by S.L. Macaraeg (nom de plume)

Last February 2013, one socio-political party of the Ateneo de Manila University, the Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement (CRUSADA), and the Ateneo de Manila Employees’ and Workers’ Union (AEWU) signed a memorandum of agreement that renewed the partnership between the two institutions.

The memorandum contained terms and conditions that reaffirmed both of the parties’ commitments on supporting each other. This MOA includes recognizing each other as affiliates in all forms such as media, and agreeing to support each other’s advocacies, causes, and efforts.

Let us look at the prospects of mirroring such partnerships in the Ateneo de Davao community.

First, there are institutions already in place in the Ateneo de Davao. The Pinag-isang Lakas ng Samahan ng mga Progresibong Atenista (PIGLASAPAT) can draw much from the experience between CRUSADA and the AEWU. In Ateneo de Davao, the Ateneo Employees Union (AEU) has represented the interests of Ateneo de Davao’s employees and staff ever since the late 60’s. Likewise, PIGLASAPAT has been an active socio-political party that has campaigned adherently; if not religiously, for different advocacies for more than 29 years.

Second, the said institutions are distinct but they also have similarities. Both institutions represent particular groups within the university, in the case of the AEU, its employees and staff of the Ateneo de Davao; and in PIGLASAPAT, its student leaders. Both institutions also have their advocacies. AEU directs itself on the promotion of the rights of the Ateneo’s workers, both teaching and non-teaching staff. On the other hand, PIGLASAPAT aims to advance the principles of social democracy in the Ateneo de Davao Community.

Third, the advancement of advocacies can affect more with joint efforts. Having so much in similar, PIGLASAPAT can also partner with the AEU, as what CRUSADA has done with the AEWU. As a socio-political party, PIGLASAPAT needs to establish relevant links and networks among different sectors. Establishing such a link with the AEU provides just that. It allows both parties to advance each other’s causes with PIGLASAPAT supporting the AEU by informing and educating its members on worker’s issues within and outside Ateneo. Conversely, the AEU can support PIGLASAPAT by partnering with PIGLASAPAT in formulation and implementation of a united front for workers and students. This can be made by the creation of joint statements, resolutions, or manifestos that call for actions and efforts on issues affecting the said parties.

Additionally, the advancement of PIGLASAPAT’s vision and mission can be exercised. Partnering with the AEU advances PIGLASAPAT’s vision and promotes its mission. Since PIGLASAPAT’s vision and mission is found and formed under the principles of social democracy, the partnership gives an opportunity for PIGLASAPAT to concretize its social democratic principles. This concretizing comes in the form of inculcating and emphasizing upon PIGLASAPAT members, through relationship-building measures with the AEU, which must show workers and students are part of a united effort in achieving social justice and social equity.

Lastly, the necessity and the merits of the partnership can empower both institutions. The partnership is necessary for PIGLASAPAT for it aims to externalize its actions and efforts. By establishing a partnership with the AEU, PIGLASAPAT will make one significant step to externalize itself. In the end, a partnership between the two institutions is just and right for the advancement of their interests. The partnership will empower both institutions. In the words of Louis de Jesus, an alumnus of CRUSADA, “. . . our MOA is an expression of that commitment (for CRUSADA’s principles), along with the knowledge that the fight for worker’s rights is far from over.”

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