All posts by The LaSallian

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Fighting for zero

18 casualties.

Considering that Typhoon Ruby was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines in 2014 and that typhoons of lesser strength in recent years have claimed more lives, 18 casualties (as of press time) bodes well for the country’s disaster management. Even if Ruby was downgraded from super typhoon status as it crossed the Philippine Area of Responsibility, the government deserves due credit for minimizing the damage that could have been done—a marked improvement from last year’s Typhoon Yolanda disaster, which saw thousands of lives lost and millions displaced.

Ruby was classified as a Category Five typhoon, the highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, and with this imminent threat, more than a million people were evacuated from at-risk areas. As a matter of fact, the United Nations (UN) Office for Disaster Risk Reduction called it “one of the largest peacetime evacuations in the Philippines’ history” and later on compared it to the commendable evacuation efforts in preparation for the threat of Cyclone Phailin in India last year.

Despite all the praise coming in and the noted improvements in our disaster preparedness, there is still a long way for the Philippines to go. Humans are not just numbers or statistics, and those 18 people who lost their lives should be a constant reminder that we could and should do better.

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As much and more of the rehabilitation and rebuilding in Ruby’s aftermath are brought to our television screens, radios, and social media feeds, it is important to remember that typhoons are more than the floods they cause, the classes they suspended, and the overall destruction they bring. They are signs of just how much there is left that must be done.

The well-praised resilience of the Filipino people must be concretized into the finding and funding of ways to build back better. Evacuation and relief efforts must be streamlined, new evacuation centers must be built, and existing ones improved. With climate change intensifying more than ever, these improvements have to come now because typhoons and other natural disasters will definitely not wait for them. We must not stop until the number of casualties falls to zero.

In a country that experiences 10 typhoons making landfall every year on average, it is important to never get accustomed to the number of lives they claim and the damage they bring. A marked improvement must be made every year and this is a good start, but it is far from enough. 18 casualties may be better than 6,300, but it is still 18 too many. Zero might not mean anything on most occasions, but in this case, it represents lives saved and families kept together – in short, everything.

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PRESS RELEASE: Boto Lasalyano, Sulong Pilipino – Voters’ Registration for National Elections 2016

Are you a registered voter already for the national elections 2016?
If not, then need not to worry because you can now register without the hassle of encountering long lines and hours.
The iRehistro Voter’s Registration is finally here!

See you at the SJ Lobby from 9AM to 5PM this Nov 24-27, 2014.
Don’t miss this opportunity to be a registered voter!

See you there!

Brought to you by:
Office of the President
Office of the Vice President for External Affairs

Supported by:
COMELEC Republic of the Philippines
DLSU CONIC
DLSU COSCA

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November - Editorial Cartoon

Plebiscite, take two

After several months of meetings, Legislative Assembly sessions, consultations with community stakeholders, and delibrations, the 2014 University Student Government (USG) Constitution was all set for the plebiscite which was to be held last November 3 to 7. The aim of the plebiscite was to gain the majority approval of De La Salle University’s students on the proposed USG constitution change which was a product of Operation REFOCUS, spearheaded by last year’s USG President Miguel Moreno.

Moreno raised three questions regarding the effectivity of the USG. First, is the USG living up to its founding identity and purpose? Second, is the USG really one and united? And third, is the USG able to serve and represent all the students? It was in answering these three questions that the major restructuring of the USG began. One of the perceived benefits of the new constitution was to remove redundancies in the offices under the USG to ensure smoother, more united operations.

Despite the clear importance of this plebiscite, students remained largely unaware of the event, even on the week of voting itself. This led to dismal turnouts, and those who were aware of the plebiscite questioned the lack of interest among students. Many tried to identify whether the root of the problem was the information dissemination of the USG or the student apathy that has unfortunately become a norm in the University.

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In an unexpected turn of events on the second day of voting, two concerned students filed a petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the voting process of the plebiscite, claiming that it was unconstitutional. Their reasons included a lack of respresentation from the freshman batch while amendments were crafted in the Legislative Assembly, poor information dissemination, a lack of consultation among student sectors, and poor handling of the plebiscite’s voting procedures.

The tension between the USG’s top officers and the petitioners was evident during the grueling two-hour hearing held by the Judiciary last November 10, while some even hypothesized that the petition was politically motivated. USG representatives even claimed that the petition was done in bad faith, but eventually dropped the allegation. By the end of the night, the Judiciary decided to junk the petition and declare the plebiscite constitutional, allowing the voting to continue at a later date.  The USG was spared. It took a hearing and petition to do so, but suddenly student apathy turned into interest as media coverage of the hearing sparked discussion among students online.

