I have been an educator since 1977, a teacher for more years, a counselor for 23 years now, and a professor of Social Theology for a great part of those years.
Yes, I teach about Social Justice.
And yes, I am old enough to know the difference between manipulative propaganda and objective reportage that comes from responsible (ideologically neutral) journalism.
Whilst I have no direct proofs, I am aware of ideological, macro-economic, geo-political and liberalist, materialist, collectivist or capitalist agenda being pushed subtly and not so subtly, covertly or otherwise, by powerful governments that have their own designs for poorer, smaller, and graft-ridden, corrupt countries like the country I have chosen and decided to remain a citizen of.
I am also aware that the same countries may be undermined by powerful lobby groups and forces right within their shores that are either liberalist materialist or collectivist materialist.
No country is spared of either extreme ideology.
Both extreme ideologies have their own machinery to manipulate, misinform, co-opt, and otherwise miseducate the oftentimes unsuspecting masses whose only source of information may be what they are in fact, exposed to a great part of their waking hours.
No matter the political color one supports or otherwise, the glaring fact remains that Social Justice and Equity remain to be elusive dreams of a people, who, for the most part, are poor and powerless.
And this has been the case despite the many demonstrations and rallies, the extra-constitutional means to change regimes, the many undoubtedly rigged elections we have gone through, and the many times we have pinned our hopes on individuals and personalities who almost always, turned out to be the same hated corrupt and corrupting people we thought we had gotten rid of.
I submit the call to revolution and other violent means is tempting. I submit, too, that there is a very real possibility that the same unrests and terrorist-inspired chaos may really be the handiwork of powerful international forces who would stand to gain when Filipinos fight each other and engage in a stupid protracted war of attrition where no one wins but everybody loses.
Those unseen forces come from either the liberalist materialist, or collectivist materialist.
Only the most biased will claim they only come from one group.
Only the most biased will say all rallies and protests are leftist-inspired, for they could also be whipped up by power-hungry elite who have oodles of money to finance instant rallies.
Only the most biased will assert that all soldiers act in the name of what one side loves to call US-Whoever dictatorship or the like.
Whilst the big powerful countries love to do their own brand of imperialism, whether economic, political, cultural or military, it is absolute bias to say that in every turn of unfortunate event, only the hand of Uncle Sam is involved.
Last thing I heard is, the 6.4 B worth of drugs may possibly come from one such big foreign power whose tentacles are now slowly but surely spreading, not only in Southeast Asia, but all over the world.
I am against the proliferation of drugs and support programs that are designed to curb or control or even banish it.
I do not support summary killings, whether perpetrated by the government or those same groups engaged in the dirty drug business.
I condemn foreign incursions into our own local affairs as a sovereign nation, but I refuse to identify such sordid involvement as the handiwork of only one foreign country and reduce all of it to a so-and-so dictatorship.
So there. I call on my students to please cease and desist from trying to "convert" me to their own ideological biases. I know where I stand. I stand with the Church. I teach and preach social justice, but I do not necessarily choose one line or brand or style of social action that is along the lines of militantism.
I continue to claim my right to practice what the Church commands me to - to go on doing my prophetic role. Whether or not I resort to social action that suits everyone's fancy (depending on whatever ideology they espouse), is not my problem.
I owe no one any explanation why I do not subscribe to their own brand of social action.
In the meantime, I am a full-time educator. And as Salesians, we educate by evangelizing and evangelize by educating.
And yes, just in case there are still some who think we educate only rich people, we do our brand of social action that is not very visible, but no less valid and productive - we give thousands of poor people in about 18 TVET centers all over the country, the possibility to earn skills that would lead them to gainful employment.
And no! I don't engage in training our young high school students for militantism and sloganeering. We teach them to value LIFE. We teach them to uphold TRUTH (not necessarily the kind espoused by both mainstream media and social media purveyors of fake news). We exhort them to resist evil in all its forms, including the evil of manipulation and mind control tactics to co-opt them towards any ideological leaning form of social action.
And yes … we also train them to pray for themselves and their country and become what our founder has always insisted they should become: "honest Christians and upright citizens."
SO HELP US GOD!