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Thomasians join broad mobilization, people’s SONA

Thomasians joined the thousands of Filipinos who marched along Commonwealth to condemn the Duterte administration’s policies and to show the true ‘state of the nation.’



As President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday, July 22, Thomasians joined the thousands of Filipinos who marched along Commonwealth to condemn the Duterte administration’s policies and to show the true ‘state of the nation.’

Before joining the protest along Commonwealth, various progressive groups in the University held a mobilization in front of UST Gate 2.

Among the calls are in condemnation of the recent forced closure of 55 Lumad schools, de facto Martial Law, the revival of the mandatory ROTC in senior high school, UST’s tuition fee increase, and issues concerning the national sovereignty.

Struggles of the Youth

Angelic Villanueva, a Thomasian student-activist, said that she joined this year’s SONA protest to show her support for the youth sector, as well as the whole Filipino people who suffered from the three-year rule of the Duterte “regime”.

She said that the youth plays a big role and they should join those kinds of events to show support for their fellow Filipinos.

“Siyempre sobrang important—lalo na yung pinakagasgas nang sinasabi, pero alam naman nating totoo—na kabataan is sila yung pag-asa ng bayan,” Villanueva shared to TomasinoWeb.

Kumbaga, sa atin nakadepende kung paano nga ba natin gugustuhin ‘yung magiging buhay natin sa [hinaharap]. Kaya sobrang importante na makilahok tayo sa ganitong klaseng activities para ipakita yung pagsuporta natin sa kapwa natin,” she added.

She also expects the same content from President Duterte in this year’s SONA like promises not to be fulfilled and misogynistic jokes. 

“Puno na naman siya ng mga pangako niya na hindi naman natutupad. […] Asahan na rin natin na meron na namang mga misoginistang biro, mga biro na hindi naman [dapat] ginagawang biro,” she said.

Villanueva also said that the past three years of his rule has been filled with promises not fulfilled and the country’s situation worsened.

“Ang nangyari naman sa tatlong tao na pamumuno niya sa’tin ay lalo lang lumalala yung paghihirap natin. So ayun, puro mga bogus na pangako puro ganun,” said Villanueva.

For Villanueva, there is no progress in the country as the “progress” done by the government are only used to silence the people and suppress their anger.

“Wala kasi akong makita eh. Kumbaga kung meron man silang binibigay na progress ‘yun ay para pansamantalang patahimikin yung mga mamamayan. […] Ginagawa nila ‘yung mga ganun para pansamantalang pawiin ‘yung galit ng mga mamamayan,” she added.

SONA on the streets

Despite the heavy rain, an estimated 40,000 protesters in front of St. Peter Parish – Shrine of Leaders along Commonwealth Avenue staged this year’s United People’s SONA to show their situation.

The crowd of protesters was comprised of different groups and sectors like farmers, fisherfolks, workers, religious groups and indigenous groups from different parts of the country.

A short program in front of the Commission on Human Rights at the University of the Philippines – Diliman was held before they marched to St. Peter Parish.

Before the program, a “Mass for Truth” was held inside the church concelebrated by Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and retired Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, and was joined by religious and other individuals who all joined the protest later on. 

Senator Risa Hontiveros gave a short speech after the mass saying that she does not know what to expect in this year’s SONA since, for the past three years, it has always been filled with cursing, threats of violence, and harassment.

During the program, different individuals addressed the crowd regarding the country’s current ills and problems.

Labor leader and 2019 Senatorial Candidate Leody “Ka Leody” de Guzman said that the current administration does not support workers.

“Binubusabos ng gobyernong ito ang ating mga manggagawa. […] Ang gobyerno ni Duterte, mga kasama, ay pagpapatuloy lamang ng malupit na gobyerno,” Ka Leody told the crowd of protesters.

He reiterated that the current government is for capitalists, for the trapos, and not for the Filipinos, as contractualization law is the last spike of the government in oppressing workers.

“Nagbabago lang ang pamamaraan, si Duterte ay marahas,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares also addressed the crowd, reiterating the government’s weak stand in the issue on the West Philippine Sea.

“Tayo ang nanalo pero tayo ang astang talo,” said Colmenares.

He also urged the people to stand for the country and their rights.

