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Martial law forum highlights human rights violations

A martial law forum hosted by the UST-Simbahayan was held yesterday, September 20, 2019 as part of the Francisco De Vitoria Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao featuring talks about martial law and human rights.

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Photo by Audrice Serrano

A martial law forum hosted by the UST-Simbahayan was held yesterday, September 20, 2019 as part of the Francisco De Vitoria Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao which featured talks about martial law and human rights.

In the beginning of the program held at the Graduate School Auditorium, the University’s Vice Rector for Religious Affairs Rev. Fr. Pablo Tiong O.P. first introduced Francisco De Vitoria and his role in human rights during his time.

“Nang 1225 isinilang si Santo Tomas. Mga 1510-1520, si Francisco De Vitoria, isa ring Dominican, ipinaglaban niya ang karapatang pantao ng mga tiga-Americas,” said Tiong.

He shared that Vitoria fighted for the rights of the natives in South America in the Court of the King of Spain.

“Matinding debate, matinding paglalaban […] na kailangan igalang ang karapatang pantao ng mga natives ng South America,” said Tiong.

He also added the importance of the duty of respecting others’ rights and to carefully analyze the rights being fought for. 

“Magkasama ang duty at rights, mga katungkulan at karapatan. […] “Kapag nag-umpisa tayo sa tungkulin sa Diyos, matutuklasan natin na lahat pala ng karapatang pantao ay galing sa Diyos. Mayroon tayong katungkulang igalang ang karapatang pantao [at] suriin kung ang ipinaglalaban ay tunay na karapatan,” he added.

Hilda Narciso, a victim and survivor of the martial law era who is now a healer also gave a talk about her experiences during those times.

She asserted that there is again an undeclared martial law in the country, and she keeps on talking about the stories of martial law because she does not it to happen again.

“We are all sick. The country is sick. Which is why I go to healing. I kept talking about these things because I don’t want it to happen again.

She also urged the youth to keep the torch burning to imitate Christ’s example of respect and compassion for others. 

“Dalhin niyo sa susunod na henerasyon. […] Gayahin niyo ang Panginoon, ang kanyang pagtingin sa tao […] at pagpapahalaga sa kapwa.

Jerbert Briola, Deputy Executive Director of Task Force Detainee of the Philippines and a member of the Commission on Human Rights also gave a talk on human rights in the country under President Rodrigo Duterte.

He asserted that human rights violations are still rampant under the Duterte administration and there are different methods being imposed to “restrict civil liberties.”

“Patuloy pa rin ang paglabag sa karapatang pantao sa ilalim ni Pangulong Duterte. […] Lahat ng presidenteng dumaan hanggang ngayon ay patuloy na umiigting ang oagpabag sa karapatang pantao,” said Briola.

He also mentioned that Duterte has a narrow view on his interpretation on human rights and the prevalence of culture of death in the country.

“Pag drug pushers, drug lords, wala nang karapatan. […] Ganon na lang yung kawalan ng pagpapahalaga ng Pangulo ng Pilipinas sa karapatang pantao. […] Dito makikita natin, paano yung narrow mindedness ni Pangulong Duterte sa kanyang interpretasyon, sa kanyang pag intindi sa human rights,” said Briola.

Briola also mentioned that the planned national ID system will might lead to increase in government surveillance and analytical breach.

“Malalaman ng isang gobyerno, ng isang institution kung progressive ka ba or not. […] Itong national ID system ay massive profiling ng mga Pilipino,” he said.

For him, these events are proofs of the degradation of democratic space in the country and urged the youth to do their duty to resist.

“Yung patuloy at patuloy na pagsisinungaling, ito ay magiging totoo. At ito ang nangyayari ngayon. […] It is our duty to resist,” he said.

Militarization in universities to ‘sow terror’

The plan to increase military presence in universities was also tackled where the speakers expressed their disapproval and concerns.

Tiong said that if there is really an actual threat, the protection should be provided by the Philippine National Police (PNP) which is part of their duty and not by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“How we wish this would be reconsidered because under ordinary circumstances, the peace and order should be kept by police force. […] But if we would going to have that protection, the protection should be for real threat. And we wish that it would not come from the military because the military is for external threat,” said Tiong.

Briola also expressed his concerns, mentioning that the training of the military is quite different and they have a different mindset.

“Ang military or ang AFP, they were trained, iba ang training niyan compared to PNP and other security forces. They were trained to destroy. Iba ang kanilang mindset. […] It will open gates ng iba’t ibang abuses,” he said.

Narciso also pointed out that increasing military presence in schools will only “sow terror” to the students.

“Why come up with militarization in school. It will sow terror in schools. Magiging dumb na kayo. Hindi na kayo kikilos. Hindi na kayo magiging free kung paano kayo hinubog ng Diyos na maglingkod sa kapwa,” said Narciso.

The Francisco De Vitoria Linggo ng Karapatang Pantao is a weeklong activity featuring in the University in commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the country.

An exhibit was also held at the lobby of UST-Tan Yan Kee Student Center featuring different martial law victims and events.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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