My dear students,
Allow me to explain briefly why FEU opted not to call off classes today. It is because September 21 is a day of infamy, a day of national shame. On this day 45 years ago, Filipinos lost the freedoms that were guaranteed to them by the Philippine Constitution of 1935 – the right to life, liberty, and own property as well as to all be equally protected by our laws. Our country ceased to be a democratic state, and slid into an authoritarian one, where all power was vested in one man alone, a dictator. It was, and is, the darkest period in our history, when instruments of the Philippine government were used to crush all forms of dissent.
To safeguard our rights and freedoms, today we have to take a stand, we have to make a sacrifice. We refuse to call off classes, because we refuse to consider September 21 as anything but just another ordinary day. We refuse to call off classes, because to do so is to lend importance to martial law – to honor and celebrate that dark period of tyranny and oppression in our history – whatever other reasons may be marshalled to justify not having a school day.
It is important to make this point because schools are the vanguard of our country’s democratic ideals. This stand is about our core values – the Fortitude to make the necessary sacrifices, the Excellence to discern the right moral stance, the Uprightness to hold fast to what we hold most dear under the social contract of this Republic: our human rights and civil liberties.
This is about an important line in our FEU Hymn, “Command thy sons and daughters to battle for the right!”
And so we make the sacrifice of coming to school today to uphold what FEU stands for and to signal our support for democracy and our freedoms.