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News Archieve:

:: Jan-Feb 2001
:: May-June 2001
:: July-Aug 2001
::
Sept-Oct 2001
::
Nov-Dec 2001








 

January-February 2002 Issue  

Headlines | Campus Events | Alumni Affairs | Rectors Standpoint | Sports News
Perspectives | Editorial | Featured News | Campus Personalities

 
Headlines

Letran acts on High School Frat Case

Letran recently issued a decision on the involvement of twenty nine (29) high school students in fraternities.  An agreement was signed by the students and parents that the former will be subjected to suspension until February 18, 2002.   A schedule of make-up classes was designed by the High School department for the suspended students. 

Of the 29 students, Emerson Chester Kim Go, represented by his parents and lawyers, filed a P3-M damage suit against the Colegio and some key persons led by Fr. Lao, Fr. Rhommel Hernandez, Prefect of Discipline; Albert Rosarda, Asst. Prefect of Discipline; Ma. Teresa Suratos, High School Principal; Victoria Ramos, class adviser;  and Vilma Lizada, Rector’s Secretary for allegedly dismissing him from the rolls. 

In his appeal, Go claimed that he was never a fraternity member and he was dismissed by the school without due process. 

In mid-October, Mr. George Isleta, the head of the Auxiliary Department (which handles among others Security Services) received a note informing him of a mass recruitment of TAU GAMMA and SRB in the High School Department plus a list of names of students in the high school allegedly involved. Mr. Isleta recommended that these boys undergo physical examination in the school clinic. The boys voluntarily submitted themselves to the physical examination and some of them were found to have discolorations in the thigh area indicative of physical trauma probably experienced some three weeks before.

The list was turned-over to the High School Department and investigations were conducted by Mr. Albert Rosarda, assistant prefect and Fr. Rhommel Hernandez, O.P., prefect of discipline. The students were asked to submit written statements regarding their alleged fraternity membership so that their side may be heard in the spirit of fairness and due process. From their written statements more names came up. More investigations took place and the parents of each of the involved students were called for individual conferences. During the conferences the parents were informed of the extent of involvement of their sons and of the possible sanctions that the school would make.

After much deliberation and consideration of the evidence on hand, the decision of the Prefect of Discipline, which is recommendatory in nature, was to dismiss the students who were proven to be involved but with the advice that individually they can appeal the case to the Father Rector.

The Father Rector then convened his Rector’s Council which is composed of the Vice-Rector, the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, the Vice-Rector for Financial Affairs and the Vice-Rector for Religious Affairs and came up with a decision to reduce the students’ dismissal (as stipulated in the students’ handbook) to suspension until the end of the third grading period.  They will be allowed to attend make-up classes to cope with the lessons missed due to suspension.

Last February 5, Caloocan City trial court Judge Antonio Fineza Jr. issued an order to grant Go’s appeal for preliminary mandatory injunction, immediately  reinstating him to his classes since barely two months are left for school year 2001-2002.

In his message to the community on the February convocation, Fr. Lao said, “Fraternities with their violent hazing practices are contrary to the Letran ideals.  Acts of violence do not make a man much more a gentleman out of him.”  He emphasized that the school has prevented untoward accidents from happening because of its policy of giving recognition to fraternities so that their activities are monitored and supervised.  Fr. Rector ended his speech with “….that is why violent hazing in fraternities and Letran ideals, like oil and water, do not mix..”

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Intramuros Consortium Formed
Mr. Rey Reyes

Last November 20, 2001, the heads of Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Lyceum of the Philippines, Mapua Institute of Technology and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, along with their various department heads, sat down over lunch and signed an agreement of academic cooperation among the four schools. On that day, the Intramuros Consortium formally came into existence. The luncheon meeting was held at Barbara’s Restaurant just across San Agustin Church.

The idea of forming a consortium of the different schools in Intramuros was sounded off during an earlier meeting last September 14 at Casino Español hosted by Lyceum.Present during the initial meeting were Atty. Roberto P. Laurel and Prof. Leonida T. Africa of Lyceum, Dr. Benjamin G. Tayabas of PLM, Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea of Mapua and Mr. Rey Reyes representing Fr. Edwin A. Lao, O.P. for Letran. The meeting was held to simply identify areas where cooperation would be mutually beneficial to all schools involved. Among the issues already identified at that stage were the possibility of a common advocacy towards the limits imposed by the Intramuros Administration on the construction of buildings. Areas of cooperation in common concerns such as security, cross-enrollment and the sharing of library resources were also explored. Another meeting was held a month later at the office of Dr. Tayabas of PLM where the contents of the draft agreement was discussed.

