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Streets closed on Papal visit; gate assignments

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MAJOR roads leading to UST will be closed to traffic on January 18, based on the guidelines set by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Welcome Rotonda to Morayta St., Dimasalang to Nagtahan Bridge, Dapitan (Dapitan Sports Complex) to Lacson St., Piy Margal to Dos Castillas St., and the stretch of P. Noval from Dapitan St. to España Blvd. will be closed during the Pope’s visit to the University.

Drop-off points will be on Andalucia St. corner Laon-Laan St., España Blvd. corner Morayta St., Lacon St. corner Dimasalang St., and España Blvd. corner Blumentritt St.

Pope Francis will be at the University for a brief meeting with religious leaders and encounter with the youth. However, the officials reiterated that the Pope will not celebrate Mass in UST and there were no tickets to the event.

The general public can come through Gates 10 and 11 in Dapitan St., and can stay in the designated areas of the campus, according to the Office of the Public Affairs (OPA).

Gates 1, 2, 3 in España Blvd., and Gate 14  in Lacson St. were assigned to the members of the Thomasian community, and Gates 5 and 6 in España Blvd. were assigned for the participants. The gates will open at 4 a.m.

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Which is the best motorcycle-taxi service in the Philippines?

“Habal-habal” originally began as a mode of transport in rural areas where public transport isn’t as developed. Years later, it finds itself striving hard to be recognized as a legal mode of transport in the country.

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Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

While the commute has severely gotten worse over the years, Filipinos continue to find ways to beat the traffic. The existence and prevalence of motorcycle-taxi services have lifted much of the burden of commuters despite the hurdles that the government throws in its way.

“Disastrous” is what best describes the current state of transport in the Philippines. Congested streets and seemingly endless road repairs continuously draw the ire of the masses who need to adapt to the rapidly changing world. Ingenuity becomes a necessity and not merely an advantage for students and workers.

“Habal-habal” originally began as a mode of transport in rural areas where public transport isn’t as developed. Recently however, it has found its way to the city with the presence of private motorcycle-taxi services that operate in secret. It was eventually given a bigger presence with the launch of services like Angkas making its way in 2017. Years later, it finds itself striving hard to be recognized as a legal mode of transport in the country.

This year began the launch of competing services like JoyRide and MoveIt. Both were introduced to keep Angkas from having a monopoly over the motorcycle-taxi industry and aid in the research of the government to determine the feasibility of such services. In its current state, these services provide training for their drivers to maintain a standard and ensure safety.

With quicker travel times and lower prices compared to apps like Grab or the conventional cab, motorcycle-taxis have changed the way people commute. Rapid developments have made this service more practical with same-day deliveries becoming a prominent feature. Take a look into the most widely used apps and see which service is the best.

Angkas

Screenshots from Angkas app

Angkas is the most recognizable name when it comes to motorcycle-taxis, it has become synonymous the concept itself in recent times. Originally launched in 2017, Angkas built a reputation of reliability and affordability in comparison to other ride-hailing services like Grab and Uber before it merged with Grab. Another defining trait of Angkas is not within the app but rather with its social media presence as it pokes fun at other services, the detractors, or even itself when glitches or problems arise in the service.

The app interface is clean and intuitive but its most recent iteration has drawn flak from some users as its original design was already considered to be adequate. There were also problems with booking in this iteration but most of it has been fixed. Nonetheless, booking in the app is simple and quick. The availability of riders as well as cost is relative to the location of the user. 

Angkas also reminds the users constantly of the safety protocols such as what not to wear and the grounds to which riders can refuse passengers (such as weight or clothing). The riders of Angkas undergo training and screening to make sure that they provide the best and safest experience for their passengers. This translates to the ride experience as the riders clearly show attention to safety and closely follow traffic rules as well as driving well under the speed limits. Even if you’re not used to riding in a motorcycle, Angkas riders will certainly give you the ease of mind with the way they ride.

