ASHS Sanggunian officers discuss media manipulation and Asian hate in World Wide Conference

September 17, 2021
Ayshea Jian C. Delos Santos and Roniel A. Paningbatan

On July 14 & 15, 2021, ASHS Sanggunian President Jian Delos Santos and CSO Vice President Ron Paningbatan attended the online World Wide Conference hosted by the Kobe Municipal Fukiai High School. In this piece, they reflect on what it was like to discuss topics such as xenophobia, media manipulation, capitalism and racial oppression with peers from India, Australia, and Japan.

Human Rights
By Roniel A. Paningbatan (12-Holland), Council of Student Organizations Vice President

On July 14-15, 2021, the Kobe Municipal Fukiai High School hosted the World Wide Conference. I, together with Ayshea Jian Delos Santos, represented the Ateneo de Manila Senior High School for the topics of Human Rights and Communications, respectively. Delegated under the Human Rights group, I was able to engage in discourse with students coming from different backgrounds on our insights in line with one of current society’s biggest threats: xenophobia in light of the COVID-19 crisis. My presentation, entitled “Stop Asian Hate: A Movement Against Asian Discrimination,” provided a historical and statistical analysis of xenophobia in Western nations, as well as the current data on the surge of cases of Asian hate crimes. Upon hearing the varying standpoints coming from countries such as India, Australia, and Japan, I was able to take part in an open dialogue and propose solutions for the said problem that calls for youth action. 

Roniel Paningbatan shares his insights from the 2-day event with the attendees
The points raised collectively emphasized the impact of education and proactive approaches in diminishing discriminatory behavior in societies. We, as citizens, have the voices to bridge the gaps hindering cultural acceptance and understanding. More than legislative action, a unified stance was formed on the idea that rooted within this issue is prejudicial mentality and behavior, thus placing our roles as individuals at such importance. Indeed, it has been years of historical violence, and yet, we are still at a place wherein minority groups are under fear driven by racial oppression. What is more pressing is that the degradation of one’s identity is not only prevalent in Western nations, but also within Asian countries as well. Thanks to the conference, I was able to inform others on my take on the matter being discussed, as much as they have influenced me.
More than the learnings gained during the informational exchange from my colleagues and the cultural immersion of the program, what I can take away from the opportunity is nothing else but the essence of standing against indifference and violence and upholding the rights of our fellow Asians. Truly, it was a delight to have been a part of such an empowering and enlightening experience. 

By Ayshea Jian C. Delos Santos (12-Daniel), ASHS Sanggunian President
One word that would perfectly describe my experience in the World Wide Conference would be “eye-opening.” As Roniel Paningbatan mentioned, I was assigned to the Communications category and we specifically discussed Capitalism’s Influence on Media. As a Grade 12 student whose knowledge about Capitalism was limited only to the information I learned in Junior High School, the topic seemed very intimidating to me at first but I was determined to research it as much as I can. 
During the event itself, I emphasized how several countries such as the Philippines do not have laws that assure net neutrality, and that many individuals are not aware of the threats that the digital world- which we are very dependent on during the pandemic- brings to us as consumers. Both of these factors lead us, the public, to not know the “whole truth” because everything we read and digest on media is controlled by the capitalists that have the power to publish only what they would prefer to. The other students that came from other countries expressed different ideas, perspectives, and solutions about the topic, such as strengthening media literacy in schools, pushing for better laws, and spreading awareness. We got to comment on each other’s thoughts about the matter and have a discourse wherein we questioned each other’s solutions or even proposed more! 

Ayshea Jian C. Delos Santos shares her research on Capitalism’s Influence on Media Communication
The event made me realize how limited my knowledge of our society is even if I am an individual that belongs in it and this motivated me not only to learn more about it but also to do more in order for other citizens to be aware of this too while we formulate and fight for solutions and changes together. As a whole, one takeaway that I’d like to bring with me even after participating in the event would be to have a responsibility as people of this world to strive for more wisdom even if it’s not given to us on a silver platter because, in this way, we will be able to unravel the world’s mysteries, may they be good or bad, and do something about it with the people we meet on the way.