Finally, the Agreement of Academic Cooperation was signed on November 20. In particular, the members of the Consortium agreed to pursue the following forms of cooperation:

1. Cooperation and sharing of information on concerns such as institutional, academic and administrative development including matters relating to faculty loading, procurement, taxes, advocacy and the like.

2. Possible sharing of materials and methods for degree program development and evaluation.

3. Cooperative development of instructional and library facilities, research and publications.

4. Coordination in measures involving security, outreach and environmental concerns, student development and welfare.

5. Coordination on such other concerns that may arise from time to time.

Since the agreement was signed, the various committees made up of department heads from the member schools have already been meeting. The library group is working on terms that will enable students from the member schools to make use of library resources. The group made up of the different vice presidents for academic affairs is spelling out working agreements on the sharing of information about faculty loading while taking precautions against the possible invasion of privacy of the faculty member concerned. The group made up of the heads of the different research offices is identifying the level of research capabilities of the various member schools. The group made up of the different registrars is working on areas of cooperation in the implementation of the newly enacted National Service Training Law, and measures that will allow students to easily cross enroll from one school to another. In addition, there is also a group made up of people in charge of the various schools’ extension services.

The various groups will be presenting their reports to the central committee made up of school heads during its next meeting this month to be held here at the Colegio. 

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News Briefs

Letran received a certificate of Appreciation from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for its participation in the activities of the National Atrs Month 2002. The awarding was held during the cocktails on February 12, 2002 at the NCCA Auditorium.

* * * * * * * *  * * * * *

Letran is sending Fr. Orlando Aceron, O.P, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, Mr. Rey Reyes, Executive Assistant and Registrar, Ms. Eloisa Labrador, Head R & D, Mr. Ronald Dugang, Acting Head Extension Services, Mrs. Ofelia Legaspi, Acting Head, External Affairs, Dean Myrna Torreliza of CLAS and Dean Nancy Eleria of CBAA and the Graduate School to the 4th DOMNET National Congress to be held at UST on February 22 and 23, 2002. The gathering is dubbed "DOMNET after September 11: Impact on Education."

* * * * * * * *  * * * * *

In a unanimous show of solidarity the Letran Alumni Association Inc. during its regular monthly meeting held last February 12, 2002, drafted a resolution supporting the school’s stand on fraternities.

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Campus Events

Two Big Collegiate Fraternities Join Forces

The Fraternal Order of Knights (FROKS) and Triskelion Grand Fraternity (TAU GAMMA PHI) have recently launched their newly formed alliance to champion the cause of Letranites. 

It was a welcome surprise for the entire Letran community. February 11 - 12 marked the official birth of the Tau Gamma Phi - Froks brotherhood via KAPWA LETRANISTA: FROKS AT TAU GAMMA,  a two-day affair, which was staged at the St. Thomas Building and Letran Grounds of the Colegio. 

The joint project was ushered in by a seminar workshop on “Commitment of Change -- Oriented Fraternities” with Psychologist Ricardo Garcia, an alumnus of Letran, as key resource person. Day 2 of the celebration was even more exciting with the opening of the friendship games, the basketball and volleyball for men and women, respectively. These games were participated in by the members of the two recognized fraternities of the Colegio. The ceremonial toss was done by the Head of the Student Services Office, Mr. Isagani Lazaro and the Administrative Assistant of the College of Business Administration and Accountancy (CBAA),  Mr. Remigio Tiambeng, together with the organizations’ presidents, Mr. Cesar Paulo Zagala of TAU GAMM PHI and Mr. Mark Crisostomo of FROKS.

The joint project is being viewed as a vehicle that will open up the minds and hearts of the members of FROKS and TAU GAMMA PHI to a deeper meaning of brotherhood. Community members have been very hopeful that this joint project of the two fraternity groups will mark the end of hostilities between FROKS and TAU GAMMA PHI, leaving the not so good memories of the previous encounters as remnants of history.

FROKS has been a recognized student organization in Letran for some years already, while TAU GAMMA PHI earned recognition just recently. The  plan to bring together the two fraternities was initiated by TAU GAMMA PHI adviser, Mr. Arnel Villamin and  FROKS adviser, Mr. Melvin Lebria.

