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2 Thomasians among top 10 in 2020 physician boards

Two Thomasians placed second and seventh among the top 10 of the 2020 physician licensure exams (PLE) held last March and September.

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Alexa Taay/TomasinoWeb

Two Thomasians placed second and seventh among the top 10 of the 2020 physician licensure exams (PLE) held last March and September.

John Marlon Lintan, who emerged second, got a score of 88 percent, while Erika Anne Pañgan, who landed on seventh place, got a score of 87.08 percent.

The University placed fourth among top performing schools and recorded a passing rate of 86.96 percent, with 20 out 23 examinees, lower than last year’s 99.31 percent, with 430 out of 433 examinees.

Maria Carla Buenaflor topped this year’s PLE with a score of 89.17 percent, and Far Eastern University – Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation was hailed as the top performing school.

Right timing

Despite the pandemic, circumstances have been favorable to both Lintan and Pañgan.

In a Facebook post, Lintan expressed his gratitude and encouraged everyone not to allow delays to define their present and future.

A dream delayed isn’t a dream denied,” Lintan said on his Facebook post. “Just strive forward, have faith and believe that there is a right timing for everything.”

For a dream delayed isn’t a dream denied.Posting this as a gentle reminder to never allow delays define what you can…

Jm Lintanさんの投稿 2020年10月1日木曜日

In an interview, Pañgan said she had to wait and make a lot of adjustments before the board exams.

“I originally started my board exam preparations [in] December of 2019 for the March 2020 PLE, but due to the pandemic, our batch had to wait for another 4 months to be given a definitive date for the second part of our board exams,” Pañgan told TomasinoWeb.

During quarantine, Pañgan followed a daily schedule and routine to make sure she’s both on track and living healthy.

“I tried to live healthy indoor spinning class, some arts and crafts, sleep eight to 10 hours a day during the lockdown period,” she said. 

Pañgan admitted that this year’s licensure exam was a “very uncomfortable experience” compared to the March to September PLE last year. 

“It was three times harder than usual but everything is possible when you put your heart and mind on what you do and what you want to achieve,” she said. 

Eight hundred examinees out of 1,424 passed this year with a national passing rate of 56.18 percent, from last year’s 84.96 percent or 4,006 out of 4,715 examinees. With reports from Paolo Alejandrino, Jayziel Khim Budino, and Coleen Ruth Abiog

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Flatten curve to revive economy, solon says

The government should remain in its goal of flattening the curve to revive the economy, a lawmaker advised Saturday, Oct. 24.

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Photo courtesy of the UST Central Student Council

The government should remain in its goal of flattening the curve to revive the economy, a lawmaker advised Saturday, Oct. 24.

“Klaro naman na hindi natin kailangan pumili between saving lives and livelihood. Hindi na tama na ang trade-off between the two…[b]ecause we can save both,” Marikina 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo said. 

Quimbo, who is also an economist, stressed the importance of evidence-based policymaking and monitoring, as well as business continuity and job projection interventions. 

The solution and interventions included grants for technical assistance, subsidies for COVID-19 testing, and wage subsidies with retention clauses. 

“We can afford to rise, pero dapat balansehin so as not to fall into a debt crisis… [b]ecause as we all know napakadali po to become poor pero napakahirap mag-exit sa poverty. Importanteng importante ang datos,” Quimbo said.

Quimbo also laid out the framework for the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines (ARISE), which she is one of the principal authors. 

Under the ARISE, a comprehensive plan will be followed to address the pandemic-brought economic crisis with a proposed P1.3 trillion budget over three years.

In the bill still pending in the Senate, Quimbo specified transitional, financial, sectoral, and structural support that, according to her, were the basis of the framework for the “mini-version” of the Bayanihan 2 that is in effect until the end of this year.

‘Reform the economy’

IBON Foundation executive director Sonny Africa urged the government to “reform and shape” an economy that benefits everyone. 

