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What did the CSC do in their term of office?

“Remind me again what you did in your term of office?” might have been the spiciest tweet from the official Twitter account of the Central Student Council (CSC) this year.



“Remind me again what you did in your term of office?” might have been the spiciest tweet from the official Twitter account of the Central Student Council (CSC) this year.

The tweet, now deleted but nonetheless screencaptured by numerous students, was tweeted in the heat of the University election season.

Now that the elections are over and the Academic Year is coming to a close and it is that time of the year again when CSC officers recount the number of projects they have accomplished – and reason out on those that failed to take off.

CSC officers have only finished seven out of a total of 17 projects in early April but planned to execute as much as they can in the following weeks before the end of the school year.

However, keeping track proved to be hard after Reporting Actions with Resiliency (RAWR) which served as the council’s check and balance became inactive for the better part of the Academic Year, caused by a “misunderstanding” between CSC Secretary Yvonne Yap and the publication editor-in-chief Joey Basa.

CSC President Anna Mariz Mangalili only implemented two out of her three projects during Students Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Week namely Tomasino, Ano Say Mo? And Great Charter, a seminar on the still unimplemented, decade-old Students’ Code.

The Students’ Code has been in limbo for more than a decade and it seems that it has not progressed under Mangalili.

In 2014, former CSC president Ina Vergara assured the students that the Code is awaiting approval and implementation. Vergara added that the Code may reach the Rector’s office by August of that year.

However, the Students’ Code still has not reached the light of day as the CSC opted to hold the usual diversity walk, exhibit and forum during the STRAW Week last January.

For the meantime, the CSC implemented a grievance system as substitute.

Mangalili’s third project CSC Open Policy did not come into completion despite being in motion with the CSC receiving grievances from students of different colleges because CSC adviser Prof. Evelyn Songco Ph. D. wanted the project to have a more inclusive title.

Meanwhile, the project proposal of CSC Vice President John Louis Tingzon’s project Growl to Survival is still being refined, said CSC Secretary Yvonne Yap and did not materialize.

Tingzon’s other project Exigency, also a disaster risk management project, did not take form as no major natural calamity happened during the Academic Year.

Yap, however, said that Tingzon should be cut some slack.

“Sa Aktiboto kasi po si Kuya Louis yung ‘arm’ [ng CSC.] Si Kuya Louis ‘yung pinapahawak ng mga presidential debates, ganun. As much as he wants to materialize his platforms, sobrang dami rin talagang binibigay na responsibilities sa kanya,” Yap said.

Tingzon partnered with Auditor Zeth Renae Raquedan to kick off the Open Literacy Training Service (Open LTS), a project that Raquedan lead.

The project was scheduled to launch on May 14 and would be incorporated with the Office for Student Affairs’ similar event, “St. Thomas Young Leader Engagement Institute” (STYLE I). However,  only STYLE I, scheduled to happen on April 2, was announced on March 31 and there was no documentation of the event.

“[S]a naging conflict kasi is nalagpasan ‘yung time na ini-allot namin kasi ‘yun sana ‘yung best time to do it. We wanted it early January, right before pasukan. Kaso nalagpasan iyon and then naging busy na with every other events and then hindi na maganda ‘yung timing,” Raquedan added.

Yap was able to accomplish three of her four projects by April, specifically the Institutionalization Using Recycled Paper which was adapted by the local SCs, Scraps at Libro para sa Kinabukasan Mo, a book fair and fund-raising event and the Thomasian Open Dialogue, a leadership training program.

She completed her last project, Intensive Leadership Delegation Training (ILDT) last May 19 at the Tan Yan Kee AVR.

“[H]inuli ko talaga siya (ILDT) kasi feeling ko ‘yun ‘yung parting project ko,” said Yap.

CSC Treasurer Roi Sergio Rey’s project Diamonds, a forum that sought for the transparency of local student councils’ budget and money flow, happened last August while his other project, Tomasmiles was scrapped due to numerous conflicts between Roi and the Simbahayan community development office.

Tomasmiles aimed to provide livelihood and leadership training for the youth.

“Parang nangyayari na siya, tapos sabi ng Simbahayan na kung gagawin pa natin, redundant na. So they got to a compromise wherein Roi will think of a more innovative ways (sic) para makatulong sa partner communities natin,” Yap explained.

