(UP Bukluran sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino)

Departamento ng Sikolohiya
Kolehiyo ng Agham Panlipunan at Pilosopiya
Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, Diliman, Lungsod Quezon

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Our 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.

            In the 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.


Our 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 movement.

            It is 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.

            Another 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.


The 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.

            Buklod is 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.

            There are 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 work.

            In most 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.

            The second 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.

            As written 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.

            Another 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.

            Relevant 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 topics.

            Through 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.

            Thus 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 immersion?


On Our Methods Of Leadership

            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.

            The 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.

            Finally, it 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?


Bukluran is for the Filipino masses.



Konseptong Papel

Konseptong Papel
Sikolohiyang Pilipino