The situation at hand is sadly comparable to that of the Philippines, where majority are apathetic in nature when it comes to policial activity, only being awakened by scandal. When it comes to important matters that need the attention of the citizenry, Lasallians have mirrored the general culture of the Filipino people. This is where the problem lies. Remaining apathetic will lead to no good and opinions will carry no weight until proper action is taken.

However, the USG must also step up in order to engage students better. The effort that is put into electoral campaigns – extensive room-to-room speeches, well rehearsed presentations, and countless hours of planning – must also be present in the information dissemination and educational efforts regarding the plebiscite. If not, how can students believe that the plebiscite is a matter of importance if it does not reflect in the actions of their leaders?

That students are much less informed of the changes in the USG constitution than the platforms of candidates during election season is telling in itself, given that accusations of student apathy are present in both. More than repeatedly telling Lasallians that their voice matters and that the fate of the student government is in their hands, engaging students in an active discussion regarding the proposed changes in the USG Constitution is also needed. Proper education regarding the 2014 Constitution will take time and effort, but the consequences of not educating students are dire. The tendency to vote blindly, if at all, is high, and all the efforts from those in charge of the 2014 Constitution will go to waste if this does not change.

With the decision of the Judiciary, the plebiscite gets a new lease on life at the end of the month. Both the students and the USG get a chance to get it right this time around, and it is our hope that they do. The USG must do its job well to get the students informed and interested in the plebiscite, but at the end of the day the fate of this plebiscite lies within the active participation of the students. This is the chance to instill change, and for the outspoken, to walk the talk.

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The Lasallian Scholars Society’s Lemniscate

ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES.
LIMITLESS TALENTS.
INFINITE PERSONALITIES.

CALLING ALL LASALLIAN UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLARS

Get ready as the Lasallian Scholars Society brings you LEMNISCATE: WE ARE WITHOUT BOUNDS

THREE BIG EVENTS IN ONE AWESOME NIGHT

THE LSS 2ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
SCHOLARS GOT TALENT FINALS
and the VERY FIRST SCHOLARS ACQUAINTANCE PARTY
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So what are you waiting for? Save the date November 20, 2014 6:00pm-9:00pm and grab the opportunity to have fun with your fellow scholars!

Pre-registration is available on the link below:

https://docs.google.com/a/dlsu.edu.ph/forms/d/1k7xUgKV6OsU2G3kisT9_csgfl9wxXNiRPyF_TEU92_U/viewform

For more information contact the people below:
Thomas Bienvenida: 09053390697
April Velasco: 09358615998

FTK 2015 Publicity

PRESS RELEASE: For-The-Kids (FTK) 2015

De La Salle University’s Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) is currently preparing for For-The-Kids (FTK) 2015 which is
scheduled to happen on January 25, 2015.
FTK 2015 Publicity

FTK has been an institutional activity, attended by 500-600 kids, as well as 1000 ates and kuyas on a yearly basis. It is a big gathering of the members of the Lasallian community who are bound by the spirit of volunteerism. COSCA has been constant in this effort to reach out to children with special needs and FTK is the culmination of this.

For more information, you contact the following:

  • Pauline Sy – 0922 885 9520
  • Japok Cruz – 0927 231 2954
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Letter to the Editor by Tristan Felipe

Letters to the Editor is a section where The LaSallian publishes sentiments and opinions by members of the community on matters concerning life in De La Salle University in any of its aspects. Should you wish to send a letter to the editor, kindly email your letter to info@thelasallian.com, or send a message to our Facebook page.

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Letter to the Editor of The LaSallian

Greetings!

Allow me to share with you a short anecdote of mine. Last General Elections 2014, I ran for a batch-level position under the banner of Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista. During one of my slate’s room-to-room campaign, a student raised an intriguing question. “Do you agree that the University Student Government (USG) is a microcosm of the Philippine Government, not just in structure but also in culture?”.  The observation of most students is that the problems we face in the national setting are the same problems we face inside the University. Others say that the attitude of the political parties during elections are the same as the attitude of the politicians during national elections. They use negative campaigning against each other. Their candidates say promises during campaign and immediately forget them upon winning the elections. The crooked system we have in the national setting is the same crooked system we have here in the University. And because of this, many students already lost their faith in the USG just as how many Filipinos lost their faith in our government.

At some point, I actually agree to these sentiments. However, I firmly believe that the elected officers and the candidates are not the only ones responsible for this government. We must keep in mind that as students of this University, as citizens of this country, we are part of this government, this system, and we are all responsible for what this system had become and what it will be in the future. Losing hope in this system equates to losing hope in ourselves for in this democratic system, it is us who hold the power to mold it.

