Archive for the ‘pol-org’ Category

The False Version Of UP Ibalon History And Orientation

December 1, 2008

by Mighty Baylon

In the four academic years that I have been on-and-off a resident member of UP Ibalon (this covers the school years that started in the years 1974 to 1977 but his stretches up to March 1978), a total of about 110 members entered the organization. This includes the 19 doctors of medicine that I already wrote about [“The MDs of UP Ibalon Of Earlier Years”, 11/15/08]. With my own eyes I have seen Ibalon grow big and flourish.

When I left UP Diliman it had nearly 90 members and its membership roll was still young, unlike when we first started out. Among the 90 are scions of the more prominent families in Bicol as do sons and daughters of teachers. We thought we had the best and the brightest of the Bicolanos in UP. Almost all graduated on time, the Bicolano holders of major scholarships are in the organization and so do those passed the entrance exam of the PSHS.

We even had a putative alumni association which I tried to half-seriously jump start in February 1978 in a meeting in the old Golf Course clubhouse near Philcoa. We already then have 20 alumni members but a significant number of them were in medical school. So, of course, a gesture half in jest does not mean it can be sustained.

But one thing I remember until the time I left UP Diliman, there was no discussion ever about UP Ibalon as a “political organization”. This was not even discussed among the charter members in any length when the constitution was being drafted. The only discussion at length where this topic was tackled was in the Steering Committee [See my article, “The Formation And Legacy Of UP Ibalon: A Testimony”, 11/14/08] where it was roundly and unanimously rejected.

Years after that stormy August night [See my article, “The Calm Before The Storm: A UP Ibalon Saga”, 12/01/74], I needled the eminences grise of the original UG group of UP Ibalon. I asked them, “They said UP Ibalon was a political organization right from the very start”. “Of course not”, came the sharp reply in crisp English. “Saan naman nila nakuha iyon (Where did they got that?)”. And to think that the person was formerly a top staff of the supreme eminence grise.

I am confident that not one of the 110 members of UP Ibalon whom I came to know in my years in UP Diliman will affirm that UP Ibalon “ay poon-sa-poon, sarong political organization”. I have talked to over half of them over the years and all have no recollection that that term was ever used or discussed in referring to UP Ibalon. All the recollections about the nature of the organization was that it was a socio-cultural organization and a varsitarian.

I now dare those who said in 1995 that UP Ibalon is a “pol-org” to identify who told them that and what version of UP Ibalon history were they peddling then. I also dare them to produce even one among those 110 members I mentioned who will back their version of history.

Members should also know that years after that 1995 incident, and even before, they were peddling that false version of UP Ibalon history.

It is unfair to all members that a small cabal will try to “revise” UP Ibalon history when the founders and the senior members are still around. It is as if they are in a hurry to bury us all into oblivion.

It is also the duty of UP Ibalon to teach all the members the right version of history.

One Stormy Night In August 1995:A UP Ibalon Saga

December 1, 2008

by Mighty Baylon

One very stormy night (there was a typhoon signal) in late August 1995, I was a little annoyed by an insistent phone call. I was busy packing my things for my 12 o’clock midnight SuperFerry trip back home to Mindanao and Cainta was a long way from the North Harbor. I worried that I would find it difficult to get a taxi ride with flash floods being broadcast. That was the reason I wanted to leave early.

The caller was a dear friend. To my surprise he was asking me to postpone my trip and attend a “special meeting” of the resident members. I wondered with irritation what very important topic needs to be discussed in the dead of a stormy night that warrants my presence in the resident organization. And to think I don’t normally show myself for their meetings or drop by in their tambayan.

“Please. The organization needs you”. That began to change my mind. As the founder I normally cannot turn down appeals by my organization.

There was no time to call SuperFerry. Usually their phones are swamped by calls when a ship is about to depart. I thought, “Okey, I will just take the ‘No-show’ charge”.

I didn’t know it then that I was about to embark on a journey of intrigue and struggle.

By the time I showed myself up in the old Drugstore in Balara my pants were soaked up to the knees even though I was using an umbrella and a jacket. I asked my friend, “What’s up?”. No, he won’t give me any details. I began to suspect that it was not a normal meeting. All I heard was “Board of Directors Plus”.

We took a taxi till we came to a small apartment in Balara. There were about 20 people present and I knew the Ibalon BOD consists of only 12 officers. Scanning them I knew I was among the members of the UG group in Ibalon.

The place was jampacked and the meeting began as soon as I arrived. Somebody, not a board member, began, “Aram man kan gabos na an Ibalon, poon sa poon, ay sarong political organization” (Everybody knows that Ibalon, right from the very start, is a political organization). I can scarcely believe my ears. Here it is, the very concept we rejected when we founded the organization. We knew even then that Ibalon cannot be a political or even a semi-political organization if it wants to be a home of the Bicolanos in UP Diliman.

“Dahil political organization man kita dapat magbale kita sa SAMASA” (Since we are a political organization we must join SAMASA). But he was referring to a particular faction of the SAMASA. And most of the BOD members don’t want to join either SAMASA factions so that Ibalon won’t be involved in the messy split of the national-democratic movement going on in the campus.

It now dawned on me why they invited me to this meeting. As the organization’s founder, they were expecting my crucial “imprimatur” to a scheme. They wanted to override all opposition with that (false) mantra of “pol-org”.

I was the first one asked for a reaction. “Where did you get the idea that Ibalon is a political organization?”, I asked them. “We rejected that at the very start and we defined Ibalon to be a varsitarian”.

I continued, “If anyone tried to establish a pol-org in 1974, when ‘white terror’ reigned in the campus and recognition of some organizations has just began, they would certainly ended up in Camp Crame. In fact, ND mass organizations like KM were being converted then into legal organizations”. I added, “Until 1974, residents of dormitories are still being dragged out by military men in the middle of the night and some students are arrested after stepping out of classrooms”.

Looking at their surprised but ashen faces I realized that my comment was the least they expected me to make. I was not out to defeat a scheme I was not privy to; I was only trying to stand for the truth and for the correct version of Ibalon history.

The meeting ended right there and only some lame talk remained. My optimistic side was thinking, “I hope that will be the end of it” but my pessimistic side was also saying, “This is just the beginning. Their political minders won’t take it sitting down”.

I reported the incident to the UP Ibalon Alumni Association Board of Directors, which I headed.

When I took a different ship a few days later, I cannot erase from my mind that queer episode. With chill in my spine I cannot shake the feeling I am being sucked in an intrigue that I feel will impact UP Ibalon and my life.