Objectives, Our Methods Of Leadership, Our Methods Of Work
In 1981, a new
organization of psychology students was born. It believes that psychology,
to be genuinely relevant must be based on the condition, historical
experiences and aspirations of the Filipino people. It must be responsive
to their needs. The organization was two years in the making. Its founders
saw the need first of distilling their concepts, objectives and strategies.
Most of the founders were members of the other organizations working to
uplift the conditions of the Filipino masses. It is from these
organizations where they received their politicization, their deep awareness
of social problems, and the methods of confronting these problems.
Admittedly, most of them were officers of these organizations if not
recognized student leaders. Although the other founding members were not
affiliated with other organizations of the said nature, they similarly
shared this concern for the welfare of the Filipino people and the need for
a psychology organization that is oriented to this.
course of two years that preceded the formal establishment of the
organization, some of the founding members met Dr. Virgilio Enriquez,
exponent and prime mover of Sikolohiyang Pilipino. Dr. Enriquez and his
already large number of followers seek then to evolve a Psychology that is
reflective and adaptive of the Filipino psyche. The meeting and the
subsequent discussions enriched the concepts of the would-be founding
members of the new psychology organization of students. To say the least,
Dr. Enriquez’s Sikolohiyang Pilipino largely influenced and provided much of
the framework of the concepts and theories that the members of the new
organization would espouse later and reflect in their constitution.
Principles and Objectives
Basic among the principles is that the study of
human beings cannot be separated from the society where they belong.
This is the basis for the organization’s involvement in social issues.
The individual psyche is largely influenced by the person’s environment,
upbringing, social class, sector in society, the person’s friends or peer
group, the struggles and the problems that the person has to confront
everyday. Philippine society is characterized by oppression and
exploitation of the poor majority by an elite wealthy class. The basic
problem must be taken into account in the study of the behavior of the mass
of the people wrapped in a neo-colonial, semi-feudal and oppressive culture,
which is being increasingly questioned and dismantled by the people’s
important to stress this point since this will elicit much of the questions,
if not disaffection, of the next generations of members of Buklod-Isip.
This paper aims not to defend the correctness of the principle. It has been
validated by our present experiences. This is the primary principle of the
organization. What this paper aims to expound is the method of approaching
this issue given the realities inside the university, the nature of Buklod,
and psychology as a discipline.
basic objective of Buklod is that it must participate in the evolution of a
psychology that is reflective and adaptive of the Filipino psyche. Given
the context of a relevant psychology, the founding members saw Sikolohiyang
Pilipino as the expression of this relevance. Thus the organization carried
the concept in its name. However, even at the locus of the academe alone,
the concept of Sikolohiyang Pilipino still has to find its virtual
recognition as a valid concept. Not all social scientists, or even Filipino
psychologists, accept the validity of the concept as it is commonly
understood now. Thus, many detractors and critics of Sikolohiyang Pilipino
eventually became detractors and/or critics of Buklod. To some members,
this has become a burden to the organization. Unlike a regular organization
of psychology students which shows no preference for a particular school of
thought, the members of Buklod-Isip, aside from supporting their
organization still has to defend its principles. This problem is very real
because not all members, particularly the new ones comprehend the system of
thought of Sikolohiyang Pilipino. A few members even express their own
confusion, or more correctly, the vagueness of the concept to them. Whether
there is really Sikolohiyang Pilipino! This is understandable, as
was said, since the concept is new. The problem would not have arose if the
concept had been treated not as a school of thought in psychology (like
Freudian psychoanalysis, Behaviorism, or Humanistic psychology) but a
process of evolving a psychology that is reflective and adaptive
of the Filipino psyche. Had the other schools of thought been sufficient to
explain the Filipino behavior and psyche, the concept would not have arose
or the need for one. It is scientifically accepted that many mental
diseases are culture-based. Whether Sikolohiyang Pilipino would later be
considered as behaviorist, humanistic, psychoanalytical, or in philosophical
terms, whether it is phenomenological (at present, it largely falls into
this category), existentialist, metaphysical or even structural, would be a
welcome development. But this task of constructing and refining the theory
of Sikolohiyang Pilipino is a task that falls on every psychologist’s lap if
s/he wants to develop a psychology that can scientifically describe and
explain the Filipino psyche. As such, the Bukluran sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino
has every reason for its existence.
Nature Of Buklod
Aware of the background and objectives of the
organization, we must now situate its role in the academe, given the present
conditions of the Philippine society and university.
an academic organization. Its members are students of psychology.
We must keep this in mind so as not to commit errors in the handling of the
matters related to the organization. This will also define the minimum
level of unity we must achieve within this organization.
three levels of unity that we must strive to achieve. First, unity on the
level of friendship; second, unity on the level of academic pursuit; and
third, unity on the level of principles as outlined in Buklod’s charter. We
must be clearly aware of these levels of unity so as to know how to approach
the problems that confront the organization and to define our methods of
organizations, only the first level is attained or is meant to be attained.
The organization serves only to provide companionship, some form of personal
assistance, sympathy and empathy. People join organizations usually because
their friends are there or that they want to meet new friends. Considering
this as the first level of unity is not to say that this is unimportant to
an organization. It is an essential component of every organization. The
need for a barkada is real because humans are social beings. Through
friendships, differences in opinions or approach are easier patched up.
