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Equality fight ‘far from over’—LGBT rights advocates

Equal rights advocates urged the LGBTQ+ community and allies to amplify the ongoing fight for equality during a webinar on gender-based violence last Wednesday, June 24. 

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Screengrab from the KAAKIBAT: Webinar on Gender-based Discrimination & Harassment and Laws for Gender Equality webinar

Equal rights advocates urged the LGBTQ+ community and allies to amplify the ongoing fight for equality during a webinar on gender-based violence last Wednesday, June 24. 

Advocates said that the fight “is far from over” as it is more than just lobbying for policies against gender-based discrimination and violence. 

Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders co-convenor Jael Gonzales talked about the salient points and provisions of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bills filed in the Senate and Congress.

Gonzales stated that it is important that the country’s law acknowledges SOGIE in order to fully implement and cover the whole base of the spectrum.

“Our laws don’t recognize SOGIE and if they don’t recognize SOGIE, they cannot penalize SOGIE based violence and discrimination,” he said. 

Among the provisions included were profiling, discriminatory practice of employers, admittance policies of academic institutions, and hate crimes.

Different versions of the SOGIE Equality Bill, also known as the Anti-Discrimination Bill, have been filed in congress since the year 2000. 

It is considered to be the one of the longest bills lobbied in the congress, and it has been refiled for the 18th congress by Senator Risa Hontiveros.

On educating the mass

Award-winning filmmaker Cha Roque put forward her advocacy in destigmatizing the notions of the mass towards the LGBTQ+ community through creating films that “inform, challenge, and mobilize” audiences to manifest safe spaces for all. 

Gender-based discrimination, according to Roque, started through micro-aggressions coated in homophobic statements, which were often unnoticed. 

“These remarks…aakalain mo silang simple opinions [and] statements pero they’re very dangerous especially when it comes from people with power and platform and has the capacity to influence,” she said.

Roque stressed not to take these statements lightly. 

“It normalizes gender-based discrimination… [at] hindi lang ito ang mga nangyayari. Hindi lang sa public office, [kung hindi] pati sa iba’t-ibang institutions like schools.  It incites a culture of hate—a culture of violence,” she said. 

Roque reminded everyone that simply calling out and educating friends, in whatever capacity and platform, will “go a long way” in breaking stereotypes and fighting for equal rights. 

“Talagang nakakatulong sya. Hindi in a sense sa grand scheme of things like passing laws ganyan, pero kailangan pa rin,” she said.

The webinar, “KAAKIBAT: Webinar on Gender-based Discrimination & Harassment and Laws for Gender Equality,was hosted and organized by the Tiger Committee in partnership with Benilde Hive, The Initiative PH, PLM Propaganda, KASARIANLAN, and PNU Katalonan. Paolo Alejandrino

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Joining the front line: How new Thomasian doctors won their first battle

Set to join the front line of the COVID-19 battle, new Thomasian doctors first conquered their physician licensure examinations (PLE)—the sole exam to continue under the “new normal.”

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Thomasian Topnotchers—(From left to right) Mark Dumago (9th), Henrick Ryan Fong (3rd), Florence Maramba (6th)

Set to join the front line of the COVID-19 battle, new Thomasian doctors first conquered their physician licensure examinations (PLE)the sole exam to continue under the “new normal.”

Three of the four Thomasian topnotchers in the November PLE, Henrick Ryan Fong (3rd), Florence Maramba (6th), and Mark Dumago (9th) had to go through a series of obstacles before and while facing PLE this November.

Dumago and Fong, like any other students taking online classes, struggled with self-discipline and their mental state while preparing for the exams.

“Ang biggest adjustment is yung online na review,” Dumago told TomasinoWeb. “I actually thought na mas madali siya since hawak mo lahat ng time mo, but it’s so much harder pala dahil kailangan mong disiplinahin yung sarili mo.”

Reviewing online, according to him, was more taxing, in addition to the difficulty of trying to sustain his enthusiasm for a long period of time after the boards were delayed.

“Talagang makakaramdam ka ng burnout and may added emotional burden pa na sobrang uncertain ng lahat,” Dumago said.

Fong, the class valedictorian of Batch 2019, shared the same struggle but according to him, he used it to his advantage.

“With the extra time that was given to us, I used that to mentally prepare myself for the exam,” he told TomasinoWeb in an online interview. “I balanced my time between studying and also relaxing to keep my mind and body healthy.”

Maramba started his preparation as early as during his post-graduate internship, and as the community quarantine hit, it gave him the chance to “recalibrate” and “refocus” his study priorities.

