the meaning of imelda marcos to the Ateneo
this picture of imelda marcos attending an ateneo event circulated on the internet yesterday, sunday. the event was the Ateneo Scholarship Fund (ASF) 40th year anniversary celebration at the ateneo. it was held saturday, june 5, 2014.
the above picture immediately got very strong reactions mostly from ateneans – all of it negative. the picture must have gone viral.
by the late afternoon, ateneo de manila president issued an apology for inviting imelda to the university for the event and reassuring the community :
More importantly, I would like to reaffirm that we have not forgotten the darkness of those years of dictatorship and that we will not compromise on our principles in forming those who would leas this nation, striving at all times to be ‘constantly true’ to ourselves and to our God
in part, fr. villarin’s apology letter reads as follows:
“Please know that in the education of our youth, the Ateneo de Manila will never forget the Martial Law years of oppression and injustice presided over by Mr. Ferdinand Marcos.
We will not be catching up on nation building as we are today, had it not been for all that was destroyed during that terrible time.
While not an official school arm, the ASF has been a source of many scholarships ever since its inception. The event last Saturday was a social one and, in spite of the visit of Mrs. Marcos, the evening was really a celebration of our scholars, the foundation’s scholarship programs, and the generosity of countless benefactors over the last 40 years.
I apologize for any doubts that may have arisen on the mission of the school and the pain this event may have caused. As I hope for your understanding, I would like to assure you that we in the administration have learned our lesson to be more mindful of those we invite in our celebrations.
More importantly, I would like to reaffirm that we have not forgotten the darkness of those years of dictatorship and that we will not compromise on our principles in forming those who would leas this nation, striving at all times to be ‘constantly true’ to ourselves and to our God.”
the Ateneo Scholarship Foundation website does not mention the role of Imelda Marcos at its formation. fr. villarin in his letter of apology mentioned that Imelda was invited to the 40th anniversary of the ASF as the “ASF began with a donation from the proceeds of a Van Cliburn piano concert that was organized by her in 1974”
view website here : (http://www.ateneoscholarshipfoundation.com/history)
learnings on social media :
- the ateneo incident is one more example that social media in the philippines has impact
- the event was on a saturday, the pictures went viral next day, sunday. then the apology letter was released on sunday afternoon.
- that was very quick – netizens got a response in just a day. this should be a record of sorts
- it says social media can make a difference
- it also says it pays that institutions like the Ateneo is connected to social media. ateneo obviously was connected to twitter and its quick response put the issue to rest. that is rare in the philippines. kudos to ateneo!