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Putting awareness in actions: going green the Thomasian way

After inciting awareness on the status of our environment, Greener UST is now back on its second phase to solidify our environmental awareness into actions.

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Becoming environmentally conscious can be an arduous task for a single person working towards an ambitious goal. This challenging aspect of having an advocacy to promote was addressed by representatives of the Thomasian community last Monday and through their collaborative efforts, they forged a link together to put forth a long-term cause for the environment and for both the present and future Thomasians.

After inciting awareness on the status of the Philippine environment and receiving positive feedback during its first phase, Greener UST is back on its second phase and is now solidifying our environmental awareness into actions through The Green Congress: Project Pitching.

“Hinihintay talaga namin itong second phase for the project para ma-involve ‘yung mga students but we’re still implementing the movement sa mga projects and, so far, ‘yung biggest changes na nangyari is for this Agape and Paskuhan movement, ‘yung bagong committee, which is yung Waste Segregation Committee,” shared by UST Central Student Council (CSC) Auditor and Project Head of Greener UST, Adrian Lee Fernando, in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

Representatives from the Local Student Councils (LSC) and university-wide student organizations gathered last November 26 at the Tan Yan Kee (TYK) Auditorium to pitch for possible projects and environmental campaigns gearing towards a greener university life with long-term effect, “It’s one of the frustrations of Fr. Dexter,” Mr. Allan de Guzman, the Office Staff for Student Activities said, “…dapat hindi lang pang Paskuhan, dapat pang future.” Paskuhan, as one of the University’s biggest event, requires careful and detailed planning–starting from the overall decorations, logistics, pocket events, and of course, the much-awaited concert and firework display. However, the aftermath of the festivities is not as pleasant to the eyes compared to the glistening decor as overfilled trash bins improperly thrown wastes litter the University grounds and De Guzman was firm to remind the participants the need for environment-related agendas such as these, to not be short-lived hence, he also reiterated the importance of documentation in solidifying plans.

The usual seminars on environmental awareness and policies such as plastic-free, were expected by Fernando to be pitched during The Green Congress; however unexpected yet promising and innovative events fit for the Thomasian community were also convened and recommended, “[…] Hindi ko na-expect is yung environmental fair kasi sa tagal na ng stay ko sa UST, hindi pa tayo nagkakaroon ng gan’ong fair in support, sa mga projects”, he said.

Using Social media in promoting this environmental cause within the University was also the common denominator among the ideas of the participants, De Guzman and Fernando also encouraged this initiative because of its money-saving benefits as well as its maximizing effect inside the University. In the end, the plausible events were sifted from the pitched ideas of the LSCs and were then categorized into three: Policies, Strategies, and Projects await for the Thomasians.

Going environmental-friendly has been one of the goals of the University for almost ten years now when in 2008, a complete ban on the use of styrofoam made materials were implemented. Today, these renewed small plans of actions are becoming catalysts for change. Even with small steps, these efforts are becoming self-evident within the campus and Fernando was grateful that their continued efforts in achieving a greener University has been getting enthusiastic support from the students, faculty members, and even, people in the administration.

In reality, looking out for the environment is easier said than done but with the collective and synergistic efforts initiated by a group of individuals with a determined belief in the same cause, success is not far from the horizon. As Thomasians, we must always practice what we preach and put our awareness into actions in order to have progress. In putting forward an environmental cause, we must understand that the concept of praxis is very much needed in anticipating a greener and environmentally responsible University culture.

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“The worst has happened in our country” —Gutoc

Civic leader Samira Gutoc aired her frustration on the Duterte administration and its shortcomings to the Marawi natives in the International Human Rights Day rally held at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila Tuesday, Dec. 10.

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Rallyists converged in front Mendiola Gate to conclude the International Human Rights Day protest | Jeric Mataga/TomasinoWeb

Civic leader Samira Gutoc aired her frustration on the Duterte administration and its shortcomings to the Marawi natives in the International Human Rights Day rally held at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila Tuesday, Dec. 10.

