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Alumni Association prex resigns, Uson’s award not revoked

Resigned Alumni Association President Henry Tenedero also clarified that Cherry Tanodra, director of the Office of Alumni Relations, did not resign and only filed a leave of absence.

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Photo courtesy of the Bangladesh Brand Forum.

Alumni Association President Henry Tenedero stepped down from his post last night after the association drew flak for conferring Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson an award on government service.

In a statement released after an emergency meeting, Tenedero took “full responsibility” over the controversial Thomasian Alumni in Government Service (TAGS) award but the association decided not to rescind the recognition, which was given to 20 awardees.

“As the president of the association, I’m taking full responsibility for whatever this has created. Well, of course, we have committees assigned for this, it is incumbent of me to accept responsibility,” Tenedro said in a phone call interview with TomasinoWeb regarding his resignation.

He also said that during their meeting, majority of the association’s board members voted against revoking the award.

“Oo nagkaroon ng sari-saring opinyon kaya nung kami’y nagbotohan… Kasi yung award naman hindi lang tungkol kay Mocha, yung award ay patungkol sa dalawampung recipients na ginawaran namin ng parangal bilang Tomasino at nagtatrabaho sa gobyerno,” he added.

Tenedro also clarified that Cherry Tanodra, director of the Office of Alumni Relations, did not resign and only filed a leave of absence, contrary to circulating reports.

“Hindi totoo na siya ay nagresign… She has not resigned but she is filing a leave of absence,” he said.

Tanodra’s husband, Marlo, also refuted her wife’s resignation in a Viber group chat with alumni, according to a source.

The resigned Alumni Association president stressed that he would still serve the association despite his resignation and advised its current board to fix the system in granting such awards to avoid future conflicts.

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The statement released reiterated that the association is an independent body and the decision to grant the award to its recipients is their own.

“USTAAI clarifies that the recognition conferred upon to the recipients of the Thomasian Alumni in Government Service was upon its own initiative and has nothing to do with Asst. Prof. Ma. Cherry G. Tanodra, RN MAN, Director of the Office of Alumni Relations, and the University of Santo Tomas Administration,” the statement read.

The award was given to Uson on Sunday, Jan. 21, during the University’s Grand Alumni Homecoming.

The Central Student Council and local student councils have slammed the association and called on them to revoke Uson’s award (READ: CSC decries alumni award for Mocha Uson).

Meanwhile, activist groups urged the University administration to openly denounce the award, which they feared legitimized Uson’s attacks on the press (READ: Student activists urge admin to denounce Mocha Uson’s alumni award).

by Beatrice Laforga

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Martial law victims slam Marcos day

Martial Law victims condemned the approval of House Bill No. 7137 bill declaring Sept. 11 a non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte to commemorate the birth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

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Martial Law victims condemned the approval of House Bill No. 7137 bill declaring Sept. 11 a non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte to commemorate the birth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

Bantayog ng mga Bayani Executive Director Ma. Cristina Rodriguez said that it is “harmful to the country’s history” as it could generate misleading facts that can confuse younger generations. 

“Kapag hinayaan mo ang probinsya niya na i-honor parin siya, ang harm niyan hindi lang sa probinsya niya kung hindi sa buong bansa,” Rodriguez said. 

According to Rodriguez, the Marcoses should be held accountable for the youth to understand the atrocities during Martial Law. 

She stressed that Ilocos Norte should instead “be ashamed” as they “fully benefited” from Marcos, while Mindanao was bombed and Cagayan Valley and Samar’s forest were industrially logged. 

“Sa totoo lang ang dapat maging attitude ng mga taga-Ilocos Norte ay bumawi naman kayo. ‘Wag niyo nang igasgas sa sugat ang asin,” Rodriguez said. 

Rodriguez also said that the national government should not acknowledge the bill to “hold a moral position” on the abuses inflicted by the Marcoses. 

“Yung mga nakinabang sa Martial Law at sa panahon ni Marcos gusto nila ‘yan. Dapat yung ating pagsusulat ng kasaysayan at pagtuturo ng kasaysayan ay tama,” Martial Law political prisoner Cris Palabay said. 

