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Where are your values?

In the face of the pandemic, countless things have changed–from our daily lives, education, and perhaps even down to our perception of competence, commitment, and compassion.

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(Photo by Kenneth Cedric Landazabal/TomasinoWeb)

The University boasts itself the three core values it instills in its institution: competence, commitment, and compassion. The 3Cs (or three core values) are known to be the strongest values Thomasians uphold to the people and communities they serve. And in the face of the pandemic, countless things have changed–from our daily lives, education, and perhaps even down to our perception of competence, commitment, and compassion.

The question is: has the University changed its approach with regards to its core values? Is it something that they still wholeheartedly adhere to or are these values merely just for the show?

Ever since the University has shifted into online classes, many Thomasians reached out their concerns not only about the transition but also with the mode of learning. Students as well as educators and staff practically earned a “moral and spiritual certificate” in the battle against COVID-19 in the “education front” but to what extent? The extent of sacrificing our welfare and quality education.

It can be said that both students and educators have had a difficult encounter with online learning. To face the truth, the country is not prepared to make online classes the most feasible nor as accessible as they want it to be. This unpreparedness could have been seen when universities opted to force a proper conclusion to the ongoing semester last March. Based on those three to four months alone, it should have been obvious that these issues need immediate attention especially when this setting will be used for schools and universities for the entire academic year. 

From the intermittent internet connection to the varied yet inapt learning environments, online learning became a one big hurdle not only for the students but also to educators as well. What has the University done to address this? For its educators, to offer consideration in ways they can; for the student body, to learn and get by the semester; for student leaders, many letters of appeal, meetings, and negotiations. What about the administration? Letters of memorandum of all things of sorts.

From the most recent calamities, petitions, struggles in online classes, and injustices in the country, the Thomasian community waits for the administration’s response that is equipped with competence, commitment, and compassion. 

There is no denying that the student body has been exceptional and wise in knowing their rights as students; something that the administration should learn from. From suspension of classes, published statements, to acting upon dissent in the presence of injustice and struggle. Instead, there are only announcements of suspension of work, delayed and demanded responses, and above all, the inadequate substantial resolve when it comes to properly addressing and hearing the qualms and concerns of the community.

It must reflect and properly exemplify its core values: competence through the quality of education it promises to deliver despite the presence of the pandemic; commitment its community the academe, church, and country; and last but not the least, compassion, especially in the dark and difficult times each Thomasian faces amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Until then, we are only as great as our principles and the limitations we hold. We can rise from the ashes if we finally learn how to work collectively. Had we not learned in the stories of working collectively to justice, we wouldn’t have reached the justice we sought for.

This is an uphill battle that we must fight together as a community of individuals who liken themselves to the heroes and saints it looks up to. After all, there is only one enemy to fight here and it is the evils and terrors that linger in the face of the pandemic.

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Editorial

Malapit na ba tayo?

Sa halip na maging masaya ang karanasan ng pag-aaral, marami na ang nagdadalawang-isip kung dapat pa ba nilang ipagpatuloy ito.

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Kuha ni Deojon Elarco/TomasinoWeb

Sa nakaraang taon, ipinatupad ang online classes upang maiwasan ang pagtigil ng panuruang taon. Nang walang maayos na transisyon, ang mga mag-aaral, guro, at mga institusyon ay mabilisang umayon sa estilo ng online learning habang pilit na isinisiksik ang kanilang sarili sa hindi pamilyar na hulma, kasama ng presyur na sumunod sa batas at magpatuloy na para bang walang nangyayaring krisis. 

Ang pagputok ng isang pandemya sa panahon ngayon ay nakakagulat. Subalit, kumpara noon, mas maganda na ang ating teknolohiya at kakayahan ng mga healthcare workers. Sa kabila nito, walang bansa o tao ang nakaisip sa posibilidad na maaring pa palang lumala ang krisis na ito at humantong sa ating kasalukuyang sitwasyon. 

Noong ika-30 ng Enero 2020, iniulat na isang 38 anyos na babaeng galing Wuhan, China kauna-unahang kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa. Dahil dito, mabilis na hiniling ng mga Pilipino ang travel ban upang maiwasan ang pagtaas ng mga kaso. Ngunit nagpatupad lamang si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ng temporary travel ban. Noong ika-7 ng Marso 2020 naman nakumpirma ang unang local transmission ng virus na nagtulak kay Mayor Isko Moreno na suspindehin ang klase sa lahat ng antas sa Maynila nang isang linggo.  

Ang inaasahang maikling pahinga para sa mga estudyante at guro ay madaling nauwi sa panahon na walang katiyakan at pagod. 

