AFTER the typhoon Maring and Habagat devastated most parts of Metro Manila, the Thomasian spirit made its presence felt through the form of relief goods and camaraderie.

The Central Student Council (CSC), Simbahayan Community Development Office (SCDO) and the Student Organizations’ Coordinating Council (SOCC) extended help to the University’s partner-communities devastated by the recent calamity in a relief effort called “Tulong Tomasino.”

It gathered more than 500 bags of relief goods containing canned food, bottled water, toiletries and clothes. The goods were distributed to communities at Brgy. Kasaganahan in Rodriguez, Rizal and Brgy. Silanganan, Quezon City last Aug. 23.

The University has been helping these communities for three years. Simbahayan has 29 partner-communities in Tondo, Rizal, Tarlac, Bulacan, Cavite, Caloocan, Navotas, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Batangas and Binondo, Manila.

Cash and relief goods distributed came from donations extended by Thomasians. “Puro for volunteer talaga ‘to at talagang galing sa mga Thomasians lahat ng mga nagastos at pinamigay namin,” Central Student Council (CSC) President Miyuki Morishita said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

During the onslaught of monsoon rains, the campus was shut down for four days but continuous coordination through social media and text messages made it possible for walk-in volunteers to help in distributing goods outside UST.

“It’s very overwhelming. Sinasabi nga nila na despite all odds, Thomasians will find a way to come and help. Sa pagkatagal-tagal ng baha, hindi tumigil ‘yung mga nagte-text na willing silang pumunta. Mas maraming walk-in volunteers,” Morishita said.

‘Autonomy’ draws ire

Morishita and the rest of CSC staff were criticized by the Thomasian community on Twitter last Aug. 20 following the delayed announcement of class suspensions, even after Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada had cancelled classes city-wide.

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This was supposedly because UST is an autonomous educational institution.

Council officials could not trace how the use of the term “autonomous” started in Twitter conversations in relation to the suspension of classes, Morishita said.

The CSC is planning to release an official clarification.

“Coming from the College of Education, I know what it means to be an autonomous educational education, meaning, we are independent in deciding what to teach, who to teach and how [these] public matters will be discussed to the students. But being autonomous does not remove the right of the government to mandate [to] us when it comes to suspension,” Morishita said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

Morishita explained that the council had to wait for the announcement of Secretary General Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P.

“It’s only rightful na maghintay din tayo ng statement para standardized, na hindi lang basta narinig o nasabi. Ang gusto namin ‘pag binigay ‘yung impormasyon, sigurado at talagang nanggaling sa kung kanino talaga dapat manggaling,” Morishita said in an interview. Jon Christoffer R. Obice


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