AS THE year draws to a close, the Varsitarian presents the top stories of 2017 in the University and national levels.
UST hikes tuition amid K to 12 transition
The University implemented a 7.02- to 9.96-percent tuition increase for Academic Year 2017 to 2018 in an effort to keep faculty members and maintain school facilities amid the disruption caused by the K to 12 transition.
UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. said 70 percent of the proposed hikes would go to salary increases for faculty members and University personnel, and 20 percent to the improvement or modernization of buildings, equipment, laboratories, and payment for other operational costs.
Top student council bets junked
Four out of six positions in the UST Central Student Council were left vacant following elections in April after “Abstain” got the highest number of votes. Only Therese Gorospe and Francis Santos were elected, and proclaimed as secretary and public relations officer, respectively.
Candidates from political parties Lakas ng Tomasino Coalition and Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino drew flak on social media for their lack of knowledge on Martial Law. Lone presidential bet Steven Grecia was also criticized for supporting the administration’s proposed 10-percent tuition hike.
Integration of Dominican schools
The UST Santa Rosa campus broke ground on Sept. 10, with its first phase expected to be finished by 2020, and accommodate 5,000 students. UST General Santos will start the first phase of construction on an 82-hectare land next year.
UST law freshman dies in frat hazing
The death of UST Civil Law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III due to hazing rites by law school-based Aegis Juris Fraternity last Sept. 17 sparked national controversy and put a spotlight on University policies on fraternities and the implementation of the Anti-Hazing Law.
The hazing incident sparked a Senate inquiry into the possible liabilities of the fraternity and University authorities, including Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina.
Tigers 1-13 in UAAP Season 80; Coach Rodil “Boy” Sablan sacked
The UST Growling Tigers were on their way to their first winless season when they snatched their only win in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament against the UE Red Warriors to end their pitiful 17-game losing streak.
The Tigers finished with a 1-13 win-loss record but their lone win was not enough to save head coach Rodil “Boy” Sablan. Sablan was fired after two disastrous years of coaching the Tigers.
Sources have told the Varsitarian that La Salle coach Aldin Ayo was in talks with backers of UST’s basketball program to succeed Sablan as coach of the Growling Tigers in the next UAAP season.
UST bags gold in judo, women’s beach volley, poomsae
Thomasian athletes bagged multiple gold medals in judo, women’s beach volleyball and poomsae to take the lead in the overall championship in the UAAP Season 80.
The UST Lady Judokas sealed a fourth straight championship, while their male counterparts shared the championship with Ateneo de Manila.
In the beach volleyball tourney, Cherry Rondina and Caitlyn Viray remained queens of the sands, leading a sweep over FEU. The UST Tiger Jins regained the poomsae crown from De La Salle University to become the winningest team in the poomsae tournament, with three championships since the sport became a regular event in 2013.
Thomasian Karen Ibasco crowned Miss Earth 2017
UST alumna and faculty member Karen Ibasco, 26, was crowned Miss Earth 2017 last Nov. 24.
She bested 84 contenders in the international pageant and was the fourth Filipina to win Miss Earth.
In her Question and Answer portion, Ibasco was asked what she thought was the “biggest enemy of Mother Earth.” She replied:
“I believe that the real problem in this world is not climate change. The real problem is us because of our ignorance and apathy. What we have to do is to start changing our ways, to start recalibrating our minds and redirecting our steps because together, as a global community, our micro efforts will have a macro effect to help save our home, our planet.”
Rector concerned over students’ mental health, calls for reduced academic units
UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. called for stronger action to stem cases of depression and suicide attempts on campus, such as by reducing the load of students to ease academic pressure.
Q&A: Detained Senator de Lima finds company in God, Grisham, Game of Thrones
After eight months in detention, Sen. Leila de Lima maintains her innocence on the drug-trafficking charges against her, saying all the allegations were fabricated by a vengeful Duterte administration.
The Supreme Court denied de Lima’s plea to drop the charges in a 9-6 decision last Oct. 10, a legal setback for the senator who has been detained at the custodial center of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, Quezon City since February.
The Varsitarian interviewed the former human rights lawyer and Justice secretary last September to get an idea of her daily life in detention as well as her views about issues facing the country.
The Church and the President’s bloody war on drugs
The year saw the Catholic Church in the Philippines going against President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives, including those of minors such as 17-year-old Kian de los Santos.
Church leaders led a prayer march for ‘Tokhang’ victims last Nov. 5 at the EDSA Shrine, calling for active condemnation of the killings and repentance to “heal the nation.”