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Thomasian remains missing after ferry capsizes

UPDATE: “Kasama niya mother niya, dahil daw sa lakas ng alon, nagkahiwalay sila sa tubig,” the student’s cousin told TomasinoWeb in an interview.

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Photo from Mercraft Shipping Lines's FB page.

(UPDATED Dec. 26, 12:20 p.m.) A UST Junior High School student remained missing, along with two other passengers, after a ferry bound to Polillo Island capsized on Dec. 21.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed that Jake Noel Mendiola, 14, remains missing after M/V Mercraft 3 sunk between Polillo Island and Barangay Binahican in Infanta, Quezon.

Mendiola’s cousin Cheysser Zabala said that Mendiola planned to go home to Burdeos, Quezon, along with his mother Dulcenia, for Christmas vacation.

“Kasama niya mother niya, dahil daw sa lakas ng alon, nagkahiwalay sila sa tubig,” Zabala told TomasinoWeb in an interview. “Ayon si tita (Dulcenia), nakabitaw na siya pero inaangat siya ni Jake.”

Zabala said that Mendiola’s other cousin and survivor, Donnel Jade, also came with them when the ferry took off at 9 a.m. from Ungos Port in Real, Quezon.

“Ayon naman sa tita, may hinahawakan nga silang mag-ina at nung na nakabitaw siya, lumubog siya at parang, nawalan siya malay. Namalayan lang kasi sya [nung] inaangat siya ng isang lalaki at binigyan hawakan. So pag tingin niya, wala na si Jake,” Zabala said.

Zabala also said that the front of the ferry was already damaged by 10 a.m. and that it remained afloat for an hour before it began to sink.

“Malalaki kasi [yung] alon kaya talagang nagkakahiwalay daw [sila] at [na]hirap[an] magkakitaan. Yun [yung] last kita [ni] tita kay Jake,” Zabala added.

The other missing passengers are Zandy Tapar and Odelun Azur.

The fast craft ferry owned by Mercraft Shipping Lines reportedly carried 256 passengers and crew when it sank.

However, police officials said in an interview with radio station DZRH that they would also investigate the matter of overloading. M/V Mercraft 3 had a maximum capacity of 286 passengers, according to the PCG.

A total of five casualties have already been recorded and 11 passengers were reportedly injured.

This is a developing story. Please refresh the page for updates.

by Heather Marian Amoroso

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Write the truth—Atom Araullo, DepEd to campus journalists

Araullo said that it is not enough to present the facts, and as journalists it is part of the responsibility to reveal the truth behind the facts and make it into a story in which the audience can relate to.

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Screengrab from #CampJourn webinar

Media professionals gathered yesterday in a webinar, “#CAMPJOURN: Campus and Community Journalism in a Time of Pandemic,” to encourage campus journalists to report the truth despite the changing journalism landscape.

GMA7 news broadcast journalist Atom Araullo highlighted the importance of the balance in reporting and power in storytelling.

“Sa trabaho natin, napakahalaga na nakukuha natin yung tamang impormasyon… But you also have to make sure that yung information mo is something that will illuminate kung ano yung katotohanan,” he said during the online forum.

Araullo said that it is not enough to present the facts, and as journalists it is part of the responsibility to reveal the truth behind the facts and make it into a story in which the audience can relate to.

“People say that there are two sides of a story. That’s true,” he said. “Pero the truth is just one thing. There is just one objective reality.”

Department of Education Bureau of Curriculum Development Director Jocelyn Andaya told campus journalists to “keep writing.” 

She stressed that during the ongoing pandemic, there is a need for a purpose and this is the time in which correct and fact-checked news stories are needed. 

“[D]on’t just write because you want to this time,” she said. “Sometimes I was told by campus journalists…’it takes courage to defy,’…It takes courage, but defiance has to be tempered with correct information.”

“You have to make sure that what you write about is true,” she said. 

Emotion in news stories

Journalists, according to Araullo, are not just robots gathering information, which means that emotions and critical thinking are two factors to be considered and taken advantage of when writing a story. 

“Bilang journalist, yung personal feelings mo, hindi mo ‘yan mahihiwalay sa eventual story na gagawin mo,” he said “[Y]ou can be an effective journalist even if you acknowledge…na ikaw ay isang tao na mayoong emosyon at mayroong panindigan.”

Araullo considers emotions as a “good thing” when it comes to projecting news because the act of feeling, for him, gives the journalist an idea of the plight of the ordinary citizens. 

“Kahit na anong pilit, kahit na anong subok mo, at kahit na lokohin mo yung sarili mo na kaya mong gawin ‘yon, it’s not possible kasi you have to make choices along the way.” he said.

“[Y]ou have to choose how to write it. With all of those choices, you are already shaping the story,” he added.

Araullo emphasized that there is also the need to consider other fundamentals of journalism like accuracy and balance and the importance of putting context in stories. 

