“We, the member student publications of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, strongly call and urge every campus journalist to join us in commemorating the evils witnessed by the nation during the Marcos dictatorship. In honor of our brave predecessors Liliosa Hilao, Leticia Ladlad, Ditto Sarmiento and Antonio Tagamolila, we will never forget the horrors that the Marcos regime tried to hide but never succeeded. We commit ourselves to the highest standards of journalism to serve the oppressed and exploited masses. We won’t and will never forget!”
The Bedan Roar is the Senior High School student publication of San Beda College. Its recent issue that tackled social issues was disallowed by school authorities from distribution because it was deemed “too critical” of the government of San Beda College of Law alumnus Rodrigo Duterte.
The following statement was issued and signed by members of The Bedan Alumni Association, former editors and staff of The Bedan, the official student publication of the San Beda College of Arts and Sciences.
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We the alumni of The Bedan student publication loudly express our solidarity with the editors and staff of The Bedan Roar, the student publication of San Beda University Senior High School.
We also strongly protest the repressive actions of the school officials who ordered the censorship of The Bedan Roar’s latest issue.
The issue is being banned from circulation as it was deemed too critical of the powers that be in Malacañang.
This is a blatant betrayal of the values generations of Bedans have been taught: love of the truth and to fear neither fire nor blood.
We alumni of The Bedan are all too familiar when those in power wield their authority to muzzle the voice that dare ask who, what, where, when, how and most importantly why.
Not too long ago, our beloved The Bedan was also under a blitzkrieg of attack and almost ceased publication because of the actions of a few ill-intentioned men with authority.
We now see similar attacks happening to our brothers and sisters in ink who remain critical of men with authority.
There is an old saying that states: “May you live in interesting times.” The phrase is allegedly a translation of a Chinese curse deftly cloaked in the guise of a blessing.
It is not far-fetched to feel and believe that we have indeed been subjected to the curse of interesting times. We say this as we The Bedan alumni observe that no other time in recent history have we been deeply divided as we are now with the current state of the nation.
There is a heated if not altogether violent conflict over principles that our so-called democracy is anchored on. In our history, there have always been starkly different views on the rule of law, respect for human rights and freedom of expression. What is disturbing in these most interesting of times is that there is a fast growing number of Filipinos, including our own families and friends, who would gladly surrender these constitutionally-enshrined values in the belief that it will pave the way for a more peaceful and prosperous country.
They would gladly acquiesce their rights to provide the state absolute control over governing the so called “un-governable.” They would gladly silence any voice of dissent that will get in the way of the state’s vision of change.
In their version of the Philippines, there is no room for those who question, those who doubt, and those who dare challenge.
Indeed, we are living in the most interesting, and the most dangerous of times, where criminal justice has been all but replaced by extra-judicial killing, public discourse has been supplanted by social-media trolling and political debates bulldozed by gerrymandering.
We are at a time in our nation’s history when our beliefs and actions will play a critical role in what the future will look like for future generations. The stand that we take now on the rule of law, respect for human rights and freedom of expression will define who we really are as a people.
The young editors and staff of The Bedan Roar took a stand and those entrusted to mold their characters tried to silence their voice.
May we remind these so called educators that history is not kind to tyrants and their minions.
There is another related, again allegedly Chinese maxim that goes: “Better be a dog in peace, than a man in anarchy.”
The clarion is calling, and we Bedans must definitively and unequivocally answer it for we are not dogs but Lions after all.