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V awards Thomasian literati at 29th Gawad Ustetika

EXEMPLARY Thomasian literary writers were awarded in their respective genres at the 29th Gawad Ustetika hosted by The Varsitarian on December 14 at the Plaza Mayor.



     EXEMPLARY Thomasian literary writers were awarded in their respective genres at the 29th Gawad Ustetika hosted by The Varsitarian on December 14 at the Plaza Mayor.

     The annual literary contest had received 154 entries this year, a bigger number than last year’s. The Varsitarian accepted entries from November 4 until 16.

     Works submitted were in different genres of literature, namely, Dulang May Isang Yugto or One-Act Play, Sanaysay, Katha, Dula, Maikling Kwentong Pambata, Essay, Fiction, and Poetry.


     A third, second, and first prize can be awarded per category. Special citations were also awarded in some categories. But in other cases, there could be no winner at all.

     Such is the case of the Essay category, judged by Oscar Campomanes, Shirley Lua, and Danilo Francisco Reyes, wherein there were two honorable mentions, Sophia Beatrice B. Lazo’s On the Woman’s Anatomy, and John Evan P. Orias’ Thread, but there were no announced place winners.

     Meanwhile, only third and second prizes were awarded in the Fiction category, which was judged by Francezca Kwe, Angelo “Sarge” Lacuesta, and John Jack Wigley. The winners were Karina D.R. Pe Benito for Parlor Geis, and Paul Castillo for Reply Slip, respectively. While other categories gave little to no awards, some categories gave out all the three places and threw in a special citation or two.

     Among these categories is the Katha category, judged by Eros Atalia, Abdon Balde Jr., and Jun Cruz Reyes, wherein Seis by Rijel Immanuel Reyes, and Seldang Babasagin by Joshua Carlo T. Pile were special citations, Langoy by Christine Emano won third place, Kuwentong Kuwentista by Ryan Jamil V. Ario won second place, and QWERTYUIOP by Christian P. Mendoza won first place.

     Another category which gave out a lot of awards is the Poetry category, judged by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana, Mookie Katigbak Lacuesta, and Mariano Kilates, wherein Hans Lawrence Malgapu’s Borderline between Déjà Vu and Jamais Yu and Rommel V. Roxas’ Taking the Moment of Inertia received special citations. Maria Karen M. Valera’s Melancholia won third place, Jan Marvi F. Atienza’s Unresolved Geometries took second place, and Joshua Carlo T. Pile’s The Vanishing Sea won first prize.

     The Sanaysay category, judged by Romulo “Joey” Baquiran, Jerry Gracio, and Jose Wendell Capili, gave Jansen Joel C. Romero’s Bilog a special citation; Marie Giselle Dela Cruz’ Pan de Coco, Hexene Giselle D. Daya’s Si St. Jude Thaddeus, and Rommel V. Roxas’ Cuatro Aguas won third, second, and first places respectively.

     Meanwhile, awardees in the One-Act Play/Dulang May Isang Yugto category, which was judged by Ralph Semino Galan, Jose Victor Torres, and Chuckberry Pascual, were Danielle Joyce E. Factora for Ang Kasalanan sa Kasalanan third place, second place for Sarung Bangi by Christine E. Emano, and first place for Kris Joven Medalla’s Baraha.

     The Tula category, judged by Joselito Delos Reyes, Victor Emmanuel Carmelo Nadera Jr., and Benilda Santos, gave third place to Hulagway by Paul Castillo, second place to Paglayas at Iba Pang Tula by Elaine Lazaro, and first place to Katalik ng Palad by Rommel Roxas.

     Finally, Christine E. Emano’s Ang Nanay kong Tatay, Hope Jael S. Perez’ Ang Pagtupad sa Kahilingan ni Lucia, and Marie Giselle R. Dela Cruz’ Tahing Kamay ni Nanay won third, second, and first places respectively in the Maikling Kwentong Pambata category which was judged by Rebecca Añonuevo, Michael Coroza, Luis Gatmaitan, and Eugene Evasco.

Special Awards

     Two special awards were also up for grabs, although only one of them can be won by a student.

     This award is the Rector’s Literary Award which recognizes the work which best mirrors the Catholic vision of redemption and the Thomist reconciliation of faith and reason among the first placers of each category. The award was the original name of the Gawad Ustetika before it was revived in 1986 after it was shut down during the Martial Law regime as Gawad Ustetika, which is an amalgam of UST and estetika or aesthetics.

     However, the Rector’s Literary Award for this year has not been awarded yet. “The Rector’s busy schedule didn’t fit and was not able to choose a winner,” The Varsitarian’s Publication Adviser, Joselito B. Zulueta said to the audience. He did say that if the Rector does choose a winner, it may be announced on the January issue of The V.

