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Nartates assures open ears to students, defends CSC from critics

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The Central Student Council (CSC) and local student councils are open to hear complaints directly from students, said CSC President Janela Love Nartates in her State of the Council Address at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex on Saturday, Feb. 11.

“Ipinapangako po namin, basta nasa tama at estudyante ka ng UST, ipaglalaban kita kapalit man ang posisyon ko,” said Nartates, after saying that they cherish critics of the CSC.

Nartates added that they aim to “build a council that will genuinely address the concern of every student and lead a council which will portray a more responsible student leadership.”

The CSC had been under fire since late 2016 for their actions on the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and their apparent mishandling of the Paskuhan concert.

The criticisms continued into 2017 when the CSC remained silent regarding the alleged victim blaming of a College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) student. When they broke their silence a few days after the issue broke out, they were accused of plagiarizing their statement from The Political Science Forum (TPSF).

CSC forgives Marcoses

Nartates said in her speech that the CSC has forgiven former dictator Marcos, whose regime saw hundreds of human rights violations.

But she added that there is a big difference between forgiving and forgetting.

“But as a part of the royal and pontifical Catholic University and as seekers and defenders of truth, we will never forget the atrocities during the Martial Law,” she said.

The CSC was hit after it chose not to participate in demonstrations against the burial of Marcos at the LNMB while students from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University protested.

The University administration remained mum on the burial. No officials from UST were present during the Nov. 30 protest on Edsa which saw the heads of UP, Ateneo and La Salle come up onstage in solidarity with protesters.

Nartates previously defended their absence from the protests, arguing that they were looking after the students’ safety.

However, the CSC released a statement condemning the burial and held a candlelight vigil in campus. The council also distributed black ribbons for students to wear in protest of the burial.

Nartates pointed out in her SOCA that the CSC spearheaded a seminar on Martial Law titled “Honor Thy President?”.

Paskuhan flubs

Nartates said that they did all they can to make Paskuhan fun for students.

“Ipinaglaban po namin na sa Grandstand ganapin ang concert pero mataas talaga ang risk ng pag-ulan. Ipinaglaban din po namin na ma-extend ang concert, but as student leaders, we have to take into consideration the safety of the students,” she said.

The CSC and the Student Organizations Coordinating Council was criticized for allegedly mishandling this academic year’s Paskuhan after some members of the bands who were invited to perform took to social media to complain about their sets being cut short.

Paskuhan director Faye Martel Abungan previously apologized in a statement and saidd that the set cuts were “a necessary tactic to meet the conditions given by the administration.”

“Let us appreciate and commend the people who worked so hard to give the best Paskuhan ever,” said Nartates.

‘Due process prevents CSC from interfering’

The CSC could not interfere with cases involving students according to the process detailed in the Student Handbook, said Nartates.

“Sana next time kapag may hearing, magkaroon ng representative from Central Student Council para masigurado na nare-represent ‘yung students. Due process talaga,” Nartates told TomasinoWeb.”

“We tried to reach out to the administrators to ask what we can do. However, they were the ones that told us they cannot disclose any information regarding what’s happening,” she added.

She added that they wrote a letter to University Rector Rev. Fr. Herminio Dagohoy for them to be included in hearings concerning disciplinary actions for students.

“Ang Central Student Council, we are for the students. Ayun nga po hindi nga po kami makapag-interfere sa mga administrators when ganon na po yung mga case,” she said.

The council was slammed online for their alleged inaction on the reportedly victim blamed CFAD student.

But Nartates said that they immediately reached out to the brother of the student, Geo Celestino. Celestino previously told TomasinoWeb that he was contacted by some members of the CSC, CFADSC and the Faculty of Engineering Student Council.

Nartates said that they are in touch with both parties “to make sure they are being protected.”

She added that the CSC has upcoming projects like #MillenialGoals which will tackle abuse and harassment.

No plagiarism

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Nartates is firm that they did not plagiarize their statement on sexual harassment, belying allegations from The Political Science Forum (TPSF).

“[A]s one of the people na gumawa ng statement, we make sure before namin i-post ‘yun, ayun talaga ‘yung stand namin. Hindi po namin alam na nag-post ‘yung TPSF,” she told TomasinoWeb.

“And saka bakit naman iibahin ‘yung stand. There’s a difference between similarities and plagiarism. Siguro ‘yung thought pareho, syempre stand ‘yun eh. It’s yes or no. Tapos parehas kami dito. Same side lang kami at ayun ‘yung gusto namin sabihin.”

‘Admin listening’ on Students’ Code

The Students’ Code has been languishing in the hands of the CSC and the administration for over a decade.

“Hindi pa siya napapasa. Dahan-dahan ‘yung Students’ Code nire-review ng admin. Nakikinig sila, binabasa nila,” Nartates said.

She said that the Central Board of Students is reviewing the Students’ Code and is revising and omitting sections.

“[M]eron na doon na pina-practice na ng UST like the evaluation. Dati ‘yung mga tenured hindi nae-evaluate ng students,” she said.

Events organized

Nartates flaunted in her SOCA the different programs and events that the CSC organized.

She discussed Tiger Oasis, a project in partnership with the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office, which aims to address environmental issues, spread awareness and obtain feasible solutions.

The CSC also held the annual financial transparency symposium titled Diamonds in partnership with the SOCC, Alfredo M. Velayo – College of Accountancy Student Council and the Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants.

The council launched Humans of UST, a photo exhibit of members of the Thomasian community, to promote empathy within the “Thomasian community, as well as empower them.”

