There was a time when confessions used to be in a private circle of friends whom you trust. By that time then, a pact was made between the confessor and those who listened to never spill the beans in public.
Yet, times have changed the ways on how you confess. Now, you can even confess in public and have it published on magazines or on social networking sites.One example of this would be AdDU Confessions.
It captured the attention of every student inside and outside Ateneo de Davao as this page turned into a “confession room” where Atenistas confess their deepest, darkest secrets. In fact, it also spread like wildfire in schools within the city.
Some confessions were too controversial while others were unpleasant. Still, some were inspiring. Now, its Facebook page has garnered more than 30,000 likes in just three months.
The page has earned its fame in a short span of time. However, it also earned mixed reactions from some people.
“I’m neutral to these confessions but I don’t follow the page religiously like some of my friends,” said Jacobo Ayala, a third year AB Political Science student.
Jacobo compared AdDU Confessions to a reality show, which at times disgusts, enrages, and entertains us while watching it. “But at the end of the day, we enjoy it because it makes us feel so much better about ourselves. Either we realize that there are more people that are like us or that we’re so better than other people.”
The page hides the identity of the confessors except from which division they came from. The administrators of the page encourage the confessors to not drop names in order to avoid stirring issues and conflict. Conversely, because the confessor remains anonymous, it is also hard to determine whether what they are saying is true or not.
“Anonymity makes it easier to fabricate stories but it doesn’t really matter. Like “reality shows”, what matters is that it’s simple enough to take in as real and as long as it remains entertaining. People will submit their own stories and we will continue to read,” Jacobo added.
Most of the stories, although remaining to be anonymous, have the tendency to become enthralling and degrade the identity of the person involved. This may lead for negative reactions from the readers as well as to the persons who are involved.
Atenews tried to contact the administrators of AdDU Confessions for an interview. However, they did not respond to the said request.
SAMAHAN believes in freedom of speech and expression, and that the existence of AdDU Confessions is exemplifying honesty through expressing different views and stories.
However, due to the controversial, vulgar and offensive issues raised on the page, they were alarmed as it may tarnish the name of the school.
Last June 3, they released Memorandum no. 2013-02, which states that the page should exhibit the value of prudence or the “the ability to discipline oneself and be governed with reason”, which can be done through responsible assessment of the possible impacts of the posts in the page.
In addition, according to the memorandum, the administrators of the page ought to put a disclaimer, which, “states [that] the confession may not necessarily reflect the entirely of the Ateneo Community”, therefore protecting the identity of the school.
Despite its controversial nature, AdDU Confessions also served as the way for some students to voice out their concerns in the university. Among those issues include teaching styles and methods, school facilities, and teachers’ treatment towards their students.
“The page made a way for us [student leaders] to know what the university can improve and the things that we can lobby to the administration,” said Patricia Regino, the Secretary-General of SAMAHAN, in an interview with Atenews.
“In fact, the admin is starting to do something about it. They are now asking the board what the students think about,” she added.
The faculty speaks
“Not all confessions there are bad,” said Mr. Lunar Fayloga, the head of the Theology Division and the moderator of SAMAHAN.
Fayloga recognizes the power of social media as a potent tool in conveying information, which he considered positive. However, he is also a bit concerned with the kind of information shared on the page.
“We call for responsibility. We call for the help of the administration of AdDU Confessions and the rest of the confessions in other schools to also help us trying to screen information,” he added.
Fayloga believes that we have no way in verifying whether the post is true or not.
“I am a strong supporter of freedom of expression; I will still not call for the banning of AdDU confession if given a chance but I always call for prudence, responsibility and accountability on the part of those who confess and on the administrator.”
The confessions are also a good thing because the Ateneo community is able to reflect on the things that the teachers and the students did. According to Fayloga, the rule of confession must be guided by truth.
“However, not all truth must be expressed ng gusto mo lang. I believe there are many ways of telling the truth and so the question is how to tell the truth? “ he added.
Despite the sensitive issues that are posted on the page, it still shows the reality behind the good image of the university. Fayloga explained that we could not sugarcoat everything. “We cannot just ask them na ‘Uy, ang i-confess n’yo lang yung mga mabubuti,’ hindi rin naman tama yun kasi the confessions are somewhat giving us glimpses of truth. It is a challenge for us not to overly react on it.”
Fayloga believes that it is also time for us to reflect on how are we as a community and who are we as students.
“That remains to be a challenge,” he added.
Confessions are glimpses of beautiful and gruesome realities that exist in our community. As what Mr. Fayloga said, “sa mga natatamaan sa AdDU Confessions maging sa mga naging subject ng AdDU confessions, huwag nalang mag overreact kasi kapag mag-ooverreact ka, bina-validate mo yun. Huwag ka nang mag-like. Manalamin ka na lang sa sarili mo at sabihing ‘tama ba yung sinasabi nila?’ At kung hindi naman tama, pabayaan mo sila. At kung tama naman, it’s time for us to reflect it as a community.”