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Anti-Terror Law castrates judicial process—NUPL chair

“Nakalagay sa batas na you can file a writ of habeas corpus or a writ of amparo petition for unlawful acts or omission. Ang problema, ginawang lawful ng Anti-Terror Law,” Colmenares said in a webinar on Saturday, July 17. 

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National Union of Peoples' Lawyers Chairperson Neri Colmenares explains the inconsistencies of the Anti-Terror Law towards the Bill of Rights | Screengrabbed from Rappler's webinar

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) Chairperson Neri Colmenares emphasized how the Anti-Terror Law (ATL) completely eradicates judicial processes through focusing more on the prior intention to commit a crime and penalizing probable cause. 

“Nakalagay sa batas na you can file a writ of habeas corpus or a writ of amparo petition for unlawful acts or omission. Ang problema, ginawang lawful ng Anti-Terror Law,” Colmenares said in a webinar on Saturday, July 17. 

Citing Section 25 of the ATL, Colmenares recalled his statements during the oral arguments of the law, explaining how the appointed Anti-Terror Council (ATC) have the liberty to designate any entity as a terrorist. 

He expounded that consequently, Section 26 of the ATL of filing for a proscription, or a request to delist from the law, seemed ineffective as Section 25 counterattacks it.

Moreover, both mentioned sections of the ATL go against both the Bill of Rights, as Section 15 would allow red-tagged groups to condemn any criminal charges against them, and the Human Security Act of 2007, as Sections 17 and 18 limit the power to arrest and detain. 

READ  Human rights lawyers pan anti-terror bill’s ‘vague’ definition

“Which part of the law did not function for you? Mayroon ‘bang terorista na di natin nakasuhan dahil sa weakness ng Human Security Act?’ Wala silang mabanggit […] talagang gusto lang nila mag-overreach,” he said.

The Human Security Act of 2007 is a counterterrorism law repealed by the ATL and passed under the administration of former president Gloria Arroyo. It also faced  heavy criticism among the public due to its vagueness and risk of misuse.

Continuous oppression of the indigenous 

Panelists, human rights lawyer Algamar Lapith and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Chairperson Jonathan de Santos, evoked the injustices experienced by the indigenous people both before and after the law’s approval.

Latiph retold several incidents wherein Muslims were taken into court for profiling because they were identified as Moros, such as seen in the Bicutan siege.

“[M]ay isang PNP direktor doon na sinabi niya sa mga eskwelahan at unibersidad […] na i-update ang mga Muslim na nag-aaral diyan in the drive for violent extremism,” he said.

Latiph also mentioned that with the inaccessible legal system and the numerous checkpoints across Mindanao, any Muslim could get detained for up to 24 days without criminal charges as long as they are part of that religion.

He referred to the Section 29 of the Anti-Terrorism Law which authorizes the ATC (Anti-Terrorism Council) to arrest and detain suspected terrorists for 24 days, even without a warrant from the court.

Jonathan de Santos continued this narrative through the Lumads’ experiences of displacement and destruction of property.

He explained that in Lumad schools, alongside lessons about their tradition and culture, they discussed socialism and fighting against the government.

READ  Don’t allow red-tagging to cower us into silence—solon

“Yung resistance nila to, let’s say, efforts na pumasok ang mining and logging companies, makikita siya as anti-development in a way, therefore, anti-government and also therefore, terrorist,” he said.

From May 2017 to July 2019, Save Our Schools Network recorded over 500 cases of violence towards Lumad schools; the latest attack happened last February 2021 wherein the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested and took into custody 21 students and several teachers and Lumad elders of the University of San Carlos – Talamban.

37 petitions were filed against the ATL with one of them coming from the Moros, claiming that they would experience further discrimination under the law.

Last February 2021, two indigenous people’s organizations produced a joint statement urging the Supreme Court to junk the ATL following the arrest of Aeta evacuees.

Both Colmenares and Latiph were part of the chosen lawyers to speak in the oral arguments for the terror law, covering the unconstitutionality of the law and the human rights of the indigenous people respectively.

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UST Tiger Radio bags award in int’l college radio competition

The radio broadcasting arm of the University wins Best Audience in the 11th edition of World College Radio where 24 college radio stations from across the world participated.

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Photo courtesy of UST Tiger Radio

The University’s radio broadcasting station, UST Tiger Radio, was recognized in the 2021 World College Radio, a competition based in the United States.

The College Radio Foundation on Tuesday, Nov. 23, named the station, the lone representative of the Philippines, for having the Best Audience in the 24-hour global marathon of the World College Radio.

Now on its 11th cycle, the event saw 24 college radios across the world, from Asia and Europe to Latin America. With the theme, “In Tough Times, We Thrive,” the event highlighted the global efforts made by university radio stations to keep their production alive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tiger Radio’s theme for this year was #USTResilientRadio, which showcased the station’s measures in treading on and adapting to the so-called “new normal” in radio production.