Kahit na umapela ang mga Pilipino ng mass testing, pinili ng DOH na hindi ito ipatupad  dahil ayon kay  DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergerie, mauuwi lamang ito sa ‘indiscriminate testing’. At kahit marami na rin ang mga aral at ulat tungkol sa bisa nito, hindi pa rin sila nakinig. 

Buhat ng kawalan ng mass testing at nararapat na patakaran maliban sa lockdown, nagkaroon ng mga araw na umaabot ang mga kaso ng COVID-19 sa mahigit 15,000

Ang pagdating ng mga bakuna ay hindi lamang isang hakbang tungo sa pagbabalik natin sa normal, kundi isa ring tagadala ng pag-asa sa lahat, lalo na sa mga mag-aaral na naghahangad ng #LigtasNaBalikEskwela. Ngunit, dahil sa kakulangan ng supply, ang agarang pagpapabakuna sa buong populasyon ay aabot nang mas matagal pa sa ating inaasahan. 

Sa 26.1 milyong doses ng bakuna na kasalukuyang ipinapamigay, 12 milyong mamamayan o 11.1 porsyento lamang ito ng buong populasyon pa lamang ang nakatanggap nito. 

Base sa kasalukuyang sistema ng mga vaccination sites, nakakadismayang sabihin na malayo pa tayo sa ating hangarin na mabakunahan ang lahat bago matapos ang taon at mukhang malabo pa rin ang pagbabalik sa paaralan ng mga mag-aaral sa simula ng taong 2022.

Maraming isyu ang naiulat tungkol sa online classes katulad na lamang ng mahinang internet, kakulangan sa kagamitan, dagdag gastos, at ang pagod ng estudyante at guro. Kung tutuusin, hindi biro na magpokus sa pag-aaral habang ang mundo ay nasa kalagitnaan ng isang problemang mahirap na solusyonan.

Mahigit isang taon na ang lumipas matapos unang ipatupad ang online classes. Ang linya na humahati sa hangganan ng pag-aaral at pagpapahinga ay lalong lumalabo habang dumadaan ang mga araw. At kadalasan, ang tungkulin ng isang mag-aaral, isang anak, isang kapatid, at isang tao ay nagiging mahirap nang panghawakan. Sa katunayan, hindi nakikita sa isang maliit na parihaba ang lungkot, pagod, at kalagayan ng isang estudyante pati na rin ng mga guro. 

Malapit na ba tayo? Oo. Palapit nang palapit ang lahat sa punto ng burnout. Hindi tayo binigyan ng sapat na panahon para magluksa, umiyak, at matakot. Subalit, dire-diretso tayong inilagay sa posisyon kung saan dapat ituloy ang mga nasimulan. Sa halip na maging masaya ang karanasan ng pag-aaral, marami na ang nagdadalawang-isip kung dapat pa ba nilang ipagpatuloy ito.

Ang kanilang mga pangangailangan ang dapat unahin, lalo na pagdating sa kanilang pag-aaral. Dahil paano sila matututo nang matiwasay kung ang kalagayan ngayon ay palala nang palala? Paano nga ba masisigurado na nahahasa ang kanilang mga abilidad? Paano sila magkakaroon ng pokus sa pag-aaral kung bigla silang nakulong sa maliit na espasyo malayo sa paaralan at kanilang nakasanayan? 

Para maibsan ito, kailangang magkaroon ng mas mainam at matalinong desisyon ang mga namumuno. Hindi na uubra ang pagpilit sa paggamit ng face shield, pag-implementa ng lockdown, at pagsagawa ng press conference tuwing madaling araw. 

Dapat na mamulat ang administrasyong Duterte sa totoong isyu na kinakaharap ng bawat Pilipinong mag-aaral at guro sa ilalim ng pandemya. Ang kaligtasan ng mga kabataan ay dapat gawin ding prayoridad sapagkat sila ang magpapatakbo ng kinabukasan ng ating bayan. 

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Editorial

CTTO: Recognizing Duterte’s accomplishments

With the 2022 elections drawing near, we must never forget what Duterte has done for the country over the past five years.

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Photo courtesy of Presidential Communications Operations Office of the Philippines

President Rodrigo Duterte will hold his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) today, July 26, at the Batasang Pambansa.

Some critics would argue that the Davao-based politician did not do anything during his 6-year stay in Malacañang, but that is not true. With the 2022 elections drawing near, we must never forget what Duterte has done for the country over the past five years. 

As the country’s chief executive, he masterminded countless attacks against the country’s democracy and his countrymen’s human rights, which cost the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Filipinos. Thanks to these abusive practices, the president has gained several recognitions across the globe. 

