A PASKUHAN for a cause.

The University has decided to donate part of the budget allocated for the Paskuhan celebration this Dec. 20 to provinces in the Visayas devastated by Super Typhoon “Yolanda.”

The program has been scaled down as a result. The traditional fireworks display, which lasts from 10 to 12 minutes, was said to have been scrapped. Instead of a full meal, street food will be served during agape. The concert will feature UST-based bands. Income from sponsors’ booths will also be given to typhoon victims.

“‘Yung ginagastos nating hundreds of thousands for the fireworks, ire-redirect na lang natin siya sa operations for Yolanda victims,” Central Student Council (CSC) President Romulo Gabriel Kintanar said in an interview.

“Ang food na ibibigay is [like that of 15 years ago] kikiam, kwek kwek, fish ball, popcorn na may kulay, street food,” Kintanar added. “For the concert proper, we could not spend that much, so the plan was [to hire] local artists.”

Savings will be used for the rehabilitation of devastated communities, which will require more funds. Donations will be given to the provinces of Capiz, Aklan, and Dominican institutions in the Visayas.

“Tinutuloy pa rin natin ‘yung relief operations [but] we will need more money for rehabilitation and sustainability projects, which means that we will be rebuilding infrastructure that were destroyed,” Kintanar said.

The cancellation of the annual Paskuhan fireworks display will serve as a sign of empathy of the Thomasian community to typhoon victims.

“[It is] to show that we are one with the mourning and the grief that other people are feeling,” Kintanar said.

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“We will be offering a moment of prayer for those affected, for those who lost their family members,” he said.

CSC, together with the Student Organizations’ Coordinating Council, the Central Board, and the Office for Student Affairs, is still working to get sponsorships to be able to provide more “surprises” for this Paskuhan.

With or without a fireworks display, this year’s Paskuhan will still be special and meaningful, Kintanar said.

“Whether may fireworks o wala, it would still be a memorable Paskuhan kasi we know all the proceeds or whatever we’re supposed to spend were given for a purpose,” he said. Lord Bien G. Lelay

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