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Simbahayan: UST to support Lumad struggle

The Simbahayan Community Development Office asserted the University’s support for the Lumad struggle as it welcomed Lumads in UST in an advocacy forum and cultural presentation at the Benavides Auditorium, Friday, Nov. 6.

“Napagkaisahan po natin na susuportahan ng Pamantasan ang mga kapatid nating Lumad dahil ang kanilang adhikain ay atin ding adhikain bilang Katolikong Pamantasan,” Asst. Prof. Mark Anthony Abenir, DSD said in the forum.

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The Simbahayan Community Development Office asserted the University’s support for the Lumad struggle as it welcomed Lumads in UST in an advocacy forum and cultural presentation at the Benavides Auditorium, Friday, Nov. 6.

Napagkaisahan po natin na susuportahan ng Pamantasan ang mga kapatid nating Lumad dahil ang kanilang adhikain ay atin ding adhikain bilang Katolikong Pamantasan,” Asst. Prof. Mark Anthony Abenir, DSD said in the forum.

Abenir, who is also Simbahayan director, said that through the forum Thomasians may “realize what they can do [for the Lumads] as individuals and members of the University.”

Rev. Fr. Gallardo Bombase, Jr. O.P. of the Dominican Province of the Philippines Commission on Justice, Peace, and Care of Creation said the forum would help Thomasians hear firsthand about the Lumad situation.

“[Ang magagawa ng UST] as of now, is campaign in support for Lumads, tapos bilang isang Thomasian community, makarating ito sa kinauukulan, lalo na sa gobyerno,” Bombase told TomasinoWeb.

Over 700 individuals from Non-Muslim and non-Christian indigenous Mindanaoan tribes, commonly referred to as Lumads, are converging in Metro Manila from Oct. 25 to Nov. 22 to seek justice for Lumad killings and the continuing militarization and plunder of resources in Mindanao.

As part of the University’s advocacy, Simbahayan, UST Rotaract – Pharmacy Unit and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines arranged a Lumad forum and cultural presentation entitled “Dialogue of Life: Our Continuing Journey with the Anawim (Rural Poor)”.

Abenir also told TomasinoWeb that UST could not hold a Lumad campout similar to that of the University of the Philippines’ (UP) Kampuhan ng Manilakbayan sa Diliman as the University’s network “is to the Catholic churches.”

He added that UST’s contribution is with other Catholic networks and that “UP has its own way of advocating for the Lumads.”

Other activities in line with this are a month-long photo exhibit and a gift-giving program at Liwasang Bonifacio to be held on Nov. 15.

Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo, and Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, Inc. (ALCADEV) school director Emerito Samarca were murdered on Sept. 1, allegedly by members of the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani.

Photo by Denise Sabio

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UST implements ‘enriched virtual mode’ next academic year; extends financial assistance

Rector Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., in a letter dated May 26, announced that the first term of the academic year will be facilitated through “Enriched Virtual Mode” in which instructors will employ both online and offline remote learning strategies.

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Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

The Office of the Rector urged everyone “to respond, cope, survive, and persist” as it sets to proceed with the upcoming Academic Year 2020-2021 through remote online and offline delivery of classes, Wednesday, May 27.

Rector Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., in a letter dated May 26, announced that the first term of the academic year will be facilitated through “Enriched Virtual Mode” in which instructors will employ both online and offline remote learning strategies.

“The University shall implement a mode of instruction rooted in the principles of communion and encounter, one that promotes dialogue and ensures accessibility and flexibility in learning,” Ang said regarding the plan to continue learning with the new guidelines.

“We shall optimize the expertise of our faculty, not only through team-teaching approaches, but through carefully planned combinations,” the letter also read.

Face-to-face mode of instruction will only be done once “allowed by government regulations, and shall be done with the strict implementation of public health standards for everyone’s safety.”

Financial assistance

The University further elaborated the plans to allocate financial assistance to its students struggling to continue education with school fees.

The letter stated: “[I]n consideration of the adverse economic impact… the University has taken the initiative to provide our students financial assistance.”

Some of the plans for the upcoming academic year include no tuition fee increase, adjustment of the table of fees, continuation of the scholarships granted during the second term of A.Y. 2019-2020 until the end of the year, and implementation of staggered payment schemes, among others.

Academic Year 2020-2021 is set to start this August 13, with the first term ending on December 18.

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Write the truth—Atom Araullo, DepEd to campus journalists

Araullo said that it is not enough to present the facts, and as journalists it is part of the responsibility to reveal the truth behind the facts and make it into a story in which the audience can relate to.

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Screengrab from #CampJourn webinar

Media professionals gathered yesterday in a webinar, “#CAMPJOURN: Campus and Community Journalism in a Time of Pandemic,” to encourage campus journalists to report the truth despite the changing journalism landscape.

GMA7 news broadcast journalist Atom Araullo highlighted the importance of the balance in reporting and power in storytelling.

“Sa trabaho natin, napakahalaga na nakukuha natin yung tamang impormasyon… But you also have to make sure that yung information mo is something that will illuminate kung ano yung katotohanan,” he said during the online forum.

