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Polish icon, new UST Honorary Professor




     “I was a revolutionary and I am. I want to be the last revolutionary and have many statues. And it is up to you if I will be successful there.”

     Former President of Poland Lech Walesa said, challenging the youth to act for a true democracy, in his lecture “Role of Faith on the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy” after his conferment of the title Honorary Professor by the University of Santo Tomas last November 27.

     The title was conferred by Rector Magnificus Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P. for his exceptional recognition as a leader of the nationwide social movement of Solidarnosc (Solidarity), which was responsible for bringing down the communist regime in Poland.

     Walesa received the diploma and professor’s medallion from Fr. Dagohoy, inside the Medicine Auditorium, while Secretary General Fr. Winston Cabading O.P. read the citation.

     “You directed the transformation of Solidarity from a free and independent trade union to the first major opposition party to offer Polish voters an alternative to communism accelerating the process of political change in Poland. You are a man of people who has always regarded the Catholic faith as a source of strength and inspiration, and the courage and the moral vision of a hero of Polish independence and a symbolic figure that influenced political changes in Eastern Europe and the eventual downfall of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War.”

     In his lecture, the 69-year-old gave emphasis to the power of the youth that can change a country’s political system to a true democracy, appealing to the youth to ‘teach’ the adults.

     “Every politician who wants to be a politician has to agree to have a chip on him and all his movements must be written there. If he didn’t write, if we cannot check him, his family cannot be a politician for the next 50 years… You, youth, prepare such program for us,” he said.

     Walesa also stressed on the importance of faith and the role of the Catholic Church in his fight with Communism to freedom and democracy.

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     “We didn’t know how to put everything in the right place. And intellectually, we can’t match the intellect of the Church. Poland will not be free without the Church.”

     Walesa, advocate of non-violent human rights activism against the communist regime, has won the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize. As a president for five years from 1990, he led his country’s transformation from a communist to a democratic republic with esteem to the Catholic faith.

     “Let us build future on values and solidarity and I hope no one will say it’s impossible. It is not overnight. I lost my battles but I won my war.”

     Walesa was the second head of state to be conferred as an honorary professor by the University this year, after former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last June.

Like Cory Aquino
     Walesa, as characterized by the Poland Ambassador to the Philippines Adam Jelonek, is like the country’s former President Corazon Aquino who restored democracy during the first EDSA People Power revolution.

     “Like Cory Aquino, he was a symbol for better future, justice, and freedom. He is the person who gave us freedom, the person with the purest incarnation of Polishness,” Jelonek said.

     In 1980, Walesa led Gdansk shipyard strike which gave rise to a wave of strikes over much of Poland which succeeded and forced the authorities to give the workers the right to organize their own independent union.

     With the support from the Catholic Church, Walesa and the Solidarity Movement was cordially received by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican in 1982.

By Romhelyn M. Benipayo
Photo taken by Paulo Angelo Juan

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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.



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
Reports Writer | + posts


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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.



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
Blogs Writer | + posts


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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.



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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