Before I continue, I would like to emphasize that I am not writing this letter as a member of Alysansang Tapat sa Lasallista, nor as a proponent of the new USG constitution. I am writing this as a concerned student who wants to inspire my fellow Lasallians to act for the betterment of our University.

This week, November 3 – 7, the plebiscite for the new constitution of the USG is to be conducted. Through this, we are asked to express our stand on the changing of the structures in our USG, the changes in the powers, duties and responsibilities of the officers, and the changes as to how the USG shall operate as the sole, unified, autonomous and democratic representative body of the students. This plebiscite is an avenue for us students to explicitly use our power to mold this government into one that is really for the students. Let us take time see and experience the strengths and weaknesses of our present USG, and educate ourselves with the proposed changes of the new USG constitution. Let us reflect, and analyze these systems to know which of them will allow the USG to fulfill its role more efficiently and more effectively. And let us also commit ourselves and make an action to fulfill our role in this government by voting in this plebiscite.

I would like to end this letter by sharing to you a quote shared to me by my mentor, Mr. Mito Dizon. “It only takes one generation, hopefully our generation, to stand firm in changing the system – One generation not to succumb to the system – One generation that will further progressively define the Nation.” The reason why we have this crooked system in our government is not just because of the culture of our politicians but also because of the culture of the voters. Many of our fellow Filipinos fail to educate themselves well about the platform and the character of the candidates before voting for them. Some do not even vote for they already lost hope in our government. Others do not vote for they simply do not care. These are the people who have already succumbed to the system.

This poses a challenge to our generation. Instead of allowing our USG to have the culture of our national government, let us strive to make it a good example to our fellow countrymen outside the University. Let us be the generation to stand firm in changing the system, the generation not to succumb to the system, the generation that will further progressively define this nation.

The response to this challenge starts inside the University. It starts with us voting.

 

In St. La Salle,

Tristan Gabriel D. Felipe

II, BSA

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Letter to the Editor by Gregg Tolentino

Letters to the Editor is a section where The LaSallian publishes sentiments and opinions by members of the community on matters concerning life in De La Salle University in any of its aspects. Should you wish to send a letter to the editor, kindly email your letter to info@thelasallian.com, or send a message to our Facebook page.

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To the Editorial Board of The LaSallian,

Greetings!

Why do we have a University Student Government in DLSU? Why do we need (to exercise our right to) vote during the plebiscite (Nov. 3 to 7, 2014)? Allow me to share some of my thoughts in addressing these two questions.

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a proponent of the Proposed Amendments to the USG Constitution, the 2014 USG Constitution, and not as the current President of a political party.

Participative democracy. This is what we aim to “simulate” or “practice” inside our training ground – De La Salle University – and we always hear, “You should be ready when you go out to the real world…”, right?

Let us look at the so-called “real world” (as if life as a college student makes it not real). When we finish our stay in DLSU, we choose our own paths. Corporate? Arts and entertainment? Medicine? Academia and research? Media? Government? Sports? Religious life? Others I cannot name as I write this? You name it. However, we should not forget that we are also members of our families and of our Church (or religious sectors), and citizens of our nation.

Now, let us look at our student life. Let us consider ourselves “trainees” of the four aspects I mentioned above. We get our training for our paths through our academic courses and involvement in organizations. We get our training for our family and Church membership through our responsibilities at home and with the Church. Lastly, and most importantly in this case, we get our training for our citizenship as members of the University Student Government [one by one please…University (the setting)! Student (our level)! Government (our system)!].

This is precisely why the USG exists. Our dear alma mater aims to offer a venue where we can have the most complete forms of training to prepare us for the “real world”. If we think that our national government is not doing its job according to the Constitution, what do we do? Or better yet, to keep things simpler, if our USG does not seem to do its job according to the Constitution, what do we do? Participative democracy. We need to maintain our ground that we are part of that system, and not mere recipients of what is thought of to be our needs and wants. We participate…unless we want to imply that having a dictator is better?

Participate in democracy (again). This is the answer to the first question posted above and this will remain to be the answer to the second. In the national elections, our one vote seems to be useless given the wide range of issues involved like “dagdag-bawas”. Again to keep things simpler for the meantime, during the USG elections, our one vote matters a lot since I doubt that cheating like in the national elections occurs in our context.

My dear fellow Lasallians, I invite you to take time to learn about the major proposed amendments to the Constitution, then to vote during the plebiscite. I will not even take advantage of this medium to campaign for voting YES since as a proponent, I might be biased in highlighting to you the numerous benefits the entire student body (especially “non-USG” sectors) will get from this 2014 USG Constitution. I simply invite you to take time to vote.

