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UST student council hits UST alumni award given to Uson



The University of Santo Tomas Central Student Counicil opposed the UST Alumni Association Inc.’s award to Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson for her government service.

The UST CSC said Uson does not deserve the recognition given to her during the university’s Grand Alumni Homecoming.

“The UST CSC strongly denounces the UST Alumni Association Inc.’s (UST AAI) action of honoring Mocha Uson the Thomasian Award for Government Service,” the highest student council of the university said in a statement.

They described Uson “as the main purveyor of politically-motivated propaganda against known members of the government’s opposition, an avid spreader and citer of fake news.”


“Uson is also known to utilize her following to initiate blatant personal attacks against her critics and the governments, including students and members of the press, all under the guise of fake nationalism and freedom of speech,” the statement read.

“We express our dismay over this event as Mocha Uson does not, in any way, embody the ideals of a real Thomasian and with all due respect, Ms. Esther Margaux “Mocha” Justinian Uson does not deserve an award that was supposed to be meant solely for outstanding Thomasian alumni,” it added.

The student council also called for fellow Thomasians to fight fake news and expressed support for the media in their fight for their right to free press.

In her Facebook page, Uson thanked the UST AAI for giving her the award and dedicated the recognition to her mother and the “ordinary” Filipinos.

“Maraming salamat po sa UST Alumni Association sa pagbigay sa atin ng “Gawad Thomasian Alumni Government Service.” Isa po itong karangalan,” she said.

“Inaalay ko po ang award na ito sa aking ina at sa ating mga ordinaryong Pilipino!” she added.

She also told CNN Philippines she saw the award as a “great honor.”

“It is a great honor for me that my Alma Mater recognizes my efforts to fight for change in our country. If my stay in UST has taught me something, it is to fight for what I believe in, regardless of the difficult obstacles ahead,” Uson said.

Aside from Uson, other UST alumni awardees include Health Secretary Francisco Duque, Senator Joel Villanueva, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, and Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin.

The words “Mocha Uson” trended on Twitter on January 21 as the site’s users reacted to Uson’s award.

Veteran journalist Philip Lustre said it was the UST AAI that decided to grant the award to Uson, not UST itself.

“It’s the UST Alumni Association that has given an award to Mocha Uson, not UST as an institution of learning. They’re two different entities. Alumni groups are up in arms to force UST Alumni Association Inc. to recall award given to Mocha and force its officials to resign,” Lustre tweeted.

Other Twitter users, though, shared UST CSC’s view on the award.

In another Facebook post, Uson addressed her bashers on Twitter and once again, thanked the UST AAI for her award.

“Ako po ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa UST Alumni Association. At tulad nga ng sinabi nila tayo po ay patuloy na magsusumikap pagsilbihan pa ang mamayang Pilipino. Hinahangaan ko po ang inyong hindi pagkiling anoman ang political affiliation ng inyong alumnus,” she wrote.

“Para naman sa mga bashers sa twitter, ang patuloy ninyong pang babash ay patunay lang na may freedom of expression/speech sa ating bayan,” she added.

The UST publication The Varsitarian reported that the UST AAI said it did not have “specific criteria” in choosing its awardees.

Henry Tenedero, the alumni group’s president, said the awardees were also handpicked by the UST AAI from various colleges and faculties in the university.

“We never thought of giving it to [Uson] dahil siya ay controversial or not. Ang amin lang is that you’re a Thomasian graduate,” Tenedero told the Varsitarian.

[We are] hoping that this award will inspire you to live [the Thomasian core values] more in your public [service]. Whether you’re living it or not is not for us to say,” it added.

Uson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from the UST in 1998 and got in to medicine a year later. However, she stopped going to medical school in her second year to get into music.



Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

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