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Awareness, anti-fake news law needed to combat disinformation —PRO bets

During the Harapan face-off, Jeanne Nicole Naval, Jan Krianne Pineda and Jeremiah Pasion were asked to list their specific actions on the issue of fake news.



Candidates for the Public Relations Officer (PRO) post of the Central Student Council urged on Tuesday that awareness campaigns and a law punishing the proliferation of disinformation is necessary to combat the rise of fake news in the country.

During the Harapan face-off, Jeanne Nicole Naval, Jan Krianne Pineda and Jeremiah Pasion were asked to list their specific actions on to address the issue.

Naval said that her platforms in line with social media would be infographics on social issues that would teach students to look at different perspectives.

“My platforms on social media will give infographics and information about certain issues na nangyayari sa lipunan natin, hindi lang siya basta infos about them but [also] yung iba’t ibang sides of the story,” she said.

Meanwhile, Pasion urged that a concrete way to combat fake news is integrating and directly talking to basic sectors affected by social issues in order to understand and accurately contextualize these issues in reports.

“Sa pamamagitan ng pagsama at pagtatanong sa [mga] masang Pilipino ay malalman natin ang tunay na mga nangyayari,” he stated.

Pineda pointed out the need for media literacy and the promotion of fact-checking sources.

“By having media literacy in the university, they will be in the know [as to] how they can promote fact-checking the sources. We should start from the inside [the University] to ensure media literacy,” she said.


Anti-fake news bill, press freedom

During the Tagisan mandatory debates last April 3, Pineda also expressed support for the passage of an “anti-fake news” bill that would penalize the proliferation of disinformation.

In a face-off, Pasion quizzed Pineda on her support for the such bill despite the opposition of various groups on the passage of such law.

Pineda answered that “It does not mean na yung pag-gagawa ng bill na ito ay nasesentro lang sa pag-empower mismo ng estado kasi we also have to recognize that we have legislators who are willing to be one with the people and be one with the masses.”

Senators Grace Poe and Joel Villanueva have respectively filed two separate Senate bills seeking to penalize fake news, but both bills were met with criticism from various legislators, journalists and press freedom advocacy groups.

Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, a former journalist, stated that addressing fake news should not be criminalizing its proliferation but “for mainstream and social media practitioners to be objective in reporting events and for Congress to fast track the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill for the Filipino people to know what is truly happening in the country.”

Former UP College of Mass Communication Dean Luis Teodoro told that “the danger to free expression of these intentions should be immediately obvious.”

“The danger in the Villanueva and [Sen. Francisco] Pangilinan initiatives is that, with the growing concern over the impact of fake news on citizen opinion, knowledge, and capacity to make informed decisions on public issues, any bill that will seem to address the problem could handily pass Congress despite the constraints it will certainly impose on free expression — and without most citizens’ being aware of it,” Teodoro told in a BusinessWorld column.

Meanwhile,  Advocates for Freedom of Expression Coalition Southeast-Asia said in a letter addressed to Poe that her measure does not define “fake news” and thus “is potentially unconstitutional, if passed, for being inconsistent with Section 4, article III of the 1987 Constitution.”G. Parlade



UST lands perfect passing rate in electronics technician boards, boosts performance in electronics eng’g

The University maintained a 100-percent passing rate in the April 2018 electronics technician licensure exams while it improved to 66.67 percent in the electronics engineering boards.



Photo by Christel Maliksi/TomasinoWeb.

The University scored a 100-percent passing rate in the April 2018 electronics technician licensure examinations.

UST maintained its perfect passing rate with all of its four takers making the cut. Ten Thomasians took and passed the exam last year.

Mark Jefferson Arellano of Cagayan State University – Tuguegarao, Cyrus Peter Lim and Fernando Roman Jr. from Mapúa University and Dannah Caye Palces of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Maragondon all led this year’s batch of electronics technicians with a score of 89 percent.

Mapúa University remained the top-performing school with all of its 69 takers passing the test.

According to the results from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), this year’s national passing rate is 76.93 percent, with 1,141 passing the test of 1,483 examinees, a decline from last year’s 80.13 percent, with 1,020 takers making the cut out of 1,273 examinees.

Meanwhile, UST boosted its performance in the electronics engineering boards with a higher passing rate.

The University improved to 66.67 percent, with 14 making the cut out of 21 takers, an improvement from last year’s 57.50-percent mark, with 23 out of 40 examinees passing the boards.

