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The Tibak in the UP alumnus

Anyone who has attended the University of the Philippines would have met and interacted with the activist a.k.a "tibak" in UP parlance. One of the unique attributes of a UP education is whatever socio-economic class you belong, you will have to interact with the tibak in your RGEP classes or even in other fora. One of the heirs to the Gokongwei business empire, Robina Gokongwei (who gave one of the most memorable commencement speeches to the university) reminisced her time with the Collegian in which she enjoyed the debates with the Maoists but was still respected despite her social class origins.

But Robina Gokongwei has something to say to all UP alums of what they should strive to, and this is consistency. Gokongwei to her credit has remained a consistent capitalist in the Philippines (and in doing so continues to provide employment to the masses!) unlike others who were once tibak but ended up as Washington DC beltway bandits or as corrupt politicians or members of the courts!

Perhaps nothing is as distasteful to any UP alum is to have known a tibak who now is part of the oppressive structures of society and actively doing that despicable task. That's why Lean Alejandro remains an inspiration.

The basic ingredient for being tibak is consistency in seeking a liberating and just social order. And I dare say that this consistency goes beyond ideologies. One can be a communist tibak and also a capitalist tibak! The "communist" and 'capitalist" are ideological tags and if the communist and capitalists destroy human liberties and purvey corruption, then I have no choice but to hound them to face justice! That is the only reason why I think Jose Maria Sison, CPP-NPA and the Marcosian human rights violators should face justice.

The tibak in the UP alum that is me consistently will oppose anyone who occupies Malacanang Palace as long as the occupant thrashes human rights and liberties. In fact I oppose anyone who in his/her own capacity will do the same.

It is the job of teachers at the UP to tell their students to be consistent in their search for a liberating and just social order whatever ideology they subscribe to (if they still have an ideology).


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