“Presidente, hindi kami luluhod. Lift Martial Law, you have removed us from our homeland. You promised our rehabilitation, you promised our return. That has not happened. Hindi ka rin pala kasi kasing dugo,” Gutoc exclaimed as she spoke in front of progressive groups and other sectoral groups.

“It is not (an) accomplishment na mayroong bahay. Pinatay ang tao, hindi binalik sa kanyang normal na pamumuhunan at pamamahay. Kami ngayon ay mga kawawa dito na nanghihingi at kini-clearing ng DILG [Department of Interior and Local Government] at ang mismong sarili nating LGU [Local Government Units],” she added while directly calling out President Duterte’s supporters.

“The worst has happened in our country, and it’s still happening. When people are not buried, they are not with names, numero lang ang nakikita sa sementeryo, […] and nobody is claiming responsibility,” Gutoc added.

The former senatorial candidate also appealed to current Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso, wherein she included the situation of sidewalk vendors around the city being cleared out by the local government.

“Mayor ‘Yorme,’ we appeal to you. Kung talagang panatag [na] tao ka, biktima rin kami, biktima rin ang mga sidewalk vendor! ‘Wag naman walang puso at papaalisin lang kami ng walang relokasyon,” Gutoc reiterated.

Samira Gutoc during the 2019 Senatorial Elections Debate in UST

Despite admitting uncertainty towards the future of her people, Gutoc asserted that the fight for justice continues and they are on the right path.

“Kami sa Mindanao ay konti magsasalita dahil ‘di namin alam kung may bukas pa kami, pero alam namin, tayo ay nasa tama […] walking on holy ground to remember. Kaya ako naka itim ngayon para sa mga namatay na walang hustisya [at] isang siyudad na sinira at hindi na binalik,” Gutoc added.

The International Human Rights Day is observed every December 10 to commemorate the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, proclaiming the inalienable rights of every person. Jose Rafael Ballecer with reports from John Aaron Pangilinan

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Delayed justice in Maguindanao Massacre: ‘Reflection of culture of impunity’

Journalists, along with progressive groups, flocked to Mendiola and held a program to commemorate the victims of Maguindanao Massacre and condemn the continuing culture of impunity and injustice in the country Saturday, Nov. 23.

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Photo by Louise Lampa/TomasinoWeb

Minutes before noon on Nov. 23, 2009, 58 people — 38 of whom were journalists — were massacred in Ampatuan, Maguindanao in what would then be dubbed as the single deadliest attack on reporters and media workers in history. 

A decade later, justice for the victims’ families remain elusive, although already in sight, as the Quezon City Regional Trial Court is set to make its long-awaited decision until December 20 this year, after being granted an extension by the Supreme Court.

Journalists, along with progressive groups, flocked to Mendiola and held a program to commemorate the victims and condemn the continuing culture of impunity and injustice in the country Saturday, Nov. 23.

A reflection of the culture of impunity, injustice

In an ambush interview with TomasinoWeb, Justine Dizon, one of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) board of directors, expressed his dismay over the delay of justice for the victims.

He added that the time spent pursuing justice is a “reflection” of the situation of the justice system and the culture of impunity.

“This time na nailaan na walang hustisya for the past ten years is just a reflection kung paanong ang culture of impunity is plaguing our society right now,” Dizon said.

Dizon further noted: “This is also a reflection of how do we value the freedom of expression […] kung paano i-regard o ituring ang mga media at news organization na kritikal at nagbabalita nang matapat at matapang tungkol sa ating lipunan.”

‘Learn from history’

Bayan Muna representative Carlos Zarate urged people to “learn history” and, according to him, true change can only happen if the whole system that breeds injustices will change.

“Matuto tayong mag-aral ng kasaysayan, na ang tunay na pagbabago ay mangyayari lamang kung nabago rin natin itong umiiral na sistemang nagluluwal ng ganitong mga injustices,” Zarate said.

