April 29, 2019 (11:29 AM)

3 min read


Ateneo Leadership Center Director Lilibeth Leh-Arcena encourages the new batch of SuiGen leaders to expose themselves to different cultures, beliefs, mentality, etc., in her speech during the SuiGen camp.

Photo by Julien Jame Apale

With its primary objective of shaping leaders for Mindanao, Ateneo Sui Generis Leadership Camp (ASGLC) 2019 organized by the University’s Office of the Student Affairs (OSA), in partnership with SAMAHAN and Campus Clubs Organizations (CCO), urged Ateneo student leaders to advocate for social justice and the common good focused in Mindanao.

Highlighting the plight of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and Moro in Mindanao, Fr. David John Delos Reyes, SJ unveiled their realities of continuous struggle for respect and recognition.

Land grabbing, red-tagging, rape, and other abuses against the IPs of Mindanao were few of the narratives presented by Delos Reyes during the leadership camp.

Delos Reyes also slammed one of the questions asked during the discussion regarding the IPs being tagged as members of rebel groups.

“It’s very simple, you don’t. Call an evil evil, a spade spade,” he said.

Not denying the allegations that some of the IPs have engaged with armed struggle movements against the government, Delos Reyes also pointed out that specifying how certain IPs are members of the said rebel groups is unnecessary and only blows the issue out of proportion.

“Those with issues on justice are attracted to an ideology that promises them revenge. And if it’s the case, shouldn’t we help them find a way to address their grievances? Basic and elemental. I don’t see why we Ateneans have to hem and haw over that one,” Delos Reyes added.

In connection to the previous discussion, Dean of School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Renante Pilapil presented an in-depth explanation of the concepts of “social justice” and “common good” through the philosophical and political lenses.

Pilapil explained, “The injustice in the world is the motivating factor why there are individuals as well as groups who would fight for justice.”

He also pointed out poverty as one of the concrete evidence of social injustice, emphasizing on a “global level of inequality” in terms of wealth distribution.

Furthermore, Pilapil discussed the realities of the privileged and the rich, “It’s not of their own making alone. They cannot just claim that everything that they have is the product of their own effort.

“Because of social interaction, cooperation, that might benefit some while disadvantaging others bring about the question of how to distribute wealth that was produced through social interaction,” Pilapil further explained.

Moreover, in fighting for one’s rights, Pilapil called for a balance between right and responsibility.

Theology Chairperson Lunar Fayloga discussed the significance of the common good in being a sui generis leader.

“A leader not of ego, of false-transcendence, of influence, rather a leader coming from a way of life,” Fayloga stated.

Ateneo Leadership Center Director Lilibeth Leh-Arcena emphasized the importance of dialogue in promoting social justice saying, “Be open to be shaped by other cultures, traditions, beliefs, thinking, mindset while you are also there sharing your own. And then building the new truth or finding the truth together.”

Former SAMAHAN president Michael Zachary Leyson underscored the essence of being a sui generis leader saying, “You can be any type of leader, but sui generis leadership boils down to servant-leadership.”

Leyson also stressed the need to look into the “bigger issues beyond Ateneo.” He prompted the student leaders not to be too confined with the issues within the university, even encouraging everyone to take up the “bigger challenge.”

Over 50 delegates attended the said 2-day camp held at Eden Nature Park last April 27-28. Aside from the discussions, team-building and action-planning activities were also held.

End the silence of the gagged!

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