Evening of Monday, October 8, 2012, I read the most self-righteous and most egotistic editorial article I've ever read in The Varsitarian. It was very painful to read. Whip lashes burdened me as I read every paragraph to the end.


Shattered Pride
This is the first time that The Varsitarian editorial and my opinion were on opposite poles. From the issues of the ROTC program change from compulsory to elective, to the statement of Mayor Alfredo Lim that "Patriotism is dying in the motherland."; to the inconsistencies in the USTH Tower, in all of these, both The Varsitarian and myself share the same strong standpoint. It is in this case that I consider The Varsitarian the last drop of my pride as a Thomasian. That is why it is most appalling that The Varsitarian published an article that not only is againts my views, it also belittles thinking professionals simply because they chose to be firm on their views.

This is yet again another reason why I am not at all sad that I was rejected for an Instructor post in my Faculty. During my interview, I was asked that if I was asked by the students regarding these issues, would I discuss the matter in class. I initially tried to dodge the question but eventually I answered it and I still stand firm on what I said:
"I would like to promote a class where students can freely speak their sentiments and views."
Somewhere along the interview I was able to express one of the fundamental reason why I am Pro-RH Bill:
"We are a Faculty that is based on technology, and contraceptives are products of that technology. If the technology can help us with our current social problems why not use it?

If professors are suppressed to voice out their real stand on issues, then it would be like college for me all over again. When asked why UST is my last choice for law school, I always say the same thing:
"There is this culture of suppression in UST that not all are aware of. I believe that being a lawyer, you would need to sharply question anything, and that simply is not the culture there."
Well, I always thought that only applies to students but after reading the article that the UST went so far as "reminding" the Faculty members of the University's stand:
obliged to uphold and show deference to their teaching authority whenever the bishops of the Church have spoken on an issue and have taken a stand in behalf of the Church,”
There was nothing left to do but spew out my intestines to express my utmost disgust. Elk!

Reaction of a Thomasian Chemical Engineer
There was no written name of the author in the article so I'll consider this as a collective statement of the of The Varsitarian staff. I will express a five-point reaction to the article: Open-mindedness, Lap dog, Technology, Catholic Education, Attack!

Open-mindedness. One thing I learned from being a homosexual, a student-leader, and a Thomasian Chemical Engineer, you need to be open-minded; There are things that are not easily grasped when you seclude yourself into a closetted space; There are people who will have different opinions about you; There are technical problems that are not solvable unless you try a different approach. These three identities fostered my open-mindedness and it has become who I am today.

Lap Dog.When I left the University, The Varsitarian was a beast. It clutches its fangs to its prey and attacks rabidly on issues that are in line with the student population. In all essence, it was a fierce Tiger. But now, I find it sad that the publication where I banked my last drop of pride as a Thomasian became nothing but a lap dog that barks its owner's ideals and bites those who are against it. (But the last I heard, its owner disowned them. Too bad.) Allow me to remind The Varsitarian that the real owners of the publication are the students. Hence, it is a student publication. Most of the Thomasians I know, both students and alumni, are Pro-RH Bill. I did not compel them to think that, it is their own freewill and conscience that they are supporting this bill. You might want to check the pulse of your real owners before howling the University's stand simply because you believe that the students think the same.

Technology and Authority. The Varsitarian is concerned about the ill effects of the contraceptive pill. Saying that it is medically proven that the pill has dangerous effects. I would like to ask from where did they take this information because if they are reading medical articles from 19-kopong kopong, I am sure that they had read grave effects of the pill. But we are of the age that everything is on the rush for improvement. The pills of old were phased out and came an improved pill. But this is not free from some side-effects but is far less as compared to the earlier versions. Well, that's the thing about technology, there will always be a price for whatever convenience we enjoy.

When speaking of the RH Bill, don't limit yourself with the contraceptive pill. The Bill tackles more than just the pill. Sex education, condoms, among others are enveloped in the Bill. The ADLSU professors argued that the RH measure would be needed to lower maternal mortality precisely because the Philippine government not too long ago had told the United Nations that it was on track to meet the UNESCO millennium development goals by 2015, one of which was the lowering of maternal deaths.

