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UST journalism professors: ABS-CBN shutdown ‘work of dictators’

The professors said that running the clock out on ABS-CBN and forcibly shutting it down is an “insidious strategy” at a time in which dissemination of news is vital in informing the public about the ongoing pandemic and government’s exercise of its authority.

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Arden Esmile/TomasinoWeb

The University’s journalism professors denounced media shutdown as “the work of dictators,” after ABS-CBN officially went off-air yesterday evening, the second time in history since late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law.

Photo from Christian Esguerra

“Now that ABS-CBN is out of the airwaves, and for the second time since Martial Law, there is no more denying that the Duterte regime will stop at nothingeven amid a national emergency and a crippling lockdownto crush dissent and stifle a free and independent media,” their statement read.

The National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) issuance of cease-and-desist order prompted the immediate closure of ABS-CBN whose franchise expired on May 4.

“Duterte has declared a war on the free press and this is his Pearl Harbor Attack. Lawmakers and the NTC had led the public to believe that ABS-CBN would be allowed to operate beyond the expiration of its license,” the professors said.

On March 11, NTC said it would issue a provisional authority which will allow the network to operate until June 2020 while the latter’s franchise renewal is still under Congress deliberation.

The professors said that running the clock out on ABS-CBN and forcibly shutting it down is an “insidious strategy” at a time in which dissemination of news is vital in informing the public about the ongoing pandemic and government’s exercise of its authority.

“We stand with ABS-CBN and urge it to exert all legal remedies to overturn NTC’s cease-and-desist order, and call on lawmakers, particularly members of the House of Representatives, to stop foot-dragging and approve a new franchise for ABS-CBN,” they said.

Free press and free expression, according to the journalism professors, are guaranteed only if granting broadcast franchises will be depoliticized and delegated to an independent regulatory agency.

They also urged the public to speak out, resist media attacks, and “hold the malevolent forces behind this treachery to account.”

Students echo educators

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University of Santo Tomas (UST) Journalism Society also condemned the NTC’s “traitorous act” of halting ABS-CBN broadcasting operations.

READ: UST JOURNALISM SOCIETY STATEMENT ON THE CEASE AND DESIST ORDER ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS…

UST Journalism Societyさんの投稿 2020年5月5日火曜日

“The move of the NTC is a clear manifestation of the government’s agenda to silence the media and discourage critical reporting,” the student organization said in their statement following their professors’.

“Silencing ABS-CBN should not be the priority of this government when a virus, not the television network, is the enemy,” they added.

Claiming to advocate for the struggles of the ordinary people while stripping the job off the 11,000 workers of ABS-CBN corporation only reflects the “Janus-faced nature of the administration,” the student organization said.

In February, President Duterte and Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa both claimed to have taken into consideration the welfare of the 11,000 workers who would lose their jobs after the network’s closure.

“For now, the network may be off the air, but the truth will always come out loud and clear,” they said. “History has never been kind to tyrants.”

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Thomasians promote youth engagement in nat’l affairs

Several Thomasians from different youth organizations pushed for the inclusion of youth participation in shaping the country in an online protest on Thursday, Jan. 21. 

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Online youth protest, "“Sulong Tomasino!: First Day Fight!” streamed via League of Filipino Students-UST official Facebook page on Thursday, Jan. 21.

Several Thomasians from different youth organizations pushed for the inclusion of youth participation in shaping the country in an online protest on Thursday, Jan. 21. 

Rights for Education representative Jay Santos stressed that the academe should also join the youth in this agenda. 

“[S]a panahon natin ngayon at  sa kasaysayan pa ng ating bansa, kinikilala natin ang kahalagahan ng papel ng kabataan sa paglahok at pahubog ng ating lipunan, at dapat katuwang natin dito ang ating paaralan,” she said.

According to Santos, the continuous suppression of the academe towards students also mirrors the government’s way of silencing its critics. 

Meanwhile, journalism major and one of the petitioners of the controversial Anti-Terror Law Mark Geronimo, encouraged the youth to use different social media platforms to educate and criticize the government. 

“[Y]ung mga platforms katulad ng Twitter, Facebook gamitin natin ito para mag educate at mag criticize sa mga maling gawain ng gobyerno,” Geronimo said.

Despite receiving several threats from online trolls, Geronimo still urged the youth to educate themselves in the current issues faced by the country. 