Even if those differences remain, friendship prevents the falling-off of
members. Strong bonds of friendship, particularly between the officers and
the members, make the members more open in their views and responsive in
their tasks. This is not to say, however, as expressed earlier, that the
level of unity must remain on the friendship level. Friendship must also
serve the higher levels of unity we seek to achieve in the organization.
level is that of academic pursuit. As was said earlier, Buklod is an
academic organization. As such, it aims to develop its discipline –
psychology. We do this in two ways – that of developing a psychology
reflective and adaptive of the Filipino psyche – Sikolohiyang Pilipino, and
by maintaining a high level of scholarship in the discipline.
in the pages of the first issue of Daluyan, one of the reasons why the
organization was founded was to bring back the dynamism, the energy, the
enthusiasm, the vigor of psychology students in discussing and debating on
the merits and demerits of the schools of thought in psychology. At that
time when the organization was founded, it was observed that many students
look at psychology only as a stepping stone to medicine or other courses,
many students do not look at the course as a discipline that they will love
and develop, and in which their skills will be honed and dedicated. Many
take the theories in psychology on stride, preferring to hide in the label
of being eclectic. They pick aspects of several theories and fail to
comprehend that these must fall into a comprehensive system of thought. For
the organization, scholarship does not only mean, or may not mean at all,
getting high grades in your subjects. Rather, scholarship is the ability to
critically examine each of the theories, see their shortcomings. It was
even explicitly stated in the organization’s charter that Buklod will
participate in the evolution of a theory in psychology that reflects the
Filipino psyche. As true scholars, it is our continuing task to distill the
concepts in psychology and refine them. This is why Sikolohiyang Pilipino
is a valid position.
How do we
achieve this purpose? Through a thorough discussion of issues or theories
in psychology in relation to present day experiences. Discussion was
conceived at that time as the main activity of the organization where the
other activities can revolve. This belief is premised on the ideal that the
academe is a battlefield of ideas. Ideal because the university has
degenerated into a funnel where ideas are just fed into the brains of the
students. And the students more concerned on whether what s/he learns will
give him/her a high paying job later and not whether s/he really learns.
How does the organization promote discussion – or even better – debate? One
is through symposia where we invite speakers to expound on topics. Another
is through lecture-discussions where some teachers are asked to lecture on a
subject usually not adequately discussed, if at all, inside the classroom.
An example of this is the talk on psychology in the industry by Jobart where
he expounded on how psychology contributes to the alienation of worker.
Another is through the reading of the papers of the members. A choice
paper is read and the other members are asked to comment for improvement or
debunking. The papers might have already been submitted to a subject the
past semesters. But students who devote much time and effort in researching
for those term papers, would feel very good if those papers’ results are
shared with other students rather than just stacked up in the cabinets of
their professors. The organization may organize a Friday club, where every
second Friday, a paper of a member is read. The lecture-discussions and the
paper-reading are some of the most innovative contributions of the
organization to the department’s effort to develop the discipline. Besides,
these discussions would require very little funds for implementation. This
is why the organization, at its birth, was able to push through with some
projects even if it does not have any funds.
method that the organization adapted to promote scholarship was by keeping a
library of student papers and tapes of lectures delivered during the
organization’s lecture-discussions and symposia. In this way, the functions
of the Psychlibe under the Psychology Society would not be duplicated. This
is also in line with developing the resource collection of the PPRTH.
academic pursuits, however, lie in each of the individual members of Buklod.
Discussion is actively promoted inside the classroom through incisive
questions and methodical inquiries. Critical minded-ness can only be
exemplified by the members’ behavior inside the class. Thus, scholarship
should be a mark of every Buklod member. This is also exemplified in the
member’s choice of research topics and the manner of discussion of those
these methods, the academic needs of the members are also answered. Better
comprehension of theories and issues of psychology eventually results to
higher grades. It is this unity at the level academic pursuit that the
organization seeks to attain at the minimum. This is the key. The concept
of Sikolohiyang Pilipino can only be developed and refined through the
process of active discussion and relevant research. Whether it is really
relevant, or valid at that, must be tested in research and debate.
through discussion and debate, unity in the level of principles is
attained. The principles ingrained in the organization’s constitution can
only be understood through a long process of immersion in those problems.
If they are problems of the people, then let us be immersed in the people.
As was stated in the earlier part of the paper, the question of Buklod’s
involvement in social issues is now a question of approach. One who does
not understand the issues at hand cannot be forced to act upon these
issues. There is still a need for them to go through the process. The
question now is: Are they willing to undergo the process of discussion and
On Our Methods Of
Discussion on the method of leadership is
necessary since, it seems, a few members feel that the leadership is not
responsive of their criticisms or suggestions. On the other hand, some
of those in the leadership express the frustration that some members do not
take in their heart the principles and objectives of the organization.
organization’s set-up was designed for collective leadership. Each
committee has a good level of autonomy where every member can participate in
the planning of the organization’s activities. The voices of the members
are expected to reach the LT when the heads of the committees convene.
However, this is not enough. It is best for the officers to periodically
talk at gut level to other members of the organization to adequately answer
their questions. If this is not resolved, the general meeting should not
only be a way of informing the members of the activities of the organization
but also as a venue for answering questions of some members. Dialogue or
discussion is still the key.
should be stressed that the organization was conceived, at the start not as
an organization for Sikolohiyang Pilipino. However, Sikolohiyang Pilipino
was seen as the expression of a relevant psychology. Relevant in terms that
this discipline will be of use to the great masses of the people – the
workers, the peasants, the urban poor, the ethnic minorities, and other
oppressed sector of our society. Whenever discussions are held, one should
ask himself or herself:
Am I looking at it
at the standpoint of the poor, deprived and oppressed?
for the Filipino masses.