“Have no fear!” – Randy David | Ateneo de Naga University

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“Have no fear!” – Randy David

“Have no fear.” Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Randy David wrote this on the guestbook for the University’s 75th foundation anniversary after the voters’ political education forum at the University Gymnasium on 7 March 2016.

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A sociologist and professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines, Randy David was here in ADNU for the thematic session, Rigmat (Bikol term for vigilant), organized by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA). It was part of OSA’s efforts to contribute to the student’s political awareness, especially regarding the leaders and organizations in the light of the 2016 elections.

Speaking before a crowd of mostly students and online viewers via ARTV, David challenged the ADNU community to reflect on cultural and personal values and standards from which they will base their decisions for the forthcoming local and national elections.

Citing the duties and responsibilities of the president, David sociologist highlighted integrity and competence as fundamental criteria in choosing. The president, he elucidated, is “someone who knows the institutional workings of our democracy, the state of our economy, the needs and priorities of our people, and the situation of the global economic system.

The next president, according to David, should be “someone with a coherent program to grow and develop not just the economy but the Filipino people themselves so they can flourish in an increasingly complex world.”

He further urged the students to know the presidential candidates’ strengths and weaknesses, and stands on hot-button issues such as the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the K to 12 Program, the Conditional Cash Transfer program (4Ps), and the territorial conflict with China. He also expressed worries on possible election scenarios which may affect the credibility of the elections.

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“In the final analysis,” David concluded, “who wins is perhaps not as important as having an orderly and credible electoral process. This is the ultimate measure of a country’s political system.”

When asked how the youth today or the so called “millennials” can be more politically involved, he said that the situation in the 70s and 80s was entirely different from today’s, and called for a different response from the people. He was not quick in judging the youth as apathetic, and recognized that they may have different ways of responding to socio-political issues. He shared a particular response of his daughter who joined the Jesuit Volunteer Program (JVP), which is different from the activist or militant ways of the young people during the Martial Law era.

After the talk, David went to the ADNU’s Four Pillars. There, he recalled Ateneo back in the 70s when he was organizing people and activities against Marcos dictatorship, and the 2007 graduation where he was the speaker and recipient of Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa.

by Rodolfo SB. Virtus Jr.

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