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Simbahayan pledges support for Lumad school

“This is not just any education we see in the mainstream system. They value an education that is tailored for the Lumads, with the Lumads, and by the Lumads,” Simbahayan Director Mark Anthony Abenir said.

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Photo grabbed from Simbahayan Director Mark Anthony Abenir's Facebook account.

The UST Simbahayan Community Development Office inked a partnership with an alternative school for the Lumad to support its campaign to defend the education of indigenous peoples groups in Mindanao in the midst of intensified military operations in the region.

Simbahayan Director Mark Anthony Abenir, along with two faculty members, represented the University as Simbahayan signed a partnership with Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, Inc. (STTICLC) during their joint recognition rites and moving-up ceremonies in Maco, Compostela Valley last Friday, April 20.

UST pledged to provide basic educational materials, train volunteer teachers, help in gathering resources for the construction and rehabilitation of Lumad schools as well as support for the campaign and advocacy of the Save Our Schools Network.

In a Facebook post, Abenir said he was “humbled by presence of Lumad students” as they “they have shown to [him] that they [truly] value education.”

“This is not just any education we see in the mainstream system. They value an education that is tailored for the Lumads, with the Lumads, and by the Lumads,” he further said in the post.

STTICLC, which operates 52 campuses across Davao region, follows the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Indigenous Peoples Education Curriculum Framework, in which “cultural pride, self-determination, protection of ancestral domain, and organic sustainable agriculture is an integral part of the curriculum” according to Abenir.

The University agreed to provide the Lumad school with farming tools and supplies supplies needed for the school’s organic farm and agriculture programs.

UST also committed to conduct literacy programs in communities served by STTICL along with providing 500 volumes of books for elementary and high school students, financial assistance and help in the construction of additional classrooms.

 

Lumad schools under martial law

In the same post, Abenir also said that his visit allowed him to witness “first hand the impact of militarization and martial law” on Lumad schools and communities.

“I was there to see how our Lumad brothers and sisters constantly live in looming fear of their lives in the hands of terrorist groups, military, para-military, land grabbers, and mining corporations who lustfully eye over their ancestral lands […] targeting key Lumad leaders and promising youth that have the power to change the prevailing atmosphere of oppression and injustice,” he said.

September last year, UST became a satellite camp for 50 Lumad students from Sept. 11 to 21 as part of the Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya, where hundreds of indigenous peoples groups trooped to Manila to protest the militarization in their ancestral domains.

Lumad groups, in particular, slammed the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, President Rodrigo Duterte’s threats to bomb Lumad schools following his second State of the Nation Address as well as the killing of 19-year old Lumad student Obello Bay-ao.

Bay-ao, a Grade 7 student of STTICLC, was allegedly shot by members of the Citizen’s Armed Forces Geographical Unit and the military-backed militia Alamara last Sept. 5.

In an interview with Davao Today, STTICLC Executive Director Lolit Muya said that the partnership with UST is an “additional moral support” in the midst of forced evacuations, red-tagging and alleged harassment of Lumad schools, leaders and communities by the military.

“I saw hope in their faces during the ceremony. They were optimistic that with the help of UST, they can continue their studies and achieve their dream to be educated despite the difficulties posed by military operations in their communities,” Muya told Davao Today.

Lumad students and teachers led by the Save Our Schools Network also camped outside the DepEd Central Office in Pasig from Nov. 16 to 28 to demand the scrapping of DepEd Memorandum No. 221, Series 2013 which allowed military personnel to “conduct their activities inside the premises of public elementary and secondary schools to ensure that rights of the children are not violated.”

Human rights and education advocates, however, have criticized the memo as a violation of domestic and international laws on children’s rights such as Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

Save Our Schools Network also claimed that the memo resulted in the forced closure of several Lumad schools.

They have called on DepEd to grant operation permits and recognition to Lumad schools, but their protests have fallen on deaf ears.

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Unity against tyranny, misogyny

A familiar sight welcomed EDSA Shrine as thousands of filipinos from all walks of life gathered to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the People Power Revolution, calling once again, to unite against the prevailing culture of impunity, tyranny and attacks against the press.

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child waving a flag in front of riot police during people power revolution
Photo by Vince Imperio.

A familiar sight welcomed EDSA Shrine as thousands of filipinos from all walks of life gathered to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution, calling once again to unite against the prevailing culture of impunity, tyranny and attacks against the press.