One of his most notable epithets include the “press freedom predator,” which was given to him by an international organization called Reporters Without Borders on July 7. This comes after his offenses against the country’s journalists—affecting Filipino media companies like ABS-CBN and Rappler.

More than that, Duterte also “vowed” to protect Filipinos against natural disasters and a pandemic. When the Taal Volcano erupted in January 2020, the president told locals that he would pee on the volcano to stop its deadly outburst. A few months after the tragedy, the country fell victim to the COVID-19 threat. A brave soul, Duterte promised to slap the life-threatening virus to stop its transmission. While these did not solve the problems at hand, no other president would dare to do the solutions that Duterte had proposed. Who else would sacrifice his urine for the sake of his nation? Who else would be bold enough to smack an unseen enemy with his bare hands?

But aside from these violent acts and knee-jerk statements, the incumbent president also had his fair share of accomplishments. To celebrate his last year in office, TomasinoWeb has prepared an extensive list of Duterte’s remarkable contributions to the Philippines:

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Editorial

Tales of disturbing cacophonies

This kind of performance can be considered world-class quality: a world-class embarrassment.

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Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

The world is still at a time where society still allow men to hold power and make decisions that subconsciously programs the people they lead to fail. These men (or so-called leaders) are in their grand offices in historical buildings that have witnessed the downfall and triumph of the people they lead, the land they harvest, the water they sail on, and the words they have spoken among those territories to make the impossible possible. 

In this pandemic, no one can deny that the world has been tumbled upside down. It brought peace and disturbance at the same time. This crisis knows no man. It inflicts who it wants and it takes all it can get. For the first time in ages, these men feared something. They chickened out like roosters in the middle of a cockfight against a rival bigger than them.

Nothing good has ever come out since the spread of the pandemic. The events that took place in the country resulted into a giant cacophony of complete disarray and disturbance. The fragility of the systems the Philippines upholds has been unduly exposed. Within that disarray, there lies the juggled safety of Filipinos, the prolonged crisis of the country, and the ever-loyal service of the administration to the people it wants to servethe ruling class.

An example of this disarray is the neglect and fear of this administration towards mass testing. As of April 14, there was supposed to be a progressive mass testing to determine the number of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines. It promised the country that it will conduct 8,000 tests per day as it plans to extend its coverage on the country’s population. The Department of Health wanted to conduct at least 4,400 to 9,800 tests daily and even hoped to reach 13,000 to 20,000 tests by April 27. 

These seem promising and fulfilling however, where did these tests go? Last May 21, health secretary Francisco Duque III admitted that no mass testing was conducted despite the prevalence of the outbreak. As of present time, there are about 17,974 active cases, most of which cannot be exactly verified as there are suspicions that the health department hides the real numbers because of the peculiar increase and the apparent backlog that it has.

One should not shy away from the reality that this pandemic not only disparages those who have become victims of the virus but most especially those who belong in the slums and other underdeveloped parts of the country.

This is also to take in the fact that the country’s marginalized communities once more became a living death bed of the corruption and injustice that halted their right to be treated as humans. Instead, there are more and more deaths not only taking place in hospitals but in innocent streets where children used to play. Now, the streets have become a manchild’s fantasy playground where they finish off lives as if those were just nothing. 

Millions of lives are affected and almost lost because of the lack of support from the government, the education system which was supposedly an empathetic system found to be elitist and forceful, the militarization of the a supposedly healthcare problem, and businesses uncovering every inch of its filth just to serve those who own it.

This kind of performance can be considered world-class quality: a world-class embarrassment. The problems that the country faces right now are not issues that can be set aside in the state’s current agenda. There is no escape from here but death not for this country but because of these so-called leaders. 

The administration embarrassingly failed to show face and to be resilient: a trait this country is known for. It is aggravating to bear the administration’s lapdog loyalty to the Asian giant, the disregard for the safety of the working class, and the blatant disrespect for human rights. It all comes down to people in the high chairthose who we must hold accountable for those selfish and insurmountable crimes and most especially, the dictator himself, Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

It seems like Duterte and his cronies have forgotten that Filipinos ousted leaders like him who prey on the freedom of the country. The crimes this administration has committed are nothing but cowardly, treacherous, and aggravating. The people of this Philippines will rise again, with or without his permission. Most importantly, with or without that bill

Yet again, let us work on this goal we have first: to rise from the pandemic. Then, we shall conquer, like the children we are of the heroes who fought for this country.

There are many things that these men should fear but most importantly—their rightful doom.

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