M5.9 earthquake hits Mindoro, shakes Metro Manila

M5.9 earthquake hits Mindoro, shakes Metro Manila

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake jolted Lubang, Occidental Mindoro at 4:23 pm on Tuesday, December 5, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

The quake’s epicenter was situated 18 kilometers northeast of Lubang, with a depth of focus reaching 60 kilometers.

The tremors were widely felt across Luzon, registering Intensity V in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro, and Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. Intensity IV was reported in several areas, including Makati, Quezon City, and Taguig in Metro Manila, Malolos City, Meycauayan City, Obando, and Plaridel in Bulacan, Floridablanca in Pampanga, San Jose in Batangas, and Tagaytay City in Cavite.

Intensity III was documented in various areas, including Caloocan and Pasig in Metro Manila, Cuenca and Talisay in Batangas, Bacoor City,and General Trias City in Cavite, Rodriguez in Rizal, and Mamburao in Occidental Mindoro. Meanwhile, Intensity II was recorded in Marikina City in Metro Manila, San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan, Gabaldon in Nueva Ecija, Lucban in Quezon, San Mateo in Rizal, and Odiongan in Romblon. Additionally, Intensity I was reported in San Fernando City in Pampanga, San Pedro City in Laguna, and Mauban in Quezon.

The earthquake on Tuesday afternoon prompted evacuations from buildings in parts of Metro Manila, as well as at the University of the Philippines’ Diliman, Manila, and Los Baños campuses.

Phivolcs, in its 4:53 pm bulletin on Tuesday, warned of expected aftershocks. As of the latest update, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has not released information on casualties or damages caused by the earthquake.

Gov’t workers to get year-end bonus, cash gift starting Nov. 15

Gov’t workers to get year-end bonus, cash gift starting Nov. 15

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced Tuesday, November 14 that government workers can expect their year-end bonus and cash gift to be credited to their payroll accounts beginning Wednesday, November 15.

Qualified government personnel shall be paid a bonus equivalent to one month basic salary as of October 31, 2023 and a cash gift amounting to P5,000, on top of allowances and other forms of compensation.

The payment of the year-end bonus and cash gift to entitled employees is subject to a couple of conditions. According to DBM Budget Circular No. 2016-4, only government employees who have “rendered at least a total or an aggregate of four months of service from January 1 to October 31 of the current year and remains to be in the government service as of October 31 of the same year” will be allowed to receive both benefits in full.

According to the DBM, all civilian and military personnel, whether regular, contractual, or casual in nature, appointive or elective, full-time or part-time,” except “those hired without employer-employee relations and funded from non-Personnel Services appropriations,” are covered by the benefits.

Meanwhile, a prorated share of both the year-end bonus and cash gift shall be granted to those who have just retired or have just been separated from government service this year before the end of October 2023. Newly hires, on the other hand, who have served less than four months of service in government shall only be entitled to a prorated share of the cash gift.

“Agencies shall be responsible for the proper implementation of the provisions of [the DBM] Circular. The responsible officers shall be held liable for any payment not in accordance with the provisions of the Circular, without prejudice to the refund by the employees concerned of any excess or unauthorized payments.”

UP still top PH HEI; three other SUCs also in QS Asia Rankings

UP still top PH HEI; three other SUCs also in QS Asia Rankings

The University of the Philippines (UP) has retained its position as the premier higher education institution (HEI) in the Philippines, according to the 2024 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asia University Rankings, released on Wednesday, November 8.

Climbing nine places from its previous spot, UP now ranks 78th out of 856 HEIs across Asia. Regionally, UP maintained its 18th position in Southeast Asia.

It remains the only Philippine university in the top 100. Catholic universities Ateneo de Manila University (137th), De La Salle University (154th), and the University of Santo Tomas (179th) also featured in the rankings, with Ateneo and UST experiencing slight drops and La Salle moving up 17 places from last year.

UP bested its national counterparts in most ranking criteria, including academic and employer reputation, citations per faculty, and international research network. UST led in international exchange scores, while La Salle excelled in faculty research publications. Ateneo, on the other hand, did not lead in any specific category. All the mentioned universities shared equal scores for faculty with Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) qualifications.

Three other state-run HEIs made it in the QS list. The Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) placed in the 551-600 bracket, followed by Mindanao State University (MSU)-Iligan Institute of Technology (701-750) and MSU (801+). Both PUP and MSU made their debut in the QS Asia Rankings this year.

Other Philippine universities such as Adamson University (551-600), University of San Carlos (551-600), Mapua University (601-650), Silliman University (601-650), Ateneo de Davao University (651-700), Far Eastern University (701-750), Saint Louis University (751-800), and Lyceum of the Philippines University (801+) were included in the 2023 rankings.

China’s Peking University remained as Asia’s top school for the second straight year, with the National University of Singapore and Tsinghua University trailing closely.

QS uses eleven indicators to assess the top Asian HEIs, including academic and employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, international research network, and faculty with PhD, among others.

