2020-10-21

What it means to be an Atenean

The Ateneo Scholarship Foundation needs to be apolitical, unbiased, and free from controversy and obvious political machinations. It should likewise be free from manipulation of old discredited political images that may cheapen and trivialize the effort of any Ateneo alumnus. The foundation is in the business of uniting all Ateneans for this great endeavour, not in the manufacture of divisive, controversial maneuvers that create immense discord in the Ateneo community worldwide.

We should keep our eyes laser focused on the mission — to provide opportunity to indigent but deserving Filipino scholars as a pathway to intellectual and social mobility ultimately for our country’s good.

“So when I read all these posts about how shameful it was for the former First Lady Imelda Marcos to have even been allowed in our campus, I understood well why there is so much anger over the matter.

How do we now teach our students about history, its distortion, and the dangers of aggressive and politically-motivated historical revisionism when we seem to have no qualms about shaking hands and posing for pictures with a woman who is responsible for the suffering of so many? How can we talk of inclusive development, economics, and the spectre of impoverishment when the one responsible for so much of our poverty is welcomed as a guest of honor?

How can we face our countrymen who are still denied justice, who have lost family, friends and loved ones while we rationalize our association with the criminals responsible for their grief?

These questions I think with clenched fists, and gritted teeth, with sorrow and anger in my heart.”

I hope the Ateneo and the scholarship foundation learn from this controversy to be wary of incessant efforts to politicize almost everything in this country by political operatives for personal gain. Certain things are sacrosanct and should not be contaminated by unnecessary  political maneuvers that are later justified with transparent political rationalizations.

The scholarship effort is bigger than all of us and we should concentrate on strategies that all Ateneans, regardless of political leanings can support, totally free from any acts that can even be minimally construed to be crass political opportunism.

In this noble effort, we should be focused on what unites us rather than what divides us! (by Ricky Sobrevinas)