The CSC has also published its financial report in a document titled Veritas.

“Part of our agenda ay patunayan na hindi kami puro pangako ng monthly report, financial responsibility, accountability at transparency,” Nartates said in her SOCA. The CSC has only released one financial report this academic year.

Nartates also showed that the CSC’s Facebook page saw a 300% increase during her term, climbing to 78,000 likes from 55,000 likes.

She also said that they “entered 588,000 followers on Twitter.” The official Twitter account of the CSC has only around 7,500 followers.

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Thomasian places first in January 2022 MedTech Board Exams

Thomasian Kyle Patrick Rivera Magistrado led the recent MedTech boards with a score of 90.40 percent.

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Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

The University was hailed as the fourth top-performing school in the January 2022 Medical Technology Licensure Examinations (MTLE) posted on Monday, Jan. 24, with five Thomasians making it to the top.

Thomasian Kyle Patrick Rivera Magistrado led the recent MedTech boards with a score of 90.40 percent. 

UST fielded 107 examinees, of which 86 (80.37 percent) passed. The University’s passing rate, however, dwindled to 80.37 percent, previously at 80.39 percent in the January 2021 MTLE from a total of 51 Thomasian board takers .

The national passing rate also waned to 49.9 percent or 1,307 out of 2,619 compared to last year’s result of 67.68 percent or 1,919 out of 2,835 examinees.

Saint Louis University emerged as the top-performing school after posting a passing rate of 93.98 percent.

The Professional Regulation Commission postponed the August 2021 MedTech Board Exams due to the COVID-19 pandemic and moved it to Jan 15 and 16.

Angela Gabrielle Magbitang Atejera
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‘Driven, hardworking leader’: Ex-SOCC VP dies at 23

Aldaba was a known student-leader since his senior high school years in the University. He was the Interim Executive Vice President of the Student Organizations Coordinating Council (SOCC) in the previous academic year.

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Photo courtesy of Francis Oliver Aldaba

Francis Justine Aldaba, a fourth-year student from the College of Education, passed away on Friday, Jan. 14, after succumbing to acute respiratory failure. He was 23.

He died at Premiere Medical Center in Nueva Ecija at exactly 9:50 in the morning, his brother Francis Oliver Aldaba told TomasinoWeb

Aldaba was a known student-leader since his senior high school years in the University where he took up Health Allied as his strand. His involvement started as the Executive Assistant to the Chief-of-Staff in the Central Student Council.

He was the Interim Executive Vice President of the Student Organizations Coordinating Council (SOCC) in the previous academic year. Prior to this, he was also the Executive Associate to the SOCC Executive Vice President.

Describing Aldaba, Rome Voltaire Gomez, former interim president and chief executive officer of SOCC, told TomasinoWeb he was “a visionary, driven, and hardworking leader.” 

“Justine was a great help to SOCC in assisting grievances of recognized Student Organizations,” he said.

Gomez, in a social media post, said: “Justine was family to the CSC/SOCC family and me. He was a strong person and a kind soul.”

“We ask for your prayers in this time for him and his family. We will certainly miss him, and in all things, we will fondly remember him. Our family may never be complete again for now, but we will always be one in spirit,” he added.

The funeral service is currently held at Funeraria Corone Memorial Chapel, T. Delos Santos, Science City of Muñoz. The internment details are yet to be announced.

Paolo Alejandrino
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National Artist F. Sionil José dies at 97

The poet was one of the most widely read Filipino authors in the English language, with works that have been translated into 28 different languages.

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Photo courtesy of People Asia

National Artist for Literature F. Sionil José passed away on Thursday night, Jan. 6, at the age of 97.

The poet died in his sleep at the Makati Medical Center where he was confined earlier for a scheduled angioplasty, according to his wife, Tessie Jovellanos José.

Hours before his death, José wrote a letter for his “brave heart.” A letter which now constitutes his final words. 

“Thank you brave heart. There are times when as an agnostic I doubt the presence of an almighty and loving God. But dear brave heart you are here to disprove this illusion, to do away with the conclusion that if you doubt Him, you kill Him. I cannot kill you dear heart; you have to do that yourself,” José wrote in a Facebook post

“For 97 years you have been constantly working patiently pumping much more efficiently and longer than most machines. Of course, I know that a book lasts long too, as the libraries have shown, books that have lived more than 300 years. Now, that I am here in waiting for an angioplasty, I hope that you will survive it and I with it, so that I will be able to continue what I have been doing with so much energy that only you have been able to give. Thank you dear brave heart and dear Lord for this most precious gift,” he added.

Before becoming a National Artist, José studied Litt. B. Journalism at the old Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University. 

He also became the editor-in-chief of The Varsitarian in 1948 and 1949.  

José earned five Carlos Palanca awards throughout his writing career.

The poet was one of the most widely read Filipino authors in the English language, with works that have been translated into 28 different languages.

He also received recognition from award-giving bodies, which include the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1980, Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Centennial Award in 1999, as well as the Pablo Neruda Centennial Award in Chile in 2004.

In his later years, José made headlines because of his support for President Rodrigo Duterte and the ABS-CBN shutdown.

He was also remembered to have criticized Maria Ressa for winning the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize saying that the Rappler chief did not deserve the award and there were no threats on press freedom because the “Philippine press is alive and well.” 

José was named National Artist for Literature in 2001 because of his great contribution to Philippine literature. 

The details of the National Artist’s wake is yet to be announced.

Justine Xyrah Rennzel Garcia
Reports Writer | + posts

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