JoyRide

Screenshots from JoyRide app

JoyRide is one of the new players that the government introduced to compete with Angkas. It is the second most-popular service in this new industry but its name did not grow immediately because of its quality. JoyRide has faced a lot of scrutiny regarding its true owners with allegations being made that it is being run by a government official, their management has denied this.

JoyRide’s app is reminiscent of Angkas’ app with minor changes in detail to set it apart. Pinning locations is easy and quick with options such as notes or promo codes being made visible should the user have any use for it. Prices between JoyRide and Angkas are usually similar but there are certainly moments where Angkas becomes more expensive but again, these factors are relative to location as well as availability of riders.

Resemblances don’t end with apps when it comes to JoyRide. From helmets to vests, JoyRide clearly took inspiration from Angkas. Riders wear purple variants of their gear as opposed to Angkas’ blue. The vests come with a handle that passengers can hold onto during their ride and this has been consistent with every rider so far. Ride experience varies from rider to rider as some riders may drive too fast but similar to Angkas, tapping on the shoulder of the rider would be a gesture to slow down.

MoveIt

Screenshots from Move It app

Another one of the players that aims to compete with Angkas, MoveIt tries to set itself apart in its appearance from Angkas in an effort to be recognizable. It tries to merge what was good with Angkas and Grab to become a possible all-in-one solution when it comes to express courier services. While not as popular as JoyRide or Angkas, it certainly deserves a mention in the conversation of motorcycle-taxi services.

MoveIt’s app is much more different than the last two offerings: a pro and con. The user is greeted with different options of what they could do with the app such as delivery or booking a ride and reloading a virtual wallet to pay with. While the uniqueness certainly sets it apart, the design looks dated and plain. This doesn’t affect the usability of the app itself but compared to Angkas and Joyride, it feels noticeably jankier. 

Ride experience is similar to Angkas and Joyride but appearance-wise, MoveIt’s riders are a lot more subtle. The red long sleeves or jackets that they wear stand out a lot less than Angkas or JoyRide’s uniforms. Another difference of MoveIt is with their helmet. It sports a different style compared to Angkas or JoyRide’s half-face helmets. This can be annoying as the size is a bit smaller than expected which could make the fit awkward for passengers. 

Facebook groups

Screenshots from Facebook app

Feeding off the popularity of Angkas, more and more Facebook groups offering the same service popped up after the prior’s launch. While not being recognized by the government and thus not being legal, this has become one of the ways that users book motorcycle-taxis for even cheaper than those offered in the apps. What makes it most convenient is the fact that no other app would be needed to book a ride.

Being a Facebook group, it simply runs within the Facebook app itself or through a mobile browser. The only thing a user has to do is to follow a specified format and post a request of a ride, delivery, or purchase. Any special request can be made within the post and can be negotiated between the rider and the passenger. The glaring downside of booking through this group is the lack of enforcement of rules or any safeguards for the rider or the passenger.

Ride experience will vary wildly from rider to rider as there is no screening process involved in booking a rider. Simply choose a rider from the myriad of riders who will comment and leave messages and hope that the ride will at least be okay. The ride is entirely up to the rider but you can still communicate whatever you may need from them. To sum it up shortly, the entire experience is solely at your discretion.

 

Commuting in the Philippines for some is a lot more tedious than the work they actually have to do for the day. Motorcycle-taxis have become an effective medium for transport despite the scrutiny of the government and the unease of others. It has also opened up job opportunities for more people and has helped ease the stress of commuting for a large portion of Filipinos. 

At the end of the day, motorcycle-taxis cannot resolve the problem of heavy traffic in the Philippines. These kinds of services only serve to make the problem somewhat manageable for the moment. Services such as Angkas or Grab should not have to be a necessity for Filipinos to get to where they need to be on a daily basis. What we really need is a solution that addresses the problem effectively and permanently.

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CBCP: Avoid holding hands during ‘Our Father’ prayer

CBCP also implemented a set of guidelines and the mandatory prayer of the “Oratio Imperata” amid the growing fear and threat of the novel coronavirus.

