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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.”



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

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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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.



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.



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.



"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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