“KM is not the oldest existing youth group in the Philippines but its radical contribution and impact to the country’s politics remains unsurpassed. Traditional youth networks focus on individual achievements (e.g. how many of their members became part of Congress or Cabinet) while KM is more concerned on how to mobilize its members in the national democratic struggle. There are no KM greats, no KM heroes, no prominent alumni – everyone is simply KM.” (Manila Today)
The KM took on the mission to teach all sectors, that there is more to politics than elections. It identified the problems of society that needed changing, explained the root of the problems and organized for the struggle towards a socialist objective. It is a subversive idea today but more so in 1964.
The KM members multiplied in UP Diliman Chapter, then some members enrolled in other universities, for the main purpose of building other chapters. Soon there was UE KM Chapter, FEU KM Chapter, etc. Some members were assigned to the labor sector, coordinating between unions and building new ones. The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) was born. Other members were assigned to the divided and disorganized transport sector. In a matter of time, jeepney strikes were demanding and winning fare hikes.
The potential use for political power caught the eye of Ninoy Aquino. He put Jose Maria Sison, a central committee member of The Communist Party of the Philippines, and Dante Buscayno, a peasant armed revolt leader, together. The New People’s Army rose to “political power, that grows out of the barrel of a gun”.
The KM members were used as pawns. Students who could have had a good life, died or wasted their years in jail or in hiding. Jose Maria Sison went on an extended European vacation. Ninoy Aquino died without tasting the fruits of his schemes. “Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2)
In hindsight, do I regret my time and involvement in student activism? NO! Here are my reasons:
1. I didn’t do it for Jose Maria Sison. I was simply being me.
2. The experience was unparalleled.
3. In it, I found the best husband ever.
4. From that journey, I have a book titled REBEL.