“. . . . if it would mean this much to prove to them that we are not enemies but friends, then we will spend this much. After all, we are one in blood, DUGONG ARRIBA, committed to a quality formation of an integral human person and become dynamic builders and leaders of communities.”, says Mr. Villamin in his opening remarks during the two-day festivities. KJH

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Grade School Intramurals 2002 blast off
By Estelita Vinluan

The 2001-2002 Intramural Opening Ceremonies was set off last February 5 to mark the start of the intramural festivities among the different class teams and grade levels.  Classes have formed themselves into teams with their class advisers as the head coaches. The different grade level teams showed their cheering exhibitions and field demonstrations which highlighted the ceremonies. The parade of participating teams with their muses and coaches added glitter to the activity. The opening ceremonies displayed the students’ talent in cheering exhibitions performed by each grade level with their signature yells, cheers, and field demonstrations. Master James Kenneth B. Giron lighted the symbolic torch and the recitation of the Oath of sportsmanship was led by Master Ronald G. Cuerdo. Reverend Fr. Edgardo Alaurin, O.P. Athletics Moderator of the Colegio delivered the inspirational talk and led the ceremonial toss assisted by Ms. Angelita M. de los Reyes, Principal and Mr. Mansueto Elopre, Administrative Assistant.

The ceremonial toss formally opened the Intramural Season, which emphasized maximum participation of the pupils and provided a healthy competition among team members themselves.

Yabut Made it to the LG Monthly Finals
By Mrs. Ma. Victoria S. Tolero

Jed Yabut, a junior high school student of class 319, joined the LG Weekly Quiz contest and made it in the monthly finals.

The taping of the contest was held last January 9, 2002 at La Salle Zobel in Alabang. Mrs. Cecille Sanidad, the High School Guidance Counselor, selected friends of Jed, and 319 students went with Jed to his match. Mrs. Ma. Victoria Tolero, a High School teacher, was the coach of Jed.

It was a tough yet challenging day for Yabut because he competed against the Novaliches High School, Stella Maris School and Paranaque National High School. After a long struggle, Yabut garnered a total of 400 points, a second to a perfect score, and was finally declared the winner.

A prize money worth P 12,000 and a 21-inch T.V. for Letran were awarded to Yabut.

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Employees’ Awards Night
By Ma. Ruth S. Que

On February 22, 2002, the Colegio will honor the employees who have rendered at least five years of service to the school. The awarding ceremony will be held at the Patio Victoria, Intramuros. This is the Colegios’ way of honoring and appreciating the invaluable support of its employees, who in one way or another have helped achieve the goals, the mission and vision of Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Each of them will receive a plaque, gift and cash.

Five Years Awardees                   

1)         Suarez, Sarah Cordero
2)         Aserios, Jocelyn Delgado
3)         Mercado, Mhyla Santulan
4)         Enriquez, Rebecca Quiambao
5)         Maduli, Nympha Cancino 
6)         Labrador, Eloisa Rosario 
7)         Beronio, Michelle James  
8)         Roxas, Richard Ampil   
9)         Umali, Andrew Bruce Kamatoy          
10)       Alecha, Romeo Manalo  
11)       Mercado, Jessie Mendoza           
12)       Gallo, Jimmy Jomento  
13)       Vargas, Irene May Javier           
14)       Obed, Julita Pascua     
15)       Abardo, Prescilia Casido 
16)       Baring, Rito Villora        
17)       Diaz, Rhodora Reyes 
18)       Epoc, Ferdinand Jasareno           

19)       Glifonea, Ronald Regencia           
20)       Legaspi, Larry Cruz        
21)       Asuncion, Dr. Emmanuel Cortes  
22)       Marcelo, Sheila Marie Manuel  
23)       Chioa, Davy Tan          
24)       Cuenca, Albeth Bautista  
25)       Perez, Norelyn Cajayon           
26)       Tanutan, Leda Reyes      
27)       Ramos, Marilen Mintu    
28)       Dalde, Felipe Baldomar
29)       Egaña, Gemma Pascasio           
30)       Torres, Enrico Villanueva        
31)       Torres, Jay Albert Epistola
32)       Sanidad, Ma. Cecilia Ortega  
33)       Tabing, Ameliza Flores  
34)       Rotaquio, Ruben Jr. Dagondon          
35)       Catalig, Marionne Palad

Ten Years Awardees       

1)         Landicho, Ester Castromero       
2)         Garino, Edgar Ignacio    
3)         Arguelles, Lucena Azucena            
4)         Cabrera, Pablo Amonoy  
5)         Tabinas, Elvira Molo        
6)         Basaysay, Nestor Dizon  
7)         Eco, Celestino Cabarse           
8)         Bieren, Jenny de la Cruz           
9)         Baldevia, Gladys Tayo   
10)       Lorenzo, Agnes Pasusani            
11)       Talavera, Marilou Golpe 
12)       Valero, Armando Sr. Bergino
13)       Morados, Judito Momo
                           

