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‘Sexual violence is display of power, rooted from injustice’

Thomasian feminist scholars asserted that sexual violence is a “matter of making [a] person powerless so [one] can feel powerful” and is deeply rooted from perceived injustice of earlier sexual abuse during the “Say No: A Talk on Consent and Violence Against Women” held at the Central Laboratory Auditorium yesterday, Nov. 6.

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Photo by Schiatzi Lonzanida/TomasinoWeb

Thomasian feminist scholars asserted that sexual violence is a “matter of making [a] person powerless so [one] can feel powerful” and is deeply rooted from perceived injustice of earlier sexual abuse.

Asst. Prof. Rhodora Lynn Lintag-Tababa, a sociology professor from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, said during her talk about gender-based violence that sexual violence results from the idea of a person being more powerful and has more advantage than others during the “Say No: A Talk on Consent and Violence Against Women” held at the Central Laboratory Auditorium yesterday, Nov. 6.

“[This] violence is coming from the idea that in the first place, ‘I believe I am more powerful. I have more advantage over you,’ so some people have the tendency to really discriminate and undermine other people and practice their power, and therefore can result to harassment and violence,” according to Lintag-Tababa.

Lintag-Tababa said that the explanation as to why sexual harassment is rampant up to this time is because “personal is political.”

“’Away mag-asawa ‘yan. LQ ng mag-jowa ‘yan. Wala tayong pakialam diyan because that’s personal,’… That is being used by the society [to not] actually look into the matters of the women who are being abused,” she said. “Because it is something personal.”

Women’s issues and concerns, according to her, are often disregarded, treated as petty or irrelevant, and considered as a personal matter in which no one should interfere.

Lintag-Tababa mentioned American sociologist C. Wright Mills’ concept of sociological imagination which identifies the personal as a reflection of something greater or wider political issues.

“The personal should be political. That is the cry. That is the statement. That should be the slogan that should empower women,” she said.

Matter of sexual control

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“Rape is a legal term [and] not a medical entity. It is a crime of violence. […] Rapists use sexual violence to dominate and degrade their victims and to express their own anger,” Asst. Prof. Ma. Georgina Manzano of College of Nursing said.

According to Manzano, rape is perpetrated not because of the sexual urge but because when a person’s self esteem is threatened, he or she projects the feeling of being helpless and powerless to the victim.

“It is an issue of having power and control…It is not about having sexual urge towards the person [who is] wearing bikini. [It is when a] person sees the woman as a vulnerable individual. He might take over the ability of [the woman] to fight or protect herself,” she said during the open forum.

“The abuser or the rapist may have [had] some childhood experiences that could have triggered this kind of aggression towards another person,” she added.

Photo by Schiatzi Lonzanida/TomasinoWeb

Manzano emphasized that in social media, when men see pictures of women in revealing clothes, the initial reaction is not to have control over the latter through force or threat but is attributed to the Philippine culture in which women are expected to wear Maria Clara clothes.

“It starts with you, and it will end with you,” Tababa said. “Violence starts with you, especially if you are not aware that you are actually harassing or doing something that is already promoting violence against women […] It will also end with you if you will do something about it.”

The event “Say No: A Talk on Consent and Violence Against Women” was organized by the Thomasian Debaters Council, in partnership with UST Hiraya, Fotomasino, Tiger Media Network, and TomasinoWeb.

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Counter military, police propaganda-based disinformation—veteran journalist

Rappler managing editor urged aspiring journalists Friday, Oct. 23, to fight propaganda-based disinformation caused by law enforcers.

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Rappler managing editor urged aspiring journalists Friday, Oct. 23, to fight propaganda-based disinformation caused by law enforcers.

Glenda Gloria, a journalism alumna of the University, said that the military and the police do not seem to understand the role of the media as the fourth estate because of their “very utilitarian” view of information. 

“They use information as propaganda because they think it has to achieve something for the organization, whether that means further securing the country or defeating the enemies of the state,” Gloria said in a fact-checking webinar. 

According to her, the attempt of law enforcers to speed up their propaganda is due to the tremendous pressure to eliminate insurgency before President Duterte steps down in 2020. 

