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CSC president takes leave of absence; secretary presides

Central Student Council (CSC) Interim President Robert Gonzales filed his leave of absence starting December until January 2021 due to personal reasons.

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(Photo by Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb)

Central Student Council (CSC) Interim President Robert Gonzales filed his leave of absence starting December until January 2021 due to personal reasons.

In his announcement on Tuesday, Dec. 1, Gonzales cited physical and mental health concerns, as well as academic commitments as a graduating medical student for his special leave.

“[E]ven though we are serving this noble duty of being student-leaders, we are but human beings too,” he expressed in a letter. “We get tired and we feel emotions.”

According to Gonzales, this is the first time that he appealed for a leave to address his “deteriorating” health throughout his two and a half years of stay in the council.

“[D]on’t forget to tend to your personal needs as well. Take care of “you” too,” he said.

Gonzales assured the Thomasian community that proper transitioning and endorsement of tasks are in place during his leave of absence.

Interim Secretary Krizia Milleny Bricio will take over his position as mandated in the UST-CSC constitution. Meanwhile, Executive Coordinator to the President Reynald Marco Arcilla will take charge of the committees under his office.

Gonzales will resume office in February 2021.

‘Minor change’

While there is leadership turnover, Bricio said that the priority of the council still remains the same, and that is for the benefit of the Thomasian community.

“[H]owever, this priority is larger and heavier since I am now in charge of the council while he (Gonzales) is on leave,” she told TomasinoWeb. “I think there will only be a minor change — only the extent of the area that I’ll first-handedly manage and be involved in.”

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Bricio also assured that the transition will be “smooth” and “easy” due to the inclusive leadership, involvement, and transparency that Gonzales set for the whole Central and Executive Board.

“Kuya Rob has always involved us in his decisions, it’s just that this time, I’ll be the one to make decisions for and on behalf of CSC and for the Thomasian community as well,” she said.

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Prioritize mental health, youth leaders urge

Youth leaders on Saturday, Jan. 23 called on young leadership aspirants to prioritize mental health and emotional intelligence in service and personal circumstances.

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Asean Youth Engagement Summit Chairperson Josuard Gonzales and former UST Psychology Society President Karen Frances Aquino stressed the importance of mental health during the leadership webinar “SINAG 2020.”

Youth leaders on Saturday, Jan. 23 called on young leadership aspirants to prioritize mental health and emotional intelligence in service and personal circumstances.

Former UST Psychology Society President Karen Frances Aquino stressed that leaders should prioritize their mental health aside from serving their fellow youth.

“[B]ago kayo isang leader, tao kayo. Alagaan niyo [ang] sarili niyo and yung mental health niyo, tsaka mo [niyo] mas maalagaan yung iba at yung komunidad niyo,” she said during a youth leadership webinar.

According to Aquino, youth leaders should also be advocates of mental health to influence their subordinates on the same matter effectively. 

She also stressed the importance of creating projects to generate awareness about mental health. 

“[I]ts very important nga na magcreate tayo ng mga projects raising mental health awareness…[D]oon mo makikita a hindi ka leader lang, ang dami mong pwedeng gawin as a student leader,” Aquino told TomasinoWeb. 

Mental health issues are ‘valid’

Asean Youth Engagement Summit Chairperson Josuard Gonzales urged the youth to validate mental health obstacles as it will hone them as aspiring leaders. 

“[P]eople will lead through emotions and they reason after. Recognize muna natin na totoo ‘to. ‘Wag natin itago,” Gonzales said. 

According to Gonzales, it is vital for mental health issues like anxiety and depression to be a rising topic amid the lack of understanding about it. 

“It’s valid and it’s important that it’s valid. Bakit? If it’s valid then it’s talked about, and if we talk about it, then we can understand […] and then master it,” he said. 

“Totoo ‘to, importante ‘to at kailgnan pag-usapan,” he added. .

The webinar titled “SINAG 2020” is a two-part online leadership camp spearheaded by the University of Santo Tomas Central Student Council with a theme “Pagkilala at Kamalayan sa Sarili Bilang Isang Kabataan Lider.”

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Human rights advocates protest dismissal of progressive students

Several student councils and human rights groups urged the University administration on Sunday, Jan. 24, to uphold democratic rights after dismissing three students due to alleged involvement in “unrecognized organizations.”

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UST–Senior High School (SHS) Student Council representative Ruth Dizon (left) and Kabataan Partylist (KPL) –Katipunan Chairman Marco Mañaol (right) call on admin to uphold democratic rights during the League of Filipino Students press conference.

Several student councils and human rights groups urged the University administration on Sunday, Jan. 24, to uphold democratic rights after dismissing three students due to alleged involvement in “unrecognized organizations.” 

“While it is understandable that we need to abide by the existing guidelines and policies as much as possible, it is to take not that the 1987 Constitution […] shall remain the highest form of constitution by nature,” UST–Senior High School (SHS) Student Council representative Ruth Dizon said in a press conference organized by the League of Filipino Students.

According to Dizon, the UST administration should revise its policies suppressing student activism in the University.

“Nanawagan kami sa administrasyon na isaalang-alang muli hindi lamang ang mga paglabag ng mag-aaral, pati na rin ang mga patakaran ng Unibersidad na nagbibigay daan sa pagpapatahimik sa mga mag-aaral,” she said. 

‘Critical mindset’

Human rights groups stressed the importance of having a critical mindset due to the country’s current political situation. 

“[K]inakailangan ang pagiging kritikal at makabayan na kaisipan. Kinakailangan ang pagpuna sa mapaniil na administrasyon dahil kung walang pupuna, sino?” Kabataan Partylist (KPL) –Katipunan Chairman Marco Mañaol said. 

Manaol also urged the University to overturn its decision on SHS student Shoti Ampatuan’s case. 

KPL–UST is expecting that the administration will continue to issue show cause notices to some students in the following days. 

“We hope the administration sees the fear and intimidation that they cause and stop issuing show cause orders,” KPL–UST said. 

In a span of two days, the UST–SHS administration barred a student from enrolling next academic year, while two more students were given show cause notices for allegedly joining unrecognized groups. 

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Thomasians promote youth engagement in nat’l affairs

Several Thomasians from different youth organizations pushed for the inclusion of youth participation in shaping the country in an online protest on Thursday, Jan. 21. 

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Online youth protest, "“Sulong Tomasino!: First Day Fight!” streamed via League of Filipino Students-UST official Facebook page on Thursday, Jan. 21.

Several Thomasians from different youth organizations pushed for the inclusion of youth participation in shaping the country in an online protest on Thursday, Jan. 21. 

Rights for Education representative Jay Santos stressed that the academe should also join the youth in this agenda. 

“[S]a panahon natin ngayon at  sa kasaysayan pa ng ating bansa, kinikilala natin ang kahalagahan ng papel ng kabataan sa paglahok at pahubog ng ating lipunan, at dapat katuwang natin dito ang ating paaralan,” she said.

According to Santos, the continuous suppression of the academe towards students also mirrors the government’s way of silencing its critics. 

Meanwhile, journalism major and one of the petitioners of the controversial Anti-Terror Law Mark Geronimo, encouraged the youth to use different social media platforms to educate and criticize the government. 

“[Y]ung mga platforms katulad ng Twitter, Facebook gamitin natin ito para mag educate at mag criticize sa mga maling gawain ng gobyerno,” Geronimo said.

Despite receiving several threats from online trolls, Geronimo still urged the youth to educate themselves in the current issues faced by the country. 

The online protest titled “Sulong Tomasino!: First Day Fight!” was streamed last Jan. 21 at the official Facebook page of League of Filipino Students – UST.

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