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Vince Imperio/TomasinoWeb

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) discouraged the Catholic faithful in holding hands during the singing or praying of the ‘Our Father’ during eucharistic celebrations in a statement released Wednesday, Jan. 29.

They also implemented a set of guidelines and the mandatory prayer of the “Oratio Imperata” amid the growing fear and threat of the novel coronavirus.

Upon the instruction of CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles, all parishes are prompted to pray the Oratio starting Feb. 2, in all weekdays and Sunday masses, after communion.

Furthermore, CBCP recommends, “in this moment of uncertainty about the illness caused by the virus,” to practice receiving communion in the hand, regularly change the holy water in the fonts, and install protective cloth in the grills of confessionals. 

It also exhorted, meanwhile, parishes dedicated to patron saints in times of pestilence and incurable illnesses St. Raphael the Archangel and St. Roch to conduct special prayers and processions.

The Oratio Imperata reads:

God our Father, we come to you in our need to ask your protection against the 2019 N-Corona Virus, that has claimed lives and has affected many.

We pray for your grace for the people tasked with studying the nature and cause off this virus and its disease and of stemming the tide of its transmission. Guide the hands and minds of medical experts that they may minister to the sick with competence and compassion, and of those governments and private agencies that must find cure and solution to this epidemic.

We pray for those afflicted may they be restored to health soon.

Grant us the grace to work for the good of all and to help those in need.

Grant this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.

Mary Help of all Christians, pray for us.

St. Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.

St. Rock, pray for us.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.

St. Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.

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#TWenty: TomasinoWeb’s 2019 year-end special

The country is about to close yet another year, yet another decade. Take a look back at the biggest moments in the country and the University that made 2019 in this #TWenty, the TomasinoWeb year-end special.

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Board by Aldrich Aquino

In 2019, the country was able to reach heights previously thought to be insurmountable. As the country fulfills said achievements, many Filipinos were able to use the circumstances and turn their lives around for the better.

However, the country was met with a lot of twists and turns in the past year, especially during the elections which was hounded by all sorts of controversies. The government seemed to be fixated on boosting the country’s image this past year with projects such as Build-Build-Build, the SEA Games hosting stint, and the Rice Liberalization Law, among many others. However, these projects were met with issues of budgeting, corruption, and general discomfort among fellow Filipinos.

The City of Manila was also able to experience drastic change with the incumbency of its new mayor, Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, as seen in his efforts in ‘revamping’ the city. This, however, also caused the closure of several small businesses. Street food stalls and bars around the University were not safe from Domagoso’s policies, as many small businesses were forced to shut or transfer to another place.

This year also showed the cracks and crevices of our justice system. Sandiganbayan junked the Marcoses’ case on their P200-billion ill-gotten wealth, and the ‘rapist-murderer’ Antonio Sanchez was almost released.

This year, the media was not safe from any pressure, as reflected in the arrest of Maria Ressa, the banning of Rappler from covering presidential affairs, and the non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, with threats from the president still looming.

But, hope still lingers within the country, and the University itself saw its fair share of bright days in the past year. The decade-long trial of the Ampatuan Massacre already concluded with the conviction of the Ampatuans in the horrendous massacre in Maguindanao. Another Aegis Juris fratman, John Paul Solano, was convicted in the hazing and death of Horacio Castillo III. It was a big year too for the España squad after the finals comeback of the Tigers and Tigresses in the UAAP Season 81 and 82 basketball and volleyball bouts.

In this year, and indeed this entire decade, Filipinos continued to prove their courage and resilience. We were able to clinch the overall championship in the recently concluded SEA Games. The country also made it big in what we consider as ‘World Cup’ of pageantry, the Miss Universe competition, after having two Filipinas crowned as champions, closing the decade with 9 out of 10 candidates entering the pageant’s top 10.

The ups and downs have been part of our lives, but the continued struggle of many Filipinos for their welfare and their lives should not be the norm. Take a look back at the biggest moments in the country and the University that made 2019 in this #TWenty, the TomasinoWeb year-end special. The country is about to close yet another year, yet another decade, and we still dream of the day when injustices end, and the dreams for a brighter and liberated Philippines in the years to come.

