The Socio-Caravan is an annual school-to-school and face-to-face activity of the Philippine Sociological Society to promote Sociology to the youth and inspire them to take up the discipline. This event is usually done prior to the National Annual Conference in October every year. Due to the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Society shifted its means to holding it virtually via Facebook Live. Every month, PSS invites resource persons from its network of sociologists and colleagues in the field of social sciences to discuss pressing social issues in the Philippines. While still promoting the field of sociology, it aims to widen public discourse through the use of sociological imagination.
Socio-Caravan Online: Sociologists in Times of Crisis (Part I)
Episode 1 streamed online on June 10, 2020 with hosts Dr. Nicole Curato from the University of Canberra and Dr. Jayeel Cornelio from Ateneo de Manila University. The online discussion was substantiated by guests Dr. Filomin Gutierrez, a Professor from the University of the Philippines Diliman and Vice-President for National Associations, International Sociological Association (ISA), and Dr. Mayong Aguja, a Professor from Mindanao State University – General Santos and the current PSS President.
Throughout the discourse, Gutierrez and Aguja emphasized the importance of using sociological thinking amid the crisis and making sense of what is happening today.
They also recognized the practice of sociology on-the-ground as Dr. Aguja said, “It’s time for us to go down to the sectors and develop collaboration. We do not need to be the leaders, but imagine what our knowledge and capacity can do for the different sectors, to build a just and humane society.” Meanwhile, Dr. Gutierrez also shared her volunteer work on providing reflectorized safety sashes to bikers and cyclists with her advocacy in promoting non-motorized modes of transportation.
Socio-Caravan Online: Sociologists in Times of Crisis (Part II)
Two weeks after the first episode, Episode 2 hit facebook with the same dynamic hosts Dr. Curato and Dr. Cornelio. Joining the meaningful discussion are Professors Mary Racelis from Ateneo de Manila University and Randy David from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Both are pillars and honorary members of the Philippine Sociological Society.
The conversation covered a wide range of perspectives involving the consequences of our responses to the pandemic but primarily focused on the significance of sociology in shedding light on status quo and acting upon that understanding. Prof. David uttered, “We go back to C.W. Mills’ Sociological Imagination, if there is confusion, it is the role of the sociologist to provide clarity to this vagueness. To understand this, we go beyond our personal and see the larger scope of the issue.” He concluded that in this understanding, we will better agree or criticize government responses to the pandemic.
With concerns on classes being held online, the speakers emphasized that social institutions must act hand-in-hand in order to address this dilemma and consider respective localities to strengthen our understanding. Prof. Racelis added, as an advice to teachers, “Help inspire students that the learning process is out there with engaging people.” She reminded us that people on the ground also have their own theories about their life and we should also listen.
The speakers also encouraged sociology students to take this opportunity in finding research topics to better understand various social phenomena during the pandemic. They advised the students to reflect in these circumstances, listen to the people often silenced, and understand the situation in a wider perspective.
Socio-Caravan Online: Baklaan sa Lakdown: Pride, Prejudice, and Perils
In celebration of the Pride month, episode 3 highlighted the issues of LGBTQI in ‘Baklaan sa Lakdown: Pride, Prejudice, and Peril’. Leading the discussion are Andoy Evangelista from the University of the Philippines Diliman Sociology Department with guests Teilhard Paradela, PhD Candidate from the University of British Columbia History Department; Mylene De Guzman from the University of the Philippines Diliman Geography Department; Bryan Celeste from Central Mindanao University Behavioral Sciences Department; and Beatriz Torre from the University of the Philippines Diliman Psychology Department.
This online discussion of activists and academics served as a contribution of PSS to the commemoration of Pride Month. With the diversity of backgrounds and expertise of the guests, the discourse holistically tackled issues and lived experiences of the LGBTQI community.
The host and guests started off describing the characteristics of the LGBTQI movement in the country and their personal insights and backstory with the movement. The discussion went on to the intersection of the LGBTQI community with other social factors such as religion and ethnicity. Furthermore, they discussed challenges the movement faces especially in the entrance of corporate firms in Pride March as well as the rise of authoritarianism and hypermasculinity.
The speakers also recognized the diversity and plurality of the movement and to avoid its exclusionary tendencies.
They cautioned about the common ‘Manila-centric’ notion of Pride as the movement also exists in other parts of the country. As final remarks for the LGBTQI community to move forward, Andoy concluded that “We can understand the movement in general as shaped by its social conditions. There are a lot of challenges, but what is important is to reflect how we are also shaped by the same forces that challenge us.”
The first three episodes of the Socio Caravan Online garnered thousands of views and reactions on our virtual forums. Audiences span across the regions having viewers from all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, and even overseas. Brigada News TV in General Santos City featured the discussions and will continue to show replays of the series which are also available in our Facebook Page.
Socio-Caravan Online: Religion in Times of Crisis
In the fourth installment of the Socio-Caravan Online Series, the Philippine Sociological Society turned its attention to religion in times of crisis on July 15, 2020. This fruitful discussion was made possible by our speakers Danny Pilario of Adamson University, Manuel Sapitula of St. Vincent Seminary, Bubbles Asor of University of the Philippines Diliman, and Jayeel Cornelio of Ateneo de Manila University.
Primarily, the conversations delved upon the role of religion and religious institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. As this period challenges the public in various ways, religion could provide some kind of support and solidarity towards its people. This is not to say, however, that religious institutions are steadfast in assuming their roles. These institutions are also challenged in the way the government and the disease restrict their actions and mobility. The speakers emphasized it is high-time for the religious institutions to retrofit so as to overcome present challenges.