“This set of criteria, developed in consultation with regional experts and stakeholders, is designed to reflect key priorities for universities in Asia, drawing on as much available data as possible,” QS explained.

UP, media group organize forum on PH press woes

UP, media group organize forum on PH press woes

The University of the Philippines (UP) Department of Journalism (Journ), in collaboration with alternative media group AlterMidya, organized a forum discussing the challenges confronting the Philippine press, November 7.

The forum titled “Pressing Boundaries: Challenges in Journalism Amid a Shrinking Democratic Space” was held at the UP College of Mass Communication Auditorium focused on the perspective of alternative media practitioners.

UP Journ Associate Professor and Bulatlat Associate Editor Danilo Arao shared insights into the persistent culture of impunity in the Philippines, especially concerning journalists.

“Out of more than 190 countries, 12 ang nása listahan at nando’n táyo sa tinatawag na ‘Notorious 12.’ Nagsimula ang Global Impunity Index, 16 years ago… Since the first time na in-establish ito ng Committee to Protect Journalists, nandoon na táyo, noon pa man,” Arao said.

(Out of more than 190 countries, we are in the ‘Notorious 12.’ We have been on that list since the Global Impunity Index was established by the Committee to Protect Journalists 16 years ago.)

“Sa framework ng human rights violations, kinikilala rin ito ng United Nations, kahit isa lang ang human rights violation at a particular timeframe, pinapakita nito iyong pagiging malala ng estado, sapagkat hindi naprotektahan ang kahit isa lang,” he added.

(In the context of human rights violations, even a single case at any given time highlights the severity of the state’s failure to protect its citizens, as recognized by the United Nations.)

The forum also featured insights from UP College of Fine Arts Professor Renan Ortiz, who shared his experiences and aspirations as a cartoonist for Pinoy Weekly. He voiced a hopeful vision for the future, expressing a desire for a more diverse and profound discourse in the field.

“Sana matupad, sana sa hinaharap maraming kartunista, sana mas maraming platporma, mas maraming uusbong na babaeng kartunista, para mas malalim na talakayan,” Ortiz said.

(I look forward to seeing more cartoonists, especially women, emerge, offering deeper discussions across various platforms.)

AlterMidya’s Avon Ang issued a call to action for the youth, encouraging the next generation of journalists to press on despite adversities.

“Sana tanggapin natin ang hámon na bílang kabataang mamamahayag, hinahamon táyo ng sitwasyon sa kabila ng pananakot at kahirapan, magpapatuloy táyo,” Ang urged.

(Let’s embrace the challenge as young journalists, to continue our work despite intimidation and hardship.)

The event concluded with a candle lighting protest in front of UP Plaridel Hall. Media workers and students gathered to demand justice for journalists killed in the Gaza Strip, symbolizing their solidarity and commitment to press freedom.

UP History discusses Martial Law in lecture series

UP History discusses Martial Law in lecture series

Marking the 51st anniversary of the Martial Law declaration, the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Department of History presented lectures on 25 September, delving into the Marcos regime’s policies.

UP History Assistant Professor Micah Jeiel Perez discussed “Project Gintong Alay,” a Marcos-era initiative from 1978 to 1982 aimed at recruiting and training athletes.

Perez mentioned that the press critiqued Philippine sports for its lack of funding, facilities, and equipment, but added, “None of them criticized Marcos. Parang lahat na lang, criticized nila puwera si Marcos.”

(None of them criticized Marcos. Many faced criticism, yet Marcos himself seemed exempted.)

In another segment, UP History Instructor Aaron Viernes shared research on human rights violations in Samar during Martial Law.

“Bakit ko ginawa iyong pananaliksik hinggil sa human rights violations, particularly sa killings sa Samar? Kasi, naniniwala ako na para maunawaan ng isang ordinaryong Pilipino na hindi naman nakaranas ng Batas Militar, malaman niya kung ano ba iyong nangyari in a different locality,” Viernes said.

(I pursued this research on human rights violations in Samar to help Filipinos understand the realities of different localities during that time.)

The series also featured insights from UP BA History alumnus Jess Immanuel Espina, who delved into the relationship between Australian aid and human rights abuses in the Philippines during the Martial Law era. 

Meanwhile, UP History Teaching Associate Lorenzo Jose Martinez analyzed the portrayal and implications surrounding the ceremonial conclusion of Martial Law.

UP Diliman commemorates Martial Law with protest

UP Diliman commemorates Martial Law with protest

On September 21, the sounds of protest and remembrance resonated through the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman as the campus marked 51 years since the proclamation of Martial Law by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in 1972.

The UP Diliman community came together for a one-hour event to make noise in memory of the dark era, following a memorandum from UP President Angelo Jimenez issued on September 18.

“This activity is intended to demonstrate that the University will continue to be a bulwark of academic freedom and human rights in the light of attempts at historical revisionism and red-tagging to suppress dissent,” Jimenez said in the memorandum.

