Almario’s daughter tells Ateneo graduates: Our present situation calls for a revolution
Posted by Ateneo de Manila University on Friday, May 25, 2018
“Our present situation calls for a revolution.”
This was the message of Ani Rosa Almario, the daughter of national artist for literature Virgilio Almario, in her short but insightful speech at the graduation rites of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) on May 26.
Almario called on graduates to speak up and never be “overwhelmed” with the prevailing culture of fear.
“There is a degradation of morals, a twisting of truth, and widespread injustice. Most Filipinos are demoralized and frustrated with recent events but they are afraid to speak up. I believe the Ateneans mentored by the very best minds nurtured in this very special community will not be overwhelmed by this present culture of fear. Our present national situation calls for a revolution,” she said.
The Ateneans, she said, have the moral and intellectual obligation to lead the revolution, quoting from the Nov. 27,1968 manifesto “Down from the Hill,” signed by Ateneo graduates Jose Luis Alcuaz, Gerardo Esguerra, Alfredo Salanga, and Guidon editors Emmanuel Lacaba and Leonardo Montemayor.
She said “Down from the Hill” could have been written in 2018, as they reflect the events happening in the country today. She also suggested that the manifesto be a required reading in ADMU.
Towards a just society
Almario reminded Ateneans of their Christian duty as outlined in the alumni manifesto that pushed for the Filipinization of Ateneo or the “process of making things relevant to the Philippine situation.”
“The revolutionary situation exists in the Philippines because the present social, political and economic order does not make for a just society. These are self-evident. That a power elite controls government for its own interests over and above those of the great majority of our countrymen. And this same power elite maintains an unequal distribution of the nation’s wealth, which action is unjust because of the great disparity existing between the rich and the poor,” Almario, reading the manifesto, said.
The primary goal, according to the manifesto, should be “national development towards the ordering of a just society.”
“The condemnation of the present social, political and economic order that does not make for a just society is therefore a Christian duty. The commitment to national development for the ordering of a just society is a Christian commitment,” the manifesto reads.
“And because it speaks of real justice, it cannot but be truly Christian. Thus, to be truly Filipino is to be truly Christian. Love of neighbor does not exist in paternalistic donations, which are mere palliatives for our society’s ills. Rather, it is a rendering of justice, a commitment to cure society’s ills at its roots.”
She added that the true sense of country is not lost in Ateneo.
“These are difficult times, and so our country asks you to muster everything Ateneo has given you, all your magis and cura personalis. Be the voice of the voiceless, the courage of the weak. Be truth, be hope, resist, resist!” she said, challenging the graduates to be excellent Filipinos.
The national artist has two daughters – Ani Rosa and Asa – and a son, Agno, with wife Lyn.
Almario also lauded ADMU as the institution where her brother Agno truly “enjoyed education” with professors believing in their students more than the students believing in themselves.
Almario obtained her Bachelor of Science in Economics degree and Doctorate in Curriculum Development at the University of the Philippines. She earned her Master’s degree in Education, specializing in learning, design and technology, at the Stanford University on a Fulbright scholarship.
Society of Jesus Father Jose Cruz said Almario is a “staunch advocate of literature and progressive education.”
Almario also serves as the vice president of the Adarna House, Inc., president of the Reading Association of the Philippines, director of the Book Association of the Philippines, Asian regional adviser for Asia and Pacific of the Society of Children Books writers and illustrators, governor of the Book Development of the Philippines, and coordinator for Filipino for the K-12 Language Arts team of the Department of Education.
She founded the Raya School, together with husband Carlo Primo David. The school, as described by Cruz, instills love for reading, science, and is discovery-based.
Dream for the Filipino youth
Almario said her encounter with ADMU’s Father Ben (Nebres) inspired her to establish the Raya School in 2005 and build the same kind of community (as Ateneo), a community of caring teachers and parents.
“At the Raya School, teachers assure students are never alone. We hope because they are happy and cared for at Raya, they will be wonderful human beings and enlightened Filipinos when they graduate…We protect their childhood, and we celebrate their individuality and their rich heritage as Filipinos,” she said.
Cruz, who introduced Almario, shared to the crowd Almario’s dream for the Filipino youth: “My dream is for them to become good Filipinos: excellent people who know how to take care of others and who have genuine love for the country, people who do not hesitate to extend help, care for others, and those who would use their talents for the country’s progress.”
Around 2,394 students graduated from ADMU last May 26. /ee
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