Fifteen Years Awardee          

1)         Recillo, Romeo Medalla                         

Twenty Years Awardees       

1)        Lechuga, Feliciana Santiago            
2)        Laisa, Corazon Bautista
                        

Twenty-Five Years Awardees       

1)         Suratos, Cesar Peralta 
2)         Suratos, Ma. Teresa Reyes  
3)         Pamintuan, Ofelia Leuterio 
4)         Alias, Edna Catindig
               

Thirty Years Awardee          
1)         Lizada, Vilma Ladines
                       

60 Years Old   
1)         Lim, Veronica Carino

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Orientation On Community Development Held
By Ramon M. Marticio
        

The Faculty Orientation on Community Development, organized by The Office of Extension Services, was held last January 29, 2002 at the Student Center Auditorium, SC Building. 

The meeting was attended by faculty members both of the CBAA and CLASE. The orientation aims to make the faculty members aware that the Colegio is serious in its commitment to community development. 

Fr. Hermel Pama, O.P., the Colegio’s Vice-Rector delivered the welcome remarks while Mr. Ronald Dugang, Acting Head of the Extension Services Office talked about the Colegio’s program on community development. Likewise, Mr. Dugang invited and encouraged the Collegiate Faculty to support and be involved with these endeavor founded on the Colegio’s vision-mission. 

Mr. Ron Angeles, a theology instructor presented a profile on one of the adopted communities of the Colegio which is the Barangay 399, Zone 4, District 4 in Sampaloc, Manila. Dr. Myrna Torreliza, dean of the CLAS delivered the closing remarks in behalf of the Father Rector.

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Mathematics Area Conducts Math Quiz Bee
By Ma. Ruth S. Que
 

In the recently concluded Math Quiz Bee held last Jan. 25, at the Mabini Hall, the Accountancy students took the center stage. The first place went to Arlene Jocson of ACIA under Mr. Enrico Torres.           

The competition was participated in by more than 30 students from different courses. It was by far the biggest in terms of the number of contestants registered.  

Activities such as this aimed to promote academic excellence among the students. 

Carlos Palanca Awardee  Lectures on Teaching Strategies
By Ma. Ruth S. Que

The Natural Sciences and the Mathematics Area spearheaded a lecture-forum last January 31 at the Mabini Hall. The participants of the said activity were the faculty members of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dr. Lakangiting Garcia, a prolific writer and an outstanding professor from De La Salle University shared his thoughts and principles in teaching. His achievements as a professor and writer inspired the CLAS faculty once more to assess and enhance their practices and strategies in the classroom.

Garcia shared that teachers must be able to carry themselves well in the classroom, be careful with their words and be able to listen and feel what the students want to say or need.    

Among the areas he mastered, he was able to come up with principles on Motivation, Interest, Individuality,  Direct Exposure, Activity, Socialization, Integration and Affection.

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Letran Bags 2nd Place in BMAP National Quiz Bee
By. Alminda A. Dacoco

Letran makes another win in the recently concluded 2nd BMAP (Business Management Association of the Philippines) National Quiz Bee bagging the 2nd Place award. The contest was held last February 9,2002 at St. Paul’s College, Manila represented by Michael A. Rosario, Earl James C. Aquino and Christian Roi Enares (alternate), all senior management students (MG4C). Our representatives competed against other 13 colleges and universities among which are Far Eastern University (FEU), St. Scholastica’s College,St. Paul’s College, QC, Adamson University, University of the East (UE), Dominican College, Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng Maynila (PLM), Centro Escolar University (CEU) and La Consolacion. The team was coached by Managementfaculty members Menandro Espiritu and Alminda Dacoco.

The match consisted of two rounds with easy, average and difficult categories in the elimination round while the final round went to the top five (5) teams hurdling 25 questions from the following subjects: Principles of Management, Human Resource Management, Marketing Management, Financial Management and Strategic Management.

The initial round was a stiff start for Letran with the competing schools while our contestant made a swooping recovery finishing in the final round with a total of 85 points after FEU with 125 points at the 1st Place. Other finalists were College of the Holy Spirit (3rd Place) Adamson University, and St. Paul’s College, Manila. The winning contestant were awarded with trophies for their respective schools and a medal for each.