Palabay urged the youth not to forget the atrocities during the Martial Law. 

“Huwag po tayong matakot, lagi ko nga po sinasabi yung culture of fear, culture of silence, dapat yan ay labanan, tiyak yan, mas maraming magagandang mangyayari,” Palabay said. 

The webinar, “Francisco de Vitoria: Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao – Talakayang Batas Militar” was organized by UST SIMBAHAYAN Community Development Office to shed light on the abuse of human rights amid the pandemic. Cherizza Mae Bautista

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Filipino environmental advocates demand for ‘better normal’

Filipino youth advocates on climate change and various environmental organizations on Wednesday, Sept. 23, demanded a “better normal” to put everyone, and the environment in front.

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Filipino youth advocates on climate change and various environmental organizations on Wednesday, Sept. 23, demanded a “better normal” to put everyone, and the environment in front.

“As youth leaders, as young people, we have been active in different forms of advocacy work to forward our legitimate concerns on government policies, but particularly those related to environment and climate, and to those policies that will directly affect us,” said youth representative Jeff Estela during the online press conference.

Estela stressed the recent suppression of the freedom of speech, following the passage of the Anti-Terror Law.

Last July, youth environmental activist Greta Thunberg called to repeal the said law, citing that it equates environmental activism with terrorist activities.

“With the current move and actions of the government, this can be used to intensify the intimidation, fear-mongering, and the present attacks on the environmental defenders and advocates,” Estela said.

Environmental lawyer and activist Atty. Antonio La Viña emphasized the need of the youth to make strong demands, and to take direct action to appeal to the decision makers.

“I think the time now is to be really radical about the solutions,” he said.

La Viña highlighted the benefit of listening to indigenous people, as it will prevent further damage in nature such as the construction of Kaliwa Dam.

Yung climate change is not about carbon. It is not about emissions, ‘di ba? It’s not about markets. It’s on people,” he said. “Tao. Lalo na mahihirap.

Transition of renewable energy, according to La Viña, produces sustainable and cheap energy for everyone.

“Renewable energy is the future, the economics are there for it, and we just have to take very strong action to go to the transition very close to energy,” he said.

The online press conference, “National Youth Demands: Youth Declaration for Climate Justice,” with the theme “Para sa Klimabukasan,” was organized by Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines in solidarity with global movements inspired by Thunberg. Vhey Dela Cruz Tapia

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‘Democratic spaces shrink amid COVID-19 pandemic’—PhilRights exec

Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) executive director expressed concern over reduction of civic and democratic spaces in the country as an effect of the “worsening spate” of extra-judicial killings amid COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Photo grabbed from the official Facebook page of UST Simbahayan

Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) executive director expressed concern over reduction of civic and democratic spaces in the country as an effect of the “worsening spate” of extra-judicial killings amid COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Transparency and accountability are not government priorities. A culture of impunity continues to be perpetuated by the government,” PhilRights Executive Director Nymia Pimentel-Simbulan said. 

Simbulan, who is also the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of UP Manila, emphasized that passing the Anti-Terror Law of 2020 and lowering the age of criminal liability are “anti-people policies” propagated by the government’s legal apparatus. 

“Part of the efforts of the government to discourage protest actions, political actions intended to call the attention of the government to policies and programs that are anti-people is the framing of civic participation as a destabilizing force,” she said.

Duterte’s core principle of governance

Simbulan condemned the blatant red-tagging of democrative defenders and government critics that recently claimed the lives of Randall Echanis and Zara Alvarez, further highlighting the 2019 Global Peace Index which placed the Philippines as the second least peaceful country in the Asia-Pacific. 

She noted that the government playbook normalizes violence as there are efforts being undertaken by the administration to “make people accept violence” as part of their daily lives.

“President Duterte’s core principle of governance is violence, and even the international community has not failed to recognize this,” Simbulan said. 

However, Simbulan said that there are “glimmers of hope” in different forms of resistance such as continued mobilizations, documentations, and lobbying of petitions in Congress and Supreme Court. 

The webinar titled, “Francisco de Vitoria Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao” was spearheaded by the UST – Simbahayan Community Development Program as a part of the annual human rights activities series every September.

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