Students, teachers, urban poor, human rights advocates, church people, workers, and the youth filled EDSA, united behind a resounding chant: “tayo ang EDSA, tayo ang pag-asa. tayo ang EDSA, labanan ang diktadura.”

“The celebration of [this] historic event is not about the personalities who emerged victorious, it is about unsung heroes of yesterday who vigilantly fought for the nation to be free,” Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) said in a statement.

“It was an act of people reawakening. It was the people empowered by passion to change and to act for change. The power that ousted a dictator. The power that awakened hundreds of thousands amidst massive and widespread human rights violations which occurred during the dark days of Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship.”

 

‘Uphold democracy, press freedom’
Following the recent cases against online news site, Rappler, as well as cyber attacks on alternative news site, Bulatlat, Tonyo Cruz from Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity, urged Filipinos to uphold democracy and press freedom.

“Nagkakalat nanaman dito sa rehime ni Duterte, ang mga napaka-magandang aso, napaka-bango, hinihikayat ang mga taong bayan na isuko ang kanilang kalayaan, hinihikayat ang Rappler na purihin lamang ang mga amo sa bahay, hinihikayat tayo na manahimik nalangーisuko ang kalayaan, ‘wag po tayong papayag,” Cruz said.

“Mga kapatid, mga kasama, mga kababayan, mga kasama sa midya, ‘wag tayong magpapaloko, ipaglaban natin ang kalayaan.”

The recent arrest of Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa sparked controversy, with many filipinos and international media organizations calling it a breach on press freedom.

 

The protest that ended tyranny
The People Power Revolution I, also known as EDSA I was a series of protest actions where more than two million Filipinos united against the regime of then-President Ferdinand Marcos, putting an end to a two decade-long dictatorship.

The civil resistance was led by former President Corazon Aquino, the widow of the late-Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., as well as by Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin.

The event sparked change not only in the Philippines, but also inspired many similar movements across the world.

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Millions of Filipino faithfuls display devotion to Black Nazarene for Traslación 2019

In display of their unwavering devotion, the devotees, young and old, mostly barefooted, endured a 21-hour long procession of the annual Traslación, Wednesday, Jan. 9.

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black nazarene/Traslación
Photo by Christine Tapawan.

The devotees, young and old, mostly barefooted, endured a 21-hour long procession of the annual Traslación, a re-enactment of the passage of the dark-skinned, cross-bearing Jesus Christ from Intramuros to the Minor Basilica, Wednesday, Jan. 9.

For centuries, the Filipino faithfuls have displayed their fervent devotion to the revered Black Nazarene, a historical and iconic statue that has become a symbol of fierce faith, devotion and sacrifice, as millions of devotees clad in maroon braved the push and shove in hopes to experience its supposed miracles.

Lola Mel, a devotee from Sta. Ana, Manila testifies to the graces she’s received from joining the procession.

“Nararamdaman ko ‘yung resbak niya sa’kin, feel na feel ko, hindi material—talagang hindi rin ako bumibitiw,” she said in an ambush interview with TomasinoWeb.

She added that the tradition of flocking to the route of the procession has been passed down onto her, generation after generation.

“Minana ko pa ito sa lolo ko, sa tiyuhin ko, sobra hindi ko na mabilang. Maliit pa ako nag-jo-join na ako,” she said.

Some faithfuls also believe in the miraculous healing powers the image hold.

Lita Castaño, 59, said she trooped to Quiapo to pray for her daughter and sister’s healing.

“This time ‘yung youngest daughter ko may sakit siya and my sister may cancer siya,” she said.

According to the Quiapo Church website, quoting Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio, the devotion that has drawn millions to the Black Nazarene, he admitted, is a “remnant of the animistic faith of Filipinos.”

He added: “People have sensed the spiritual wealth in Quiapo Church and there is a huge attendance for Mass every day and especially on Friday.”

Fridays are known colloquially to be “Quiapo Day” where devotees pay homage and veneration to the renowned icon. Outside Manila, various grand celebrations also took place in Northern Samar and Cagayan de Oro.

“Filipinos are resilient, but where is this resiliency coming from? It’s the practice of our faith,” Msgr. Ignacio elaborated.

Furthermore, History Prof. Xiao Chua said that Filipinos established connection with the image because of its “skin tone and resilience.”