New Curriculum for Elementary and High School Students
By Mr. Ramon Marticio

Effective school year 2002-2003, a new basic curriculum for both the elementary and high school students will be implemented according to Secretary Raul Roco of the Department of Education, Culture andSports (DECS).

Elementary and high School students will no longer take the following subjects such as Social Studies Home Economics and Practical Arts. Instead these subjects will be integrated in just one discipline called "MAKABAYAN".

Although this move by the DECS faced with some resistance from the teachers, school officials, parents, students and concerned groups, Sec Roco disclosed that the change in the system of teachings already incorporated into the New 2002 Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) ready to be implemented this coming June. He also added that the new course has already been implemented by some private schools nationwide.

He further explained that under the new curriculum, "basic tool" subjects like English, Mathematics, Science and Filipino would be given one (1) hour in every 7-hour school days. The human development courses under "MAKABAYAN would be given three hours daily.

Among the subjects that will be scrapped from the elementary school curriculum and integrated into the new field of study are Social Studies, Technology, Home Economics and Practical Arts; Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health; Geography, history , Civics, Culture and Values Education.

Thus, under the new system, there will be five (5) learning disciplines namely; English, Mathematics, Science, Filipino and MAKABAYAN.

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Job Fair
Ma. Nancy T. Balasan

About 211 graduating students, as well as undergraduates and graduates students graced this year’s Job Fair which was held at St. Thomas Building last February 7 - 8, 2002. This affair is one of the activities spearheaded by the Office of the Student Services headed by Mr. Isagani Lazaro. The Job Fair is in compliance to the main objective of preparing a decent employment to the Colegio’s alumni.

According to Ms. Naizel Tamayo, OSS staff, compared to last year, there was a decrease of fifty percent (50%) in the number of companies that participated in the affair. This year, only thirty six firms were enlisted. Furthermore, she stated that the number of participating companies is an indication of the economic problems besetting the country as a whole. Cost cutting, freeze hiring, restructuring are just some of the measures that companies are implementing in order to somehow cipe with the situation.

Among the companies participated in this year’s Job Fair are Asia Brewery, Megaworld Corporation and Robinson’s Land Corporation.

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Alumni Affairs

In Memory of BARON CERVANTES

Last January 26,2002 a requiem mass was held in memory of Alumnus Baron Alexander Cervantes in the Colegio’s Chapel. Rev. Fr. Edwin A. Lao, O.P., Rector and President celebrated the mass. The late Baron belonged to High School Class ’82 and College Batch ’86. In attendance were Pastor Boy Saycon of COPA, Mr. Dante Jimenez of VACC, Mary "Rosebud" Ong, Atty. Leonard de Vera of Equal Justice, Col. Julian Malonso, Mr. Charlie Yu, Mr. William Uy, Mr. Armin Sarthou, LAA President, Mr. Mario Alberto Aligada, LAA Secretary, Lt. Col. Rodolfo Canu, faculty members, ROTC Cadets and the Cervantes family headed by Mr. And Mrs. Rac Cervantes. Former Vice-President Salvador Lurel sent a tribute which was read during the sharing. Others who paid tribute to Baron were Mr. Saycon, Atty. De Vera, Ms. Ong and Mr. Jimenez. A reception hosted by Mr. William Uy and Mr. Charlie Yu was held at the Student Center.

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Rector's Standpoint

rector.jpg (2207 bytes)

Email me here: rector@letran.edu

DECS Order No. 20 s. 1991 bans fraternities and sororities, especially in the elementary and high school levels. Yet despite all these, we have the celebrated cases of Lenny Villa of Ateneo, Vicente Cirio of PMI, Mark Roland Martin of UP and Seth Lopez of De la Salle. What do they have in common? They are all victims of violent fraternity hazing. It is as if the schools become a venue of promoting a culture of violence.

This is today’s dilemma for all schools. Fraternities and sororities are the "in" thing. Hazing, as their rite of initiation, sometimes becomes violent resulting in death.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran, in its four centuries of existence is now faced with the same problem of fraternities. The more you suppress them, the more they go underground. Recognition of their status as a student organization seems the only way so that their activities can be scrutinized and supervised.

This recognition has proven to be a boon for Letran. Unusual happenings are monitored so that the students’ safety is assured.

Letran has prevented many untoward accidents from happening because of this policy. Suspected hazings are investigated, apparent neophytes are given medical check-ups to find out if violence was committed on their person, parents are notified in writing, individual conferences are held and the students are given a chance to explain their side, also in writing.