We cannot simply let this chance slip away and have a failed plebiscite. What will this imply about us Lasallians? Do we care for our system? Are we preparing to be mere free riders in our society in the “real world”? Because as we see it, not voting does not equate to you seeing that our proposed amendments will not improve the USG. Not voting may mean that we do not care about how student representation should be focused on, how other student sectors should be involved in our overall operations, and how important information should be communicated between the students and other sectors. Again, I invite you to take time to vote. Let us all make this successful!

Why do we have a University Student Government in DLSU? We have the opportunity to train ourselves in fulfilling bigger roles for ourselves, our families, our sectors, and our society.

Why do we need (to exercise our right to) vote during the plebiscite (Nov. 3-7, 2014)? This is one opportunity to show that we care for ourselves, the next generations of Lasallians, other key sectors, and our University.

I might have taken about 4 or 5 minutes of your time already. I know that this marks the start of the busier schedule we have for our other priorities. Thank you though for reading this and thank you because you are now likely contemplating whether you will take time to be informed and to vote.

In DLSU, it begins with you.

 

One with you in St. La Salle,

Gregg Louise C. Tolentino

A Lasallian

To this day by Therese Lim

To this day

The inaugural issue of The LaSallian was published on October 24, 1960, back when De La Salle University (DLSU) was still De La Salle College (DLSC), a full 15 years before being granted University status. In those days, the iconic St. Joseph Hall was barely four years old and the Taft Avenue campus still housed a high school that was eight years away from dissolution. At that time, even the barest idea of today’s familiar and modern campus fixtures, the 21-storey Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall and the Henry Sy Sr. Hall, were nonexistent.To this day by Therese Lim

Back then, La Salle’s athletes competed in the NCAA, not the UAAP, and the LRT, which now stands prominently along Taft Avenue, was 34 years away from its first day of operations. From a national perspective, it was 12 years before Filipinos would get a taste of the tyranny and dictatorship of Martial Law.

In that same year, President Carlos P. Garcia dedicated a portion of his State of the Nation Address to discuss the country’s graft and corruption problems. The anti-graft campaign of the sixties investigated over 12,000 cases of corruption and found over 4,000 officials guilty. “In spite of this creditable record of achievements,” Garcia maintained, “There still remains a tremendous amount of work to be done.”

Garcia probably did not know how right he was. Since then, the country’s corruption problem grew from bad to worse. The Philippines had seen seven presidents after Garcia, two of whom were thrown out of office after the 1986 and 2001 People Power Revolutions, respectively. One of these two “served” as president for 21 years while various accusations of graft and corruption have been hurled at others, particularly the more recent ones.

Today, the Philippines remains the ‘Sick Man of Asia,’ despite all of President Benigno Aquino III’s claims to the contrary. Though the Philippines’ recent increase in investment grade status and continued rise in economic and financial rankings is impressive and a positive indicator of growth, it is public knowledge that the country remains riddled with corruption, a social cancer that will hold back any long term progress. Economic growth remains a concept, not a reality felt by those who most desperately need it.

It has been 54 years since Garcia’s statement, yet the headlines today are still filled with stories of corruption, most notably regarding the ongoing investigations on former Makati City Mayor and current Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay. His is a case that involves the overpricing of government projects, undeclared assets, and under the table transactions, and it grows even larger by the day as more details are discovered and new alleged accomplices are revealed.

If there is anything that has remained constant in the past half-century, it is that the problem of corruption goes beyond one official and his cronies. Given proper time and investigation, the country could fill an entire hall of infamy, housing thousands of names and unimaginable amounts of taxpayers’ stolen money, which could have otherwise been allocated to programs that provide for the most basic needs of the poorest Filipinos. Philippine history continues to repeat itself, following the same script though employing different actors every few years. The names may change and certain details may vary, but the core issues remain the same.

Fifty-four years is too long a time to suffer at the hands of corrupt officials, and the years make the problem seem like a constant even if we have the power to make things different. DLSU is not a thing set apart from society, and Lasallians are, now more than ever, in the position to be catalysts of change, not just within the University, but in the context of the social, political, and economic life of the country. This may be a cliché hammered into our heads from years of privileged education, but it is nonetheless truthful and crucial today. Earlier generations have come and gone, and now it is our turn.

Just as it was 54 years ago, when DLSC students first put pen to paper and created this publication, the battle against corruption is of utmost importance. The pioneering editors had promised that The LaSallian “Will continue to serve the ideals of the students and the school it symbolizes,” and this is something that we strive to do to this day by delivering the truth and inspiring critical thinking.

We cannot just wait for things to change, but rather, we must examine how the wait is changing us. We must strive to do what we can to achieve genuine change on this day, and the next, until one, 10, or even 50 years have gone by. Fifty-four years after our first issue came to print, President Garcia’s words still ring true: There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. And we must do it.