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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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Policy changes for gender equality—Gender Studies professor

Gender Studies professor urged gender equality advocates on Monday, Oct. 19, to stand for policy changes for the LGBTQ rights and protection.

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Photo grabbed from the official Facebook page of UST Hiraya

Gender Studies professor urged gender equality advocates on Monday, Oct. 19, to stand for policy changes for the LGBTQ rights and protection.

“[W]e should really work at changing policies and laws that will address discrimination,” Nathalie Africa Verceles, director of University of the Philippines Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, said during a webinar on gender equality.

Verceles said the campaign for the approval of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill must continue. 

“[W]e need to continue to struggle and fight for a SOGIE equality law, and we should not stop until we achieve it,” she said.

According to Verceles, the grant of absolute pardon to US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton does not serve justice to the murder of transgender Jennifer Laude. 

“[B]y making him get off so easily, we are sending the message that we do not take hate crimes against transwomen seriously,” she said.

The use of the term homophobia should also be refrained, according to Verceles, as it “pathologizes” the LGBTQ community, and instead should use the term “heterosexism” to define discriminations that are targeted to those “who deviate from the norm of heteronormativity.” 

The webinar titled “Hiraya Talks: Pagkakapantay-Pantay” was organized by UST Hiraya and co-presented with UST UNESCO Club, Mental Health AWHEREness, and FEU Saga, in partnership with TomasinoWeb, Benilde Hive, Sanggunian: Commission on Gender Equality, The Malaya Initiative, JRU – Junior Photographic Editors and Graphic Artists, and UST UNICEF. 

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2 Thomasians among top 10 in 2020 physician boards

Two Thomasians placed second and seventh among the top 10 of the 2020 physician licensure exams (PLE) held last March and September.

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Alexa Taay/TomasinoWeb

Two Thomasians placed second and seventh among the top 10 of the 2020 physician licensure exams (PLE) held last March and September.

John Marlon Lintan, who emerged second, got a score of 88 percent, while Erika Anne Pañgan, who landed on seventh place, got a score of 87.08 percent.

The University placed fourth among top performing schools and recorded a passing rate of 86.96 percent, with 20 out 23 examinees, lower than last year’s 99.31 percent, with 430 out of 433 examinees.

Maria Carla Buenaflor topped this year’s PLE with a score of 89.17 percent, and Far Eastern University – Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation was hailed as the top performing school.

Right timing

Despite the pandemic, circumstances have been favorable to both Lintan and Pañgan.

In a Facebook post, Lintan expressed his gratitude and encouraged everyone not to allow delays to define their present and future.

A dream delayed isn’t a dream denied,” Lintan said on his Facebook post. “Just strive forward, have faith and believe that there is a right timing for everything.”

For a dream delayed isn’t a dream denied.Posting this as a gentle reminder to never allow delays define what you can…

Jm Lintanさんの投稿 2020年10月1日木曜日

In an interview, Pañgan said she had to wait and make a lot of adjustments before the board exams.

“I originally started my board exam preparations [in] December of 2019 for the March 2020 PLE, but due to the pandemic, our batch had to wait for another 4 months to be given a definitive date for the second part of our board exams,” Pañgan told TomasinoWeb.

During quarantine, Pañgan followed a daily schedule and routine to make sure she’s both on track and living healthy.

“I tried to live healthy indoor spinning class, some arts and crafts, sleep eight to 10 hours a day during the lockdown period,” she said. 

Pañgan admitted that this year’s licensure exam was a “very uncomfortable experience” compared to the March to September PLE last year. 

“It was three times harder than usual but everything is possible when you put your heart and mind on what you do and what you want to achieve,” she said. 

Eight hundred examinees out of 1,424 passed this year with a national passing rate of 56.18 percent, from last year’s 84.96 percent or 4,006 out of 4,715 examinees. With reports from Paolo Alejandrino, Jayziel Khim Budino, and Coleen Ruth Abiog

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Martial law victims slam Marcos day

Martial Law victims condemned the approval of House Bill No. 7137 bill declaring Sept. 11 a non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte to commemorate the birth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

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Martial Law victims condemned the approval of House Bill No. 7137 bill declaring Sept. 11 a non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte to commemorate the birth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

Bantayog ng mga Bayani Executive Director Ma. Cristina Rodriguez said that it is “harmful to the country’s history” as it could generate misleading facts that can confuse younger generations. 

“Kapag hinayaan mo ang probinsya niya na i-honor parin siya, ang harm niyan hindi lang sa probinsya niya kung hindi sa buong bansa,” Rodriguez said. 

According to Rodriguez, the Marcoses should be held accountable for the youth to understand the atrocities during Martial Law. 

She stressed that Ilocos Norte should instead “be ashamed” as they “fully benefited” from Marcos, while Mindanao was bombed and Cagayan Valley and Samar’s forest were industrially logged. 

“Sa totoo lang ang dapat maging attitude ng mga taga-Ilocos Norte ay bumawi naman kayo. ‘Wag niyo nang igasgas sa sugat ang asin,” Rodriguez said. 

Rodriguez also said that the national government should not acknowledge the bill to “hold a moral position” on the abuses inflicted by the Marcoses. 

“Yung mga nakinabang sa Martial Law at sa panahon ni Marcos gusto nila ‘yan. Dapat yung ating pagsusulat ng kasaysayan at pagtuturo ng kasaysayan ay tama,” Martial Law political prisoner Cris Palabay said. 

Palabay urged the youth not to forget the atrocities during the Martial Law. 

“Huwag po tayong matakot, lagi ko nga po sinasabi yung culture of fear, culture of silence, dapat yan ay labanan, tiyak yan, mas maraming magagandang mangyayari,” Palabay said. 

The webinar, “Francisco de Vitoria: Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao – Talakayang Batas Militar” was organized by UST SIMBAHAYAN Community Development Office to shed light on the abuse of human rights amid the pandemic. Cherizza Mae Bautista

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