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PCS Review 2015, a journal by the Philippines Communication Society (PCS) was launched last August 15, 2016 at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) with Deputy Director General Angelo Villar delivering the opening remarks.

A yearly-refereed official publication of the Philippines Communication Society, the PCS Review is geared towards progressing and expanding the communication discipline mainly in the Philippines via research studies and acknowledging the works of A-1 communication intellectuals, coaches, and practitioners.

Headed by Lourdes M. Portus, PhD, editor-in-chief of PCS Review, the theme for the 2015 issue revolves around media, politics, and governance. Dr. Maria Margarita Alvina-Acosta, PCS Secretary and Miriam College’s Department of Communication chairperson is this year’s editor.

The Philippines Communication Society is an affiliate of the Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC) that embodies the communication discipline therein.

In her remarks, Dr. Acosta said the PCS Review 2015 is privileged to obtain the foreword from Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales of the Office of Ombudsman where the latter prompted everyone that the discipline for research should not deteriorate in the midst of technological advancements and easier access to information.

Dr. Acosta reiterated that the contents of the journal support this reminder. By Reinna Abad, BA Comm

Around the world, both in Muslim and non-Muslim communities, Muslim women’s rights have been the subject of a great deal of debate. While many feminists have criticized sharia (Islamic law) as restrictive for women, many have also defended Islam as the sponsor of women’s rights.

My parents brought us up believing in personal liberties and equality. After all, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married his employer, Khadija, who became one of his trusted advisers. My sisters and I therefore grew up believing we could attain whatever future we wanted for ourselves. There was no special treatment for sons -- only for achievers. Women have been elected as heads of state in Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Maldives, and Azerbaijan long before the United States has.

The wave of democratization that swept the Islamic world after the Arab Spring has been blocked. After encouraging images of young women standing shoulder to shoulder with young men in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, bravely facing a dictatorial government, we now see the evolving portrait of a government more oppressive towards women and minorities. Some young women died fighting for their freedom in Libya and in Syria. Today, we have the picture of an un-Islamic ISIS, claiming to be THE champion of Islam, evoking horror with their beheading of prisoners and abuse of their own women.

More rigid interpretations of Islamic jurisprudence -- not too friendly to women -- have gained the upper hand in the newly democratized states. Thus, Muslim women leaders must engage the state and the religious leaders to define a more just, legal framework for both women and men.

This past week, we have been fortunate to have an internationally renowned Muslim jurist in our midst. Dr. Azizah al-Hibri, Founder of Karamah, an organization of Muslim women lawyers for human rights, and professor emerita at the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond, has spoken at forums in Mindanao and Metro Manila on the state of women’s rights and the Islamic worldview. Thanks to the US Embassy for acceding to my request to bring Dr. al-Hibri to our shores as a Visiting American Scholar.

The first Muslim woman law professor in the United States, she has written extensively on women’s issues, democracy, and human rights from an Islamic perspective. Her essays have appeared in a variety of publications, including the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, the Harvard International Review, and Fordham International Law Journal.

In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed her to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom for a two-year term. Most recently, she had delivered the Ramadan Lecture before the King of Morocco, the first Muslim woman scholar so invited.

I would describe Azizah al-Hibri as a modern day jihadist, one who has embarked on a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline to reform society. This is the greater jihad. Western media has hijacked the term jihad to mean armed warfare. Armed struggle, in defense of faith and community, is the lesser jihad.

Dr. al-Hibri blames patriarchal thinking and Muslim women’s lack of education for the oppressive interpretation of Islam on women’s rights. While Islam sought to liberate women, patriarchal thinking has brought about the inequalities faced by women in society, not by faith. Culture must be separated from faith as Islamic law is interpreted.

During her lectures at Miriam College last Wednesday and at the University of the Philippines College of Law on Thursday (co-organized by the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy), she emphasized that many verses in the Qur’an have been interpreted by men to favor men. In marriage for instance, men are taught that they are superior to women and thus must be followed by women. However, the Qur’an does not say that men are “superior” to women. Rather, it says that men are “caretakers” of women who are in need of assistance.

Dr. al-Hibri also spoke about minority rights and Islam, citing what she terms as “one of the most visionary documents in the history of Islamic praxis” -- the Madinah Charter. Executed by the Prophet Muhammad on the one hand, and the various Muslim and Jewish tribes on the other, the charter defined the relationship between faith and freedom, which shed further light on the verse in the Qur’an that states: “There shall be no compulsion in religion.” (2:256)

The Charter is the first written constitution, intended to establish a plural society, giving equal rights to every citizen including participation in governance. Further, the Charter introduced a form of government that adhered to the shura system (parliamentary system) where citizens can give opinions, even if these contradict the ruler’s opinions. These are the foundations for a democratic society. It is therefore strange that the practice of Islam in most Islamic countries today has enshrined authoritarian rule.

