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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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CSC PRO, VP candidates call for anti-red tagging

“There are many things much worse than student activism,” Mataga said.

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Public relations candidate Jeric Mataga (left) and vice presidential candidate Gerald Mathew Dela Cruz (right) during the Tagisan 2021 live streamed by Tomasian Media Circle and Talents.

After the incident during the Tagisan 2021 last April 30 where the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) ordered Central Student Council (CSC) public relations candidate Jeric Mataga to remove his self-taken protest zoom background, the candidates voiced out their grievances concerning red-tagging.

Mataga, who is also a sophomore from the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences, told TomasinoWeb that “there are many things much worse than student activism.”

“I’m literally going to talk about red-tagging here and they’re going to red-tag me because of my background,” he said. 

“The students deserve fairness and justice, not unwarranted scrutiny and red-tagging,” he added.

According to Mataga, if he wins as the public relations officer (PRO), he would address red-tagging in three ways. 

“Well for one, the constitution of the CSC and the constitution of the Philippines protect political views such as being a leftist. So politically and legally speaking, we’re protected by our policy within UST and the law,” he said.

A student code that empowers students, according to him, can guarantee their safety from red-tagging.

“By pushing for a student’s code that empowers the students thoroughly and comprehensively, we can guarantee their safety from red-tagging even better. A review of the student handbook would be quite beneficial as well,” Mataga said.

He also wanted to aid students that are charged with disciplinary actions for political views.

“For students who have received disciplinary action due to political views and/or actions, as long as they are justified and legal according to law, the UST0CSC will do everything in its power to defend them, especially during their hearings,” he said.

“No student should have their hearings without a proper defence. I’ve heard students that have been to hearings where they were either alone or only had one person on their side, and the rest of the people there were their prosecutors,” he added.

Challenge vs. censorship, free speech

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Gerald Mathew Dela Cruz, the lone vice presidential candidate, was asked during the question-and-answer portion about his reasons for running “despite being red-tagged in the past.”

According to Dela Cruz, who is also the incumbent vice president-internal of the Artlets Student Council, red-tagging gravely affects not only the safety but also the mental capacity of the person who is experiencing it.

“Ang hamon sa ating mga tumatakbo sa Central Student Council, sa bawat Local Student Council […] at sa mismong UST administration ay maglatag at magpasa ng komprehensibong polisiya patungkol sa kaligtasan ng buong Thomasian Community hinggil sa red-tagging, pag-censor sa ating karapatan sa malayang pamamahayag, at iba pang mga importanteng isyu na dala nating mga estudyante,” he said on a statement yesterday.

Red-tagging, according to Dela Cruz, is rooted from a worsened political situation in the country.

“Ang issue ng red-tagging ay mula sa sobrang lalang political situation ng ating bansa, marami nang mga progresibong kabataan at organisasyon ang napahamak dahil sa lantarang red-tagging ng iba’t-ibang mga indibidwal at ng mismong gobyerno natin na hindi kinikilala ang malawak na implikasyon nito sa mga Pilipino,” he said. 

Mataga is pushing for the passage of a student code that will protect Thomasians’ rights as students of the University. 

He urged the Thomasian student-leaders to use their platforms to speak for the truth and to inform fellow Filipinos. 

“Tayo ay dapat magpatuloy na tumindig para sa mga kapwa natin estudyante, buong komunidad ng UST, mga kapwa natin kabataan, at para sa bayan,” he said.

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CSC candidates call for addressing sociopolitical problems in PH

The new Central Student Council (CSC) executive board candidates promoted agendas educating Thomasians on discourses of suffrage and national issues on Friday, April 30. 

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The Tagisan Mandatory Debate yesterday, April 30, livestreamed by the Tomasian Media Circle and Talents on Facebook.

The new Central Student Council (CSC) executive board candidates promoted agendas educating Thomasians on discourses of suffrage and national issues on Friday, April 30. 

Candidates Krizia Bricio, Gerald dela Cruz, Anne Arnet Paguirigan, Jerome Espinas, Gabriele de Lara, and Carl Mataga shared the same advocacy in addressing country matters and issues in Tagisan 2021. 

Public relations candidates Mataga and Espinas aim to focus on educating Thomasians on national issues concerning education, poverty, unemployment, mental health, and lack of government support, while de Lara said that he will focus on “proactive communication and information dissemination.”

“Gagamitin natin ang CSC bilang plataporma para bigyang kaalaman ang mga Tomasino sa kinakaharap natin ngayon na isyu at makisali sa diskusyon […] tungkol sa ating unibersidad [at sa] lipunan,” Espinas said.

Independent candidates Paguirigan and dela Cruz, who are running for secretary and vice presidential position, echoed each other on pushing for the involvement of youth in widening the scope of voter education in the country.  

“Sa pamamagitan ng malawakang voter education, dalangin nating bumaba sa mga komunidad at magkaroon ng malayang diskusyon sa kanilang kasalukuyang sitwasyon, at kung paano dapat tayong pumili ng mga kandidato sa ating lugar,” dela Cruz said.

Independent presidential candidate Bricio urged Thomasians to be vigilant in voting, whether on smaller or larger scales.

“[M]abutihin po natin na kilatisin at suriin ang ating mga kandidato sa organisasyon man natin ito, local student council, central student council at mas lalo na sa national elections,” she said.

UST Tagisan 2021 was organized by TOMCAT-UST and UST Central Commission Elections in partnership with The Varsitarian, Thomasian Debaters Council, and UST Becarios De Santo Tomas.

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2 Thomasians among top 10 in April 2021 pharma boards

Among the 1,168 takers, Anna Teresa Galian and John Miguel Nicolas of the Faculty of Pharmacy were among the top 10.

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Thomasian pharmacists Anna Teresa Galian (second place) and John Miguel Nicolas (seventh place) among the top 10 in April 2021 pharmacy licensure exams.

Two newly-licensed Thomasian pharmacists made it among the April 2021 top 10 passers of the pharmacy licensure exams.

Among the 1,168 takers, Anna Teresa Galian (89.95%) and John Miguel Nicolas (88.45%) of the Faculty of Pharmacy were among the top examinees, placing second and seventh, respectively.

According to the results released by the Professional Regulation Commission on Friday, April 30, the University is also the fifth top-performing school in the Philippines after posting an 83.33% passing rate.

In 2019, UST emerged as the top-performing school with a 94.81% passing rate.

Last year’s scheduled pharmacy board exams were deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic health restrictions and lockdown.

The examinations took place from April 25-26 in areas under the classification of Modified General Community Quarantine. 

The cities where the exams were conducted include Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Iloilo, Legaspi, Pagadian, Rosales, Pangasinan, and Zamboanga.

The results came out four working days after the day of the examination. 

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