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Poor’s economic struggle highlighted in international conference

“I always ask the children there (in Payatas), ‘What do you like to become when you grow old?’ [A]lam niyo, karamihan sa mga bata doon walang maisasagot – no answer.”

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“I always ask the children there (in Payatas), ‘What do you like to become when you grow old?’ [A]lam niyo, karamihan sa mga bata doon walang maisasagot – no answer.”

This was what Rev. Fr. Daniel Pilario, one of the keynote speakers during the first day of the third Philippine Association for the Sociology of Religion International Conference, said to highlight that the poor have little to no free will because of their economic struggle.

“Walang nagsabing [gusto nilang maging] doctor, pilot, lawyer – walang ganun. Sabi nila barangay tanod – ‘yun lang kasi eh. What options do you have? Choice is not a favorite word among the poor because it does not exist in good measure,” Pilario added. “Most often it’s no choice.”

Pilario said that human agency is not given among dominated peoples, adding that “It (human agency) needs to be earned in a very hard way because no matter how the poor desire something the options for them are limited and sometimes absent.”

Agency, in the sociological context, is the capacity of a person to act independently and make their own free choices in a given environment.

Rapid growth in dropouts

Basing his talk on a 2004 research by the National Statistics Office (NSO), Pilario gave his insights about poverty and one of the many factors which affects it: school dropping.

According to the NSO, about 756,000 (6 percent) of the 12.6 million students aged 6-11 drop out, while a whopping estimate of 869,000 (11 percent) out of the 7.9 million between ages 12-15 are out of school.

Most dropouts come from lower income brackets with 35% in elementary and 28% in high school. Boys are more likely to drop out than girls.

“This is a recent statistic showing that these dropout rates are slowly rising from 2007 onwards,” Pilario stressed.

According to the Commission on Higher Education, for every 100 students, only 23 enter college and only 14 graduate.

READ  UST retains 4-star rating despite drop in QS Asian rankings

Pilario said that the main reasons for students dropping out were lack of personal interest, costly tuition fees and the urgency to look for work. (READ: Thomasians join nationwide walkout against tuition hike)

He added that the latter two reasons were understandable. “However, the lack of personal interest in schooling, which is the highest factor, is enigmatic for me. Why are children not interested when in fact elementary and high school education is free?” he said.

Sign of hope

Pilario cited Iah Seraspi, who ranked second in the 2015 Licensure Exam for Teachers, as an example of the few students who come from a poor family and made a name for themselves and were able to finish school.

“Iah’s life is a symbol of inventiveness of the habitus of the poor, despite the overarching domination in all levels – economic, cultural and social,” he said.

“The sign of hope is not in these structures (the State and the Church), it is not in the dominant power but in the patient silent struggles stubbornly carried on by the dominated communities over the years.”

The conference, with the theme “Sacred, the State and and the Poor: Challenges/Gaps, Initiatives and Cooperations in Engaging the Habitus of Poverty,” held its first day at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex last Feb. 26.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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"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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