SWDB under fire for alleged ‘victim-blaming’


Updated Jan. 30, 2017; 11:45 p.m. – THE STUDENT Welfare and Development Board (SWDB) has drawn flak on social media for supposedly “victim-blaming” a College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) junior, who was allegedly sexually harassed by a fifth-year engineering student in a public transportation vehicle.

The SWDB came under fire after Geo Celestino, brother of the CFAD student, posted on Facebook on Sunday that his sister was sanctioned by the SWDB for “falsely accusing another student of wrongdoing under letter M, p. 101, of the Code of Conduct and Discipline (PPS 1027).”

Celestino said his sister posted a photograph of the engineering student on Twitter, warning netizens to be wary of harassment in UV Express vehicles.

He claimed the SWDB later ordered his sister to delete the tweet.

“Ang ginawa lang niya, nagpost ng picture, at nagtype ng 140-character caption para mas maging maingat yung mga sumasakay sa UV express … but UST’s Student Welfare and Development Board ordered the retraction of the post including the deletion of the picture itself,” Celestino’s post read.

“Tapos bigla na lang daw siya pinatawag ng UST SWD Board. Her well-meaning gesture was being questioned,” the post said, adding that the CFAD student was then charged for making a false accusation against the engineering student.

The Facebook post has gone viral. It had more than 30,400 shares, 2,900 comments and 63,900 reactions as of posting time.

Celestino admitted to breaking a promise to his sister to keep the matter private, but said he was triggered by the SWDB’s “Notice of Resolution” that required their parents’ signatures. His sister, he said, didn’t want their parents to know about it.

Comments on the Facebook post were mostly critical of UST, but some users pointed out that the supposed fault of one office should not be blamed on the entire University.

In an online interview with the Varsitarian, Celestino declined to disclose other details of the case and said his family would take legal action first.

“We believe it’s safer that we seek legal counsel first before agreeing to any interview,” he said.

Angelica Guazon, secretary to the SWDB director, said the office would release a statement soon but stressed that the board followed standard operating procedures.

CFAD Dean Mary Christie Que for her part said she could not comment on the issue and would wait for the University administration’s statement.

Central Student Council President Janela Nartates said they were conducting an investigation into the case and would keep all details private.

Militant youth group Anakbayan-UST hit UST, railing against “patriarchy” and “imperialism” and raising other issues such as tuition increases and the University’s supposed “lethargy” toward national issues.

University-wide political party Lakasdiwa urged students to “take a firm stance against all forms of oppression” and “not just protect their own welfare but of others as well.”


  1. Social media truly has given a voice to those who otherwise would have been silenced before. It is good that traditional outlets of information such as the Varsitarian lives up to its mandate to bring to light cases such as this.

    The official reasoning of the SWDB should be made available for all to see.


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