Maternal deaths should not be solely based on cardiac problems. Moreso, the contraceptive pill alone is not the only reason for these cardiac problems. The RH Bill may increase cardiac problems for women but it will decrease pregnancy deaths, HIV/AIDS proliferation, and Teenage pregnancies. Lower three factors, and increase one. It is still a win situation.

The Varsitarian slammed the ADMU and DLSU (ADLSU) professors for supporting the RH Bill amidst the effects of the contraceptive pill. Even going as far as questioning their intelligence and authority. In their words, it is implied that the ADLSU Professors cannot simply "dismiss the medically established dangerous side effects of contraceptives" because they are not physicians.

In case you don't know, the main sponsor of the RH Bill in Congress, Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, is a Medical Doctor by profession. I am sure we will agree that she is the most suitable authority on this issue in Congress. I heard her in debates and there was never an issue regarding the pill that she successfully gave convincing statements defending it.

I think this is a case of lack of research. Whether or not this is true, it is inexcusable to react to something without counting every factors in the equation.

Catholic Education. I studied for nine years in Catholic instutuions (4 high school. 5 college. 6 years of it in UST). In my 1st years of high school and college, my religion subjects said the same thing, that God created man with freewill and conscience. Therefore, man has the privilege to use this freewill in response to his conscience's notion of good and bad or listen to this conscience in response to the knowledge and wisdom gained through one's freewill.

A part of the article really alarmed me. It is part of the Sec Gen's memo:
“to safeguard the right of the students to a solid Catholic education.”
How bout the right of the students to inquire and be answered? If the student asked, especially if its pertinent on the topic, then I believe the teacher should answer the question. There are subjects that are more subjective like Communication subjects and such. Hindering these kind of discussions would hinder the students' holistic development and also the ability to exercise their freewill and conscience.

Attack! I was not born a Catholic. First and foremost, I was born as a human being. It was only after I was baptized as an infant that I became a Catholic. With that, my first loyalty is with the Human Race and not with the Catholic Church.

But being a Thomasian and a Catholic, I believe that I am simply using my God-given freewill supporting the RH Bill. The same can be said with the ADLSU Professors. If the students and Professors of UST also have the same view as we do, then they should not be compelled to refrain from expressing their views.

It was through my Thomasian Catholic Education, that I developed my critical thinking skills and was able to grasp the reality that the only constant thing in the world is change. I had deeply thought about it and made my choice. I stand firm to my belief that the RH Bill will spark the change that is needed to sustain our country.

Since God also gave you the ability to think just like He did me, feel free to live in the Spanish Colonial years where every words uttered by the prayles are absolute, and any contrary are works of the unfaithful. You have that choice. But don't drag the whole Thomasian Community with you. Most of us are "Thinking Catholics" that act on our own freewill and conscience and does not follow the every whim of the clergy.

If having Catholic Education means losing my freewill (having my own sentiments and acting on it), then you can keep your damn education! I'd take my freewill any day over those conservative teachings!

What I find the most absurd in the article was the branding of the ADLSU Professors as cowards, intellectual pretenders, and interlopers simply because they made the stand supporting the RH Bill. This is totally uncalled for!

Cowards. In my eyes, you dogs are the ones who are cowards! You are afraid of the inevitable change and then shield yourselves by announcing that you are "Faithful to the CBCP's ideals". Bleh! Makes me sick!

Intellectual Pretenders I don't grasp the idea how intelligence is tied to being faitful to the Church. I am not faithful but people will stand to atest that I am intelligent. And I will do the same with other intelligent not faithful people that I know. Prentenders? Hell! They just made a stand to support the RH Bill! I believe this is called Pagpapakatotoo. Unlike you conservative fools who still clings to the days of old when there is obviously a need for change.

Interlopers. I read this entry from the response of The La Sallian, the student publication of DLSU, to your editorial:

"Precisely because we are members of a Catholic University, following Pope John Paul II’s encyclical letter Ex Corde Ecclesiae and its challenge to university students, we encourage our individual staff to make personal judgments that may guide them to truth. Perhaps we may make recommendations, but we would never impose on the freedom of conscience (ECE II, Art. 2, sec. 4)."

