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No ‘abstain’ in upcoming CSC elections; students develop new electronic voting system

In a press conference on Thursday, Central Commission on Elections Medicine Commissioner Ivan Pulanco elaborated that they have removed “abstain” in the new system developed by Computer Science students, but voters could leave their ballots unanswered.

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Photo by JC Alvero/TomasinoWeb.

(UPDATED March 10, 1:10 a.m.) There would be no “abstain” option in the upcoming Central Student Council (CSC) elections as the polls switch back to an electronic voting system developed by the University’s Computer Science students.

In a press conference on Thursday, Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) Medicine Commissioner Ivan Pulanco elaborated that they have removed the option—which won the CSC posts for president, vice president, auditor and treasurer in the last elections—but voters could leave their ballots unanswered.

“Unanswered means unanswered. That is our official stance. We are following the procedures conducted by the local elections in the Philippines for voters are allowed to leave positions blank and we don’t feel that it is proper to compel a student vote for an individual… So it’s not abstain, its unanswered,” Pulanco said.

This move is in accordance with the order of the Central Judiciary Board last year, which stated that including “abstain” in the ballots was a violation of Article X Section 5 of the UST Student’s Election Code of 2011 as ballots should only contain “the printed names of candidates, their positions and their parties , a box before each candidate’s name, serial number and the instructions” with no mention of an “abstain” option.

 

Thomasians develop new voting system

The Computer Science Society (CSS), in partnership with Comelec and the UST e-Service Providers (STEPS), developed the Evosys system, the very first electronic voting system developed by Thomasian students which they said would ensure fast, reliable, accurate and secured canvassing of votes through the use of the University’s local servers provided by STEPS.

“For this upcoming elections,  we will be hosting it with STEPS [with their] local servers…. It’s intranet, [meaning] within the internet of UST, so transferring of data will be fast,” CSS President John Regalado told reporters.

The elections last year became manual after the proclamation of elected officers in the 2016 CSC elections were delayed due to technical glitches with the Blackboard e-Learning Access Program, where the polls were hosted.

Evosys Project Manager Angel Luis Santos said the system would be more reliable than manual voting since “it requires a login to access the system and it automates the canvassing of votes” and that “the counting will be done by the system.”

Comelec Vice Chairman and Evosys Project Head Mely Cherrylyne Cruz said that Comelec, Potato Codes, an organization of Thomasian developers, and the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) decided it would be best that CSS would develop the system.

“There is no other competition… outside UST. [Developers outside the campus] cannot develop the software for UST because that would bring about concerns on outside influence, etc. This is why we chose specifically and only CSS,” Cruz added.

Santos also ensured the election’s security, saying that the system “underwent rigorous testing from developers and some faculty members of the Computer Science department.” She also said the system is secure from hacking since votes can only be accessed within UST’s local servers.

 

Security, technical concerns

Santos demonstrated the new voting process, which involves verification of voters by assigned deputies, the actual voting of students, submission of all votes and upon completion, and the acquisition of reference numbers as proof that a student has finished the entire voting process.

While students would be using their student numbers as theirs username in voting, Comelec Chairman Arvin Bersonda said that the password would be unique in every voting session and that it would come from verifiers.

“Malalaman lang namin yung password nila on the day that they will vote, on the day they were verified as a Thomasian voter kasi we have verifiers, sila yung mag-eencode and ‘dun palang nila makukuha yung access code nila sa elections upon entry sa [computer laboratory],” he added.

Bersonda said that if computer units crash during the voting period, the system would only process finished and submitted ballots so that students could still resume voting.

To accommodate all voters,  there would be an allotted time for every individual to vote, according to Allan Theo Hernandez, OSA’s staff for student activities.

University-wide mock elections held to earlier today to test the system. The filing of the certificates of candidacy would be on March 21; elections are set to be held in April .—B. Laforga

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dates regarding the exact schedule of elections and proclamation of officers were removed due to disputing claims from officers of Comelec.

 

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University’s Rare Map collection featured in International Map Symposium

The 36th International Map Collector’s Society (IMCoS) Symposium visited Miguel the Benavidez Library’s Antonio Vivencio Heritage Section’s collection of rare and historical maps yesterday, October 16.

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one of UST's rare map
Photo by Corinne Vizconde.

Participants of the “Insulae, Indiae, Orientalis”: The 36th International Map Collector’s Society (IMCoS) Symposium visited Miguel the Benavidez Library’s Antonio Vivencio Heritage Section’s collection of rare and historical maps yesterday, October 16.

International delegates and local map collectors converged in the said event for the first time not just in the Philippines but in South East Asia held at Ayala Museum, Makati City.

Assoc. Prof. Giovanna V. Fontanilla M.A., Director of UST Office for Public Affairs, welcomed the international delegates and local map collectors participants of the event.

In his welcoming speech, UST Secretary General Rev. Fr. Jesus Miranda O.P. said that, “You made the right decision to visit the 407-year-old University of Santo Tomas […] Whether you like it or not, this is the pride of the Philippines and of the whole South East Asia when it comes to the rich collection of artifacts about our heritage and history.”

