Some of you may have wondered why I intend to run for a position in the Agriculture Student Council. I also presume that you have mixed reactions about it. Some of you think that it is odd for me to run for a student office. Some (of you) might think that I am making some kind of a joke, that I am creating a mockery out the Ateneo student political system. Some (of you) might think that I have no ability of being a leader, therefore no chance of winning the election.
No matter what people think, honestly, I will not complain. They’re your words, not mine. Right now, the most important thing that I could say is I believe what I believe is right, and that my belief shall stand firm until the day that I can no longer breathe. That is why I come to gather you all so that I may speak for what I stand for and what I fight for. I have gone through so much: I had to put up with the requirements while juggling through schoolwork, I almost lost my flash disk, right before passing the requirements, and I have gone through many contemplations while doing mundane activities in school. I may be the underdog or the runt of the litter by some of you, but I know that I deem (to be worthy), for God knows where I stand.
Before confirming my intention to run for Third Year Representative, I planned to run under Alyansang Atenista, because of their years of experience in the political scene, so I thought that I would become one of them. However, when I approached someone from them one day to run under their banner, I was too late. Their slots were full. Therefore, I decided to join the other party, Buhat Estudyante, and I was lucky to be one of them, because nowadays when you are running for a college council election, it is difficult being independent, considering the expenses that you have to shoulder with like 10,000 posters, 10,000 fliers, a few big tarpaulins, and other stuff. Note that I am not saying anything against AA, since BE is only via media (in the middle).
From that first day, I found out that BE campaigns for active student participation. Nowadays in our college life, we become very passive when it comes to student activities. According to BE leaders, sophomores and juniors are usually the most passive in the student body, unlike the freshmen since they’re very new to the system, and the seniors who are one step away from graduation and currently making the most of their days in school. Furthermore, what I learned from them the most important is that every single measly thing that you do makes many things grow. For example, when I was the beadle and I disseminate information to the students from the teacher, so I make things grow by spreading the word on important news by the teacher. In addition, a popular example of that is the famous Sermon on the Mount by Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), when Christ (peace be upon him) teaches people about God’s love for all humanity.
Some of you might ask, “What inspired you to run for office?” Well, for starters, when I listened on the Internet on the speeches of Martin Luther King, I realized that I have to step up and conquer life’s challenges to pursue the vision of fair rights of man. Everyone of every lifestyle should have a just and fair treatment that no one should judge for being different from the rest. My vision added further when I saw the protests in Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria, it made me to pursue to stand up my rights and sticking to what I believe is right. I realized from the Egyptians that I do not have to submit by some dictator who just goes around telling people what to do.
Some of you might also ask, “What are we expecting from you?” or “What’s in it for us?” I can say only few things that I believe in.
I believe that everyone has the right to a free and responsible voice (opinion), which the people may speak out their opinions and/or grievances. Nowadays, there are a lot of smart mouths that mess with the people’s right to free speech, even in the most important matters. When I was in my Muslim Religious Studies class, my Ustadja (teacher) tells me and the class that even when the receiver knows what the sender is trying to says, the receiver should pretend that he/she does know about it so that the sender may not be insulted. This is one of the problems in our society, that even in the most excruciatingly important matters, insults come in. Why? Is it because my voice is never important like the voices of political giants? Or is it because that I’m some kind of a second-rate citizen and therefore have no right to free speech. It does not matter to me, for I fear no man but God.
I believe that society must restore to its very origin of peace and understanding. No one should have to be insulted for his/her own mistake. This is one of the causes of detoriation in society today, when people take advantage of showing their pride in other people’s expense. I don’t have to put up with this, and neither will you. With too many tyrants around, freedom is but a luxury. How would you feel if you have been insulted for what you believe in, for what you think that is right, or being insulted for your mistake? Every day, when a group sees a member in mistake, he/she blurts out an insult to carry burdens of guilt over his/her group member, and uses an excuse such as “it’s for your own good”. Is this the Ateneo way? I think the opposite. Pinch me, I must be dreaming. What this society really needs is a nice way of pointing out so that the person may understand without feeling tension to the leader. That way, a vibrant leader-member relationship occurs.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all people are created equal.” Well if Honest Abe was talking about race, in the Philippines the problem is the superiority of wealth and the status of belief. Nowadays, people think being rich is greater than being poor. I do not think it is very fair enough. People have rights to fair treatment, no matter the status of wealth. Everybody knows that 85% of the national population is poor, so why do they have to brag all their wealth? Everyone earns an honest living, you know. Moreover, everyone has the right to express his/her own cultural heritage, as it is part of the person inside, and that is what makes the nation diverse and vibrant.
Some of you might have something against me, and I might have something against you. If you have a grudge on me, speak up and we will have an understanding. If I have a grudge on you, I will speak and we will have an understanding. I know that I had tensions with some of you, but I just want you to know that we have to let it set aside, bygones be bygones, so that we may understand with each other, and so that we may start a New Year fresh, and a New Year to serve the student body. However, no matter how many obstacles I have to get through, I always know and stick to what I believe is right. As I end this piece, I share to you a few words from Martin Luther King’s final speech:
“I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”