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Human Rights Week in UST opens with forum

The UST Simbahayan Community Development Office hosted a forum on human rights today, September 16, 2019 as part of its Francisco De Vitoria Human Rights Week.

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Photo by John Aaron Pangilinan

The UST Simbahayan Community Development Office hosted a forum on human rights today, September 16, 2019 as part of its Francisco De Vitoria Human Rights Week.

Francisco De Vitoria is a Dominican priest known for instituting an international human rights law and a defender of the rights of native Americans.

The University’s Vice Rector for Religious Affairs Rev. Fr. Pablo Tiong O.P. introduced Francisco De Vitoria to open the said forum, highlighting the life of Vitoria and his contributions to the mative people of the Americas.

“Kung may karapatan, may katungkulan at ang nangunguna ay ang katungkulan natin sa Diyos. Lahat ng karapatang-pantao ay bigay ng Diyos. God is the fundamental reason for our human rights,” said Tiong.

Human rights under Duterte 

Prof. Nymia Simbulan, Ph.D. discussed the current human rights crisis under the administration of President Duterte 

“When we speak of rights, this would deal primarily with the relationship between the state and ordinary citizens. It does not deal with the relationship between two or more ordinary citizens. Human rights refer to the minimum standards on how the state would treat the people when it comes to civil, political, social, cultural and economical aspects of life,” according to Simbulan.

“When we speak of human rights violations, we deal with state perpetrated actions against ordinary citizens. ‘Pag ang isang tao napatay ang kanyang kapitbahay, hindi po ito itinuturing na paglabag sa karapatang-pantao. Those are crimes dealing with ordinary persons. […] Kung kailan hatinggabi ang mga tao natutulog tsaka papasok ang demolition team, that is a violation of human rights. When the people were thrown in an area outside Manila without electricity, education, then that would be a violation of human rights,” she said.

She reiterated how the current administration “bastardized” human rights in the country, and how the president serves today as a “big threat” to human rights. 

“The moment he [Duterte] assumed his position as the highest leader of the land, mapapansin natin naging bukam-bibig niya ang karapatang-pantao. How he [sees] human rights is something distorted, demonized, bastardized. […] President Duterte is the biggest threat to human rights since martial law,” said Simbulan

Simbula asserted that the administration’s war on drugs strongly shows the degradation of the respect for human rights in the country and how the war on drugs became a war on the poor.

Culture of impunity and democratic decay

“There is a culture of impunity. […] Ang lahat ng napapatay ay mga ordinaryong mamamayan. […] Some say that the war on drugs is a war on the poor. […] Whenever there are killings reported by the mass media, there are no protests, there are no demonstrations, which is very dangerous. Nagiging kampante na tayo. Normal na lamang sa ating lipunan” she added.

Simbulan also noted the democratic decay in the country because of the current policies and measures of the current administration and how bills and “kill policies” supporting war on drugs were prioritized.

“There is a democratic decay, undermining the checks and balances in the government. […] In the last Congress, there is a supermajority. So when it comes to political agenda, there would be no much debates. The priority bills on the war on drugs of the President were easily passed,” said Simbulan.

She also noted the vilification cruel treatment on human rights defenders.

“If you are involved in the drug war, you deserve to be treated with cruelty. If you are individuals affiliated with human rights NGOs, or human rights defenders, these individuals are labeled as enemies of the state,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mark Louis Siapno, Head of Strategic Division of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) talked about how CHR’s role and mandate in the protection of human rights, noting how human rights became too political instead of being universal.

“While you have your human rights, there are people in charge of your human rights. […] From a universal concept, ang human rights nagiging political concept when in fact, you have your own human rights. Ang human rights ay hindi na pinag-uusapan sa tamang perspektibo. Hindi na pinag-uusapan nang para sa lahat,” said Siapno. 

“Human rights also points to obligations. May katuwang na obligasyon at karapatan. […] For as long as it respects other person’s beliefs, you cannot put blanket restrictions as it will violate peoples’ rights. For as long as they are human, the state has obligations to respect rights,” he added.

Siapno also asserted the importance of human rights especially to the poor: “Those who have less in life should have more in law. The CHR serves as mechanism para pantayin ang lahat in the eyes of the law,” said Siapno.

The Francisco De Vitoria Human Rights Week will feature an exhibit and film viewing, and will have another forum on martial law on its last day on September 20, 2019.

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“Kantahan sa Lansangan”: Thomasians organize benefit street gig for farmers

Progressive Thomasian students held a street performance event in commemoration of Peasant’s Month echoing the demand for better policies and the call to end the killing of farmers, Thursday, Oct. 17.

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Photo by Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

Progressive Thomasian students held a street performance event in commemoration of Peasant’s Month echoing the demand for better policies and the call to end the killing of farmers, Thursday, Oct. 17.