Zarate further added: “[D]apat baliktarin natin ito, iyang sistemang iyan na nagluluwal ng walang kapanagutan, ng panggigipit, ng maramihang papatay ay baguhin natin.”

Zarate, however, stressed that more Ampatuan massacres and other injustices, especially to the marginalized and the innocent are bound to happen if the state of impunity is continued to be normalized.

“Habang hindi nagbabago, habang ine-enable, ginagawang normal ang pagpatay, marami pang mga Ampatuan Massacre ang mangyayari sa ating bayan, marami pang mga mahihirap at inosente nating mamamayan ang magiging biktima ng inhustisya at impunity,” Zarate said.

Meanwhile, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) National President Daryl Baybado iterated the importance of a critical campus media, especially during these times.

“Bahagi sa kasaysayan [ng mamahayag pangkampus] ang paglaban sa diktadura ang paglalantad ng inhustisya ng korupsyon at iba’t-iba pang mga usaping panlipunan,” Baybado said. 

He added: “Asahan na magkakaisa hindi lamang ang mga mamamahayag pangkampus kundi lahat ng mga manggagawa sa media upang tutulan, labanan, at kundenahin ang mga harassment.”

Furthermore, Baybado also challenged the Duterte administration to give the people their rights.

“Simple lang ang hamon natin sa administrasyon: ang ibigay ang nararapat sa mamamayan. Hindi natin gusto ang isang lipunan na ipinagangalandakan at ipagsisigaw pa kung ano ang mga karapatan natin,” Baybado told TomasinoWebWith reports from John Aaron Pangilinan

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Abandoning the promise of PH sovereignty an act of betrayal to the country—Ex-Bayan Muna Rep

Former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo said that President Duterte neglecting his promise to assert the Philippines’ sovereignty is an act of betrayal to the country.

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Photo taken from PHILSTAR

Former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo said that President Duterte neglecting his promise to assert the Philippines’ sovereignty is an act of betrayal to the country.

Ocampo stated in an ambush interview with TomasinoWeb that the issue regarding the West Philippine Sea should not be disregarded and undervalued for it concerns the exclusive rights of the Philippines under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“Ang naging issue riyan ay yung nakipag-usap si [President Duterte] kay Xi Jin Ping, pumayag siya na pwede kayo mag-fishing diyan. […] Kung payagan mo ‘yan mangisda sa atin, pakikialaman natin, maliliit lang ang ating boat, malalaki ang kanila. Sila, sasairin na nila yung laman ng dagat. Para sa atin ‘yon,” Ocampo said.

“Balikan niyo ‘yung campaign promise niya noon, on the West Philippine Sea, ang sabi niya ia-assert nya ‘yung Philippine sovereignty, tamang paninindigan iyon. Aayon tayo sa paninindigang iyon. Pero kung ia-abandon niya ‘yon, pagtataksil na iyon sa bayan,” he added.

Moreover, Ocampo mentioned that President Duterte’s prioritization of the anti-drug campaign and his response against the United Nations Human Rights Council were improper.

“Mali ang kanyang prioritization ng anti-drug campaign. Gayong inamin na niya ay hindi niya maso-solve. Pero sabi niya tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang campaign. Sige patay-patayan. Kung alam niya na hindi maso-solve sa pagpatay, bakit ipinagpapatuloy niya ang pagpatay?,” Ocampo said.

Last year, the president admitted that he cannot solve and end the problem with illegal drugs during his term, contrary to what he promised that he will finish it in 3 to 6 months and later on changed to 2 years.

“Mali ang response ng presidente na nagagalit,” the former Bayan Muna Representative said regarding the resolution of UNHRC to review the state of the Philippines during the war on drugs.

“Ang principle dito [ay] sumanib at na-elect ang Pilipinas sa United Nations Human Rights Council. So, bound siya sa action o resolution ng bagay na ‘yon, hindi ‘yun tatanggihan. So, taliwas siya sa ginagawa niya,” Ocampo added.

Kristine Erika Agustin

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