     The other special award is the Parangal Hagbong, which is given to Thomasians whose accomplishments left a great impact in the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

     One of this year’s Parangal Hagbong awardees is Norma Miraflor, who was a writer for the Blue Quill, the publication of the then Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, a Varsitarian editor, a teacher, a journalist, and multi-Palanca Award winner.

     Drama enthusiast Piedad Guinto Rosales is another Parangal Hagbong awardee who has established DZST, now Radio Veritas, established the Aquinas Dramatic Guild, teacher, and has aimed to establish a Drama Department at the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

By Xavier Allen C. Gregorio



Nationwide protests commemorates martial law declaration anniversary



A day before the 47th anniversary of former president Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of martial law, several progressive organizations merged to Rizal Park, Thursday, September 20 to denounce the atrocities committed by the Duterte administration.


With the theme of “Laban Kabataan, Laban Bayan! Inhustisya at Diktadura, Wakasan!”, the protest focused on condemning the supposed historical revisionism of the Marcos era, as well as criticizing the current administration’s injustices against the Filipinos, such as the infamous Oplan Tokhang, Mayor Sanchez and the GCTA fiasco, and its complacency to address territorial disputes.


Despite the inclement weather, decentralized protest actions and gatherings spearheaded by different progressive student organizations around the University Belt were held at around 12 am before converging at Morayta to march together along with the rest of the multi-sectoral organizations towards Rizal Park. 


Although the program started at around 3 pm, organizations such as the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) held a small program in front of the University of Santo Tomas’ main gate. 


Several Lumad children located at the University of the Philippines Diliman for the annual iteration of the Lumad Bakwit Schools attended the event, emphasizing the displacement of their communities in Mindanao due to the combined militarization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and paramilitary groups.


Also present in the program were previous senatoriables and human rights advocates Atty. Chel Diokno, Atty Neri Colmenares, and Ms. Samira Gutoc.


According to Manila Police District, an estimate of more than 1000 participants gathered in Rizal Park at around 3 in the afternoon to raise their voices and fight against tyranny and the social injustices that is prevalent in the country under the current administration. 


Meanwhile, the UST – Simbahayan Community Development Office held a discussion about martial law on the same day at the Graduate School Auditorium. J. Bote and R. Bote.



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‘Campus militarization brings back ML horrors, to sow fear among students’ — Martial Law victim

Former political prisoner and Martial Law victim Hilda Narciso aired her concerns regarding the supposed plan of heightened military presence in campuses as it “brings back horrors from the past, and will sow terror and fear among students,” Friday, September 20. 



Photo by Audrice Serrano

Former political prisoner and Martial Law victim Hilda Narciso aired her concerns regarding the supposed plan of heightened military presence in campuses as it “brings back horrors from the past, and will sow terror and fear among students,” Friday, September 20. 

At the Francisco De Vitoria: Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao Talakayang Martial Law forum spearheaded by UST-Simbahayan, Narciso pointed out that there is no need for the imposition of campus militarization. 

“When the government is the one telling this, that is already martial law, an undeclared nationwide Martial Law. Why would you push if there is no threat? Bakit i-impose sa lahat ng eskwelahan?” Narciso stated. 

She continued in an ambush interview with TomasinoWeb: “This (campus militarization) will be prone to many abuses, it will bring horrors from the past […] It will only sow terror and fear among students.”

Narciso, who experienced sexual abuse and molestation from military men during Martial Law, also expressed her concern on red-tagging. 

“Kung mag-tag sila iniisa na nila lahat kahit na aktibista, binabrand agad nila bilang mga komunista, o drug addict,” Narciso said. 

On historical revisionism

Narciso also shared and mentioned the atrocities she herself experienced during Martial Law era. 

“Hindi biro ang usapin [ng Martial Law]. Napakaraming mga namatay. Grabe ang ginawa ng mga Marcos. May mga nilitson na tao, minassacre, maraming mga pinaslang,” she stated. 

Narciso further added: “Nakakalungkot at nakakagalit bilang nakaranas ng atrocities at karahasan ng Martial Law, pero dahil sa kawalan ng kaalaman ng mga henerasyon. Bakit ni-rerevise? Ang hirap tanggapin na may attempt ng revisionism.”

Moreover, she encouraged the younger generation to “pass [the torch] onto the next generation.”

“Palagi kong sinasabi: ‘I’m bringing the torch with me, and I want to pass it onto you. And pass it onto the next generation, and don’t allow the flame to be lost’” Narciso urged. 



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Martial law forum highlights human rights violations

A martial law forum hosted by the UST-Simbahayan was held yesterday, September 20, 2019 as part of the Francisco De Vitoria Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao featuring talks about martial law and human rights.