The event “Kantahan sa Lansangan” was spearheaded by Anakbayan-UST to gather funds to aid farmers and be able to register the call by featuring spoken open mic performances and busking. 

Angelo del Rosario of Anakbayan-UST highlighted the benefit gig’s role in joining the plight of farmers in registering and asserting their rights. 

“Yung street gig na ito ay in support sa mga peasants natin. Gusto rin natin na makiisa sa laban ng mga magsasaka para sa mga iba’t-ibang karapatan nila […] at makakamtan natin sa pamamagitan ng tunay na reporma sa lupa,” del Rosario said. 

Peasant workers were also set to talk in the event to share their experiences which, however, did not push through due to heightened police presence in the area, citing safety and security concerns in line with the alleged spur of targeted killings of farmers.

Del Rosario also expressed his frustration in the surveillance of the local police in the area for the event: “Sobrang nakakafrustrate siya, kasi karapatan naman na mag-perform hindi lamang ipanawagan yung mga legitimate na calls ng mga magsasaka, [pati na] yung mga calls ng mga estudyante.”

He added: “Itong tinitiktikan tayo parang kumbaga ikino-consider tayong threat of security sa public. Well in fact, gusto kong sabihin na sila pa nga ang mas karapat-dapat bansagan bilang threat of security.”

Farmers burdened by rice tariffication law, militarization

Moreover, peasants’ rights group spokesperson lambasted the government’s policy of Rice Tariffication Law, saying that farmers’ rights, as the producers of the country, must be addressed by the government. 

Eddie Billolas, spokesperson of Katipunan ng Samahan ng Magsasaka – Timog Katagalugan, in an exclusive with TomasinoWeb, said: “Ang magsasaka ay tagapaglikha ng pagkain ‘yan. [Na] pakainin ang sambayanang Pilipino na walang bahid ng paglabag sa karapatan at dapat nga tugunan ang kanyang pangangailangan.” 

Billolas added that even though the law has already passed, farmers have no control on what they sell. He also implicated that the price of palay has deflated for as low as P9, making the local farmers suffer more in this current bill. 

A farmer from Mindoro, who had an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb, stated that there is an ongoing militarization which targets the farmers and also the indigenous people specifically the Mangyan tribe. He decided to disclose his personal information for  safety reasons.

“Sa kasalukuyan ay marami ang militar sa amin at ang mga katutubo ay dinadaya at sinasaktan. Pumili rin [sila] ng mga lugar na malapit sa tinitirhan ng mga katutubo at binabantayan sila,” he said. 

Pertaining to the Rice Tariffication Law, he stated that he wishes the government would hear their plights and make an action towards the dreadful situation of the local farmers. “Ang panawagan namin ay sana itaas manlang ang produksyon namin hinggil sa aming pinagkakakitaan tulad na lamang ng niyog, saging at kung ano pa,” he added. 

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Pagtuturo ng agham sa Filipino, isinulong

‪Isinulong ng ilang dalubhasa ang kasanayan sa wikang Filipino sa agham at pananaliksik sa idinaos na 2019 Pambansang Kumperensiyang Pang-agham: Masulong na Agham sa Wikang Filipino, Miyerkules, ika-17 ng Oktubre. ‬

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Kuha ni Vince Imperio/TomasinoWeb

Isinulong ng ilang dalubhasa ang kasanayan sa wikang Filipino sa agham at pananaliksik sa idinaos na 2019 Pambansang Kumperensiyang Pang-agham: Masulong na Agham sa Wikang Filipino, Miyerkules, ika-17 ng Oktubre. 

“Ang pinakapangunahing layunin ng ating batas—ng ating konstitusyon—para sa wikang Pambansa ay gamitin ito bilang wika ng akademya—bilang wika ng pagtuturo—hindi lamang sa batayang edukasyon [kung hindi pati] sa lahat at buong sistema ng edukasyon sa Pilipinas,” wika ni Virgilio Almario sa kanyang talumpati sa bulwagan ng Thomas Research Aquinas Complex.

Ayon kay Almario, Pambansang Alagad ng Sining sa Panitikan at tagapangulo ng Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), layunin natin ngayon na gamitin ang wikang Pambansa sa mga usaping teknikal at maglikom ng mga salita mula sa Tagalog at iba’t ibang wikang katutubo ng Pilipinas upang ipantumbas sa mga teknikal na salitang Ingles.

“Hangga’t maaari ay magsimula na tayo talaga na gumamit ng Filipino [sa larangan ng agham] dahil puwede namang gamitin. Nakikita natin [ngayon na] kahit yung napakahirap na topics ay puwedeng gamitin ang Filipino…Mas maiintindihan yung ating pinaguusapan kung nasa Filipino, kaysa nag-iInglesan tayo [ngunit] hindi naman tayo nagkakaintindihan,” aniya sa isang panayam sa TomasinoWeb.

