By: Gaby Flores
Student protesters comprise a vital part of today’s political landscape. Shibby de Guzman, a St. Scholastica student, was named one of TIME’s 30 Most Influential Teens last 2017 following a viral photo of de Guzman protesting the burial of Ferdinand Marcos, uniform on and megaphone in hand.
In the midst of all the current political turmoil, the voice of student protesters keeps getting louder and more urgent. Their mettle is now matched by the academic institutions they hail from.
The University of the Philippines is always the first to join the fray. Today, September 21, on the anniversary of President Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of martial law, there hangs a huge white banner with the words “NEVER FORGET, NEVER AGAIN” above the university’s front steps, while university president Danilo L. Concepcion announced that “I am encouraging all administrators, faculty, students, and staff throughout the System to participate in meaningful and peaceful activities.” Now, other universities are following suit.
The presidents of Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University have issued a joint statement emphasizing their commitment to fighting against injustices and tyranny. “The members of our academic communities cannot abdicate their duty,” they write, in an effort to show that student protesters have the support of their alma maters.
The statement was posted on both Ateneo and La Salle’s official Twitter accounts, their solidarity speaking volumes as it goes beyond their famed rivalry. Twitter netizens are also taking notice: tweets saying “Thank you ADMU and DLSU Presidents” and “thank u ateneo and la salle grabe” are floating around amidst the announcements and photo updates.
As protesters continue to march from Mendiola to Luneta, it helps to know that they have the support of Manila’s academia. The joint statement from Ateneo and La Salle exemplifies the fact that educational institutions are, first and foremost, bastions of knowledge and truth—and should act as such.