Due to time constraints and with Roi’s resignation to run for CSC president, the CSC treasurer did not accomplish any more projects.

Raquedan’s College Expo, which is more known for giving Thomasians the chance to experience other faculties and colleges courtesy of the two-phased Big Switch project, was successful and well-received.

Only one of CSC Public Relations Officer Ranel Simon Rey’s four projects took off, namely Thomasian FIT, a health awareness campaign.

Rey’s Tomasine should have been a video-making contest intended to commemorate the 800th year of the Dominicans in the Philippines, but it missed its deadline without any given reason.

Meanwhile, Rey’s Infoblast project failed to materialize after realizing that the SMS Caster exceeded their planned budget.

The Roar app, which was first conceptualized during Jacob See’s term, was set to launch this year but the CSC and the developer had an unspecified conflict.

“Actually we’re ready to pay the actual application for release bigla silang nag-dropout. Due to reasons hindi pa nila dini-disclose sa amin,” Raquedan, who took charge of the project, told TomasinoWeb in an interview last March 31.

“Right now we are trying to find a different developer and since meron na nasimulan, it will be easier to resume na ‘yung pag-gawa ng application.” -Y.N.H.




Lawmakers condemn law freshman’s death, renew calls to amend anti-hazing law



Thomasians hold a candle lighting and prayer vigil at the Civil Law lobby, Monday, Sept. 18, to mourn the death of law freshman Horacio Castillo III due to fraternity hazing. Photo by Mark Darius Sulit/TomasinoWeb.

Senators and congressmen are once again pushing for the legislation to amend the law against hazing following the death of Faculty of Civil Law freshman Horacio Castillo III due to fraternity hazing.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian renewed calls to pass Senate Bill 199 which seeks to repeal the 22-year-old Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law of 1995 and prohibit hazing per se.

“The Anti-Hazing Law must be overhauled to eliminate loop holes and ensure that all persons responsible for these cruel and senseless hazing deaths will be held accountable to the full extent of the law,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

The bill also seeks to introduce stiffer penalties on organizations and individuals who will participate in hazing. It will also require schools to campaign for hazing prevention and awareness.

Section 4 of the current law reserves penalties only for cases where individuals subject to hazing suffer physical injuries, and die as a result.

According to Castillo’s parents, the law freshman never returned after attending the welcoming rites for neophytes of the Aegis Jvris fraternity at UST last Saturday, Sept. 16.

Castillo’s body was found by John Paul Solano — now a person of interest in the case — on a sidewalk in Tondo, Sunday, Sept. 17. and was brought to the Chinese General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The law freshman died of heart attack possibly due to the injuries he suffered after the hazing rites. His body was found with marks of cigarette burns, candle wax drips and severe bruises in both upper arms (READ: UST law freshman found dead after frat hazing).

Sen. Gregorio Honasan II likewise condemned the law freshman’s death and recalled his brother who died 41 years ago due to similar circumstances.

“I remember 41 years ago when my youngest brother Mel died from fraternity hazing. My parents forgave those responsible; hoping and praying that it would help eradicate hazing. It was not to be,” Honasan said in a statement.

Furthermore, he called for “more teeth” in vigilance and law enforcement.

His own measure, Senate Bill 27, seeks to amend the Anti-Hazing Law by requiring schools to impose sanctions on organizations found guilty of participating in hazing and similar acts.

Both bills are still pending for Senate approval.

Meanwhile, Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon Party-list pushed for the passage of House Bill 3467 which seeks to revise the Anti-Hazing Law by criminalizing all forms of hazing and expand the scope of persons liable.

“HB 3467 does not regulate hazing, it makes all hazing illegal. The definition of hazing in the bill is inclusive,” Herrera-Dy said in a statement.

Herrera-Dy also maintained that the bill “will ensure the maximum penalty is applied.”— P. Jamilla



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Abstain votes are to be junked, what happens now?



The dropping of the Central Judiciary Board’s resolution in the middle of President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address last Monday, July 24, infuriated a large number of Thomasians even more than the President’s two-hour rant.