According to Africa, the government’s current response is focused on a “very artificial poverty reduction” by granting cash transfers without addressing the structure that continues poverty.

“The government is very keen on infrastructure to promote economic growth, but the Philippines is so lacking in economic fundamentals as it uses infrastructure as a short-cut to growth,” he said.

Africa also criticized that while the government is focused on infrastructure development, decades of neoliberal health privatization eroded  the public health system, which worsened the mortality rate even pre-pandemic.

The webinar “EkonDisyon: Philippine Economic Recession and COVID-19” is a part of the MulaTalakayan organized by the University’s Central Student Council. 

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Tourism recovery to revamp economic sectors, officials urge

Tourism officials stressed the importance of a responsible and “new normal-ready” recovery in the tourism sector amid gradual easing of health protocols in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Photo courtesy of the UST Research Center for Social Sciences & Education

Tourism officials stressed the importance of a responsible and “new normal-ready” recovery in the tourism sector amid gradual easing of health protocols in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Officer Alfonsus Tesoro called for sustainable and strategic recovery efforts to support and revamp economic sectors.

“Tuloy-tuloy dapat ang pag-conduct ng tourism site assessment and planning kasama ang iba’t-ibang stakeholders from the national government agencies, provincial government offices, and the private sector,” Tesoro said in a webinar, Thursday, Oct. 23. 

According to Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes, a survey conducted in Eastern Visayas showed that 66 percent of the respondents admitted that health risks affected their decision to travel, while 80 percent are now eager to visit tourism sites within the region only. 

“This gives us an idea of what tourism activities we should prioritize when we reopen our [tourism] sites. A large majority expect health and safety protocols in place, there should be value for money, and that fun activities will still be offered even under the ‘new normal,’” she said.

Tiopes added that despite the steady reopening of the tourism sector, health protocols would still be strictly employed to ensure safety of tourists and residents. 

The webinar titled, “Philippine Tourism Development and COVID-19 Pandemic: Recovery through Sustainable Development,” was spearheaded by the University’s College of Tourism and Hospitality Management in partnership with the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines, Inc., and co-organized by the UST Research Center for Social Sciences and Education. Paolo Alejandrino 

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Take courage to fight tyranny, says Artlets prof

Veteran journalist and UST journalism professor urged media practitioners on Monday, Oct. 19, to take courage amid persistent attacks and to withstand tyranny in the country. 

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Screengrab from "ThePressRoom: a PressOnePH commentary" livestream

Veteran journalist and UST journalism professor urged media practitioners on Monday, Oct. 19, to take courage amid persistent attacks and to withstand tyranny in the country. 

Christian Esguerra stated that despite uncontrollable tyrants in the Philippines, journalists and citizens can control their responses to disputes. 

“[M]as dumadali ang buhay ng mga nang-aabuso kapag pinababayaan mo sila, kapag tumitihaya ka na lang,” Esguerra said in PressOne.Ph’s live commentary. 

The continuous blatant attacks on the media, according to Esguerra, has pushed journalists to be more critical and “timid” of their coverage of the current administration. 

Amid the issue of timidness of the media, he reminded his colleagues to remember journalism’s loyalty to the citizens and truth. 

“Hindi ko sinasabing magiging madali, kasi nakasalalay ang paycheck mo, career advancements mo, lahat-lahat, but at the end of the day kaya mo bang lunukin yun, kumbaga pwede ka namang lumaban pero hinold back mo yung sarili mo,” Esguerra said. 

As of May 2020, 16 journalists have been killed since President Duterte took office in 2016, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. 

“Democracy and the free press always go hand in hand. Hindi ka pwedeng magkaroon ng tunay demokrasya kung wala kang free press. At hindi rin pwedeng magkaroon ng free press kung walang demokrasya,” Esguerra added.

Esguerra was named this year’s Marshall McLuhan fellow on Oct. 9, 2020 by the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and was lauded by Canada’s ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur for his “consistency in providing outstanding coverage of most pressing stories of the day.”

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