This caravan also debunked the ideas of religious followers as being ‘pasaway’ and that science and religion must necessarily be in conflict with each other. More than anything, the speakers emphasized how we must be more empathic of the public’s circumstances and that even religion could serve as a form of resistance to voice out demand and calls in times of crisis.
Socio-Caravan Online: Anti-Terror Law
After the success of the first four episodes of the Socio-Caravan Online Series, Philippine Sociological Society held its fifth tackling the Anti-Terrorism Law on July 22 at 6 pm. This webinar engaged the controversial law contested by various organizations and citizens. The discussions were led by Dr. Louie Ignacio of University of Sto. Tomas and Dr. Phoebe Sanchez of University of the Philippines Cebu.
The talking points of the event were broad as they were substantiated by guests Atty. Teodore Te of Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), Rep. Mujiv Hataman of the House of Representatives, and Dr. Niño Leviste of Ateneo de Manila University.
Legal matters revolving the Anti-Terrorism Law were well developed and tied with the sociological perspective such as the vague definition of terrorism and identifying its root causes. They also interrogated the intended and unintended consequences of the law among vulnerable communities and individuals.
Socio-Caravan Online: State of the Nation Address
Less than a week after the previous episode, PSS in partnership with FYT conducted an online discussion in time of the 5th State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte last July 27. This event filled the afternoon with a meaningful exchange of views regarding the speech of the president before and after SONA.
At 3:00 pm, hosts Prof. Andoy Evangelista and Prof. Hannah Nario-Lopez of the University of the Philippines Diliman opened the discussions. They were joined by guests Dr. Herbie Docena of Institute for Advanced Study and Prof. Arnold Alamon of MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology.
The discussions delved on the importance of the SONA and the varying expectations they have for the president’s speech. Retrospectively, they also tried to analyze and breakdown the past SONA of Duterte as to what was said and not said. They also posed this question, expecting the commencement of the program.
With the help of FYT, the PSS livestreamed the entire duration of President Duterte’s speech online.
Afterwards, Dr. Nicole Curato of the University of Canberra and Dr. Jayeel Cornelio of Ateneo de Manila University led the post-SONA analysis with guests Gene Navera of the National University of Singapore and Samira Gutoc of Ranao Rescue Team.
The panel discussed the rhetoric used by President Duterte as utilizing the “binaristic us-and-them” simplifying complex phenomena. They also pointed out how people should also listen to counter-narratives and consider perspectives contrary to the mainstream. Surveying these frames would lead us to better understanding the current state of the nation.
Throughout the SONA conversations, audio-visual presentations were performed by sociology undergraduates and guests, namely Edmer Martinez, Antonio Concepcion, and Elay Vaquilar from the University of the Philippines Diliman and musician Garry Granada. Student-led sociology organizations all over the Philippines also gave their expectations for the State of the Nation Address.
PSS Socio-Caravan Online: Espasyo ng Sosyolohiya sa Usaping Pangkasarian at Kalusugang Pangkaisipan
Alongside the celebration of Women’s Month in the month of March, the first online Socio-Caravan this 2023 centered around gender and mental health. With Mr. Luther Labitad moderating the session, the panelists Dr. Rowalt Alibudbud, Dr. Chona Echavez, and Mx. Andoy Evangelista discussed the role of sociology in the varying discourses surrounding gender and mental health, particularly in the context of the Philippines.
The panelists first discussed the conditions of mental health in the Philippines. Echavez opened this discussion by zeroing in on the conditions of mental health for the youth aged 0-18, stating that they are one of the sectors whose mental health is most neglected in the country. Alibudbud said that it is important to highlight that mental health outcomes vary based on the different segments of the Philippine population. He also noted that the response toward mental health concerns tends to be reactive. Next, Evangelista explained that there is now a language for mental health as the popularization of mental health discourses increase in prominence. They also discussed the importance of criticizing the existing languages, especially in relation to the various discourses anchored to this popular language. Furthermore, they mentioned the lacking facilities and mechanisms that focus on the mental health conditions of the Filipino population.
They also discussed the intersections of mental health with an individual’s Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Characteristics (SOGIESC). Alibudbud expounded on the concept of Minority Stress, in which the negative experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community as minorities aggravate the conditions of their mental health. Evangelista expounded on how the broader social systems have instrumentalized the imagined connections between gender, sexualities, and mental health to perpetuate inequalities. Echavez, anchoring from the idea of stress and language, suggested that gender and mental health should be seen as a communal issue rather than an individualized problem.
The archived recording of this installment of the online Socio-Caravan can be viewed from the Facebook page of the Philippine Sociological Review (PSR), as the caravan was done during the time when the official Facebook page of PSS was delisted.
PSS Caravan in GenSan
In 2020, the PSS’ annual caravan which covered wide-ranging topics on youth and their challenges went to General Santos City hosted by the Mindanao State University. The caravan was a two-pronged event held at the university’s library on February 21.
In the morning, the PSS Caravan was joined by Dr. Clarence M. Batan of the University of Santo Tomas, Dr. Zona Hildegarde S. Amper of the University of San Carlos–Cebu, and Enrique G. Oracion of Silliman University to discuss the Filipino youth and their constraints in active citizenship.
Meanwhile, the afternoon session’s guest speakers who presented studies to better understand the youth and to debunk youth stereotypes were Dr. Jayeel S. Cornelio of Ateneo de Manila University, Septrin John A. Calamba of MSU–Iligan Institute of Technology, and Mark Julius F. Eusebio of the University of the Philippines–Los Baños.
The university’s faculty and students including those from the senior high school attended the event.