“The biggest factor behind the politicization of the armed forces is the commander-in-chief. Whatever the President wants will determine the political influence of the military,” she said. 

Gloria reminded aspiring journalists that no war has been won using propaganda as a primary tool and to “continue the fight against lies” that are being weaponized for the mass destruction of the country.

The webinar titled, “Propaganda, State Secrets and Other Issues in the Security Sector,” was hosted by MovePH, the civic engagement arm of Rappler. Vhey Tapia and Raheema Velasco 

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Flatten curve to revive economy, solon says

The government should remain in its goal of flattening the curve to revive the economy, a lawmaker advised Saturday, Oct. 24.

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Photo courtesy of the UST Central Student Council

The government should remain in its goal of flattening the curve to revive the economy, a lawmaker advised Saturday, Oct. 24.

“Klaro naman na hindi natin kailangan pumili between saving lives and livelihood. Hindi na tama na ang trade-off between the two…[b]ecause we can save both,” Marikina 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo said. 

Quimbo, who is also an economist, stressed the importance of evidence-based policymaking and monitoring, as well as business continuity and job projection interventions. 

The solution and interventions included grants for technical assistance, subsidies for COVID-19 testing, and wage subsidies with retention clauses. 

“We can afford to rise, pero dapat balansehin so as not to fall into a debt crisis… [b]ecause as we all know napakadali po to become poor pero napakahirap mag-exit sa poverty. Importanteng importante ang datos,” Quimbo said.

Quimbo also laid out the framework for the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines (ARISE), which she is one of the principal authors. 

Under the ARISE, a comprehensive plan will be followed to address the pandemic-brought economic crisis with a proposed P1.3 trillion budget over three years.

In the bill still pending in the Senate, Quimbo specified transitional, financial, sectoral, and structural support that, according to her, were the basis of the framework for the “mini-version” of the Bayanihan 2 that is in effect until the end of this year.

‘Reform the economy’

IBON Foundation executive director Sonny Africa urged the government to “reform and shape” an economy that benefits everyone. 

According to Africa, the government’s current response is focused on a “very artificial poverty reduction” by granting cash transfers without addressing the structure that continues poverty.

“The government is very keen on infrastructure to promote economic growth, but the Philippines is so lacking in economic fundamentals as it uses infrastructure as a short-cut to growth,” he said.

Africa also criticized that while the government is focused on infrastructure development, decades of neoliberal health privatization eroded  the public health system, which worsened the mortality rate even pre-pandemic.

The webinar “EkonDisyon: Philippine Economic Recession and COVID-19” is a part of the MulaTalakayan organized by the University’s Central Student Council. 

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Tourism recovery to revamp economic sectors, officials urge

Tourism officials stressed the importance of a responsible and “new normal-ready” recovery in the tourism sector amid gradual easing of health protocols in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Photo courtesy of the UST Research Center for Social Sciences & Education

Tourism officials stressed the importance of a responsible and “new normal-ready” recovery in the tourism sector amid gradual easing of health protocols in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Officer Alfonsus Tesoro called for sustainable and strategic recovery efforts to support and revamp economic sectors.

“Tuloy-tuloy dapat ang pag-conduct ng tourism site assessment and planning kasama ang iba’t-ibang stakeholders from the national government agencies, provincial government offices, and the private sector,” Tesoro said in a webinar, Thursday, Oct. 23. 

According to Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes, a survey conducted in Eastern Visayas showed that 66 percent of the respondents admitted that health risks affected their decision to travel, while 80 percent are now eager to visit tourism sites within the region only. 

“This gives us an idea of what tourism activities we should prioritize when we reopen our [tourism] sites. A large majority expect health and safety protocols in place, there should be value for money, and that fun activities will still be offered even under the ‘new normal,’” she said.

Tiopes added that despite the steady reopening of the tourism sector, health protocols would still be strictly employed to ensure safety of tourists and residents. 

The webinar titled, “Philippine Tourism Development and COVID-19 Pandemic: Recovery through Sustainable Development,” was spearheaded by the University’s College of Tourism and Hospitality Management in partnership with the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines, Inc., and co-organized by the UST Research Center for Social Sciences and Education. Paolo Alejandrino 

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