The University’s Prefect of Libraries, Rev. Fr. Angel Aparicio O.P. said in his words of appreciation that, “For some people, maps are a powerful tool, for others a tool of power. For me, a map is a metaphor, a vehicle carrying me through my piece of paper, parched me in canvass, or screen to another place that can be real or imaginary.”

“One of the speakers of this symposium has written that, and I put, ‘The Philippines is a young nation with a long history. Its narrative complex.’ From my own personal stand as a Spanish, as a Dominican, a resident of this beautiful islands and people, I like to make a personal correction to that statement. The Philippines is a young nation with many stories waiting for a historian to give us a coherent narrative, said Fr. Aparicio.

He added, “These maps I have seen in this exhibit tells many stories. I really commend and appreciate the efforts of the organizers of this symposium, to assemble all these map nobles, collectors, researchers and dealers around the Philippines, ‘Insulae, Indiae, Orientalis.’”

A small map exhibit will follow today, October 17 until October 26 at the library’s exhibit area and along 5th floor hallway from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Philippine Map Collector’s Society, which is an affiliate of the London based IMCoS, and Gallery Prints organized the said event which presents series of lectures and excursions to libraries and museums and visited the Antonio Vivencio Heritage Section of the Benavidez Library as part of the said event.

The Antonio Vicencio del Rosario Library is a repository of rare and prestigious collection of books about the country’s history including Filipiniana rare books, rare periodicals, rare collection of books of medicine and pharmacy, and some collection of Chinese books.

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Padre Pio’s incorrupt heart relic brought to UST

The incorrupt heart relic of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was brought to the University of Santo Tomas yesterday, October 8.

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Photo by Tristan Deang

The incorrupt heart relic of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was brought to the University of Santo Tomas yesterday, October 8.

The UST community together with the Santisimo Rosario Parish and the priests and brothers from the Priory of Saint Thomas welcomed the relic in front of the UST Chapel.

A conference with the clergy and religious about the life and works of Padre Pio titled, “The Person, Priesthood and Spirituality of St. Padre Pio” followed where they were called to embody an ‘Ubuntu’ life.

Rev. Fr. Jojo Gonda, rector of the National Shrine of St. Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, who led the conference said that, “Ubuntu, if we want to be happy, we’ll be happy together,” emphasizing the meaning of Ubuntu in a story in Africa as ‘I am because we are’ whereas our happiness is manifested in the happiness of others.

“Let’s have an Ubuntu life. I am because we are,” he added.

The conference was a challenge to all priests and religious to exemplify their duties as followers of the Church with Padre Pio as their role model.

Fr. Gonda gave importance to the physical, emotional, and spiritual conditions of the religious in order to fulfill their roles in the community and their love for the ministry.

“When we take care of ourselves, we take care of our community. If we don’t care or take care of ourselves, we are abusing the community we are serving because we cannot serve well,” he said.

While there are many trials that the society, especially the Church, is currently facing, the Rosary will serve as a weapon during these times.

“Don’t stop praying the Rosary, according to St. Padre Pio,” Fr. Gonda said and urged the religious to be the light in the midst of the darkness and problems that continuously arise.

The pain that wounded Padre Pio’s heart

After the conference earlier that day, it was followed by the Holy Hour and celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

In the healing mass at the UST Plaza Mayor, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, the mass presider, said in his homily that “Many of us have these stigmata too even if they not be in the right places.”

Bishop David said that “Stigma no longer had the neutral meaning that it had before. Modern English has assumed this Greek word in its vocabulary but has given it a very negative meaning […] Very much like unclean in the time of Jesus.”

Bishop David also said that the “modern equivalent in the Philippines” of the stigma are the drug suspects.

“It is probably the worst stigma that can be given as label to people who land in the drug watch list,” he added.

“This stigma can get people jailed or even killed. Then people just shake their heads with pity when they see their dead bodies in the street alley. And it takes just one toxic whisper to justify the murder. ‘Drug supect siguro ‘yan,’” he added.

“Unlike other criminals, Jesus bore a fifth mark, a fifth stigma, and that is the mark that pierced his heart,” said Bishop David.

Bishop David also stressed that, “The pain that Padre Pio experienced in his heart after that mystical experience is what we came here to reflect on today […] We’re not just here to venerate a relic. We are here to reflect on the priestly life of Padre Pio, and on that which wounded his heart to be so configured to the heart of Jesus, our Supreme High Priest.”

“Tiyakin natin na sa bawat pagpasok ng mga mananampalataya sa ating simbahan ay may apoy pa rin silang maiuuwi at maiibahagi sa kanilang kapwa,” said Bishop David to the religious priests, sisters and brothers attending the mass.

“Ang sakit na naramdaman ni Santo Padre Pio sa kanyang dibdib ay parang apoy na nag-alab sa kanyang puso […] ang hatid ni Padre Pio ay isang bagong apoy na nagdulot ng bagong init at bagong liwanag ng pananamplataya,” said Bishop David.