“When we look at the Black Nazarene, kulay natin siya, maitim siya tapos naghihirap siya pero alam natin na mabubuhay siya ulit so that is also the hope that every devotee brings into his heart,” Chua said in an interview published on 2013.

The day before the procession, the traditional Pahalik (Kissing) vigil already witnessed throngs of devotees as they awaited the morning mass that commenced the celebration.

According to Metro Manila Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar, nearly 4 million faithfuls took part in various activities including 2.5 million devotees who joined the Traslacion.

The image returned to its home in Quiapo Church at exactly 2:21 am of Jan. 10, after the procession started at around 5 am of Jan. 9.

Tightened security

According to the Philippine National Police, a total of 7,200 police secured and maintained peace and order on the route of the celebration. The Metro Manila Development Authority, on the other hand, deployed 850 personnel to aid the police and military.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) deployed 400 personnel on stand by and 600 manning the route, with 18 first-aid stations and 50 ambulances scattered along the procession route.

By noon, PRC already aided and assisted 619 devotees, including 18 people who sustained major injuries like bleeding, difficulty in breathing and bone fractures, while some 131 devotees suffered minor injuries.

In 2018, an approximate of 1,150,000 devotees attended the celebration that took 22 hours to complete. — With reports from Alecsandra Go and Christine Tapawan

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Disney-themed Paskuhan attracts 100,000 crowd

This year’s highly anticipated Disney-themed Paskuhan Fair with the theme “Light from Light for the Prince of Peace” drew thousands despite experiencing light rainfall throughout the event last December 21.

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yael yuzon singing in paskuhan
Photo by Miguel Yap

This year’s highly anticipated Disney-themed Paskuhan Fair with the theme “Light from Light for the Prince of Peace” drew thousands despite experiencing light rainfall throughout the event last December 21.

According to the UST Central Student Council (CSC), this year’s Paskuhan played host to a crowd of an estimated 100,000 people, over 30,000 more than the previous year’s festivities.

The Paskuhan Fair concert at the UST Grandstand started at around 3 PM with a performance from the UST Drumline which went around the campus. It was followed by performances from I Belong to the Zoo, Fourplay, Quest, The Ransom Collective, Sponge Cola and other Thomasian bands and artists.

Thomasian Dance troupe ACES also graced the stage with a dance number and the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe rocked the stage with their CDC 2018 performance.

The concert finished with the much awaited pyromusical display featuring Disney movie theme songs “I See the Light” from Tangled, “We Know the Way” from Moana, “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas, and “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, lasting about 15 minutes..

Before the concert, raffle draws for minor prizes were held in front of the Main Building while major prizes were drawn during the concert. This year’s Paskuhan started with the opening of lights and the traditional Thomasian Agape held last December 4.

No Paskuhan date, no problem

In the weeks leading up to the Paskuhan season, many Thomasians on social media expressed (rather jokingly) their frustration over their lack of a date for this year’s Paskuhan, some even going so far as to advertise their need for one on Twitter. But most Thomasians managed to get along just fine even without a date.

Angel Adora, a senior high school student, said she still managed to enjoy the event even without a partner.

Una sa lahat, yung happiness hindi palaging nagre-revolve sa jowa, makukuha mo rin ‘to sa friends mo and family. May mga friends akong nandito” Angel expressed.

Gabriel Enriquez also shared the same sentiment when it comes to having a Paskuhan date:

For me, mas OK na nagsasaya ka lang kahit wala kang kasamang lover, ayos lang yun.” Gabriel said.

Non-Thomasians were also present in the 27-year-old Thomasian yule tradition. Both Maria Victoria Dela Rosa and Nathaniel Arizala felt “welcomed and one with the UST community.”

Hindi ko na-feel na out of place ako, kasi feel ko na welcome ako sa UST.” Arizala shared.

One of the highlights for them is the pyromusical display that capped off the event and made everyone in awe of the spectacle.

Highlight ng gabi ko ay yung Disney-themed fireworks, para talaga akong nasa Disneyland.” Dela Rosa said.

The yearly University Christmas celebration started in 1991 and included the sharing of donations to calamity victims, which is still observed today, and was formally named Paskuhan in 1993.

The Christmas lights and other decor inside the University will remain lit every night until January 6.

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