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SSC holds School Theme Orientation and National Situationer for SY 2021-2022

August 9,2021

St. Scholastica’s College Manila organized its institutional school theme orientation and national situationer talk last July 23, 2021. This occasion is held annually to formally open the new school year. For this year, the event was livestreamed from the Social Hall and was attended virtually by the sisters, administrators, faculty, and non-teaching staff. The new Prioress of the Manila Priory, Mother Mary Thomas Prado, O.S.B., was also introduced and addressed the members of the Scholastican community with her inspiring message.

This year’s national situationer entitled “Justice and Accountability after President Duterte” was delivered by Mr. Ruben Carranza. Mr. Carranza is a Filipino scholar who works at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). He has worked in various countries and with different organizations to address problems related to human rights violations, armed conflict, marginalization, and large-scale corruptions.

Mr. Carranza discussed what transitional justice is and how it is applied to societies or countries which experienced periods of massive human rights violations. ICTJ (2009) defines transitional justice as a response to systematic violations of human rights. It seeks to recognize victims, to demand justice, and to promote peace, reconciliation, and  democracy. Part of this approach is the establishment of truth commissions, criminal prosecutions of human rights violators, and initiating reparation programs among others. The Philippines is no stranger to the experience of systematic human rights violations. Case in point is the current administration’s “War on Drugs” campaign which registered 6,000 to 30,000 deaths through police operations and vigilante killings. Mr. Carranza highlighted the importance of taking accountability and working together to seek justice, reconciliation, and healing. Accordingly, our failure to learn from our history has exposed the vulnerability of our democratic institutions and has paved the way for our society to slid back to authoritarianism. Not learning from our nation’s horrific experiences only perpetuate the recurrence of widespread violations of human rights. 

To supplement Mr. Carranza’s talk, Ms. Faye Rafael, faculty and former chair of the Social Sciences Department, presented the current crises in the country. She shared the government’s misplaced priorities, injustices, and divisive policies in the background of a poor management of the COVID-19 pandemic. She challenged everyone to bring these issues to light in view of the upcoming 2022 national elections. She stressed the importance of knowing the platforms of those running for public office and to demand plans that will lift the country from its present state.

The program concluded with the discussion of the institutional school theme by the School President, Sr. M. Christine Pinto, O.S.B.. This school year the value focus is on “Service”. Sr. Christine highlighted the institution’s long history of service to those in need. She drew attention to how the school and its Benedictine brand of education can be instrumental or of service to call for accountability and help bring justice to the victims of social inequalities and injustices.

Reference:
International Center for Transitional Justice. (2009). What is transitional justice? Retrieved 1 August 2021 from https://www.ictj.org/sites/default/files/ICTJ-Global-Transitional-Justice-2009-English.pdf

By Zaldy Dueñas III