Padayon!

John Aaron Pangilinan

Executive Editor

 


20. Rapist Ex-Mayor Sanchez release 

Photo from BusinessMirror

Original release of convicted rapist and former mayor of Calauan, Laguna Antonio Sanchez, who was involved in the 1993 murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Mary Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, was put on hold in line with President Duterte’s order to Bureau of Corrections and Department of Justice (DOJ). 

Sanchez was sentenced with seven terms of reclusion perpetua and was supposed to be released on August 20 due to the effect of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) under the Republic Act 10592, where the prisoner’s time served in prison is shortened as a reward based on their behavior despite reports of crimes he committed inside the New Bilibid Prison, including smuggling of illegal drugs and contraband.

DOJ spokesperson Markk Perete said that the granting of GCTA is conditional and there are exclusions, such as the repeating offenders of the law. On Aug. 22, 2019, Malacañang announced that those who convicted heinous crime, including Sanchez are ineligible from the benefits of GCTA. Hazel Camba 


19. Philippines’ Miss Universe performance through the decade 

Photo by Robert Garcia/TomasinoWeb

This decade saw an excellent performance of the country’s beauty queens with almost all of the 10 of them entering the Miss Universe Top 10.

Venus Raj started the streak at the start of the decade. In 2011, Shamcey Supsup was named 3rd runner-up. In 2012, the Philippines almost ended its Miss Universe title drought as Janine Tugonon nearly won the title, but ultimately lost to USA’s Olivia Culpo.

Ariella Arida was named 3rd runner up in 2013. The next year, Mary Jean Lastimosa landed in the Top 10. In 2015, the Philippines brought home its third Miss Universe crown through the victory of Pia Wurtzbach.

Maxine Medina named part of the Top 6 the following year and Rachel Peters landed in the Top 10 of the 66th Miss Universe pageant.

Two years after Wurtzbach’s win, the crown was back on Philippine shores, following the triumph of Catriona Gray, who hails from Bicol, Albay.

In 2019, Gazini Ganados was unsuccessful in entering the Top 10, landing in the Top 20 as one of the “wildcard” semifinalists.

The Philippines now have four Filipino Miss Universe Winners, Catriona Gray, the fourth Filipina titleholder, following Gloria Diaz, Margie Moran-Floirendo and Pia Wurtzbach. Raheema Velasco


18. Aegis Juris fratman Solano convicted over Atio slay

Photo by Julius Villavieja/TomasinoWeb

Aegis Juris fraternity member John Paul Solano was found guilty of obstruction of justice and was acquitted of perjury in relation to the hazing death of UST Civil Law freshman student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

Solano was sentenced up to 4 years, 2 months, and 1 day imprisonment by Manila Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 14 Judge Carolina Herrera.

It was Solano who allegedly brought Castillo’s lifeless body in a hospital in Tondo following the fatal hazing which happened last September 2017, claiming that he was a stranger who found Castillo’s body by the road.

Solano, however, backtracked his statements upon initially lying to the police and arguing that he had no intention of misleading the police and was afraid for his life and liberty as he was under duress. Vhey Tapia

READ: Aegis Juris fratman guilty of obstruction of justice in atios death


17. ASF outbreak hounds the country

Photo by Ina Fassbender/AFP

African swine fever (ASF) plagued the country as the Department of Agriculture confirmed the outbreak following the deaths of pigs in some parts of the Philippines last September 2019.

African swine fever is a highly contagious disease for both domestic and wild pigs, which has a hundred-percent mortality rate that can be transmitted through direct contact with infected pigs, contaminated fomites and materials intake such as food waste and garbage. Few cities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces such as Bulacan, Pampanga, and Rizal had confirmed to be ASF positive. 