He added, “Hilingin nating siya ang maging inspirasyon nating lahat, sa pagpapari at sa buhay sagrado, upang manatiling maalab sa ating puso ang pag-ibig ni Kristo, at ang pagsisikap na maging tapat sa pag-ibig na ito na dulot ng ating karupukan at kataksilan.”

After the Holy Mass, Padre Pio’s heart relic was brought around the University for the procession back to UST Chapel where it was opened for public veneration until 5:30 am the next day.

After its farewell mass at UST Chapel, it will be brought to Manila Cathedral and will be opened for public veneration for 24 hours until Thursday.

Saint Pio de Pietrelcina, who is more commonly known as Padre Pio, is one of the most popular saints in the Roman Catholic Church who carried the stigmata (the wounds of Christ) which miraculously appeared on his body.

Padre Pio’s incorrupt body is on display in his hometown in San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy.

His incorrupt heart has been brought already to four countries and the longest stay will be here in the Philippines for 21 days.

2018 is also a significant year for Saint Padre Pio for it marks two milestones in his life: September 20 is the centennial anniversary of Padre Pio’s receiving of the stigmata and September 23 is his 50th death anniversary.

The said relic is set to be brought around to Cebu, Davao and Batangas.

By Kristine Erika Agustin & John Aaron Pangilinan

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Resists Silence–Thomasians, Progressive groups after AFP’s ‘red-tagging’

In a statement on Wednesday, LFS-UST, Anakbayan-UST, and UST CSC urges the Thomasian community to remain vigilant amidst red-tagging by AFP Deputy Assistant Chief for Operations Antonio Parlade Jr.

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thomasian protesting
Photo by Miguel Yap/TomasinoWeb.

“Resist silence possible efforts of silence.”

Progressive group, League of Filipino Students (LFS – UST), said in a statement on Wednesday after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) released a list of schools, including UST, where communist rebels were allegedly recruiting to overthrow President Rodrigo Duterte.

Dubbing President Duterte, the military and the current administration as terrorists, Michael Jusayan from LFS – UST said that Duterte is merely “Orchestrating and accelerating his own downfall amid the growing rage of the Filipino people against his fascist rule.”

“Nakikita kasi ng administrasyon na lumalaki na yung bilang ng mga Tomasino na nagiging kritikal sa gobyerno,” Jusayan told TomasinoWeb in an online interview.

“Habang mas lumalakas yung dissent ng Thomasian community sa gobyerno, mas lalong tumitindi rin yung pamamasista nito hindi lamang sa mga progresibong grupo ngunit pati na rin sa mga org[anization]s na pinipiling maging boses ng masang inaapi,” he added.

Furthermore, Kobe Baldomero from Anakbayan – UST, called the AFP’s allegations as a “tactic” of the administration scare the masses.

“Ito ay isang taktika ng administrasyon para takutin at linlangin ang masa, at supilin ang mga gumagalaw at nagsasalita laban sa kanya,” Baldomero told TomasinoWeb.

He added: Kinokondena namin ang mga taktikang nagdudulot ng mass panic. hinihikayat namin ang mga estudyante na patuloy magsalita ukol sa mga socio-political issues na umoopresa sa taong bayan. Sa panahong tayo’y pinapatahimik, tayo’y dapat mas lalong mag-ingay.

Earlier this week, the AFP revealed the communist rebels’ alleged plot to oust Duterte, with the military dubbing it as “Red October.”

According to Brigadier General Antonio Parlade Jr., deputy chief of staff of the AFP, the following schools are allegedly in collaboration with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to oust the president.

University of the Philippines – Diliman
University of the Philippines – Manila
Polytechnic University of the Philippines
Ateneo de Manila University
De La Salle University
University of Santo Tomas
Adamson University
Far Eastern University
University of the East – Caloocan
University of the East – Recto
Emilio Aguinaldo College
Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology
San Beda College
Lyceum of the Philippines University
University of Makati
Caloocan City College
University of Manila
Philippine Normal University

According to Parlade, some of the schools’ officials are unaware that their students are allegedly joining communist campaigns, called parents to caution their children against such organizations.

Santos: AFP allegation outrageous, verify your sources

Central Student Council (CSC) President Francis “Kiko” Santos condemns AFP’s inclusion of UST in the list of schools allegedly involved in “Red October.”

According to Santos, citing the University allegedly involved is “a huge allegation,” asks the AFP to verify their intelligence information.

“The recent red-tagging of the University by the Armed Forces of the Philippines is a huge allegation. Furthermore, it is an allegation that is outrageous, inappropriate, and questionable,” Santos told TomasinoWeb in an online interview

“I believe that as an institution, the AFP must do their due diligence to verify and to ensure the veracity of their intelligence information because it has now put the security of the students and of the university at risk,” he added.

Moreover, Santos called for Thomasians to stay vigilant in the recent events.

“I call on the students of the University to stay vigilant and report to university authorities any suspicious or unusual acts that may or may not be related to this incident,” Santos said.

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