We, Thomasians, sometimes, are Mocha Usons. UST may be a cradle of heroes and saints but we did not remain in that baby’s crib forever as our teachers and fellow alumni taught and inspired us to walk and grow up, “imbued with unending grace”. Lesson learned.
Dominican Fr. Enrico Gonzales would always ask us about freedom, to contemplate on: Is it ‘freedom from’ or ‘freedom for’? But what kind of contemplation did the UST Alumni Association, Inc (USTAAI) exercise? I am from the University of Santo Tomas. #FakeNews and #CultureOfDeath must not destroy this nation and our faith. Stand up with #TruthInCharity as #TruthToPower. What would Jesus do if He is still alive today? #WhatWouldJesusDo? What is beyond contemplation (praising and blessing) and sharing its fruits (preaching)? Witnessing and stewardship, acting on the preaching – Truth in Charity.
Though it was clarified that the recipients of the award are called to live the values of being a Thomasian, how would the association monitor their adherence? What are the indicators? What is the mechanism to make them accountable? Did they sign something? And I would not believe that this is to neutralize the university’s relationship with the government being a Catholic institution? I am sure when we all entered and left our school through the Arch of the Centuries, we already embraced the values of competence (globally recognized institution of higher learning), commitment (actualizing professional and moral formation), and compassion (affecting social transformation).
In the first place, they should not be called ‘awardees’ but ‘parties to a commitment’. Nobler if all were invited to a one-day or a two-day retreat to reflect on their calls to public service using #VeritasInCaritate. The Thomasian Alumni in Government Service Awards (TAGS) initiative may have the best intentions but it failed to live by the Thomasian way: “contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere” (contemplating and sharing the fruits of contemplation). Where is the virtue of prudence? Now, the university’s reputation and credibility are at stake.
But USTAAI’s statement is far from the very text on the award plaque: “in recognition of her public service leadership exempifying the Thomasian Core Values of Competence, Compassion and Commitment thus being instrumental as Catalyst of National Transformational Change towards an empowering nation-building”.
Some of us may not be full epitomes of Thomasian values, but we always strive to carry the torch of Truth in Charity. At the end, as recipients of goverment services, we are called to close our eyes and comtemplate on how we, as citizens of this country, participate and act in an effective, efficient, transparent and inclusive governance. If we feel that we are not served well, then, there would be a need to share the fruits of our contemplation through solidarity with action.
To Thomasians, sometimes, we are Mocha Usons and Lito Atienzas or Antonio Tinios and Tom Villarins. Again, University of Santo Tomas may be a cradle of future heroes and saints but we did not remain in that baby’s crib forever as our teachers and fellow alumni taught and inspired us to walk and grow up, “imbued with unending grace”.
–Rodne Rodiño Galicha (AB Classical major in Philosophy, 2001)
(Photo from James N. Pasamonte’s Facebook page)