According to the World Animal Health, ASF does not risk the human health. However, it resulted in economic loss to the country’s swine industry. Recently, Mekeni Food Corporation was allowed to redistribute skinless longganisa and hotdogs, which tested positive, after Department of Agriculture issued redistribution endorsement in December. Mekeni voluntarily recalled their pork-related products and submitted samples for inspection in October 2019. Moreover, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued an order banning all pork-related products from Luzon. Alexa Basa


16. Renzo Subido, clutch king and Maroon killer

Photo by Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

The Growling Tigers’ cinderella run in Season 82 wouldn’t be complete without one Renzo Subido. 

Playing in his final year for UST, the graduating floor general came up clutch not once but twice against the UP Fighting Maroons throughout the season. 

While his performance in their second round matchup against the Maroons was just as big a deal as it kept the Tigers in contention, Subido’s crowning moment came in their do-or-die meeting last November 13.

With over 26 seconds left in the game and his Tigers on the verge of ending their Final Four stint, Subido took the biggest shot of his career and possibly the tournament when he pulled up for a deep triple over UP’s Bright Akhuetie that ultimately ended up as the game winner that propelled UST back to the Finals after their four-year absence and three straight losing seasons.

Although UST would get swept by the Ateneo Blue Eagles and denied Subido a championship in his swan song, his clutch performances last season have cemented his legacy among the halls of España and even if he has moved on from the Tigers’ lair, he will always be that one Renzo Subido to the Thomasian community who shot UST back to the UAAP Finals stage. Jose Rafael Ballecer

READ: No regrets for Renzo Subido this season as he wraps up UAAP career


15. Marcos vs. Robredo VP poll protest

Photo from ABS-CBN

A day before Vice President Leni Robredo assumed her office in 2016, her defeated rival Bongbong Marcos filed an electoral protest before the Supreme Court (SC), which is acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Marcos, who lost to Robredo by more than 200,000 votes, claimed that there had been a  manipulation of the May 2016 election results. Robredo on the same year filed a counter-protest to junk Marcos’ claim, and since then a long-standing feud between the two camps continued up to this year amid the tribunal process.

The recount of ballots in the 3 pilot provinces—Negros Oriental, Iloilo, and Camarines Sur—started last year, and this year, Marcos and Robredo with their supporters held their own prayer vigils to observe the progress of the poll protest. After causing series of public clamor through disclosing sensitive information, both camps were issued a gag order by the SC.

As of September, the official result of manual recount of ballots in the test provinces shows that Robredo with an additional of more than 15,000 votes won over Marcos. The SC, as of October, is yet to release their final decision. Coleen Ruth Abiog


14. Sandiganbayan junks Marcos’ P200-billion ill-gotten wealth case

Photo from WhenInManila

The Sandiganbayan has junked the 200-B forfeiture case filed against the family of the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) due to insufficiency of evidence. 

Despite the number of evidence that was presented by the PCGG, they also said that the Marcoses had massive loans and acquired multiple government accommodation due to overpriced projects, massive spending for personal interests such as jewelry, international trips, and international properties.

However, the fourth division’s decision by Associate Justice Alex Quiroz last Dec. 16, 2019 was made because of the failure to present a reliable and accurate copy of the evidence that is presented by the PCGG. The court said that most of the evidence presented, including a copy of the income tax return of the late president from 1961 to 1965 were photocopied and that “competent evidentiary substantiation is necessary in supporting the plaintiff’s accusation because the Court cannot simply assume that the properties subject of this case were ill-gotten.” Cherizza Bautista


13. No franchise renewal for ABS-CBN for 2019

Photo from Rappler

One of the nation’s longest running media networks might be going off air in the next decade as ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020 with no renewal in sight due to President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow to block the franchise’s pending renewal. 

The president’s displeasure with the network first started way back in 2017 when he accused them of swindling as they did not air his presidential campaign ad in 2016, wherein threats to block their renewal first arose, and in 2018 he once again reiterated his point to shut the network down.

However, despite Duterte’s open threats, the Lopez-owned network is still set to undergo due process under the House of Representatives next year. Jose Rafael Ballecer


12. Water crisis plagues Metro Manila

Photo from ABS-CBN News

 

Almost ten thousand residents of Metro Manila experienced loss of water which is said to be the effect of El Niño which, however, it was opposed by the Manila Water. 