The late Pope John Paul II himself said that the Church SHOULD NOT COMPEL anyone with the Church's views. One can advise but not compel! What does your mere bishops (CBCP) and mere priests (UST) can do against the highest clergy? In case you forgot, the Pope is successor to St. Peter: the de facto leader of the Apostles. Going with the tide of your conservative point view, it's obvious that your owner's actions are against this apostolic constitution by the late Pope.

The ADLSU Professors are simply undertaking this teaching from the late Pope: expressing their freewill. Therefore, you dogs have no right to call them as interlopers. The word is more suitable for you since you are using student paid funds to express sentiments that does not belong to the majority of the Thomasian student population.

Being a medium to express one's views, you should have observed open -mindedness. Not all people will have the same view as you do. The University is run by the Dominicans, ADLSU are run by Jesuits and Christian Brothers respectively. They don't give a damn care how the Dominicans run the University so it goes to show that you have no damn care how they run their schools!

Saying sorry in my point of view is unacceptable. If you will be sorry, why publish the article in the first place? Aren't you the ones who wrote it? You know by heart its content belittles other people and in turn will hurt someone's feelings. Again, you should have been more aware and open-minded that this will affect the explicit targets of the demeaning adjectives.

But alas, it seems open-mindedness is in such short supply in Rm 105 UST Tan Yan Kee Student Center that it became more of a dog cage than a student publication office.

Final word for the Lap Dogs
If you want to see what will happen to our country, try playing the Game Virtual Villagers. Any version will do. Impregnate all the women of age at the start of the game. Then impregnate them again as soon as they give birth. Watch how your villagers die one by one because nature's resources cannot sustain them all.

If I were you, I will stop reading outdated médical articles and start helping your owners to develop a feasible and concrete plan that will render the RH Bill pointless. Let's face it, your owners had never proposed a good alternative to the RH Bill. I agree with their remark that corruption is the root of poverty in our country, but until they do a good job of enlightening every single person who runs for a position in the government, I am with the RH Bill.

Also, kindly clarify to them that their proposal of the use of Rhythm method, since its a natural method of contraception, is still in essence Contraception. It has the same objective as its alternative: stop the union of sperm and egg. Tell them to weed out what is wrong in that logic.

You and your owner should strive to sway the "Thinking Catholics" to abandon the RH Bill because you have thought of a better plan. Borrowing the words of my friend Engr. Sed:

"I have said it before and I will say it until the day I die: Give me an argument that opposes the RH Bill that is not based, in any way, shape or form, on any religious belief, and I will listen. I may or may not change my mind, depending on how good the argument is, but the mere fact that the argument is grounded in human issues and not supernatural wishes is enough to catch my attention."
I concur 100%.

The new Thomasian Identity
To become a successful student leader in UST, you will need embody the three C's of the Thomasian Identity:

Competent. Compassionate. Committed.

And in my five years as a student-leader in the University, I believe that I have acquired the Thomasian Identity. But it seems that after leaving the University for two years, the Thomasian Identity has changed. From 3 C's it has become 5C's:

Competent. Compassionate. Committed. Conservative. Close-minded.

If this is the new Thomasian Identity then I will never be called a Thomasian again. The first three I can handle, but the last two... Never! I am simply not that type of person. Changing myself to simply conform and regain the right to be called a Thomasian again, I am not that naive.

I was never the type to blindly follow whatever is told and I survived 5 years in the University with this mindset. You can keep your Title of "THOMASIAN" if this entails that I will be called Conservative and Close-minded.

Message to the ADLSU Community
I would like to sincerely apologize for these lap dogs' awful barks. I assure you that most of the students and alumni of UST do not think the same. Even I was surprised that the venerable Tiger metamorphed to a lap dog.

Anyway, if you are planning a lemonade party, I would like to come. Litsunin natin tong mga tutang to. Then turn it to a Lemonade and Thomasian Lap Dog shawarma party.