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#PHVote: COMELEC, Twitter launch emojis for 2016 elections

The 2016 Philippine elections is the latest social media phenomenon to have Twitter’s special emojis.



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The 2016 Philippine elections is the latest social media phenomenon to have Twitter’s special emojis.

Partnering with the social media platform and the online news site Rappler, the Comission on Elections (COMELEC) launched custom emojis for the 2016 polls earlier this morning, Friday.


#PHVote and #PiliPinas

The emojis, each bearing the likeness of the five presidential candidates, can be accessed by Twitter users by simply tweeting with the hashtag #PHVote followed by the surname of the respective presidential aspirant, namely: Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Grace Poe, and Vice President Jejomar Binay.

COMELEC chairman Andy Bautista said that the emojis are “geared to inspire Filipinos to engage their opinions via Twitter.”

Another emoji bearing COMELEC’s official logo for the 2016 elections was also launched for the #PiliPinas hashtag. The said logo and emoji, depicting a hand dropping a ballot superimposed upon the Philippine flag, is meant to represent “a vote for the Philippines,” according to COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez.


Thomasian netizens react

Reactions to the emojis have been mostly positive.

Jefferson Buctot, a freshman from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, has taken advantage of the newly-launched emojis to show support for his presidential bet. Although not yet a voter, he says that the gimmick is “updated” and appeals to young voters.

“Nakakatuwa siya [the emojis] on one side pero, at the same time, unconsciously din na nakakapagbigay siya ng awareness for everyone and nakaka-encourage siya [to vote],” Buctot added.

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Another freshman, Anthony Laigo from the College of Rehabilitation Sciences found the emojis “cute” and gave the presidential candidates more impact than a normal tweet or text.

Emojis or emoticons – small graphic characters meant to represent or replace written ideas and expressions – have become a staple of communication in social media. Aside from a universally recognized set of emoji characters, Twitter has often launched numerous custom and embedded emojis to coincide with various occasions such as the release of films and music videos, sports games, as well as other trending events.



Mental health must be treated like physical health, advocate urges



A mental health advocate encouraged Thomasians on Thursday to treat mental health as important as physical health.

Kenneth Aranas, vice chairperson for education and research of the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, said that mental health problems are “not just in the mind” and they should be treated like physical illnesses.

“It only takes a little bit of understanding to really understand what people with mental health problems are going through.” Aranas said. “Mental health is not bound to a certain group of people. mental health problems can affect anyone.”

Aranas also pointed out the importance of family support in battling mental health disorders.

“Your first line of defense is your family, because they’re the ones that truly understand you. And if your family is already discriminating you or stigmatizing you, because of a mental health problem, then your whole support system crumbles, if your family is not supportive of you,” he said.

He said the stigma of mental illnesses is the “biggest blocking factor” in the progress when it comes to discussion of mental health.

Moreover, he encouraged everyone to break the stigma and to advocate for Mental Health.

“Advocacy on mental health is something each and every one of you can advocate for. You don’t have to be a mental health professional to advocate mental health.”

The seminar titled “Sonder: A Mental Health Seminar” was organized by the UST Faculty of Pharmacy Student Council. — H. Amoroso


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Mental illness is not a weakness, psychiatrists say



Psychiatrists from The Medical City discussed the matters concerning the mental health of the youth. Photo courtesy of Genelaine Urbano/TomasinoWeb.

Psychiatrists from The Medical City urged the public not to look at mental illness as a weakness because it discourages young people from seeking help.

“Hindi siya yung kahinaan ng loob. Hindi ‘yan yung ‘mawawala rin ‘yan.’ And finally, hindi ‘yan yung kahinaan ng ability niyo to cope,” said Dr. Ronaldo Elepaño III during the Youth Mental Health Caravan last Friday, Sept. 15.

In one of his presentations, he pointed out that depression is a medical condition as he compared positron emission tomography (PET) scans of a normal brain and a brain experiencing depression.

“The PET scan is a diagnostic technique where makikita mo kung active yung brain mo. The more orange [the] yellow parts of your brain you have, ibig sabihin, the more active it is…that is a normal brain. What do you notice doon sa depressed brain […] kita niyo ba yung kulay? Anong nakikita sa depressed brain — mostly blue,” Elepaño said.

Another psychiatrist also agreed that the stigma prevents students from seeking help even there are free services offered.

“There’s an element of hesitance, because at the back of your mind, you think of what other people might think — and you want to make sure that there is that confidentiality. So, we really have to raise the understanding that mental health problems are just like physical health problems. So they need the same attention and care that they deserve,” Dr. Geraldine Divino-Lobo told TomasinoWeb in an interview.

Moreover, she encouraged everyone to help young people develop positive ways of coping stress.

“Kids are going through a lot of stress right now, so there’s that difficulty in how they cope. What we need to do is to help them develop more positive coping skills,” Lobo said.

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“At the same time, we need to identify them, who among these students have mental health problems that require intervention. Not just helping them as colleagues or as friends, but to help them connect with the proper and necessary help that they need.”

Dr. Maria Imelda Batar, director of the hospital’s Department of Psychiatry, suggested that there should be mental health programs and policies even in workplaces.

“It (Mental Health Act of 2017) necessitates employers to raise awareness on mental health issues; correct the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health conditions; identify and provide support for individuals at risk; and facilitate access of individuals with mental health conditions to treatment and psychosocial support,” she said.

The Youth Mental Health Caravan was organized by the Central Student Council in line with Suicide Prevention Week.

by Wynona Nicole Orlina


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Nutrition graduates harvest awards in nutrition research seminar



Recent graduates of the University’s Nutrition and Dietetics program reaped awards in the 43rd Food and Nutrition Research Seminar of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute last July 3 to 5.

From left to right: Shaira Carandang, Arianne Sherie Agustin, College of Education Dean Allan de Guzman, Roniel Rose Barrientos, Gabrieleene Viray. Photo from the UST website.

Thomasian nutritionists Arianne Sherie Agustin, Roniel Rose Barrientos, Shaira Carandang, and Gabrieleene Viray bagged first place in the poster category, and second place in the oral category.

They worked on the study titled, “What predicts malnutrition among a select group of Filipino elderly in institutionalized setting? A Partial Least Square (PLS) Study”, under the supervision of the College of Education Dean Allan De Guzman.

Barrientos, who represented the group in the oral division, said that their preparation for the competition involved a routine of recap on the research study.

“We have discussed what we have done and experienced while we were making the research to refresh our minds, in line with the preparation for the Q&A portion,” she said in an online interview with TomasinoWeb.

In 2015, the BS Nutrition and Dietetics program of UST received Level IV accreditation from the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation, alongside three other programs of the College of Education.

ni Carisse Nicole Dumaua


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