The historic abstentions were hailed by many as the call of Thomasians for better and more competent student leaders — but what happens now that the candidates with the highest number of votes will instead be declared winners of the elections?

Last time, TomasinoWeb reported that special elections will likely be held and Central Student Council (CSC) Secretary Therese Gorospe will act as president until such time.

However, the resolution given by the Board further extinguishes the possibility of special elections, and poses the removal of abstentions from future polls.

The Board asserted that the Central Commission on Elections (COMELEC) violated Section 5, Article X of the UST Student’s Election Code (USEC) of 2011 “by including ‘abstain’ in the ballot as if it is a name of candidate.”

USEC states in Section 5, Article X that the ballot shall contain (a) the printed names of candidates, position and party; (b) a printed box before their names, (c) serial number of the ballot and (d) instructions.

There is no mention of including an ‘abstain’ option in the ballot.

Nonetheless, the Central COMELEC contested in a counter appeal that the ‘abstain’ option “has been present in ballots used for every student council election, whether manual or automated, in the University since time immemorial.”

Such option, they argued, “was never protested against by the candidates, political parties or the student body in the previous student council elections, both central and local.”

However, if the resolution is to be followed, the Central COMELEC will have to declare Steven Grecia, Gabriela Sepulchre, Daveson Nieto, and Richard Javier — all from Lakas Tomasino Coalition — as president, vice president, treasurer and auditor, respectively, despite losing these posts to abstain votes.

Furthermore, the resolution puts into question not only the results of the CSC polls but also the elections of local student councils.

Along with Grecia, Daniela Frigillana, an independent candidate for the internal vice president post of the Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC) is also one of the petitioners.

The ABSC currently has three vacant positions due to the abstentions: internal vice president, secretary, and auditor.

Applying the resolution to ABSC’s polls, Frigillana, Maria Ann San Andres, and Jan Rafael Lipat will respectively take the aforementioned posts.

However, Section 8, Article XI of the ABSC Constitution, states that “all permanent vacancies in the Executive Board shall be filled by special elections.”

Whether or not local SCs will follow suit with the resolution, despite the autonomy of their constitutions, is still left to be seen as the AB COMELEC is also set to release their own resolution within the week.

It is still to be determined if and when the Central COMELEC will file another appeal countering the resolution, or if they will amend their constitution this year to make future abstentions clear and unquestionable.

But until such time, it is and will be left with no choice but to follow the board resolution.



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Gov’t urged to improve public transportation system

A traffic and transport consulting industry director said on Wednesday that the government needs a stronger political will in implementing a more efficient public transportation to avoid traffic congestion, instead of widening roads.



A traffic and transport consulting industry director said on Wednesday that the government needs a stronger political will in implementing a more efficient public transportation to avoid traffic congestion, instead of widening roads.
Director Kelvin Foo Yong Kiang of Total Traffic Solutions Group of Singapore and Vietnam emphasized the importance of efficient public transportation in reducing the number of vehicles on the road in a panel discussion organized by third year Tourism students from the University.
“Trying to change our mindset to use a public transport is not easy. But as a society, to aid traffic congestion, someone must pay the price,” Kiang said.
Singapore is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that implements an efficient program on traffic management, allocating 65 percent of their road for public transportation contrary to Philippines’ road map, which allots 60 percent private vehicles on the road.
“We occupy a lot of space [on the road] but we carry a small number of people,” Traffic Planning Consultant Nabor Gaviola said.
Gaviola added that a single car usually accommodates at most two people.
According to Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Philippines is losing P2.4 million everyday because of traffic. If it is not alleviated by 2030, the country might lose up to P6 billion.
Officer-in-Charge of Metropolitan Development Planning Service Sheila Gail Satura-Quingco assured that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is taking the necessary measures to ease traffic problem, which will include road pricing and vehicle quota system.
Quingco also mentioned several programs such as traffic ticketing system, yellow and bus lanes, and number code schemes which are already implemented.
However, no specific plans for public transportation were laid yet, except from the proposal of Department of Tourism Operations Officer Ramon Tiongco Jr. to have a rapid bus transport.
“We need to trust the government. Give our government a chance that the leaders being set are qualified people and they can do their job. If we can trust them and get on the act together, then maybe the effect of change can be seen,” Tiongco said. B. Decena



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