Photo by Audrice Serrano

A martial law forum hosted by the UST-Simbahayan was held yesterday, September 20, 2019 as part of the Francisco De Vitoria Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao which featured talks about martial law and human rights.

In the beginning of the program held at the Graduate School Auditorium, the University’s Vice Rector for Religious Affairs Rev. Fr. Pablo Tiong O.P. first introduced Francisco De Vitoria and his role in human rights during his time.

“Nang 1225 isinilang si Santo Tomas. Mga 1510-1520, si Francisco De Vitoria, isa ring Dominican, ipinaglaban niya ang karapatang pantao ng mga tiga-Americas,” said Tiong.

He shared that Vitoria fighted for the rights of the natives in South America in the Court of the King of Spain.

“Matinding debate, matinding paglalaban […] na kailangan igalang ang karapatang pantao ng mga natives ng South America,” said Tiong.

He also added the importance of the duty of respecting others’ rights and to carefully analyze the rights being fought for. 

“Magkasama ang duty at rights, mga katungkulan at karapatan. […] “Kapag nag-umpisa tayo sa tungkulin sa Diyos, matutuklasan natin na lahat pala ng karapatang pantao ay galing sa Diyos. Mayroon tayong katungkulang igalang ang karapatang pantao [at] suriin kung ang ipinaglalaban ay tunay na karapatan,” he added.

Hilda Narciso, a victim and survivor of the martial law era who is now a healer also gave a talk about her experiences during those times.

She asserted that there is again an undeclared martial law in the country, and she keeps on talking about the stories of martial law because she does not it to happen again.

“We are all sick. The country is sick. Which is why I go to healing. I kept talking about these things because I don’t want it to happen again.

She also urged the youth to keep the torch burning to imitate Christ’s example of respect and compassion for others. 

“Dalhin niyo sa susunod na henerasyon. […] Gayahin niyo ang Panginoon, ang kanyang pagtingin sa tao […] at pagpapahalaga sa kapwa.

Jerbert Briola, Deputy Executive Director of Task Force Detainee of the Philippines and a member of the Commission on Human Rights also gave a talk on human rights in the country under President Rodrigo Duterte.

He asserted that human rights violations are still rampant under the Duterte administration and there are different methods being imposed to “restrict civil liberties.”

“Patuloy pa rin ang paglabag sa karapatang pantao sa ilalim ni Pangulong Duterte. […] Lahat ng presidenteng dumaan hanggang ngayon ay patuloy na umiigting ang oagpabag sa karapatang pantao,” said Briola.

He also mentioned that Duterte has a narrow view on his interpretation on human rights and the prevalence of culture of death in the country.

“Pag drug pushers, drug lords, wala nang karapatan. […] Ganon na lang yung kawalan ng pagpapahalaga ng Pangulo ng Pilipinas sa karapatang pantao. […] Dito makikita natin, paano yung narrow mindedness ni Pangulong Duterte sa kanyang interpretasyon, sa kanyang pag intindi sa human rights,” said Briola.

Briola also mentioned that the planned national ID system will might lead to increase in government surveillance and analytical breach.

“Malalaman ng isang gobyerno, ng isang institution kung progressive ka ba or not. […] Itong national ID system ay massive profiling ng mga Pilipino,” he said.

For him, these events are proofs of the degradation of democratic space in the country and urged the youth to do their duty to resist.

“Yung patuloy at patuloy na pagsisinungaling, ito ay magiging totoo. At ito ang nangyayari ngayon. […] It is our duty to resist,” he said.

Militarization in universities to ‘sow terror’

The plan to increase military presence in universities was also tackled where the speakers expressed their disapproval and concerns.

Tiong said that if there is really an actual threat, the protection should be provided by the Philippine National Police (PNP) which is part of their duty and not by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“How we wish this would be reconsidered because under ordinary circumstances, the peace and order should be kept by police force. […] But if we would going to have that protection, the protection should be for real threat. And we wish that it would not come from the military because the military is for external threat,” said Tiong.

Briola also expressed his concerns, mentioning that the training of the military is quite different and they have a different mindset.

“Ang military or ang AFP, they were trained, iba ang training niyan compared to PNP and other security forces. They were trained to destroy. Iba ang kanilang mindset. […] It will open gates ng iba’t ibang abuses,” he said.

Narciso also pointed out that increasing military presence in schools will only “sow terror” to the students.

“Why come up with militarization in school. It will sow terror in schools. Magiging dumb na kayo. Hindi na kayo kikilos. Hindi na kayo magiging free kung paano kayo hinubog ng Diyos na maglingkod sa kapwa,” said Narciso.

The Francisco De Vitoria Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao is a weeklong activity featuring in the University in commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the country.

An exhibit was also held at the lobby of UST-Tan Yan Kee Student Center featuring different martial law victims and events.


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