Most times in the secondary level, the Prefect of Discipline and his assistant would give
the sanction of dismissal only rather than expulsion which is more harsh as it bans students from admission in other schools thus destroying their future.

The right to appeal is inherent in the whole process of disciplinary action in Letran. The court of last resort in the Colegio, the Father Rector and President is foremost a priest and only secondary a school administrator. His pastoral orientation gives him the shepherding instinct so that a boy’s future has more weight for him than the burden of sanctions for infraction of regulations. Thus, justice and equity is practiced and compassion becomes a hallmark of the Dominican brand of discipline.

Letran is a Dominican school where Dominican spirituality prevails. Its symbol is the knight who reaches his goal because of discipline and a strict training in the refinements of gallantry and brotherhood.

Fraternities with their violent hazing practices are contrary to the Letran ideals of DEUS, PATRIA, LETRAN—God, Country and Letran. Acts of violence do not make a man, much more create a gentleman out of him. The bond that gives rise to real brotherhood is not achieved through how much physical pain the neophyte can endure but through a culture of love and respect and self-sacrifice so that others may live and grow.

This is the Letran "animo"—the spirit that gave our country four presidents: Aguinaldo, Quezon,

Osmeña and Laurel and 80% of the heroes of the Philippine Revolution: Apolinario Mabini, Gregorio del Pilar, Artemio Ricarte and many others. Today the Letran "animo" lives on in EDSA II in the likes of Chavit Singson, Leonard de Vera and Pastor Saycon. It animates leaders in business and industry like Francisco Eizmendi, Jr. and Vicente Ayllon, and big names in the arts like the late Rolando Tinio. Letran even has a saint among its graduates, St. Vicente Liem de la Paz.

Letran is proud of them. They typify the kind of Letranite that is formed to be leaders of tomorrow. They are products of Dominican spirituality and discipline.

That is why violent hazing in fraternities and Letran ideals, like oil and water, do not mix.

Arriba Letran!

(This article was published in Manila Bulletin on February 7, 2002 and in Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 10, 2002.)

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Sports News


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Perspectives

Sleepless in Letran
By Jing Mable

Sleep comes late and restless these days to the rectory of Letran. And no less than Fr. Edwin Lao, Rector & President of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, one of the oldest and the most distinguished of all prestigious Catholic schools in the country, is being victimized by this nocturnal malaise.

Who wouldn’t be with a sword of Damocles hanging precariously over his head and those of his staff, all charged by one high school senior student, suspended for alleged violation of a DECS order declaring membership of elementary and high school students as subject to dismissal from the rolls, with grave abuse of authority.

Going by Fr. Edwin’s record of controversial encounters since he took over the reigns of the school, it would seem as if the old dragon at Letran is finally losing his iron grip on things. Why else would Fr. Lao, a veteran of school intramurals, succumb to such nocturnal turmoil over another lawsuit? Fr. Edwin, many Letranites would fondly recall, has gone through, undaunted although admittedly greatly mellowed down, a gamut of student protests, hate mail from parents and employees, vituperation, and faculty mutiny from the time he sat on the treasurer’s chair in 1989 until recently when he finally succeeded in restoring the shine on the Letranite’s armor.

Letran in the Seventies

Letran, it can be recalled, was submerged in a financial morass in the late sixties when the administration of the school was turned over by the Spanish Dominicans to their Filipino counterparts. Without the vast assets that used to shore up the traditional mandate of the school, that is to send to school as many poor and deserving students as it can muster, the Filipino Dominicans were then hard put to keep alive the spirit of charity.

To make matters worse, Letran Manila had to subsidize the newly opened campus in Laguna. That the Laguna campus eventually became self-sufficient proves the wisdom of the early Filipino Dominican administrators in subsidizing it against all odds. Today, Letran Laguna Campus enjoys the unquestionable distinction of having pioneered Catholic education in Southern Tagalog, thus providing the Southern Tagalogs with quality education and its burgeoning industrial sector a constant supply of competent professionals. That Letran - Laguna Campus has contributed greatly to the phenomenal and sustainable growth of the CALABARZON industrial corridor cannot be contested.

Unfortunately, problems that hounded the newly emancipated Filipino Dominicans were by no means only financial in nature. The late sixties and seventies were characterized by a rebellious and restive studentry and a highly charged political and social atmosphere. While the phenomenon was global, the Filipino youth of the seventies was further challenged and threatened by the imposition of martial law, resulting in the general decline in respect for the establishment. Things started to deteriorate at a faster rate, and schools like Letran were not exempt, when the national economy started its slide into a depression.

