THE UNIVERSITY has yet to release its stand on the burial of the deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, even as students and alumni have joined protest actions.
Mark Anthony Abenir, director of the UST Simbahayan advocacy and community development office, said they had yet to get a response from the administration on a letter inquiring on the University’s response to the sudden Marcos burial ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“In our office, it is clear but we cannot make an official stand. We’ve already made moves, writing a letter and we’ve crafted an official statement hoping kung ano ang magiging response ng higher admin, doon kami naghihintay,” Abenir said in an interview.
He said Simbahayan wanted Thomasians to take initiative on the mobilization against the Marcos burial, as the administration cannot force students to take a stand.
“Gusto namin nanggagaling sa mga estudyante `yung initiative especially sa mga ganitong issue because we do not want to say that the administration [forced or pushed] the students to hold such events,” he said.
Social media took note of UST’s absence in the anti-Marcos protest last Nov. 30 in EDSA, where heads of the De La Salle University system, University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University took the stage.
Abenir said support from the University’s administration was important in inspiring Thomasians, as in the case of other universities.
“You would see in other universities, their faculty, priests and [administration officials] are standing in the frontlines of the demonstration, and that inspired the students, thus the high turnout,” he added.
UST political science department head Dennis Coronacion said the University was waiting for Thomasian student bodies to articulate their stand on the issue, as such would be the “democratic and organic” process of mobilization.
“The stand should come from [the students], and from there, when a consensus is established, there is going to be a meeting of the minds of the students, faculty and the administration and that’s democracy,” Coronacion said in an interview with the Varsitarian.
Coronacion said the University was not apathetic and that issuing a stand on the Marcos burial was “not a competition.”
He stressed the importance of educating students before sending them to demonstrations on the streets, saying the reason for standing up must not be “bandwagon mentality.”
“Some students, when asked what they are doing in the protest, they will have a brave answer but sometimes the reasoning is not well thought out, not intelligent enough, so that should be the start of encouraging the students to be involved,” he said.
Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council President Ysabela Marasigan said the University’s silence on the Marcos burial was saddening. She said the administration should have taken a stronger stand considering the University is a renowned Catholic institution.
“It is a sad thought that the administration did not take a stand on such a grave national issue. I think that they stayed neutral because UST is known to be a conservative university,” Marasigan said in an interview.
“I just hope UST’s administration took a stronger stand as it is a Catholic institution that puts much emphasis on compassion and charity,” she said.