Categories
Opinion

Under Review

Carmen Felicisima “Menie” Reyes Odulio was Editor in Chief of The LaSallian in 1977-78.

Martial law was declared on Saturday, September 23, 1972. On September 21 and 22, we went about our usual activities. The dictator Marcos already started his revisionism as early as then, by setting the date of the declaration to Thursday, September 21.

When I entered DLSC in June 1974, the entire Philippine society had pretty much settled into what we had hoped then would be a few years of the New Society. In my second year, I started to get involved in student organizations. Instead of a Student Council, we had a Council of Student Organizations (CSO), composed of heads of the different student organizations, which were degree-related (Physics Society, Mechanical Engineering Society) or hobby-related (Camera Club, Travel Club) or publications (The LaSallian, Green and White, Horizons) or service (Student Catholic Action). I got involved in the CSO as president of the Physics Society (my degree was B.S. Math-Physics) and later became CSO secretary, and continued to be part of it as The LaSallian editor in chief. We worked for the formation of the Council of Representatives or CORE, which was more representative of the student body than the CSO. Elections for CORE took place in September 1977 and this became the forerunner of the student government.

Joining the editorial board of The LaSallian in my fourth year was an offshoot of my involvement in the student movement within DLSU. As an active member of the CSO, which up to that time was the only overall student organization, I had a responsibility to ensure that students will continue to have a true voice in the DLSU community.

The school administration needed to toe the government’s line. In hindsight, I believe they tried to strike a balance between the government’s repressive rules and the students’ right to academic freedom. Thus, The LaSallian was put under the University Board of Review (UBR). Before we could come out with an issue, we had to submit it twice to the UBR – the first was the blueprint, which they would review for dangerous political references. There were some articles to which they would object, and we had to remove them. Then when the copies were already printed and ready for distribution, we needed to submit a sample copy to them again, this time for them to check that we had implemented the changes that they required, and that there were no surreptitous additions. We also toed the line, but tried to push it back – by showing that censorship was happening. Then the line snapped and the LaSallian budget was withheld by the school administration due to an inadvertent failure to get approval for the printed copy of our December issue. We had to stop publication for the rest of the school year, since we needed money to pay the printer. Even though the student publication budget was paid for by each student as it was collected as part of the miscellaneous fees, it was the school administration that had control over it.

Toward the end of the schoolyear, both sides relented and I had to apologize to the school administration for the breach in protocol and they in turn let us publish a very innocuous lampoon issue. With a new editorial board for the next schoolyear, The LaSallian was able to continue publication.

Carmen Felicisima “Menie” Reyes Odulio was Editor in Chief of The LaSallian in 1977-78.

By Menie Odulio

Leave a Reply