Enter the Dragon

It was in the aftermath of such social, political, and economic upheaval, reflected in a microcosm in Letran, that Fr. Edwin took over. A Chinoy, Fr. Edwin was thought of by colleagues as the man of the moment. The expectations were great that Fr. Edwin, having been brought up in the Chinese way of conducting family business, would have the acumen to hurdle Letran over the financial straits.

That the choice is providential has been proven by the slow but steady transformation of Letran-Manila from a hobbled old man entering the Age of Aquarius to a revitalized Knight clad in an armor shining like new.

Today, Letran Manila has grown into a complex of buildings that houses an all-time high of 5,000 students from elementary up to graduate school level. While it continues to hold on to the old values of truth, patriotism, and spirituality, its curriculum offers a wider range of courses that can well equip today’s Filipino youth to excel in a career of his choice. From the traditional business courses that put many alumni in a good stead, today’s Letranite can now compete in the newer fields of mass communications and information technology.

Split Image

But glorious as his laurels may seem now over the decade, Fr. Edwin, to his chargin, is not to be allowed to rest on them. Confronting him now in court is a split image of himself. A Chinoy, who, like him, is a scion of Chinese businessmen; yet, who, to a disturbing degree, is quite unlike him. The tenacity, ruthlessness, and racial pride typical of the Chinese are there. But argues Fr. Edwin, "not withstanding the reputation for cleverness in business the Chinese in this country may have, I was brought up to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, especially in front of my parents." That Fr. Edwin’s

nemesis in the high school department, more sure of his place in society being well funded and now influential, could deny before his parents what he has admitted to be true to teachers and what his classmates know to be true, is something that has been keeping Fr. Edwin from his sleep.

How Chinoy values have changed with changed circumstances is foremost in Fr. Edwin’s mind. Over the past few decades, more and more Chinoy’s, particularly those from the more affluent families, are getting out their ghettos and getting themselves enrolled in many of the prestigious Catholic School in the country favored by the Malay and Hispanic families.

No Victim Yet

Can one child, cloaked in the riches and power of his parents, totally upset the carefully upheld values for which Letranites are known to have fought for even in the face of death? Can Fr. Edwin, having put back, slowly and painfully, Letranite education at par with any school in the country, allow one child to make a mockery of his lifetime accomplishments? Will the word of one child as against the admission and testimony of absence of legally acceptable evidences of complicity? Can a lie send to death a 381- year old knight that is the Colegio de San Juan de Letran?

When the fight is the word of a child against those of school administrators, the chance of victory for schools crusading against the pernicious influence of fraternities and cliques before the bar of man’s court seem to be very dim indeed. And this is Fr. Edwin’s lament. But his fear is more real. With most of the tormentors of Lenny Villa, the murdered victim of the Aquila Legis fraternity of another prestigous Catholic school, off the hook as recently pronounced in court, the chance of fraternities evading society’s sanctions get brighter. To what great heights of tragedy for unknowing parents, and the country as a whole this immoral turn of events will lead to should be keeping not only Fr. Edwin from sleep but also all educators and school administrators. Fr. Edwin’s dilemma is every educator’s concern.

After all, the only difference between Letran’s having a lawsuit and the other school’s relative innocence in the many past cases of tragic initiations is the abscence of a dead body. Without a dead body, Letran cannot prove that there really is a danger of underground fraternities in its campus. But should’nt Letran parents instead be thankful that there is no dead body for now? In the loneliness of the dark night, this is Fr. Edwin’s question, " Do we have to wait for a victim to really crack down on unrecognized fraternities in the high school campus?"

Strength from the Alumni

At this time of deep soul searching, Fr. Edwin is looking into the immediate and remote past of Letran for comfort and strength. In times of deep moral crises, Letranities, in the remote and recent past, have stood up against all odds upheld the truth. During the Philippine Revolution of 1986, a majority of the revolutionary leaders cited in the textbooks on Philippine History were Letranities. While, in the light of present scholarly scrutiny, many of these so-called revolutionary leaders have been shown up as mere oppurtunities and even landgrabbers, most of the handful of those during the Katipunan era who have passed even today’s standard of heroism were Apolinario Mabini, Emilio Aguinaldo and Emilio Jacinto.

In the very recent past, a handful of Letranites have again surfaced to help rescue a nation outraged by blatant corruption and disregard for the law and institutions by those who occupied the highest positions in government. Foremost among these modern knights in shining armor, now acclaimed as EDSA heroes, are Chavit Singson, Jose Luis Yulo, and Leonard de Vera and Pastor Saycon, front runners of the formidable organizations that figured in the miraculous ouster of a popularly elected, but commonly perceived as corrupt president. A handful of Letranites have made EDSA 2 possible.