The online protest titled “Sulong Tomasino!: First Day Fight!” was streamed last Jan. 21 at the official Facebook page of League of Filipino Students – UST.

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SHS student barred from enrollment; admin cites code of conduct violation as basis

According to LFS–UST, Senior High School (SHS) Student Council Head Councilor Shoti Ampatuan was given a show cause notice due to his affiliation with Anakbayan–UST SHS, which resulted in his dismissal from his position and denial of his good moral certification.

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Photo by Rohm Bautista/TomasinoWeb

The University barred a student officer from enrolling next academic term after allegedly violating the Student’s Code of Conduct, the League of Filipino Students (LFS)–UST disclosed on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

According to LFS–UST, Senior High School (SHS) Student Council Head Councilor Shoti Ampatuan was given a show cause notice due to his affiliation with Anakbayan–UST SHS, which resulted in his dismissal from his position and denial of his good moral certification.

Ampatuan told TomasinoWeb that the alleged violation pertains to PPS 1027 of the Code of Conduct, which states that “students shall join only organizations duly recognized by the University.”

In his response to the show cause notice released last year Nov. 17, Ampatuan clarified that the evidence used against him was for the movement calling for academic ease in light of the three typhoons that hit the country between Oct. 25 to Nov. 12.

“I would like to clarify that I did not intend to deliberately violate the Code of Conduct of the University. As such, I apologize for any misunderstanding that my post may have caused,” he said.

He also defended his affiliation with Anakbayan, saying that it helped him be fully educated on social issues, and provided him an avenue to speak up against injustice and equality which, according to him, is among the many things the University has taught him.

“I believe that we are in a critical time in our nation’s history, and that due to this, the youth should be given the opportunity to further amplify their voices,” Ampatuan said.

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LFS-UST urged the university administration to reverse its decision, firmly stressing that universities “should be an avenue for free speech, and not repression.”

“We call on the admin to overturn their decision and to uphold students’ democratic rights and be one with their students in their fight for quality education, human rights, and accountability for the Duterte regime’s criminal negligence,” the organization said.

‘A form of hypocrisy’

In a statement posted Thursday, Anakbayan-UST SHS described the said rule as “a form of hypocrisy” and questioned the administration’s actions.

“They utterly stated that the student violated the Code of Conduct due to their membership to a mass organization while hundreds of students […] are members of NGOs. Why pinpoint this student and this student only?” Anakbayan-UST asked.

“Why not instead of silencing and filing these resolutions because of the studentry [sic] wanting to be vocal, listen to what they say,” the organization added.

This is not the first time the University prohibited a student activist from SHS from enrolling and receiving good moral certification.

In February 2018, a group of SHS students were denied good moral certificates after staging a silent protest inside the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. (BGPOP) building over the implementation of the K-12 program and the e-books system.

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Faculty of Medicine remembers professor Lorenzo Magat, 60

The UST – Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (FMS) expressed their grief over the passing of Dr. Lorenzo Magat in an online eulogy on Thursday, Jan. 7. 

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Dr. Lorenzo "Chito" Magat (Photo from UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery website)

The UST – Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (FMS) expressed their grief over the passing of Dr. Lorenzo Magat in an online eulogy on Thursday, Jan. 7. 

Magat died last Dec. 30 at the age of 60. He is an alumna of the University and a professor at the UST-FMS, where he taught microbiology and clinical pathology. 

Former adviser to the National Task Force for COVID-19 and UST alumna Dr. Tony Leachon described him as a “silent yet caring” friend. 

“He was a good friend of many. Silent lang yung style niya,” Leachon said. 

Earlier on Jan. 2, Leachon also took to Facebook his sorrow over Magat’s death. 

“Today we gather to mourn as one, ensuring your memory will never be undone. In loving memory of the one we love and honor, may your brightness always shine down from above,”  Leachon said. 

One of Magat’s former students recalls him as a “kind and passionate professor,” someone who encouraged them to study and understand medicine in a deeper sense to become great doctors someday. 

Several colleagues also flocked online to extend their condolence and sympathy to Magat’s family.

“[H]e was our clinical pathology resident before. I [will] always remember his smile,” the post read. 

The community mass was streamed online in the UST-FMS official Facebook page last Jan. 7 followed by a novena and a eulogy.

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