Hinimok din ni Almario ang lahat na maging mahilig sa wika at sa paggamit ng diksiyonaryo upang mapaunlad ang kaalaman sa agham at wikang Pambansa.

 Wikang Filipino bilang wika ng agham

“Naniniwala ako [na] higit tayong makukumbinsi na [ang] wikang Filipino ay wika rin ng agham,” ani Engr. Albert G. Mariño, deputy director ng Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute.

Ayon kay Mariño, maliit lamang na hakbang ang paggamit ng sariling wika ngunit malaki ang epekto nito sa pagsusulong ng kaalamang agham at teknolohiya.

“Masasabi kong higit na epektibo ang paggamit ng wikang Filipino… Sa aming karanasan, mas matututo at aktibo ang mga mag-aaral dahil higit nilang naipapahayag ang kanilang mga ideya at karunungan,” wika niya.

Nabangggit naman sa malayang talakayan ni Dr. Raphael A. Guerrero, Outstanding Young Scientist 2013 mula sa Pamantasang Ateneo de Manila, na hindi madali ang pagsasalin sa Filipino ng karamihan sa mga terminolohiyang ginagamit sa agham.

“Talagang ‘pag tinatalakay ko ang [agham], Ingles ang ginagamit ko. Ngunit ngayon parang masaya siya [kapag Filipino]. Kaya siguro sa pagtuturo ko ulit, paminsan-minsan susubukan kong ibigay yung lecture gamit ang [Filipino],” aniya.

Pinuna naman ng dalubgurong si Fortunato B. Sevilla III ang masyadong pagiging kritikal sa pagsasalin sa Filipino ng mga wikang ginagamit sa agham.

“Yung ‘alon,’ gagamitin sa ‘wave.’ Sakto naman ‘yon. So puwede nating sabihin [na ang lightwave ay] ‘alon ng ilaw,’” wika niya. “Kunwari [yung] ‘wavelength,’ literal nating gawing Filipino…‘haba ng alon.’”

Dagdag pa ni Sevilla, “Ang problema [ay] hindi lang tayo sanay [kasi] hindi natin ginagamit. Pero kung gagamitin lagi, matatanggap natin. Kung umpisahan natin ngayon at gamitin lagi, madaling tanggapin.”

Kasama sa mga nag-ambag ng panayam ay sina Dr. Rhodora V. Azanza, pangulo ng National Academy of Science and Technology at Dr. James Anthony C. Bautista at Dr. Marilyn A. Rimando ng UST Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences (RCNAS).

Ang 2019 Pambansang Kumperensiyang Pang-agham ay inorganisa ng RCNAS, Kolehiyo ng Agham, at Departamento ng Filipino ng UST, sa pakikipagtulungan ng KWF.

Ang Sentro ng Salin, sa pamamahala ng Departamento ng Filipino, ay una ring itinayo sa UST at kaisa-isa pa lamang sa buong Pilipinas.

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Thomasians rank in chemist, chemical technician boards

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The University garnered a 98.63 percent passing rate in the October 2019 chemical technician licensure exam, and 83.87 percent mark in the chemist licensure examinations.

Maria Patricia Diño was the lone Thomasian making it to the topnotchers taking the eight spot with a mark of 89.50 percent in the chemical technician licensure examinations. Milton Dela Rosa Jr. of Adamson University was named this year’s topnotcher with 93.50 percent mark. 

The Visayas State University-Baybay was the lone top performing school in the chemical technician licensure exams having a perfect passing rate. 

Only schools with perfect passing rate having 50 examinees passing are included in the top performing schools in the chemical technician licensure examinations. There are 73 Thomasian examinees with 72 passing the exam.

Meanwhile, Justin Allen Lim was also the lone Thomasian in the Chemist licensure examinations placing sixth with 88.60 mark. Andrew Exequiel Tabilog of the University of the Philippines – Los Baños claimed the top spot with 92.25 percent rate.

The University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman was named one of the only two top performing school in the chemist licensure exams claiming the top spot with a 93.44 percent passing rate, followed by UP Los Baños with 88.52 percent rate. 

Only schools with 50 examinees passing with at least 80 percent passing rate are included in the top performing schools in the chemist licensure examinations, and there are only 31 Thomasians who took the exams with 26 making it to the cut.

The national passing rate for chemical technician licensure exams declined to 81.09 percent or 2,298 out of 2,834 passing from last year’s 87.32 percent or 1,673 out of 1,916 takers passing the exam.

The national passing rate for the chemist licensure exams also waned to 42.12 percent or 457 out of 1,085 making it to the cut from last year’s 45.05% or 496 out of 1,101 making it to the cut.

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