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Biology student ‘physically, emotionally abused’

A biology student last Saturday night revealed the “physical abuses,” which led to severe hematoma, allegedly done by her then-boyfriend.



Photo grabbed from Diane Kimberly's Facebook account.

A biology student last Saturday night revealed the “physical abuses,” which led to severe hematoma, allegedly done by her then-boyfriend.

Diane Kimberly Arcena shared on Twitter how Kyle Viray, also a biology student of UST, has treated her as a “physical and emotional punching bag.”

“I was putting up a smile but I was all broken inside and [couldn’t] possibly understand how he (Viray) could do such things then act all normal and be sorry in a matter of seconds[,]” Arcena said.

The two started dating around September last year, a close friend of Arcena, who requested anonymity, confirmed to TomasinoWeb through an online interview.

Arcena’s almost-two-year college friend added that the “beatings” began in December, when Arcena was supposed to have a drink with a friend.

Viray “assumed Kim would flirt and cheat on him,” the confidant said.

In her Twitter thread, Arcena told that Viray “physically hurt” her again over an Instagram post with a message, “landi lang ganon,” while playing around with a flask. She had to “sneak out of his sight” just to inform her friends about what happened.

But, Arcena did not want them to tell her brothers that she was “beaten up.”

“She didn’t want us na magsabi sa mga kuya niya. But you can feel na natatakot siya by the way she messaged us that day,” Arcena’s companion said.

“She was scared nung una na magsumbong o maglabas ng mga nangyayari kasi baka balikan siya ni Kyle,” the source added.

Meanwhile, another biology student, who has known Viray since second year college and wished to be named anonymous, said Viray is different as a friend.

“Mabait siyang kaibigan pero sa babae talaga siya violent,” the friend told TomasinoWeb in a separate interview.

A comrade of Viray since first year college, who wanted to be unnamed as well, also claimed “they did not know much” about the incident.

“Pinaniwala niya rin kami…na wala siyang ginagawa, na si Kim may kasalanan.”

Before the alleged abuses took place, the ex-lovers have been quarreling over “petty” things, Arcena posted.

“We’d always fight over petty things. I’d always feel the need to explain myself kahit wala naman talaga akong dapat i-explain in the first place… I don’t owe him an explanation kasi I’m not even doing anything behind his back[,]” she stated in a tweet.

Viray has been reported to have “abused” Gil Morales, his girlfriend before Arcena, too.

Morales disclosed on Twitter the bruises allegedly performed by Viray.

According to the UST student handbook, “threatening or inflicting injuries, physical or otherwise, on another person, whether inside or outside the campus” is a violation of the maintenance of peace and order in the University.

The handbook states that the “imposition of appropriate disciplinary actions shall be progressive in character, taking into account the previous violations committed by the offender.” Grave offenses, meanwhile, will warrant a suspension, wherein the extent is based on the panel assigned to the case.

Social Welfare and Development Board of the College of Science purportedly penalized Viray with 250 hours of community service.

Arcena also filed a lawsuit against Viray last month for the alleged violation of Republic Act 9262 or Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.

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The measure defines violence against women as any act, which will “result in or likely result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering,” done by a person against his wife, former wife, or a woman whom he has or had a sexual and dating relationship and a common child.

Violators of the act will face imprisonment, a fine of P100,000 to P300,000 and mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment.

Arcena’s friend said Kim will check for updates on the resolution of the case in the Manila City hall this week.

TomasinoWeb tried to reach some faculty members of the College of Science but they still have yet to respond as of press time.



UST plans a vaccination program for its employees

Dr. Sheryl Dionisio, the Director of the UST Health Service, said that the University encouraged its staff and employees eligible for the vaccination program to participate and utilize the opportunity to be protected from the COVID-19 virus. 



Photo by Jester Ramos/TomasinoWeb

Dr. Sheryl Dionisio, the Director of the UST Health Service, said that the University encouraged its staff and employees eligible for the vaccination program to participate and utilize the opportunity to be protected from the COVID-19 virus. 