State of different sectors under Duterte

Fernando Licap, a fisherfolk leader also shared the same sentiments and expressed his frustration on the administration’s weak stance towards China. 

“Sukdulan ang pagiging kontra-mamamayan ni Duterte. Lantaran ang pagpapakatuta ni Duterte sa Tsina,” said Licap.

Licap further said that the administration continuously defends China after Filipino fishermen’s boat collided with a Chinese vessel and despite the destruction of the West Philippine Sea.

“Binabaliwala, hindi kinilala ni Duterte ang United Nations Tribunal na [kumikilala sa] karapatan ng Pilipinas sa West Philippine Sea,” he added. 

Different indigenous groups from different provinces also joined the SONA protest.

Nenita Condez, a Lumad leader from the Zamboanga Peninsula also expressed her disappointment and anger on the current administration as their communities are continuously being threatened by military and investors. 

“Sa tatlong taon po ni Duterte, sa una po ay pinaasa niya ang mga katutubo na tutulong talaga. Tapos pagdating nung anim na buwan ba ‘yun, lumabas na ‘yung totoong kulay ni Duterte,” Condez shared with TomasinoWeb in an interview.

She said that their lives under the Duterte administration has been difficult since they frequently experience displacement from their native lands, their schools are forced to close, and many of them became victims of trumped-up charges.

Condez shared that her father and 17-year-old brother were only the few of the many victims of trumped-up charges in the area. His father was charged for murder while his younger brother, who was shot last February, was charged with rape, arson, and robbery right after being hospitalized.

“Grabe ang atake ng militar sa aming komunidad. ‘Yun ‘yung mga example niya sa aming kominidad, laging nagbo-bombing, tapos interogasyon, kahit saan po sa mga komunindad sa Mindanao,” she asserted. 

She also expressed her strong stance for their native lands, which for them is their true home and their life where they can truly practice their culture.

“Yung lupa namin, lupang ninuno [namin], ito yung kinikilala naming buhay, ito yung ospital [namin], ito yung merkado [namin]. Kahit wala kaming pera, mabu[buhay] kami,” said Condez.

Duterte’s State of the Nation

In his longest SONA which lasted for two hours, President Duterte still highlighted the “terrible” drug problem in the country as well as crime and corruption in some government agencies. 

He also asked the Congress to pass the proposed reinstatement of the death penalty and showed his support for the passage of mandatory ROTC and the second package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion program.

The President also boasted of the rehabilitation of Boracay Island as he allowed it to “heal naturally,” and promised to give the forest behind the island to the natives of the place, and the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

His plans for the Manila Bay rehabilitation and the Build-Build-Build Program were also discussed, as well as the tempered actions of the government in the dispute with China on the West Philippine Sea due to the “times and realities that we face today,” as he said.   John Aaron Pangilinan



Thomasians demand for passage of students’ code in First Day Fight

The protest condemned the “yearly” tuition increase and demanded for the passage of the long-delayed students’ code of rights of the University.



Photo by Arden Esmile/TomasinoWeb

Progressive students from the University held their “First Day Fight” protest to kick-off the first day of classes for the second semester at UST Gate 2 Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.

The protest condemned the “yearly” tuition increase and demanded for the passage of the long-delayed students’ code of rights of the University.

In an interview with TomasinoWeb, Karch Rafael of Kabataan Partylist-UST expressed his concern over the passage of the students’ code which might start again from the very beginning after the change in the University’s rector.

“Ngayon ang [gusto nating tutukan] ay tuition increase nanaman tsaka ‘yung democratic rights na patuloy na inaapakan, na sinusupil ng estado natin tsaka ng administrasyon ng UST.

“Gusto nating mabuo ‘yung students’ demand at maipasa na ‘yung students’ code [ngayong] taon na mahigit 16 to 17 years na siyang nakabinbin. Napalitan nanaman ang rector, ibig sabihin nito mataas ‘yung posibilidad na bumalik siya from square one,” Rafael said.

“Dahil sino ba dapat ‘yung primaryang nakikinabang sa kung anong ibinibigay ng isang paaralan. Siyempre ang estudyante, estudyanteng parte ng kabataan at magiging pag-asa ng bagong henerasyon,” Rafael added.