Different units held several activities to join the commemoration. Traditional ethnic instruments were played on the UP College of Music lawn. UP Theater Complex and UP Diliman Information Office staff rang the Carillon bells to recall their use during the First Quarter Storm in 1971.

The activities culminated in a rally at Palma Hall and Quezon Hall where faculty, staff, and students listened to speakers who recounted the atrocities committed during the Marcos dictatorship.

In a joint statement, the UP Diliman University Student Council together with other student formations joined the entire University System in remembering the regime.

“Sa madilim na bahaging ito ng ating kasaysayan, milyon-milyong Pilipino ang nagdusa dahil sa pangingibabaw ng interes ng mga Marcos. Habang ang sambayanan ay lugmok sa kahirapan, tuloy-tuloy ang pagwaldas ng mga Marcos at ng kaniyang mga alipores sa kaban ng bayan. Niloko ng mga Marcos ang sambayanan sa kaliwa’t kanang proyektong pangkaunlaran, habang ang katotohanan ay pinapaslang, ikinukulong, at inaabuso ang malawak na hanay ng masang lumalaban para sa karapatan,” they said.

(In this dark chapter of our history, millions of Filipinos suffered because of the Marcoses. While the nation was drowning in poverty, the Marcoses and their cronies squandered the nation’s coffers. The Marcoses deceived the public with various development projects, all the while the truth was being suppressed, and a vast number of the masses fighting for their rights were being killed, imprisoned, and abused.)

“Karumal-dumal na sa kasalukuyan ay pilit binubura sa kasaysayan ang mga Pilipinong tumindig para sa demokrasya, habang ang mga Marcos ay muling nakaupo sa Malacañan gawa ng naratibong kanilang pilit na ibinaluktot,” they continued.

(It is horrific that in the present, there is a deliberate attempt to erase from history those Filipinos who stood up for democracy, while the Marcoses are once again in power in Malacañan, thanks to the narrative they have forcibly distorted.)

“Limampu’t isang taon na ang nakalilipas ngunit narito pa rin táyo. Wala pang kalahati sa termino ni Marcos, Jr. ay lalong nilugmok sa pagkakautang ang ating bansa, pinipilayan ang mga batayang sektor ng ating lipunan.”

(51 years have passed, but here we still stand. Not even halfway through Marcos Jr.’s term, our country has sunk even deeper into debt, crippling the foundational sectors of our society.)

The official social media accounts of UP units also went dark, changing their profile images to black or grayscale. They shared a special 61-minute video highlighting Martial Law events and the Marcos dictatorship’s pervasive censorship.

Meanwhile, in response to recent changes in the basic education curriculum, the UP Department of History previously condemned the Department of Education’s directive to remove the ‘Marcos’ name from ‘Marcos Dictatorship’.

They likened this revisionism to attempts to absolve figures like Adolf Hitler from historical crimes. The Department stressed the need for accuracy in teaching history.

“Ang pagbura sa pangalang ‘Marcos’ sa ‘diktadura’ ay hindi lámang magbubunga ng pagkalito sa mga mag-aaral ng kasaysayan at mamamayang Pilipinong naging saksi sa panahong ito ng ating kasaysayan. Ito ay magdudulot din ng pagkalimot sa ating nakaraan hindi lámang para sa mga bata at mag-aaral ng ating kasaysayan, kundi maging sa mag-aaral ng kasaysayan at mamamayan ng ibang bansa na naging saksi at nakapulot ng aral mula sa ating naging karanasan upang pangalagaan ang kanilang demokrasya at mga karapatang biyaya nito,” the History Department said.

(Erasing the name ‘Marcos’ from ‘dictatorship’ will not only result in confusion among history students and Filipino citizens who witnessed this period in our history. It will also cause a forgetting of our past, not just for the young and students of our history, but also for students of history and citizens of other countries who have witnessed and learned from our experience to safeguard their democracy and the rights it bestows.)

“Nais din naming ipahayag na ang pagtanggal sa pangalang ‘Marcos’ sa diktadura ay maaari ring maging lunsaran ng iba pang ‘paglilinis’ sa kasaysayan. Huwag nating ibaon sa limot ang napagtagumpayan sa EDSA People Power noong 1986. Sa pagtanggal sa pangalang ‘Marcos’ sa diktadura, mabubura sa kasaysayan at matatanggalan din ng saysay ang pagkilos sa EDSA na naging susi upang mabawi natin ang ating demokrasya.”

(We also wish to express that removing the name ‘Marcos’ from ‘dictatorship’ might also pave the way for further ‘whitewashing’ of history. Let us not forget the triumph of the EDSA People Power in 1986. By removing the name ‘Marcos’ from ‘dictatorship’, this significant movement in EDSA, which became the key to reclaiming our democracy, will be erased from history and its importance diminished.)

In 2018, former UP President Danilo Concepcion declared September 21 of every year as the UP Day of Remembrance “in honor of UP’s contributions to the fight against dictatorship and despotism.”

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