Youthspeak: Oppression lives on, so will the revolution


On November 30, progressive youth organizations, student councils, and student publications under the College Editors’ Guild of Philippines gathered in the Metro-Baguio Youth Assembly to commemorate Andres Bonifacio and his heroic deeds.

In Bonifacio’s time, Filipinos were slaves in their own country. The Spanish promoted social stratification and placed themselves at the top, enriching themselves at the Filipinos’ expense. The government deprived the Filipinos of education to keep them blind to injustice and oppression. Even if this was unsuccessful, they made it clear that criticizing them and the system they benefited from meant imprisonment, exile or even death.

Despite this, Bonifacio educated himself about the Philippines’ situation and resolved to do something about it. Believing that only a revolution would grant the country true independence, he organized the ‘Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan’ (KKK) or simply ‘Katipunan’. Under his guidance, the Katipunan fought against their oppressors to free the poor and the marginalized, who were abused and doomed to grow poorer under the Spanish regime.

Bonifacio embodied nationalism. His revolution was for a free, independent nation—not a colony, and certainly not the neo-colony the Philippines has turned into.

Until today, we are ruled by a system rigged to make the wealthy wealthier, and the poor poorer. Or dead.

We remain under the thumb of the imperialist United States. The US already exercises significant control over our abundant resources, importing labor and raw materials at a low cost and exporting the finished products at a higher price. Still it seeks to gain more through the implementation of international trade policies.

Furthermore, our farmers, the backbone of our livelihood and economy, are underpaid and have no claim over their own lands, lands they themselves cultivated. And as shown in the Hacienda Luisita massacre, protests can mean death.

Our fascist government, using the existence of rebels and terrorists as an excuse to prioritize military development and weapons purchases, vilify anyone who expresses discontent. Our President buried a dictator in a cemetery for heroes. He supposedly wages a war against drugs, but only kills the poor suspects, bypassing their right to due process. More than 13,000 have died, not all of them confirmed drug pushers or drug users, while the wealthy suspects get to keep their comfortable lifestyles.

History has shown that inaction has only ever helped the oppressors, never the oppressed. And history has shown that liberty isn’t free. It has to be fought for. Many of the benefits we enjoy today (e.g. free education, minimum wage, women’s rights) exist because of dissent, because of protest, because of progressive citizens speaking up and taking to the streets to make the government listen to their demands.

In line with this, the CEGP calls upon fellow students and citizens to act. Begin by starting discussions and spreading awareness about Philippine social realities. Organize into groups and formulate resolutions in answer to these realities. Keep studying to improve our overall analysis of the Philippine situation. Mobilize and protest. Let the people know this is not how it should be.

Generations before us had risen and fallen in the struggle for true independence. It’s up to us to continue the fight. #