Did they violate any law or ethics or something in expressing their thoughts on issues that are relevant to everybody? I don’t think they did.

    As I see it, they were just exercising their right of free expression. ????

    1. @gnogid

      You don’t find it strange that the administrators of these so-called “elite” schools did not speak out against human rights abuses during Noynoy’s term? Like I said in my article that you seemed to have ignored:

      What is so baffling is the fact that there were so many victims of human rights abuses during former President BS Aquino’s term, but the Ateneo and La Salle administrators did not ask basketball fans to wear black during games in the past to express solidarity with victims of human rights violations and with all others struggling to uphold human rights in the country. No wonder some people find their request so lame and lacking in conviction.

      If these school administrators were really serious about upholding human rights, they would have spoken out during BS Aquino’s term too when the Lumads, indigenous people of Mindanao, were being massacred in their own lands. There was also the Kidapawan farmers who were gunned down during a protest against a lack of government help during a prolonged drought. Incidences of murders perpetrated by “riding-in-tandem” assassins were already rampant during BS Aquino’s term too. It’s not like they only started happening when Duterte took over the Presidency. But some people make it look like “extra-judicial killings” only started in the last few months.

    2. And Ilda just exercised her right of free expression as well.

      A person or a body doesn’t need to break the law to receive criticism, ypu know…

    3. I see nothing strange in how the Ateneo & DLSU people exercised their right to express their opinion about human rights abuses. They deemed the issue very important so they enjoined their students to join them in speaking out to make their thinking known. It was not the first time that such thing happened. I look at it as a stand alone issue, that is, it only addresses the present events. Since recent incidents of killings have been the issue upfront naturally the pressure will bear on the present administration. Which is supposed to be the case because they are in a position to correct or do something to arrest the escalating incidents of killings.

      No question, the former administration of Pres. PNoy has a lot to answer regarding human rights issue. It has not been an exemplar and, in fact, was heavily criticized for failing to uphold human rights. We all agree on that. However, using the past administration’s record of failure to defend or justify or protect or share fault with the present happening on the same subject will only confuse the issue.

      We also have to consider the present social and political environment we have now which is different from the past. In the first six months of PNoy as president we’ve got to know the “wang-wang policy” (regulating the use of sirens, bells, whistles, horns, etc.), the creation and signing of various executive orders addressing the issue of graft and corruption, etc. and other matters of executive and administrative importance which the Chief Executive was expected to undertake. There was really nothing new except maybe the Manila hostage crisis.

      At present, we have a president who, even before taking office, promised to take on drug syndicates, drug lords and drug pushers and even gave a timeline in solving the problem. Fine, it was good and people welcomed it. The campaign promise generated excitement and hope because the drug problem is really serious. It was the first time that such thing – the chief executive waging a war on drugs and promising to execute people/criminals – happened.

      However, the number of killings undertaken on the war on drugs eventually alarmed a lot of people to the point that they have to expressed their reservation about it. And they have to because the situation is not getting better in terms of individual incidents of questionable killings and the country being put in a bad light for lack of transparency regarding the war on drugs. Coupled with that is the Duterte administration getting the most flak both by personal and political reasons. Not to count the political gaffe at home and abroad.

      What really has to happened now or in the coming days or weeks is for the government to give the people a clear update about the war on drugs and what is being done to fine-tune it. The government must ensure the people that it is doing its very best to save instead of waste lives and see to it that violent people or vigilante groups that are taking advantage of the war on drugs be put to justice. Without the trust and confidence of the people the war on drugs will have a hard time accomplishing its objective.

      The situation is not really pleasant right now. Not for us, not for the government. Something must be done to arrest or stop or improve the situation. But we can only do that by confronting the present and not be bothered by the past.

  5. As Manila Times columnist Bobi Tiglao wrote

    In the three decades since Marcos fell, the Ateneo has not produced a single piece of scholarship that would contribute to our balanced assessment of the Martial Law era, which its president during those years, Fr. Joe Cruz, enthusiastically supported. Yet, they have been sending the message that since they are academics, they have studied objectively the Marcos era.

  6. In the country called the Failippines, of so-called “Ivy League” schools, they become free the day they decide to go to hell.

  7. Ateneo, LaSalle, and other elite schools in the country or abroad, are where the oligarchs, politicians (regardless of their party affiliation), and drug lords send their kids to receive their education on how to acquire and maintain their superiority over the masses. So why would these schools protest against human rights violation?

    1. Why? It’s because “education on how to acquire and maintain their superiority over the masses” is BULLSHIT. So there, I answered an ignorant question made by an ignorant person.

    2. I may have answered indirectly (and also sorry for calling you ignorant) but it’s damn pretty obvious that you get what I mean, right?

      If you don’t, then here’s my explanation: (YAY)

      “education on how to acquire and maintain their superiority over the masses”

      If you think that both of these universities teach their students about money money money, then I can’t blame you since a lot of people who graduate from these universities do become successful, financially. Not all though, some become public school teachers, human rights worker and other jobs that you people won’t even believe in. The problem is that the whole country perceives these two universities as the school for elites. We are not all elites and our schools do not treat “dem elitistas” as VIP’s! Marami sa amin ang habol ay ang quality ng education not the money. These schools are very challenging and it’s not an easy A. No one pays their prof so that he/she can get an A!

      To cut it short and to get to my main point, just treat DLSU & ADMU as one of the universities who mold young people to help and support the country, not to oppress his/her fellowmen.

      I am a Lasallian and I hate and feel offended when people talk crap about my school. “Shut up na lang kasi wala kayong alam”

      1. @FARTFACEJUNIOR, YOU are the one that made the ignorant comment. while schools may have good intentions, the people of the countries GOV’T & OLIGARCHY have no such intentions to ‘help and support’ the country.

        it is EXACTLY the other way around, their aim is to keep a strangle-hold on the economy by any and all means necessary.

        WOW, that was a ignorant a comment you made! KETTLE BLACK MUCH, DUH-MEE?

  8. If anti-Duterte critics could come up with better solutions to the drug proliferation problem, they would have already prevented it from worsening during BS AbNoy’s (and De Lima’s) time. But, they fail to convincingly demonstrate either the aptitude or, at least, genuine inclination to really solve the drug problem. Instead, they’ve been strangely silent & seemingly oblivious to its urgency & magnitude.

    Neither have I seen nor heard from them any equal (if not greater) concern for the rights of victims harmed by these drug criminals——and this is why their real intent remains suspect——It got blatantly obvious that their concern for the so-called “rights” of drug criminals (which they’ve forfeited) supersede the rights of victims.

    Now, all they do is become know-it-all fear-mongering backseat drivers who nitpick Du30’s efforts every chance they get——create every obstruction to force Du30’s efforts to fail or to delay its success. This does nothing but benefit these drug criminals (& supporters), to the detriment of our society’s safety.

    If vermins infestate your house, would you rather have an ineffective bullsh!tter like ‘BS’ AbNoy or a potty-talking but effective exterminator——a no-nonsense DOER with a better chance of obliterating these vermins? I choose the latter.

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