“Namimiss ko na ang aking ex-BF.
Madalas akong maglakad palabas ng campus tuwing madaling araw para bumili ng makakakin. Habang naglalakad, ‘di ko maiwasang mapansin ang isang bakal na naka-usli sa pader ng guardhouse sa may U.P Gate. At kapag walang tao sa paligid, ‘di ko mapigilang ikiskis ang aking sarili sa hook na naka-usli. Para bang personal glory hole ko ‘to na nagdudulot ng matinding sarap. At sa bawat dikit, ako’y napapapikit…
Maraming salamat sa kung sino mang arkitekto, inhenyero, karpentero o putang inang tuberong naglagay ng bakal sa pwestong yun. Na-eenjoy ko tuloy ang pagiging single ko.
P.S. May ti*e ako
-MeatHook, 20*2, BS Bio, CAS”
This post from last January 25 from MeatHook, a BS Biology student from the College of Arts and Sciences is only one of the many controversial posts under the popular Facebook page, The Elbi Files.
Since the rise to popularity of The Diliman Files on September 2013, more and more “secret files” pages have been opened by the different universities from all around the Philippines. Among these are the UST Secret Files, Ateneo de Manila Secret Files, the De La Salle University-Manila Secret Files, and, of course, our very own The Elbi Files.
Contrary to popular belief, the first “secret files” page had actually been The Elbi Files. According to those who have followed the page since its establishment, also, on September of year 2013, The Elbi Files administrators were actually the ones who helped The Diliman Files develop their page in its infancy stage. However, due to the double number of the population of the University of the Philippines Diliman, compared to that of University of the Philippines, Los Banos, The Diliman Files grew to become more popular than its predecessor.
Still, the same threats arise. What do these “secret files” pages imply about our current educational system? What do they imply about the students of the universities and what new issues do they raise?
A number of alarming issues has been put into light by The Elbi Files. According to the January 2, 2014 post from Critical Isko, Batch 2011 of the College of Arts and Sciences, some of the most controversial issues put into light by The Elbi Files are as follows:
- rape cases in UPLB;
- freshmen recruitment in organizations;
- hazing and “pangungupal” in fraternities, sororities and organizations;
- unwanted imposition of faith;
- sexual issues; and
- the empowerment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.
Let’s face it, all of the issues mentioned above are considered “taboos” inside the campus. They are usually talked about in hushed voice by the people while probably looking behind their backs, afraid to be heard. But with the possibility of anonymity, these issues are slowly being unfolded, and more and more the people are becoming aware of the things that are actually happening inside the university, whether they want to believe it — and accept it — or not. And, actually, majority of these issues involve sex and gender-sensitive concerns.
Dr. Maria Helen Dayo, director of the UPLB Gender Center, concedes that the UPLB administration fears that the unraveling of issues regarding gender and sexuality inside the campus through The Elbi Files may actually pose a threat to the overall image of the university, because due to anonymity, cases of sexual harassment, LGBT issues, among others cannot actually be fully addressed.
For instance, in order to file a legitimate case, both sides of the issue must be addressed. Both parties involved must be communicated with and must be asked about their sides of the story. But because nobody really wants to come up and file a formal case, all these issues cannot really be addressed, and hence they remain merely just “information.”
The issues posted on The Elbi Files does not only concern the UPLB Gender Center, however. Currently, the Office of Student Affairs is also taking steps to address the issues presented in the said page, especially that of the freshman organization recruitment and the hazing in fraternities and sororities, which are both university no-no’s.
“Nirequire [namin] lahat ng organizations to understand sexual harassment [and] sex violence.One good thing [is that] ang OSA (Office of Student Affairs) ay nakikipag-coordinate sa amin,” Dr. Dayo said when asked about the steps the UPLB Gender Center has taken to address the issues brought to light by The Elbi Files. “On-going activity sa mga organizations na to be accredited, dapat alam nila yan. Dapat irereport nila kung may alam silang ganyan.” (We reqiure all organizations to understand sexual harassment and sex violence. One good thing is that the Office of Student Affairs coordinate with us regarding this. It is an on-going activity for organizations to be accredited, they should be aware of that, and should report if they know issues regarding these sexual harassment incidences.)
The issues displayed on The Elbi Files not only alarm the offices inside the university, but also its students. Because of anonymity, “name-dropping” has become evident in the confessions, and these confessions can range from being flattering to unsettling. A number of students have been mentioned in some of the posts, especially during the “crush shout out” event last December.
“In a way, hindi okay [ang anonymity],” said Paolo Carreon, a BS Development Communication student, and one of the many students who have been mentioned in the shoutouts. “Nakaka-threaten yung feeling lalo na kapag medyo mga haters mo yung nagpopost. Yes, napapangalagaan yung privacy nung nagpopost, pero di ba kasabay ng freedom to speak yung responsibility na wala ka dapat ma-violate na rights [ng] iba?” (In a way, anonymity is not okay because there comes a threatening feeling, especially when the ones who post are your haters. Yes, the privacy of those who post are protected, but doesn’t the freedom to speak come with the responsibility to ensure that you do not violate the rights of others?)
“I respect kung sino man yung nasa TEF (The Elbi Files) and yung ginagamit nyang form,” another student asserts. “Okay rin naman ‘yung anonymity. I get…why TEF does that. [Bad] side nito [is] we still cannot gauge kung totoo nga yung mga posts dun. Nabobother na din ako sa pambubully nila sa nagpost, at yung maseselang info na nilalagay nila especially…kung crush shoutout lang sya. Nakakahiya kasi pag nababasa mo [yung tungkol sa] sarili mo na hindi ka naman kinonsult.” (I respect whoever mans TEF, and the form of information dissemination he or she uses. Anonymity is also okay. I get why TEF does that. The bad side is, we still cannot gauge the truthfulness of the posts under the page. I am also bothered about the bullying encased in some of the posts, and the sensitive information they include, especially if it is only meant to be a harmless crush shoutout. It is self-effacing whenever you read things about you without your consent.)
Suicidal confessions have also began to appear in the newsfeed of the page, inciting alarm from the UPLB constituents, especially since Kristel Tejada’s suicide last March 2013.
Today, as more and more people go and try to “see for themselves” what The Elbi Files is all about, more and more also step out and become apathetic about it, because from being an “entertainment page” it has slowly become a venue for the revelation of some disturbing and unusual fetishes of some of the students.
Although a lot of people agree that The Elbi Files can be considered a venue of freedom of information, it is also actually a reason for the diminishing “university pride” of some of the students. Some admit that after reading the posts from The Elbi Files, they have seen their fellow students differently, have become distrustful and realized that the student population of the university may not as wholesome as they would like to think.
Unless these issues are fully and truthfully addressed, nothing can be done about them. Until the people involved continue to hide under pen names and asterisks, these issues cannot be put into record and filed. If no measures for investigation is taken, how would confessions on issues be considered legitimate or truthful? Instead of serving as a medium for information, The Elbi Files may have as well become a block for the reproach of these issues.
“Ngayon, inaalam namin kung sino ang manager administrator ng The Elbi Files,” Dr. Dayo confesses with an expression of urgency. “Nobody has come up yet. We really have to know.” (Until now, we are seeking information about who the manager administrator of The Elbi Files is. Nobody has come up yet. We really have to know.)