Araullo said that it is not enough to present the facts, and as journalists it is part of the responsibility to reveal the truth behind the facts and make it into a story in which the audience can relate to.

“People say that there are two sides of a story. That’s true,” he said. “Pero the truth is just one thing. There is just one objective reality.”

Department of Education Bureau of Curriculum Development Director Jocelyn Andaya told campus journalists to “keep writing.” 

She stressed that during the ongoing pandemic, there is a need for a purpose and this is the time in which correct and fact-checked news stories are needed. 

“[D]on’t just write because you want to this time,” she said. “Sometimes I was told by campus journalists…’it takes courage to defy,’…It takes courage, but defiance has to be tempered with correct information.”

“You have to make sure that what you write about is true,” she said. 

Emotion in news stories

Journalists, according to Araullo, are not just robots gathering information, which means that emotions and critical thinking are two factors to be considered and taken advantage of when writing a story. 

“Bilang journalist, yung personal feelings mo, hindi mo ‘yan mahihiwalay sa eventual story na gagawin mo,” he said “[Y]ou can be an effective journalist even if you acknowledge…na ikaw ay isang tao na mayoong emosyon at mayroong panindigan.”

Araullo considers emotions as a “good thing” when it comes to projecting news because the act of feeling, for him, gives the journalist an idea of the plight of the ordinary citizens. 

“Kahit na anong pilit, kahit na anong subok mo, at kahit na lokohin mo yung sarili mo na kaya mong gawin ‘yon, it’s not possible kasi you have to make choices along the way.” he said.

“[Y]ou have to choose how to write it. With all of those choices, you are already shaping the story,” he added.

Araullo emphasized that there is also the need to consider other fundamentals of journalism like accuracy and balance and the importance of putting context in stories. 

“[A]no ba yung surrounding situation na kinalalagyan nitong mga facts na ito? Sigurado ba ‘ko na yung facts na ito ay hindi cherry-picked?” he said.

Issue to impact

Araullo said stories should not only induce feelings of happiness, sadness, or anger, but also urge the citizens “to find solutions necessary to make change.”

To do that, he said that journalists must hone their storytelling prowess, “from stories to solutions, from issues to impact, ” and create connection with the audience.

“[N]aghahanap ka ng isang paraan na maintindihan ng audience na kahit na hindi siya yung nakakaranas nitong istoryang ‘to, nararamdaman niya kung anong epekto nito doon sa nakakaranas ng istorya,” he said.

Additionally, Internews media specialist Kat Raymundo emphasized the “framework of accountability.” 

Media, according to her, serves as a “tool” that could either be helpful or used for political reasons, which is why journalists must use it to empower people to provide for their needs.

“[W]e must restore public trust and credibility, and journalism in a changing world must work on self-regulation and social responsibility,” she said. 

Raymundo urged the budding journalists to stop being “passive consumers” of news and instead make use of the old and new media as an “informed citizen” who interacts with other media users.

“Let’s be aware, complain, or even [encourage] criticism, because media development will not happen if the public does not demand more from this powerful institution,” she said. Coleen Ruth Abiog and Jayziel Khim Budino

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CSC President proposes learning adjustments to CHED

In an online meeting yesterday with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Central Student Council (CSC) President Robert Dominic Gonzales raised some of the students’ concerns on flexible learning in the University.

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Photo by Julius Villavieja

In an online meeting yesterday with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Central Student Council (CSC) President Robert Dominic Gonzales raised some of the students’ concerns on flexible learning in the University.

“We cannot deny the fact that this pandemic has been very anti-poor and further marginalizes those who are underprivileged,” Gonzales said in the speech he delivered which he posted on his Twitter account.

He urged the government to focus on the problems brought about by the pandemic and “polish everything that needs to be polished” as we shift to the new normal.

“How do we ensure that quality education combined with the welfare of the community are both considered?” Gonzales said.

Among the recommendations Gonzales presented to CHED are mandatory consultation between teachers and students, adjustments in online classes, training and workshops for faculty members, and consideration of the well-being of the stakeholders.

“Online classes, for students, are seemingly becoming a ‘compliance issue’ rather than a ‘learning matter,’” he said.

“We proposed here minimizing the number of requirements and assessments given to students while making sure that the intended learning outcomes are still received,” he added. 

For synchronous online classes, Gonzales suggested provision of recorded lectures in case students would not be able to attend, while for asynchronous online classes, all needed material shall be made available.

Gonzales also acknowledged that not only the students but also the faculty members are having a difficult time adjusting to the transition of the learning system, which is why training and workshops should be implemented.

“Among the best practices that the University implores is the constant and continuous dialogues and consultations being conducted between the student councils and the administration,” he said. 

“This is an important aspect that everyone must consider, because again, we go back to the fact that the students are the major stakeholders of the University,” he added.

General concerns like unavailability of resources, inconducive learning environment, and adjustment of fees were also reiterated by Gonzales at the end of his talk.

“In our efforts to alleviate the problems that everyone is facing, in one way or another, and while online classes may not be the most effective means of delivering education… I am hoping that these concerns and recommendations get considered for all institutions in our country,” he said. 

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