“[A]no ba yung surrounding situation na kinalalagyan nitong mga facts na ito? Sigurado ba ‘ko na yung facts na ito ay hindi cherry-picked?” he said.

Issue to impact

Araullo said stories should not only induce feelings of happiness, sadness, or anger, but also urge the citizens “to find solutions necessary to make change.”

To do that, he said that journalists must hone their storytelling prowess, “from stories to solutions, from issues to impact, ” and create connection with the audience.

“[N]aghahanap ka ng isang paraan na maintindihan ng audience na kahit na hindi siya yung nakakaranas nitong istoryang ‘to, nararamdaman niya kung anong epekto nito doon sa nakakaranas ng istorya,” he said.

Additionally, Internews media specialist Kat Raymundo emphasized the “framework of accountability.” 

Media, according to her, serves as a “tool” that could either be helpful or used for political reasons, which is why journalists must use it to empower people to provide for their needs.

“[W]e must restore public trust and credibility, and journalism in a changing world must work on self-regulation and social responsibility,” she said. 

Raymundo urged the budding journalists to stop being “passive consumers” of news and instead make use of the old and new media as an “informed citizen” who interacts with other media users.

“Let’s be aware, complain, or even [encourage] criticism, because media development will not happen if the public does not demand more from this powerful institution,” she said. Coleen Ruth Abiog and Jayziel Khim Budino

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CSC President proposes learning adjustments to CHED

In an online meeting yesterday with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Central Student Council (CSC) President Robert Dominic Gonzales raised some of the students’ concerns on flexible learning in the University.

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Photo by Julius Villavieja

In an online meeting yesterday with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Central Student Council (CSC) President Robert Dominic Gonzales raised some of the students’ concerns on flexible learning in the University.

“We cannot deny the fact that this pandemic has been very anti-poor and further marginalizes those who are underprivileged,” Gonzales said in the speech he delivered which he posted on his Twitter account.

He urged the government to focus on the problems brought about by the pandemic and “polish everything that needs to be polished” as we shift to the new normal.

“How do we ensure that quality education combined with the welfare of the community are both considered?” Gonzales said.

Among the recommendations Gonzales presented to CHED are mandatory consultation between teachers and students, adjustments in online classes, training and workshops for faculty members, and consideration of the well-being of the stakeholders.

“Online classes, for students, are seemingly becoming a ‘compliance issue’ rather than a ‘learning matter,’” he said.

“We proposed here minimizing the number of requirements and assessments given to students while making sure that the intended learning outcomes are still received,” he added. 

For synchronous online classes, Gonzales suggested provision of recorded lectures in case students would not be able to attend, while for asynchronous online classes, all needed material shall be made available.

Gonzales also acknowledged that not only the students but also the faculty members are having a difficult time adjusting to the transition of the learning system, which is why training and workshops should be implemented.

“Among the best practices that the University implores is the constant and continuous dialogues and consultations being conducted between the student councils and the administration,” he said. 

“This is an important aspect that everyone must consider, because again, we go back to the fact that the students are the major stakeholders of the University,” he added.

General concerns like unavailability of resources, inconducive learning environment, and adjustment of fees were also reiterated by Gonzales at the end of his talk.

“In our efforts to alleviate the problems that everyone is facing, in one way or another, and while online classes may not be the most effective means of delivering education… I am hoping that these concerns and recommendations get considered for all institutions in our country,” he said. 

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Central Comelec postpones SC elections

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University’s Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) put on hold the supposed student council (SC) elections for the academic year 2019-2020, Thursday, May 21.

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Photo by Carmina Beatriz Dizon

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University’s Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) put on hold the supposed student council (SC) elections for the academic year 2019-2020, Thursday, May 21.

In a resolution posted, Comelec announced the postponement of both Central Student Council and Local Student Council elections with which all positions are now deemed as vacant.

The resolution noted, however, that all non-graduating incumbent SC officers are proclaimed interim officers until the rescheduled elections.

Comelec stated: “[T]he Commission hereby declares that all non-graduating incumbent officers of all student councils, unless otherwise disqualified by law, may continue to exercise the powers vested in his or her office ‘on hold over capacity’ as interim officers until after their successors are duly elected in the rescheduled elections.”

Comelec also urged the student bodies to maintain an organized transition as the University continues to grapple with the pandemic in both curricular and non-curricular activities.

“[A]ll outgoing Student Council officers are hereby directed to ensure a smooth transition and turnover of responsibilities, records, and documents to their successors after the rescheduled elections shall have been conducted,” the resolution read.

Last February 10, the Comelec released two resolutions denying Lakas Tomasino Coalition (LTC) for reaccreditation, and the Student’s Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UST (STAND-UST) for registration, making no political party accredited for the elections.

As of this posting, there are no announcements about the tentative date of the rescheduled elections.

 

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