“The University believes that the vaccine offers an added layer of protection to eliminate severe infection and reduce hospitalizations for COVID-19,” Dionisio said in an interview with TomasinoWeb

UST has acquired the Covovax vaccine, a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax, which has a 90% overall efficacy according to Yale Medicine.

Despite its high efficacy rate, the Covovax vaccine is still not granted an emergency use authorization by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.

The expected delivery of vaccines is within the third to the fourth quarter of the year, with final dates and volumes subject to the global supply and regulatory situation.

Pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Benjamin Co and UST Hospital medical director Dr. Charito Consolacion also conducted webinars and orientations to educate employees about the  COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and discuss the plans for the procurement of the vaccines.

While the University intends to ensure the health and safety of its employees, Dionisio emphasized that the vaccination program is intended only for those who are willing to be vaccinated.  

Dionisio added that the University’s security and maintenance personnel included in the A2 (senior citizens) and A3 ( persons with comorbidities) priority groups were already vaccinated in coordination with the local government officials of Manila. 

Meanwhile, those in the A4 priority group, including frontline personnel in essential sectors, and uniformed personnel, “will be scheduled for vaccination in Manila at their respective local government units,” she said.

Compassion amid the pandemic

Christian Solis, a faculty member from UST-SHS, said that the institution’s urgency to provide vaccines for its employees, despite the uncertainty of the situation, serves as an indication of compassion towards its recipients. 

“It is a manifestation of the love, care, and empathy on the end of the university,” Solis told TomasinoWeb

According to Mark Angeles, a full-time faculty member from the Department of Filipino in UST- College of Education, the university’s initiative to provide a vaccination program was prompted by the minimal number of people who are eager to be vaccinated.

“Nakikita naman natin na mahina ang turnout ng mga nabakunahan sa mga komunidad,”Angeles said in an interview with TomasinoWeb

Angeles added that the program being led by the university enlightened the faculty and staff regarding the current situation of the country. 

Alongside the vaccination program provided by the government, educational institutions such as the Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University announced a vaccination program for its employees and students. 

As of June 17, the available vaccines in the Philippines are Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Sputnik V. 

A total of 14, 205,870 doses have been delivered in the country. Meanwhile, the country has distributed a total of 8,407,342 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, more than one million people received the vaccine which is equivalent to 5.75 percent of the population. With reports from Lee Seril

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No-mask Christmas possible—Austriaco

“If 250,000 (vaccine doses are given) per day, we will get to containment in October and herd immunity in November.[T]his is a realistic and attainable goal for all of us. So we have to imagine as a country a no-mask Christmas,” priest-scientist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P. said on June 17.



MASKLESS CHRISTMAS? Priest-scientist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P. brings up the possibility of achieving herd immunity in the NCR+ region by Christmas season this year. Screenshot from GMA News Online.

A priest-scientist said on Thursday, June 17 that 16.65 million people must be inoculated by October to achieve a maskless Christmas.

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco O.P., a visiting professor from the UST College of Science, said that 40 to 50 percent of the country needs to be vaccinated to contain the virus. Meanwhile, 70 to 80 percent of the population needs to be inoculated to achieve herd immunity.

“So how long will it take?  We calculated: If 250,000 (vaccine doses are given) per day, we will get to containment in October and herd immunity in November.[T]his is a realistic and attainable goal for all of us. So we have to imagine as a country a no-mask Christmas,” Austriaco said at a press briefing with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

Vaccinated people will be protected if the virus is contained, while herd immunity ensures the protection of the non-vaccinated population. (Read: COVID-19 infection externalities: Herd immunity versus containment strategies)

According to Austriaco, who is also an OCTA research fellow, a “no-mask Christmas” is achievable through combined efforts of the people and the government.

“When that happens, we can begin to lift social distancing and masking arrangements… This is something that we can imagine. Let us all do this together, where we achieve herd immunity – the NCR plus eight by Christmas and the rest of the country, by sometime next year,” he said.

As of June 13, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr said that there are 6.9 million vaccine doses already administered by the government. 5.06 million jabbed by their first dose and 1.87 million being fully vaccinated. 

There are over 1.34 million total recorded cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines as of June 17.

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Austriaco is also working on a non-injected, yeast-based oral COVID-19 vaccine that he referred to as “vaccine for the poor.”