Students also criticized the budget cuts on the country’s calamity fund and government’s response on the Taal Eruption.

“Tinututulan natin yun [budger cut]. Nung nakipag-usap naman ako [na] nabiktima din nung kalamidad ay malaki yung inaasahan nila na tulong mula sa gobyerno natin sapagkat alam nila na yung gobyerno dapat natin ‘yung primaryang tumutulong sa mga mamamayan sa panahon ng pangangailangan,” he said.

Rafael also expressed his anger towards Duterte administraton and its policies, “Habang tumatagal si Duterte sa bulok niyang palasyo, lalong tumitindi yung pag-atake sa mga mamamayan”, he added.

Trisha Ifurung of League of Filipino Students-UST also said that the protest also aims to look back on what has been done from the previous semester and continuing to fight for the students’ and the people’s rights that are being neglected by the administration.

“Panibagong taon nanaman pero yung mga problema na nararanasan ng mga mamamayan ay patuloy pa din,” she said.

The students also called for the junking of the mandatory ROTC for senior high school students and the K-12 program which is about to undergo a public review by the House of Representatives. R. Velasco with reports from J. A. Pangilinan


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Dagohoy concludes University rectorship

“It is an honor to serve Asia’s oldest university, and to meet wonderful people like you. Love UST,” the former rector said on Jan. 15, as posted in the UST’s official social media pages.



Rev. Fr. Richard Ang and Rev. Fr.Herminio Dagohoy, UST's 96th rector, during the Paskuhan mass in December 2019 | Deojon Elarco/TomasinoWeb

University of Santo Tomas (UST) Rector Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., the 96th Rector Magnificus of the University, has already concluded his eight-year term in the University.

“It is an honor to serve Asia’s oldest university, and to meet wonderful people like you. Love UST,” the former rector said on Jan. 15, as posted in the UST’s official social media pages.

Dagohoy, 55, was the 9th Rector of the UST Angelicum College and former finance director of UST Hospital before he assumed his rectorship in the University.

He was born in Hagonoy, Bulacan, and he graduated accountancy at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines before joining the Order of Preachers.

He also finished other degrees: AB Philosophy, Sacred Theology, Master of Arts in Philippine Studies, Licentiate in Philosophy, and Doctorate in Philosophy.

Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., UST Vice-Rector for seven years, is now the acting rector.

He was the former dean of the then Faculty of Philosophy and former chairman of Manpower, Scholarship, and Retirement Board Committee of the University.

Ang, during his academic years, has published several scholarly articles about philosophy such as “The Confucian Li,” “On Conceiving Ren towards Birthing Ru Jia,” and “The Concept of Ren.”


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Aegis Juris fratmen in Atio slay denied of bail petition

Manila RTC Branch 20’s resolution states that despite Castillo’s ailment, the blow delivered by the accused Aegis Juris members “is the efficient cause of death” or may have “accelerated his death” making the accused criminally liable.



Photo by Tristan Deang/TomasinoWeb

[UPDATED] Ten main suspects in the hazing slay of Faculty of Civil Law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III in 2017 were denied of their petition to post bail due to their ‘strong evidence of guilt.’

The resolution of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 on Dec. 10, 2019 states that the court is “not convinced” of the autopsy findings showing that Castillo died of Acute Tubular Necrosis (ATN), and the hazing injuries inflicted on the victim did not cause his death.

This prevents Arvin Balag, Mhin Wei Chan, Axel Hipe, Oliver Onofre, Joshua Macabili, Ralph Trangia, Robin Ramos, Jose Miguel Salamat, Danielle Rodrigo, and Marcelino Bagtang Jr. who were charged for violation of R.A. 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law from posting bail after “finding the evidence of guilt” strong, the resolution states.

It reiterates that despite Castillo’s ailment, the blow delivered by the accused Aegis Juris members “is the efficient cause of death” or may have “accelerated his death” making the accused criminally liable.

Presence during hazing, according to the Anti-Hazing Law, is “prima facie” or proves the participation of the accused unless they did something to prevent the punishable acts committed.

The 10 fraternity members were indicted last March 2018.

Last June 17, 2019, one of the principal suspects in the case, John Paul Solano, has been convicted for obstruction of justice.


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