Manila Water’s COO, Geodino Carpio, stated that the said water crisis is because of the delay of water infrastructure projects, particularly one located in Kaliwa Dam, Tanay, Rizal. Carpio stated that there was an inadequate design of the plant’s discharge pipe which is why there was a delay on the projects. Also, Manila Water cannot keep up with the high demand of water since it has gone beyond the average level that they can allocate. 

The infamous Chinese-funded Kaliwa Dam project has drawn flak due to its cost and its possible effects to Sierra Madre and the lives of indigenous groups living within its vicinity. Cheska Imbuido


11. Rappler CEO Maria Ressa’s Arrest

Photo from ABS-CBN News

Freedom of the press and expression has also been in hot waters as Maria Ressa, Times Magazine 2019 Person of the Year and CEO and executive editor of digital media platform Rappler, was slapped with multiple cases for cyberliber, tax and anti-dummy violations. 

Last February 13, members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) served Ressa her arrest warrant because of her alleged violation of the cyber libel act at Rappler headquarters in Makati City.

Rappler, known for its critical reporting for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has also been banned from covering any presidential event across the country. Paolo Alejandrino


10. Resurgence of polio

Photo from Public Radio International

Amid the ongoing outbreak of African swine fever, measles, and dengue, the Department of Health (DOH) on September 19 declared a polio epidemica resurgence of the disease in the country after 19 years of being polio-free. The first confirmed case was a 3-year-old girl in Lanao del Sur, the second case was a 5-year-old boy from Laguna, and the third case was a 4-year-old girl from Maguindanao.

DOH has launched immunization programs which included nationwide rounds of polio vaccination to counter the epidemic, but the vaccination coverage dropped because of “increasing number of parents who don’t want their children to be injected with the measles vaccine,” according to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III. This was in relation to the recent Dengvaxia scare controversy following the number of deaths supposedly linked to Dengvaxia vaccine. Chief public attorney Persida Acosta was notably targeted by critics with allegations of causing the vaccine scare.

Anti-vaccine movements are not limited to the Philippines and are also reported in other countries like the United States. Recently, Malaysia, which has been polio-free since 2000, recorded its first polio case in 27 years. A report said that the “Malaysian child was infected with a strain that shared genetic links to the virus detected in the Philippines.” A small group of people in Malaysia has also been reported to refuse vaccination. Coleen Ruth Abiog


9. Rice Tariffication plagues farmers

Photo by Jio Perez/TomasinoWeb

This year, President Duterte signed the Rice Liberalization Law (RLL) or Republic Act 11203 which aimed to strengthen the country’s agriculture but also caused increased volume of rice imports that led to fluctuation of rice and palay prices. Palay production for 2019 is expected to reach 18.49 million MT, which is 15% short of the country’s annual need.

Based on the latest study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, farmers have already lost P8.22 billion in palay revenues due to the new rice law. In September, the average farm-gate price of palay reached its lowest in eight years at P15.56 per kilo due to the unimpeded importation of more affordable rice and palay rates not going up significantly since then.

Under RLL, which was authored by Senator Cynthia Villar, 10 billion pesos of the tariff collections on rice imports shall be appropriated annually for rice farmers through various programs that would help them compete with the affordable rice imports. Despite that, many farmers have called for the junking of the law and genuine land reform. Raheema Velasco

READ: Magtanim ay ‘di biro: Rice Liberalization Law backfires


8. Paskuhan 2019 draws record breaking crowd

Photo by Julius Estolano/TomasinoWeb

This year’s Harry Potter inspired Paskuhan 2019 concert drew an estimated 110,000 crowd. 

Despite storm warning signal no. 2 raised in Metro Manila for typhoon Tisoy, the opening mass, the traditional agape, and opening of Christmas decor around the campus commenced on Dec. 2, 2019 and was led by Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso. A drone show was also held in the open field, the newest addition in this year’s Paskuhan opening. 