“We are basically taking a human probiotic yeast…and we are engineering that yeast to express a fragment of the Sars-COVID 2 virus. And our hope is that we will be able to take this yeast and we will be able to use the yeast to be able to stimulate the immune response, the protective response of the body, for Filipinos and other third world developing countries,” he told CNN Philippines in February.


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New central board officers to push for students’ code, other pro-student policies

The students’ code, originally called the “Magna Carta for Students,” has been passed on from one administration to another since it was first filed in 2004 by former CSC president Xialeemar Valdeavilla.



Student-leaders Dean Lotus Alano, Jan Therese Parcon, and Nathan Gabriel Agustin are set to lead the Central Board of Students during the next academic year. Photos grabbed from their respective Facebook pages.


The new officers of the University’s Central Board of Students (CB) hope to lobby for the approval of the Student’s Code and focus on student representation during their term next academic year.

CB deputy speaker Dean Lotus Alano believes that the Board should spearhead the student’s code instead of the Central Student Council (CSC).

“I believe that the approval of this should be promoted by the CB and actions like following-up with the concerned officials or offices, and having dialogue as needed be done as well,” he said in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

The CB, which is the CSC’s legislative arm, is composed of duly-elected presidents from each college, faculty, institute, and school in the University.

Nathan  Agustin, CB speaker and president of the Civil Law Student Council, said that having uniformed guidelines like the student’s code could allow for more pro-student policies.

They are made to face conditions that they never desired to experience in the first place – and if they experience setbacks due to these conditions (disconnections in important activities, failure to attend the required amount of classes, etc.), it affects their status as a student —their grades, standing, and even admission,” he told TomasinoWeb.

The students’ code, originally called the “Magna Carta for Students,” has been passed on from one administration to another since it was first filed in 2004 by former CSC president Xialeemar Valdeavilla.

Alano and Agustin is also joined by College of Rehabilitation Sciences president Jan Therese Parcon, who will work as the CB’s secretary-general.

Freedom of expression

Agustin hopes to address the struggles faced by students when it comes to freedom of expression, citing “tedious bureaucratic processes” that hinder students from speaking up.

“This becomes dangerous when it silences the student body. This becomes abhorrent when it invalidates even legitimate calls for justice and welfare,” he said.

“Therefore, as student leaders in our own councils and the Central Board, we have to continue lobbying for our freedoms – we cannot let the chilling effect extinguish our voices,” he added. (RELATED: Persecution, not activism, besets student leaders)

In August 2020,  the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) required all student organizations to submit “permission to post” forms before posting any form of content on their social media accounts.

Several students and progressive groups have blasted OSA’s measure, emphasizing its threat to the students’ freedom of speech.

“We express concern and alarm at this new guideline–concern because this might be used to curtail our freedom of expression and speech, and alarm because this is not the first time that the UST admin introduced such repressive policies. We caution the University to veer away from such policies that will only add burden to students,” League of Filipino Students-UST spokesperson Trisha Ifurung said.

Resumption of face-to-face classes for health-allied courses

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Alano and Agustin also push for the CB’s involvement in a smooth and safe transition to face-to-face classes, especially for programs that require more practical skills.

We’ve seen how the students are eager to return, however, this should be done in a manner that would prioritize the safety of all stakeholders,” Alano said.

Agustin urged the University to administer a vaccination program to make sure that the student’s transition to face-to-face classes is “well-guarded.”

“[S]tudents deserve the quality of education we applied for – and I hope that UST will also keep this in mind in deciding for the next step in the transition,” he said.

Clinical clerks from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery started their limited face-to-face classes on June 9 after these were suspended in March due to the spike in COVID-19 cases. They were required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to campus.

Other health-allied programs such as medical technology, nursing, and physical therapy are also expected to hold limited face-to-face classes next school year.

The Commission on Higher Education said in May that they are hoping to include college students and personnel in the government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which started in March.

In a survey conducted by Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) and Students’ Rights and Welfare Philippines last year, over 1,748 people said they had difficulty understanding lessons from online classes while 1,567 struggled with online classes due to loss of internet or stable connection.  —with reports from Patricia Kahanap


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