“Our residents also helped us at this time by giving us zoom lectures and activities. During the review season, I had the chance to enroll in review centers which really helped us in preparing for our exams,” he shared with TomasinoWeb.

Battle day

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Fong said that taking the exam during a public health crisis is not the ideal situation for anyone, adding that it certainly took extra measures to prepare for it.

“It was a challenge especially for us who took the exam in a gym with no air conditioning and with the mask and face shield on, but it’s definitely not a big factor,” he said.

Before taking the PLE, according to Maramba, examinees were required to undergo a 14-day quarantine or submit a negative COVID-19 real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

Even though there were safety protocols enforced, Dumago expressed that he was anxious because he still can’t help but fear acquiring the virus.

“Nakakaparanoid na baka may maramdaman ka biglang symptoms which might stop you from taking the boards so masasayang yung pinaghirapan mo for the past couple of months,” he said.

Health and safety protocols were in place, such as physical distancing, disinfection, and wearing masks and face shields all the time except during meals. 

“It was not easy, sometimes I go home with my face feeling greasy. But it is understandable that it is the only way to protect not only us but also the ones we love,” Dumago shared.

Fong admitted that the exam proper was an unforgettable experience given the additional inconvenience of all the safety protocols.

“[B]ut it’s definitely not a big factor. It’s just a small sacrifice we have to do so that we can serve our country and everyone who needs help in the healthcare system,” Fong said.

Fong, Dumago, and Maramba are joined by Adrian Emmanuel Teves (2nd place) among the 436 newly-licensed Thomasian physicians.

The University’s Faculty of Medicine and Surgery placed fifth among the top performing schools with a 95.61-percent passing rate. Coleen Ruth Abiog

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CTHM alumna to students: Fuel career with passion

University’s College of Tourism and Hospitality Management (UST-CTHM) alumna on Wednesday, Nov. 25, urged students  to use their passion in pursuing their courses despite hospitality industry uncertainties brought by the pandemic.

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Voyage: A Travel to The Future Generation of Hospitality Leader event livestream via 3HHL1 Advocates Facebook page

University’s College of Tourism and Hospitality Management (UST-CTHM) alumna on Wednesday, Nov. 25, urged students to use their passion in pursuing their courses despite hospitality industry uncertainties brought by the pandemic.

Phinma Hospitality Incorporation Training Manager Windy Tuason said that people “should have faith” that the industry will return and recover to normal.

“It’s shaky at the moment but we’ll get there,” Tuason said during a webinar on hospitality and career. 

She stressed the importance of tourism advocates’ willingness to learn, enhancing and discovering talents, and enjoying and appreciating their mission in the industry in rebuilding their passion. 

“Enjoy what you’re doing sabi nga nila ‘diba do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life,” Tuason said.

“[M]ake sure that your passion is rooted to your mission, your colleague, [and] your purpose,” she added.

Tuason also said that people in the industry should use compassion in serving the purpose of their mission as service providers.

Magmalasakit tayo sa bawat isa, sa ating industriya, at sa kompanyang ating pinagtatrabahuhan,” she said. 

The webinar, titled, “Voyage: A Travel to The Future Generation of Hospitality Leaders,” was organized by the class of 3HHL of the Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, major in Hospitality Leadership program of the CTHM.

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UST stays 4th in PH, slides to 186th in 2021 QS Asian university rankings

The University maintained its fourth spot in the Philippines but slid down to 186th in the latest 2021 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asian University rankings released Wednesday, Nov. 25.

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Vince Imperio/TomasinoWeb

The University maintained its fourth spot in the Philippines but slid down to 186th in the latest 2021 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asian University rankings released Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Indicators like academic and employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, international students and faculties, research citations, and staff with doctorate degree determine the rankings.

This set of criteria, developed in consultation with regional experts and stakeholders, is designed to reflect key priorities for universities in Asia, drawing on as much available data as possible,” the QS website read.

For the past four years, the University has been seeing a clear trajectory of decline since 2018’s 145th spot. Last year, it placed 179th.

University of the Philippines (UP) remained as the top higher education institution in the country, surging to the 69th from last year’s 72nd place.

Ateneo de Manila University, placing 135th from last year’s 124th, followed UP, while De La Salle University soared to 135th from 156th place.

Aside from the top four mainstays, 10 other Philippine universities made it on the list:

  • University of San Carlos (451-500)
  • Ateneo de Davao University (501-550)
  • Mapua University (501-550)
  • Siliman University (501-550) 
  • Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (551-660)
  • Adamson University (600+)
  • Central Luzon State University (601+)
  • Central Mindanao State University (601+)
  • Central Philippine University (601+)
  • Xavier University (601+)

The University continued to be the lone university in the Philippines to possess a four-star QS rating.

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