Last Monday, the League of Filipino Students marked its 29th anniversary.
The LFS has come a long way. Many students, past and present, salute the LFS for being an outstanding exponent of student activism, for providing students a productive and patriotic outlet for their many talents and immense energies.
Contrary to the tsismis of tsismosos in the military, the LFS is a true-blue student organization since its inception in 1977. It began as an student alliance against tuition fee increases that were encouraged by the Marcos dictatorship. LFS competently, creatively and militantly led students in many schools in protests against tuition fee hikes and later to win back student institutions ordered closed by the dictatorship. No small thanks to the leadership of the LFS which inspired students to stand up and fight for their rights, student councils and student newspapers were reconstituted.
Problems affecting students did not solely emanate inside schools. Moreover, many students have since discovered the nobility and relevance of offering their talents, knowledge and even lives to our people. Besides, the LFS has a noble political heritage. It need only to look back and discover the lessons learned by the mythical Kabataang Makabayan to find out the real place of young people in the cause of attaining genuine freedom and democracy for the country.
No armchair activists from the very start, the LFS immersed itself in the lives and struggles of students and the people. It involved itself in national debates, offering a consistent patriotic viewpoint and championing national democracy as its alternative program. Dark forces hated the LFS for its activism. These forces wanted students to confine themselves to the most parochial issues not so much because of ageism, but more because the LFS posed a subversive position that sought to institute radical changes that threaten these evil forces’ stranglehold in schools, in society and the nation.
The LFS has produced so many young heroes since it was founded. One way of looking at it is that the Marcos dictatorship and subsequent regimes snuffed out the lives of countless young intellectuals and potential leaders. Perhaps an entire generation of leaders were wiped out in a fascist spree to silence LFS. The LFS endured, drawing inspiration from its heroes. Meanwhile, the current system get even worse because of its inherent weaknesses and the lack of new and fresh leaders.
Perhaps unknown to many, LFS chapters have also been set up abroad, including very active ones in the very belly of the imperialist beast, the US.
Today, the LFS continues its noble work in many campuses. Unfortunately, pretensions of democracy are being set aside drastically as evidenced by the unceasing assassinations of activists, the ban on and brutal dispersal of rallies, the slapping of trumped up charges against the President’s critics, especially those coming from the ranks of national democrats. In recent months, the LFS has sustained two serious attacks: Assassins murdered Cris Hugo and Rei Mon Guran.
Many of my activist friends belonged to LFS in their student days and I am mighty proud of most of them, especially those who carried on their activism in other sectoral or multisectoral organizations, or in other arenas of struggle.
That I was not able to be an LFS member is a disappointment for me. Right now, I am content with the thought that the LFS remains strong, militant, dynamic and relevant in our times.
The nation, I am certain, is proud of LFS too.