Pi Sigma Fraternity

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Much has been said about those turbulent years before and after the declaration of martial rule in the Philippines. The late 60's and the early 70's saw the neocolonial Philippines wallowing in its morass where the elite controls all societal structures, marginalizing the broad masses.

Those years shaped our generation. It brought forth the epitome of idealism in the backdrop of extreme polarization of the sectors of the society. As the cliche goes, The Brods" it was the best of times, it was the worst of times." It was a generation then that feels the throbbing onslaught of the 20th century. It was the time for change, the time to look forward, the time for hope. It also covered the bleakest years of our post-war history.

It has been said that idealism springs from deprivation and need. It is within this context why the Pi Sigma Fraternity was born. Conceived on the thought of nationalism, the fraternity realized this into its principles, Paglingkuran ang Sambayan and Paragon of Scholarship.

Paglingkuran ang Sambayan embodies the rationale of the fraternity. The sambayanan is the masses which comprise more than 70% of the total population. They are the oppressed. They are the trodden. And they are the majority. They are those who realize the dreams of wealth and power yet denied of their just share. The principle recognizes the fact that although the masses are the vital cogs in national development, they have been treated on the contrary. It is the tradition, the role and the goal of the fraternity to forward the needs, struggles and the sentiments of the masses.

Paragon of Scholarship emphasizes excellence in all fields of endeavor and the pursuit of a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education. It also embodies the emphatic belief that education should not be limited within the four walls of the classroom. Education is learning from the masses with the masses. With service to the people, it is envisioned to develop the fraternal brothers into nationalists.

In the beginning.

The formative years of the Pi Sigma Fraternity has been difficult. Besides hurdling the repression of martial rule, it had also to contend with traditional fraternities.

On August 15, 1972, eight young men - Emilio Aguinaldo, Noel David, Stephen David, Onofre Galvez, Francisco Gomez, Oscar Manalaysay, Cesar Romero, Robert Sombillo - gathered at the Molave residence Hall of the Diliman, Quezon City Campus of the University of the Philippines. They planted the seeds of the fraternity amidst the country's worsening socio-political situation. The times cried for it. The university offered a broad area for organizing and expanding its ranks. But first, it has to prove the viability of its vision, principles and objectives, differentiate itself from the traditional fraternities, and set the appropriate mechanism in carrying out these tasks.

Its consistent and active involvement in campus activities and anti-dictatorship struggles, gradually increased its membership and established itself as a respected political fraternity in the university, Aside from this, it helped carve a fresh outlook towards the fraternity system.

Fraternity Activities The Pi Sigma Fraterity's foremost contribution is promoting genuine brotherhood and camaraderie among its members. A brotherhood not imposed upon its neophytes through grueling initiation rites but developed through a recognition of their common goals and aspirations.

Collective consciousness has been constantly harnessed as its most potent weapon in consolidating its rank and file and opening up greater opportunities for personal development.

In January 26, 1975, the Pi Sigma Delta Sorority was founded with the help of the fraternity --- serving as its female counterpart. Besides pursuing similar principles and objectives, the sorority aids in the in the overall women's movement for liberation. This achievement is part of the strengthening of the fraternity.

The latter half of the decade ignited the fraternity's rapid expansion from the the metropolis to the outlying regions and provinces. Initially UP-based, chapters were immediately established in Pampanga, Manila and Baguio . In Metro Manila, organizing efforts were initiated on the University of the East ( Manila and Caloocan City campuses), University of Santo Tomas, Adamson University, Feati University, Technological Institute of the Philippines, and Philippine School of Business Administration. A community-based chapter was also established in Sta. Ana, Manila.

The establishment of chapters in the regions and provinces were harder but the fraternity was well-received. This was true in the Central Luzon provinces (Pampanga and Tarlac), Southern Tagalog (Laguna and Cavite) and the whole of the Bicol Region. In the north, Baguio and La Union were hosts to the initial seeds of the fraternity. Then the Visayas (Iloilo and Bacolod) and Mindanao (Davao and Cotabato provinces) followed suit.

From these scattered chapters, a national structure emerged. In March 1979, The First National Convention of Sigmans was held in Aringay, La Union. In this historic event, the fraternity formally adopted its national Constitution and By-Laws, established its national structure and systems, elected its national officers, and set the fraternity's course for the next years. These were then reviewed, evaluated and updated in the Second National Convention of Sigmans, held in UP Diliman from April 6-10, 1983.

Socio-political campaigns.

While the early years of the Pi Sigma Fraternity were mainly devoted to grassroot organizing and organizational consolidation, its political tasks were not neglected. After all, its existence is primarily based on the continued viability of its vison.

In UP in the 70's the fraternity dared the ban on student organizations and actively participated in the UP students' struggle for their rights and welfare which culminated in a 6,000-strong march by the various sectors in the university around the academic oval in December 1979. The next year, the university administration capitulated to their demand for the recognition of student councils and organizations.

Involvement in national campaigns likewise became a necessity. While the 1970's served as the period for breeding "martial law babies" and " the culture of silence" , it also nurtured and developed socially-committed and nationalist brothers.

The National Convention offered a quantitative leap for the fraternity's objectives. We have now a strong and national organization collectively seeking a nationalist and democratic society. It prepared the fraternity for the arduous battle against the Marcos dictatorship.

Truly, the fraternity's members followed the dictum that education is not confined to the classroom alone. Extracurricular activities occupy a portion of their time from sponsoring educational venues such as debates, symposia, fora, discussion groups and assemblies, participating in campus politics, integrating with the masses, ,and joining in political actions.

In these endeavors, the fraternity has produced student leaders, shared the struggle of the oppressed majority for better living conditions and protection of human rights, and at the same time, nurtured academic scholars.

The fraternity goes one step further.The heightened repression of the martial law era opted many to join cause-oriented and non-government institutions fighting for the cause of the Filipino people. Many lives, time and effort had been spent by our fraternity brothers advancing the anti-dictatorship struggle.

The ascendancy of a new government in 1986 did not stop the flame burning for our vision of a free, democratic, and prosperous Filipino nation. In fact, recent events have not been favorable to the fraternity.

In December 1987, Edwin Laguerder (Batch '79, UP), an adviser of a farmers' organization in Davao, was brutally murdered by unidentified men. The following month, Bernie de Guzman ('82, Chevalier School, Angeles City) was gunned down by PC troopers. In July and September of 1988, Benito Clutario (Batch '77, UP) of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Benjamin Lazaro (Batch '77-C. UP) of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) involuntarily disappeared in the height of the rising number of desaparecidos. Many more from the other chapters and fields of work were either killed, arrested, or have simply disappeared especially in Mindanao. The fraternity has instilled the ultimate expression of service to the people. The fraternity salutes the brods who have offered time, their thoughts, and even lives for the tenets the Sigmans believe in.

The struggle for a better educational system and culture is part of the fraternity's vision for a truly sovereign, democratic, and prosperous Philippines, a vision long conceptualized and pursued by its founders and alumni, and continues to be a guide for the present generation.

It sets the fraternity's position on major issues confronting our nation. It calls for an end to foreign domination on our internal affairs. It has sided with the farmers' organizations in its demand for a genuine agrarian reform, and the workers for better working conditions and higher wages. In general, it has staked itself with the oppressed majority in framing a society free from exploitation and domination, and conducive for collective advancement and development.

The idealism and perseverance of the fraternity's founders have brought the Pi Sigma Fraternity to where it belongs now, a national organization potentially strong in nation building.

quoted from: http://pisigmafraternity.tripod.com/profile.htm