The student councils of the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines (UP) have jointly urged their constituents to wear black in tomorrow’s finals match between the Blue Eagles and the Fighting Maroons “as protest against violence, impunity, and misogyny.”
In a statement issued on Bonifacio Day, the UP Diliman Student Council (USC) wrote, “In the #BattleOfKatipunan tomorrow, let us always remember that our struggles go beyond the game that we’re cheering for, and these struggles are always within our community. Use your voice and fight to end tyranny, impunity, and misogyny in our country.”
The same call was issued by the Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila. “Win or lose, it’s the nation we choose!” the council, better known as Sanggu, quipped.
In an interview with Fullcourtfresh.com, Ateneo Sanggu President Hyacenth Bendana explained that the “Wear Black” campaign was conceived because both councils “realized. . . how it is an opportune and strategic time to create a statement on what we fight for,” saying that “politics isn’t separate from sports.”
Noting that politicians who are alumni of both schools have been watching and is expected to watch the games live, Bendana said that the “Wear Black” campaign is a strong message that the current batch of students from both schools are going to send to them.
“There should be no place for violence, impunity, and misogyny in the Philippines. Every human being deserves equal dignity. We condemn any attack on these values and demand justice to be served. We will not be silent,” Bendana said.
Meanwhile, according to UP Diliman USC School of Economics Representative Franceska Louise Faraon, both student councils “have had a good relationship despite the sports rivalry.”
“We basically decided to focus on our points of unity instead of the ongoing rivalry between our basketball teams. We saw the game on Saturday as a great platform to forward our universities’ calls,” Faraon told Fullcourtfresh.com.
Both schools are known to have produced the country’s best known activists, which include Iskolars like Lean Alejandro and Filemon Lagman and Ateneans like Edgar Jopson and Emman Lacaba. These four activists, among many others, have died fighting for the rights of the oppressed and working classes.
There has also been a recent rise in activism from students of both schools, with a number of UP and Ateneo students active in assisting striking workers, such as in Pacific Plaza Towers and NutriAsia, as well as involving in human rights and feminist campaigns under the Duterte administration.
“I think the recent injustices are more than enough to spring student activism,” Bendana observed.
“No matter what our contexts are, we want the same thing — justice. And for that, both schools are more than happy to set aside differences and unite,” she concluded.
Game 1 will start at 4 pm Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena, as Ateneo will defend the men’s basketball crown while UP is up to grab its first hoops championship since 1986.