Mark Eullysis Alzaga of Far Eastern University – Institute of Technology topped this year’s electronic engineering boards after scoring a 93.30-percent mark.

University of the Philippines – Diliman was declared the top-performing school, with all of its 27 takers passing the test.

Results from the PRC showed that the country posted a national passing rate of 45.36 percent this year, with 1,208 out of 2,663 examinees passing the test, an improvement from last year’s 41.27 percent or 1,033 passers out of 2,503 takers.


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Presidential bets push for passage of Students’ Code

Karizza Kamille Cruz promised to pass the Students’ Code of Rights in 10 months while Francis Gabriel Santos claimed that his Students’ Rights and Welfare Coalition platform is a more “unified approach” to address the issue.



Photo by Alec Go/TomasinoWeb.

Presidential candidates for the Central Student Council (CSC) asserted during a face-off on Thursday that they will push for the passage of the Students’ Code of Rights when elected.

“Kung ang may pinakamataas na posisyon dito po sa [UST] ay may suporta sa Students’ Code at ilalagay niya ‘to sa black and white, kung magbibigay po siya ng memorandum sa ating regents at academic senate at magbibigay po sya ng ultimatum, kahit po limang buwan, kahit po isang buwan, kaya po nating ipasa ang Students’ Code,” Karizza Kamille Cruz affirmed.

Cruz added that she will immediately pass an endorsement letter to University Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, OP on the very first day of her term.

“Susulat tayo sa Father Rector ng endorsement na pansinin po ng mga council of regents and academic senate itong Students’ Code. Bigyan po ng oras, gawing priority,” the law sophomore argued.

She also promised to pass the code within 10 months, which is roughly equivalent to one academic year.

Francis Gabriel Santos, meanwhile, claimed that his Students’ Rights and Welfare (Straw) Coalition platform is a more “unified approach” to address the issue.

“Kaya po meron tayong platform na Straw Coalition dito sa ating University. Dito unified approach… Mas maganda, mas collective ang action ng estudyante sa pagpasa Students’ Code,” he said.

The Straw Coalition seeks to “localize the National Straw Coalition in the University” and will also “serve as a lobbying group for the passage of the Students’ Code in the University.”

Moreover, when Santos asked Cruz on why Thomasians should vote for him, she said that they both have the same goal for the Students’ Code.

The Students’ Code, formerly known as the Magna Carta of Students, was first drafted in 2004. It includes the responsibilities of Thomasians and rights to information, academics, freedom of expression and organization to name a few.—B. Laforga


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OSA suspends recognition of new orgs

The suspension comes on the heels of the hazing case of Faculty of Civil Law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III. Specific details regarding fraternities and sororities would be released in a separate memorandum.



File photo.

New student organizations wishing to apply for accreditation for the next school year would be unable to do so following a memorandum from the Office for Student Affairs (OSA).

In a memorandum dated April 3, OSA suspended the application for recognition of new student organizations in the University but the office did not state any particular reason for the suspension.

The suspension comes on the heels of the hazing case of Faculty of Civil Law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III, who died Sept. 17 last year after undergoing the initiation rites of the Aegis Juris Fraternity.

Aegis Juris had been an accredited fraternity based in the faculty for the past school years and the Senate inquiry panel pointed out during a hearing last Sept. 25 that, despite its suspension, the fraternity was allowed to present during the faculty’s freshman orientation last August.

However, OSA Director Socorro Guan Hing contested during the Senate hearing that it was only by September — during the time of Castillo’s death — that the fraternity’s suspension became official.

Divina further clarified that the fraternity was still deemed to be compliant with its accreditation June last year.

“In June, they are deemed to be compliant. Only in September that they are deemed to be non-compliant,” Divina told the Senate inquiry panel.

Guan Hing also stated before the panel that the college’s freshman orientation was not meant for recruitment.

“There is also a schedule for recruitment done by organizations which comes after they have been recognized. If and when recruitment really happened, that was not authorized,” she said.

In a statement released last Feb. 18 regarding the expulsion of eight law students linked to Castillo’s case, OSA said they conducted a seminar for organization advisers and student leaders on the Anti-Hazing Law and recommended a review of the Student Handbook as well as organization accreditation processes.

In the same statement, the office further said they also issued an indefinite moratorium on recruitment and activities of all fraternities and sororities in UST following the incident.

OSA’s recent memorandum states that “specific details” regarding the recognition of fraternities and sororities would be issued separately.


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