Eric Galang, the MOR station head and an alumnus of the Faculty of Arts and Letters’ Communication program, was the special guest for Tiger Radio’s Off-Air segment. There, he talked about radio and the impact it made on his life.

Other college radio stations recognized were England’s Surf Radio for Best Music Selection, Best Programming, and Best Overall Effort; USA’s WMSC 90.3 for Best Audio Production; Colombia’s Estación for Best Promotional Effort; and Sweden’s K103 Gothenburg Student Radio for Best Use of Theme.

Founded in 2010, the College Radio Foundation has been holding the World College Radio competition, which gathers international radio stations across the globe to share their best practices in production.

Paolo Alejandrino is a marketing content strategist for UST Tiger Media Network.

Paolo Alejandrino
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UST to expand F2F classes for certain programs

UST is eyeing to submit their applications for the resumption of limited in-person classes in proposed academic programs before December upon the approval of the University Crisis Management Committee.

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Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

The University will be expanding in-person classes to other programs where the intended learning outcomes cannot be fully achieved with Enriched Virtual Mode of instruction (EVM), Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs Cheryl Peralta and secretary general Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said in a joint statement.

According to them, UST is eyeing to submit their applications for the resumption of limited in-person classes in proposed academic programs before December upon the approval of the University Crisis Management Committee (UCMC).

“These will mainly be skills-based courses that require in-person instruction. We will likewise determine which year levels and courses will be prioritized per program to progressively increase the number of students and academic staff who will enter the campus at any given time,” they said.

“As soon as the proposals of academic units are approved by the UCMC, the retrofitted facilities are ready for visit, and the documentary requirements have been completed by the academic units, we can submit their applications even before December as was relayed during the town hall meeting with CHED,” the statement said.

This is in line with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’ approval of  Resolution 148-G. This entails the Commission on Higher Education’s proposed phased implementation of limited face-to-face (LFTF) classes for all programs under Alert Levels 1,2, and 3 released on Nov. 16.

In a press statement, acting Presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said that “phase one of the implementation of LFTF classes will commence on December 2021 onwards, while phase two will begin in January 2022 onwards.”

Since June, the University has already started LFTF classes for medical and health allied programs.

On the University’s preparedness

Already-established institutional health protocols and standards for the current LFTF programs in the University shall be upheld during the resumption of expanded in-person classes.

The health protocols include the protocol for contract tracing and reporting of cases; for screening and detection, containment, and lockdown; for referral and transfer; and for isolation, quarantine, and COVID-19 testing.

“Our academic units are preparing the face-to-face training plans appropriate to their programs, consulting with stakeholders, coordinating with the Facilities Management Office (FMO) for the retrofitting of facilities, the Health Service for orientation on health protocols, and OVRAA for preparing the documentary requirements,” the statement read.

Moreover, the University’s digital IDs will be utilized to log contract tracing and health declaration features of Thomasians participating in limited in-person classes. Thus, students will be required to update their health conditions, vaccination status, and any contact with COVID-19 patients in the Thomasian Online Medical Services and Support (ThoMedSS)  website.

Health information collected through the new automated system will be monitored by the UST Health Service.

Angela Gabrielle Magbitang Atejera
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Thomasian artist bags 1st place in global art competition

Bricx Martillo Dumas, a graduate of the College of Fine Arts and Design, led the competition among 208 applications from 58 countries.

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"Nexus" by Bricx Martillo Dumas. Photo courtesy of DigitalArt4Climate and Bricx Martillo Dumas' Facebook page.

A Thomasian alumni won first place in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) art competition on Sunday, Nov. 14.

Bricx Martillo Dumas, a graduate of the College of Fine Arts and Design, led the competition among 208 applications from 58 countries.

His winning piece entitled “Nexus” showcased a hand holding a cigarette and a plastic material against a plain red background. This was the only entry from the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Four winners were selected through online public voting using Facebook reactions. Dumas’ art has garnered 825 reactions as of writing.

Dumas said that joining the competition was his chance to both represent the Philippines and advocate for climate action.

“Eight years ago, my hometown suffered from the wrath of [Super] Typhoon Haiyan. It changed my life forever. Should we wait for another typhoon stronger than Haiyan just to realize that this world is suffering from mass extinction? Or should we be the change that this world needs? Our time is now,” Dumas said in a video by DigitalArt4Climate.

“Nexus” was one of the selected 30 creations “with a great level of art skills and unique ideas about climate action” that will be auctioned off by DigitalArt4Climate to support the Sustainable Development Goals and UN Agenda 2030.

“DigitalArt4Climate” is an initiative in partnership with UN-Habitat that utilizes its resources for climate empowerment.

Larraine Castillo
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