Thomasians and other guests gathered in the open field on Dec. 20, 2019 for the fair and concert which featured performances from Thomasian talents and other famous Filipino bands and artists. Alexa Basa

READ: Paskuhan opening pushes through despite ‘Tisoy’

READ: Harry Potter-inspired Paskuhan draws 110,000 crowd


7. Senatorial Elections

Photo by Larizza Lucas/TomasinoWeb

Perhaps considered the most clamorous event of 2019, stirring every Filipino citizen and forcing them to voice out the strongest of their opinions, is this year’s midterm elections. Filipinos exercised their right to suffrage by choosing 12 senators, district and party-list representatives, and local government officials in provinces, municipalities, and cities.

Some of the highlights during the midterm elections include:

  • Senatorial debates
  • Former Manila City Vice Mayor Isko Moreno wins mayoralty over former city  Mayor Joseph Estrada
  • Vico Sotto wins mayoralty over former Mayor Bobby Eusebio
  • PDP-Laban bets dominate the senatorial seats 
  • Otso Diretso loses the election, wins the hearts of millennials
  • Binay siblings Abby and Junjun political rivalry
  • Formerly detained Bong Revilla’s senate comeback
  • Imee Marcos’ false claims on educational credentials
  • Ronald Cardema’s representation of the Duterte Youth.

Coleen Ruth Abiog


6. Isko closes down bars around school perimeters, clears Dapitan of vendors

Photo by Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso signed an executive order which mandated the strict implementation of city ordinances prohibiting liquor selling near school perimeters resulting in the closure of known drinking spots among students such as Tapsi in Asturias (which reopened as restaurant) and Four Monkeys Bar and Kitchen. 

Under the executive order, establishments selling liquor are now prohibited to do so to minors and bars within a 200-meter radius of school perimeters were immediately closed down. 

Apart from Isko’s liquor ban, street vendors around Dapitan Street were also cleared last Aug. 17, 2019 in a clearing operation by the city capital’s Department of Engineering and Public Works for “zero obstruction” along roads and sidewalks.  

Currently, the former locations of the stalls are being used as a private parking lot for vehicles and Dapitan, especially Asturias is now a shadow of its former self due to the absence of these same street vendors. Jose Rafael Ballecer

READ: Zero Parking Policy, hindi kailangang ipatupad—MTPB chief

READ: #TalkOnTW: Isko’s Liquor Ban near schools in Manila

READ: Manila Liquor Ban: Shantay You Stay or Sashay Away?


5. Transport problem persists

Photo by Robert Garcia/TomasinoWeb

Filipino commuters faced the gruelling problem of the country’s transport system after the disruption of LRT Line 2 service after its section between Anonas and Katipunan stations caught fire last Oct. 3, 2019 forcing to stop its service for days. This worsened traffic jams in major thoroughfares of the Metro like EDSA, Quezon Avenue, Marcos Highway, among others.

After its partial service resumption from Recto to Cubao, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made a remark denying the existence of transport crisis in the country and asked commuters to leave earlier to avoid traffic. This prompt critics, particularly the progressive group Anakbayan to make a “commute challenge” for Panelo which he accepted which took him almost four hours to get to Malacañan from his house in Marikina.

Anakbayan National Spokesperson Alex Danday stressed that the four to six hours of commute every day in Metro Manila proves that there really is a transport crisis in the country and called on  the government to focus policies and projects for having an affordable and safe mass-oriented transport system in the country. John Aaron Pangilinan

READ: The long, rough road of transport problem

READ: Thomasians join protest to demand for better, affordable public transportation


4. Isko Moreno as new Manila City mayor 

Photo by Larizza Lucas/TomasinoWeb

Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso took a landslide win as the mayor of the City of Manila in the 2019 elections, defeating the two-time mayor Joseph Estrada. 

Domagoso was the former vice mayor of Manila during Estrada’s first term, and is now the city’s 27th Mayor. Since taking his oath of office, Moreno has accomplished various programs to restore order and cleanliness in Manila. The mayor would usually use social media to update the public about his everyday activities, programs and announcements, gaining big attention from the public. He focused on road clearing operations and class suspensions.