Perhaps, Fr. Edwin wonders, a handful of Letranites will again surface, this time, to help the school triumph over an evil so pernicious it may taint the character of the next generation of Letranites - the acceptance of willful violence as part and, even a desirable, parcel of life. How else can hazing among persons who intend to be brothers or sisters be anything but willful violence?

Hopefully, with this thought, Fr. Edwin can catch up on lost sleep.

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Our Objective
Richard Roxas

The thrust of the present administration is slowly materializing in the consciousness of the Letran community. We have seen consistent improvements in terms of facilities and integrating systems in the overall operation of the Colegio. The constant evolution of development was focused largely on these 4 major objectives of the Colegio’s 4 year development plan:

1. Raising the Academic Standards of its faculty;
2. Professionalizing further the administrative and support staff;
3. Continuing the physical improvements that have a direct bearing on instruction and learning and
4. Accreditation of the different programs of the study.

With these medium term vision, the present administration believes that even the decline on enrollment will be arrested once academic excellence is achieved. But in order to do this we must scan our internal and external environments. Turn threats to opportunities and weaknesses to strengths without sacrificing objectivity and social responsibility.

Materiality

In order to address and apply synergism in key result areas, specific strategies were made;

a. increasing campaign on the awareness of the Colegio’s guiding principles;
b. identification and strengthening of flagship courses in the collegiate level;
c. identification of core competencies in the primary and secondary level;
d. development of new courses in line with the needs of the industry (i.e. Human Resources Mgt. And Education);
e. gradual standardization of seminars and research methodology;
f. improvement in the admission process;
g. standardization of General Education in the collegiate level;
h. adoption of English as language of instruction;
i. professionalize the employees using Job Evaluation and Performance Management and Appraisal Systems;
j. establishment of committees in relation to Labor and Management relationship;
k. reduce personnel cost;
l. increase number of full-time faculty members;
m. increase number of faculty who have masteral and doctoral degree (its raining masters and doctors!)
n. enhance classroom management;
o. enhance research skills of faculties;
p. encouragement on scholarly publications;
q. intensification of IT and multimedia;
r. increase number of industry practitioners;
s. increase usage of the library;
t. more focused extension services;
u. closer ties with the alumni;
v. availability of the dormitory and the;
w. development of the Vicente Liem de la Paz Foundation.

With the presence of these approaches, the Colegio has been reinvigorated despite the slowdown in our external environment. 

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Editorial

January 2001 was a month of surprises. There was a rumbling in the streets and a wave of uneasiness sweeping the nation. The greatest drama of post WWII history was unfolding in the living-room of homes nationwide, courtesy of high technology. 

The eye of the TV, the hero of the decade, has a way of focusing on faces and gestures, on the rise of an eyebrow or the twist of a finger, or the nasal twang of the speaker or the obscene jig of a person -- and it tells stories, more definitive stories that mere words cannot convey. 

And so it raised the hackles of the spectators. And a nation who felt degraded by lies, lies and more lies rose up with one voice and shouted: 

“Begone a corruptor of our nation’s soul. Begone to the bower of Hades!” 

The resounding cry reverberated in the halls of power and a fear and trembling took hold of those for whom it was intended. 

A quiet change of government took place and hope lifted the nation’s soul to a moral and economic recovery that would have spelled the country’s salvation. 

One year later. 

Today, where are we? 

As a people we have progressed but little on moral issues. We are still very much a divided nation. Our  loyalties are to persons not to principles which can go hang if it is on a collision course with our political and financial future.  

After all, like water and oil, money and principles do not really mix. Either you serve God or you serve mamon. There is no middle ground. No compromises. God with his unconditional love simply forgives. No questions, no nothing. The Devil knows not love or forgiveness. It lies down on a bed of compromises. And  there goes the story of The Fall.

Look around you and what do we have today?

Everywhere it is money that gets the upper hand. To be poor is a sin. “Bawal ang magkasakit. Ano ka mayaman?” So goes one TV ad. The rich and mighty count not anymore by the millions but by the billions and trillions. So they now buy even justice by the “barya” of millions. How can virtue and principles win?

The economy worldwide is in recession. The Philippines is not an exception. But it is so nice to blame the government for an economic sin that is not of its own making. It is even quick to use poverty for its own ends.

And there goes the Tale of Two Cities. Read your classical stories again! It carries the seed truth.

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