Good and bad

Last week, Bacolod had a good cause to celebrate. University of St. La Salle graduate, Patrick Joseph Mabugat took second place in the recent Physician Licensure Exam alongside another Negrense, Adrian Teves from Bayawan, Negros Oriental.

Mabugat was also topnotcher in the 2014 licensure exam for medical technologist and his recent accomplishment was also lauded by Bacolod Mayor Bing Leonardia.

But more than his academic achievements, Mabugat’s dedication to his profession is evident after he, along with co-interns at the Philippine General Hospital, decided to stay on as volunteers when the pandemic broke out knowing PGH was the first COVID-designated hospital in the country and was, in fact, quarantined five times before he took his exams as he was always on the road.

A few weeks back also, I took part in a webinar sponsored by the Conflict and Reconciliation Studies of USLS on whether the peace process between the government and the National Democratic Front is still mediatable and what should be done to move the discussions forward especially at this time when the national government just junked all hopes to revive talks.

It had Archbishop Emeritus Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro and Dr. Emma Leslie Center for Peace and Conflict Studies in Cambodia as speakers with the feisty Sr. Mary John Mananzan putting forth her thoughts during the open forum.

I remember Sr. Mary John during my stint at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila in the same year they put up the Women’s Studies course. She was interesting then, and even more animated now and I think she influenced me much in my advocacy for women and children.

In short, USLS has been doing a lot of good in terms of academics but also in promoting social issues.

Thus, it was quite offensive to see a post going viral about a USLS student (or so the post claims) that puts the school in an embarrassing light.

The post of the student said he is a self-proclaim Duterte Diehard Supporter (DDS) and maligned Vice President Leni Robredo, (with a proud dirty-finger to boot) in such an obnoxious way that would make any woman cringe, much less the women in his family.

There were two conflicting posts from this person clarifying the original and downright dirty post.

One is denying he uploaded the malicious post against Robredo last November 18 and expressed his apology to Leni and her family as well as to USLS and the La Sallian community for being dragged into the controversy.

Then there was another post, a much longer one, saying he submits himself to the ongoing investigation by the USLS Office of Student Affairs “to determine the truthfulness of the FB post that is credited to me.”

He said he has been at the receiving end of criticisms from fellow students, the La Salle alumni, and the general public for the alleged post that has affected him emotionally and psychologically.

“I realized the value of being extra tactful and prudent in everything that I do and of safeguarding my social media account,” he said, adding that he hopes people will presume his innocence until proven guilty.

Indeed, a scroll through social media showed that he is being bashed left and right for the post that was very contemptuous, which of course the president himself has uttered in the past in deriding women and his flippant comments about rape.

This post highlights as well the ongoing need to educate the people regarding Violence Against Women and Children as we celebrate the 16-days of Activism to end VAWC. Violence is not just physical but psychological and emotional as well and when we see posts from young men who make light of rape, it is a wake-up call that we need to do more, not just in our advocacy but for mere respect for women.

It is more challenging now as we have a misogynist leader and an equally misogynistic audience who continue to applaud his skewed mind.

I am glad that USLS took the effort to investigate the matter and I hope they publish the outcome of that process to serve as an example that the university must really toe the line when their students become excessive in their public comments, especially one that clearly perpetuates violence.

I will reserve my comments until USLS comes out with their public statement regarding this incident and against the student as well until he is proven guilty.

He has been cyberbullied enough if you read the comments about him and I am pretty sure his family has been very much affected by this incident as well. I am a mother and I can imagine the horror if my sons will post such remarks on social media. Just professing that one is a DDS speaks a lot already.

But more than his innocence or guilt on the matter, this episode should remind us how social media can be very cruel and we ought to be very careful on what we upload.*

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