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UP Tacloban students find a home in Cebu

/ 08:55 AM December 15, 2013

When Yolanda struck Eastern Visayas and Northern Cebu, UP Cebu was at the end of its enrollment period and starting the second semester when 196 students from UP Tacloban came to cross register in batches until this week. They were readily accommodated in their registration through a hassle-free processing. From the Social Science cluster which includes Psychology and Political Science Programs, class sizes exceeded the recommended number of students. In some cases, new sections were opened especially for graduating students. According to Prof. Henry Espiritu, Political Science Coordinator, a new section for thesis writing was opened to accommodate the 16 graduating political science transferees. A course which was offered last semester was offered again for the transferees to fully comply with the program requirements to qualify for graduation. For some faculty members, this means additional load but they anticipated all these. Prof. Espiritu keeps close touch with the Political Science students. He said a group of them are staying in a boarding house which they found in Banawa.

Dr. Micmic Bugash, coordinator of the Office for Student Affairs, shared the five programs of UP Cebu for the UP Tacloban transferees – counseling, the STFAP, meal assistance, dorm accommodation and student loan. Since their arrival, individual counseling has been conducted while the Office of Student Affairs is still scheduling a group debriefing. For the STFAP (Socialized Tuition Fee Assistance Program), there will be a rebracketing but only for one semester. This was made possible after appeals for rebracketing had been approved by central administration in Diliman. Meal assistance of Php 50 per day is provided for all transferees in addition to the meal assistance for the 45 STFAP scholars. It’s up to them on what meal to spend on. A new dormitory, pre-fab and ready-made will soon accommodate 84 students who will have to apply for admission and undergo interviews. A student loan is granted to the transferees for one semester only. Another opportunity being considered is for the transferees to apply as student assistants with a stipend of between forty to fifty pesos an hour.

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According to Dean Liza Corro, many of them are being housed in the Union Building at the back of the AS Building. They will soon be moved to a pre-fab dorm donated by a developer and to be built beside the student dorm in the campus. Another good news is that a Chinese businessman is offering free accommodation in an apartment in Lahug. After the building of the dorm was published, donations poured in for the students like, mattresses from Mandaue Foam, linen from Plantation Bay, towels from Discovery Suites and alumni in Australia, hygiene kits from individual donors. Some friends and alumni have donated to the meal assistance through cash and sponsored dinners. The Political Science Society, the Student Council, the Dean’s Office, and the KALESA (Katilingbang Leyteno ug Samareno) sponsored a dinner for the UP Tacloban students last week. Part of the Pasko sa UP festivities was a get-together party for UP Tacloban students at the Oblation Square.

From initial feedback, many students recounted their ordeal during the storm surge, the traumatic experience of watching relatives, friends and classmates die. But there is an appeal to alumni, friends and other concerned citizens for donations especially for meal assistance since the one provided by the college is good only for one meal a day. Dean Corro also sounded off the need for assistance in presentable clothes for BM transferees who will start on-the-job training. The Business Management course has the highest number of the transferees. We wish the UP Tacloban students a comfortable stay in UP Cebu.

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The local history and heritage sector of Cebu has lost a valuable member with the passing of Col. Manuel Segura known for his participation in the guerrilla movement in WWII and his two books, “Tabunan” and “The Koga Papers” which give us detailed accounts of the Japanese Occupation of Cebu. When he used to live in Lahug near UP Cebu, he used to be invited to the History 1 Classes. One of my colleagues Ms. Claire Jabines recalls one incident when one of her students invited Col. Segura to her class. He arrived with a short and long samurai and a pistol which he demonstrated to the class as part of his account of WWII. Of course, he brought along his two books to add substance to his lecture. I met Col. Segura during our visits to his new residence somewhere near SRP. I was amazed with all the memorabilia of WWII which adorned his house. I almost volunteered to organize his memorabilia. What I appreciate most of Col. Segura was his contribution to the local history. This was very evident in the town history project of the provincial government which was started in 2008 and eventually completed in 2012 and will soon be published. The project was to come up with 55-volumes of the History of the Municipalities and component cities of Cebu, including Cebu City , the Capitol Building and the Province. His two books provided rich information of the Japanese Occupation which was an important period of the history of every town and city. For history teachers, do not neglect Col. Segura’s “Tabunan” and “The Koga Papers” in your list of references. “Tabunan” ran out of print but hopefully RAFI will finally do its reprinting.

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