How tyrants silence the ‘Evelios’ they created

Throughout the narratives of history, one idea has been consistent and the same in every country. That in the existence of tyranny, there is a rise of freedom fighters who work together to overthrow the despots. In the Philippines, there were the revolutionists, the guerrillas, and the activists who stood against the western colonization, eastern imperialism, and dictatorship.

Then there was Gov. Evelio B. Javier. Every year, we commemorate his death that paved the way to our freedom from tyranny. This year is a different memorial as red tagging among student activists become the new diversion in the daily narrative of the government.

Javier, who is popularly called as “Beloy” by the people who knew him, was described to be an outspoken, young, visionary leader and an advocate of good governance. Such qualities of him are now embodied by progressive youth leaders against what they view as another dictatorial regime today. This administration and the impunity-driven governance made and fostered a new generation of Evelio Javiers, who rise along with the likes of Edgar Jopson, Archimedes Trajano, and Liliosa Hillao.

As Panay remembers Beloy’s 35th year of martyrdom this year, the likes of him see themselves in the same water of threatened security as the government resorted to red-tagging its staunch critics. The current administration treated activists as terrorists belonging to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army(CPP-NPA), a rebel group that thrived during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., when activism and terrorism do not stand in the same definition.

 Red-tagging became more prevalent as the president signed the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 where it made easy for anybody to label an activist as a rebel because of the gray area in the provided definition in the law, no court appearance after arrest, and compensation for false accusations. It is also the same administration that had sought the termination of University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense(UP-DND) accord, an agreement that protects the academic freedom of the students. Beloy, who had valued activism and freedom of expression in his lifetime as a leader, would stand where the youths who value the ideals of democracy currently stand.

Beloy was not just the youngest governor of his time when he got elected during his youth. He is one of the thousand definitions of activism. He is one of the thousand proofs that the government still succeeds even without the use of force. He is one epitome of a governance that inspires rather than instill fear. Evelio Javier made a selfless choice to become a “man for others” that he had to stop living the peaceful life he had in the United States of America to make the lives of Antiqueños better, away from exploitation and intimidation from those who are in power. And his choice is also the activists’ choice: to fight for the marginalized amidst security threats, to live away from comfort so others will have, and to achieve their nation’s dream even it is beyond the social realities.

However, Beloy’s fate should not be the activists’ fate. No one shall be chased by dozens of bullets in broad daylight, or even in a dark corner of their land. His death may have sparked the EDSA People Power Revolution but that death should be a lesson that someone’s life be the reason to be awakened from a blinded sleep. The youth of today should not experience what their ancestors have gone through for democracy. There shall be no more deaths because of impunity which will be mourned in their anniversaries.

Despite the remembering of Evelio Javier’s death today, he is not ‘dead’. He continues to live within every youth who dreams a nation where the state values free speech, social justice, and kindness—the things that became the reason why they are rising, because these are the things that this administration lacked and probably will never have until the end of the present admin’s term.

Author: theprismdaily

The Official Student Publication of University of Antique Main Campus

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