In December 2019, Domagoso declared persona non grata the cultural group Panday Sining due to their vandalism protests in some areas of the city. Cheska Imbuido

READ: Manila Deserves A Cleaner Underpass


3. Growling Tigers, Golden Tigresses return to the UAAP Finals

After a fair share of losing seasons in recent years, both the UST Golden Tigresses and Growling Tigers capped off 2019 with back-to-back finals appearances in the UAAP season 81 and the recently concluded season 82, respectively.

Banking once more on the services of mainly the high-flying Sisi Rondina and super rookie Eya Laure, the Tigresses embarked on a campaign that culminated in a second-seed finish en route to the Final Four that saw them dispatch the then defending champs in LaSalle that set up a finals matchup against Ateneo wherein they fell in three games.

With a total of nine rookies/transferees headlined by the “probinsyano” tandem of Rhenz Abando and Mark Nonoy, former CDSL big Soulemane Chabi Yo and one-time UAAP champion Brent Paraiso and a veteran presence from the seniors in Renzo Subido and Zach Huang and team captain CJ Cansino, the Aldin Ayo-led Tigers amassed an 8-6 record that was good for a fourth-seed finish in the stepladder semifinals of the Final Four.

Come the Final Four, the Tigers went through the gruelling path of surviving three knockout games within two weeks before ultimately meeting the three-peat seeking Ateneo who swept them in two games.

While both teams may have come up short to secure the elusive UAAP crown, their return to the finals is a clear indicator of a bright future and the return of a winning culture in España. Jose Rafael Ballecer

READ: Gritty Tigers swept by dynastic Ateneo despite putting up valiant effort

READ: Golden Tigresses tamed by Lady Spikers


2. Philippines host 2019 SEA Games

Photo by Jade Moya

As the Philippines hosted the recently concluded biennial meet Southeast Asian (SEA) Games last Nov 30 to Dec 11 for the first time in 14 years, it was not exempted from critics and netizens calling out the alleged corruption and overspending of funds by the government. 

While the Philippine team bagged the most medals with 149 golds, 117 silvers, and 121 bronzes, the triumphant tale of the Philippine team also came with controversies as P6 billion budget for the event was used. 

Among those criticized was the P50 million cauldron designed by Mañosa and the faulty and inefficient logistics of the event, from the transportation and accommodation of the players to the displaced indigenous communities to give way for the construction of New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac. Paolo Alejandrino

READ: Students denounce P50-M SEA Games cauldron

READ: It’s just a two-week event


1. ‘The trial of the decade’

Photo by Genise Danga/TomasinoWeb

Ten years after the Maguindanao Massacre in 2009, the worst media and election-related killing in the world which took the lives of 58 people, its verdict was finally ruled last December 19. The massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao took the lives of 32 journalists who were part of former Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu’s convoy on his way to filing his certificate of candidacy.

The Maguindanao Massacre case was dubbed as “the trial of the decade,” having 165 volumes of records, 357 witnesses, 197 persons filed with murder charges, and eight persons who died throughout the trial procedures.The final ruling was originally set during the massacre’s 10th anniversary this year but the volume of records had to be considered so it was moved this December. Of the accused, 28 are found guilty of 57 counts of murder and were sentenced with reclusion perpetua; 15 are convicted as accessories to the crime; and 57 are acquitted as stated by Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221.

Among the principal accused that are sentenced with reclusion perpetua are members of the Ampatuan clan, which includes former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan, former Datu Unsay Mayor Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr., former Shariff Aguak Mayor Datu Anwar Ampatuan Sr., Datu Anwar Sajid Ampatuan, and Datu Anwar Ampatuan Jr.  There are 80 of the suspects who still remain at large and are ordered by the court for arrest. Coleen Ruth Abiog

READ: Delayed justice in Maguindanao Massacre: ‘Reflection of culture of impunity’

READ: PRESS RELEASE: End impunity, defend press freedom!

 

 


May we all have a more prosperous year ahead! Happy New Year, from us at TomasinoWeb!

Board by Aldrich Aquino

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