She also explains that the Qur’an repeatedly states that the core of Islam is Justice, saying that the notion of Justice is explained throughout the Qur’an to be a restorative one based on compassion and forgiveness, not a distributive one whose only goal is to punish.

The Madinah Charter devised a special legal structure to protect the religious liberty of the diverse religious tribes and to promote peace in the community. According to Dr. al-Hibri, the Prophet devised a “federalist” model, for Muslim and Jewish citizens alike, preserving and protecting each group’s own identity, customs, and internal relations. “All members of the “federation” were then joined together in common defense and peace making.”

As we in the Philippines embark on the road towards federalism, we in Muslim Mindanao should discuss the Madinah Charter and find our inspiration therein.

Change has to happen from within. If President Rodrigo R. Duterte and his federalist movement truly want positive change to happen, they cannot impose the will of the majority on Muslim Mindanao. It must come from the heart of the community. Federalists should best study the Madinah Charter and incorporate it into their discussions.

Amina Rasul is a democracy, peace and human rights advocate, president of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy.


SOURCE: Business World Online > www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=islamic-worldview&id=132182

I still get surprised looks from people whenever they learn that I’m a Filipino teacher. Some are amazed that I teach a subject that deals with a language, which not a few of them find so difficult to use or learn. Some simply pause and exclaim “wow!” which I hope is said in sincere admiration.

GOING NATIVE Angelica Flores Morales (in yellow top) and her students in a Filipino Creative Writing class

In the age of globalization, with English being perceived by many as a language of empowerment and barometer for success and intelligence, alongside government’s initial decision of excluding Filipino subjects in the general education curriculum of the K-12-based higher education courses and programs, I’ve also begun to ask myself what’s in store for me.  I also can’t help but sometimes question myself regarding my decision to stick to teaching Filipino. Is teaching Filipino to this generation still an important part of their learning? Do they still need to develop this skill for them to become competent individuals and well-rounded professionals?

I’ve been teaching the subject for more than 12 years now. I started teaching Grade 7 girls and later college students under the outgoing general education curriculum. I’ve met various types of students inside the classroom: those who are either unmotivated or don’t put much effort in studying Filipino (or any other subject, for that matter); those who find it hard to learn and use the language because they’ve grown up using English and other languages at home and with their friends; finally, those who are truly into learning the subject based on how they’ve grown in using Filipino either orally or in written form. These kids, I noticed, are also willing to immerse themselves in the subject matter even without much motivation. While the third type brings me joy and a sense of purpose, the first two keep me up on my toes thinking of ways to make the subject more interesting for them.

Rewards of teaching Filipino

Teaching Filipino hasn’t been all that bad, even though it may seem harder to do in an environment where students come from more affluent and supposedly English-speaking families. During my first years of teaching, one of my main challenges, apart from connecting with my students, was how to motivate and make them see why learning and using Filipino in communications and research would serve them and the Filipino people well. I still do reiterate these things to my students, but through the years, I’ve also taken a stand that I should go beyond that challenge and start my Filipino classes with the goal of enhancing and leveling up my students’ skills. That means also going beyond the goal of simply letting them appreciate the Filipino subject.

One issue I want to focus on is related to the digital age, specifically to the new generation of writers and readers. I encounter this most especially in my creative writing classes where I’m faced with what I call the “Wattpad phenomenon.” For those of you who don’t know what Wattpad is, it’s an application or website where any member who registers have a chance to read another person’s written work, write his/her own creative piece, and publish it through the app to reach a wider audience. Although not all my students are Wattpad readers, many admit that they read stories and novels from Wattpad. Many, based on their submitted works, have also been influenced by what they’ve read in Wattpad.

I know most established writers have qualms about this phenomenon, but I choose to stand in between: in the reading/writing context where my students are exposed to (and have found pleasure in reading and probably writing) and also within the writing standards set by the traditional creative writing processes I’ve been trained and accustomed to.

In terms of planning my classes and the curriculum I follow during a semester, I always bear in mind that my main goal in teaching Creative Writing in Filipino is for my students to be able to read and appreciate written works in Filipino and hopefully become writers themselves.  I’ve learned to adjust to my students’ interests yet I make it a point to inject tried-and-tested techniques in my teaching so that they still get acquainted with structure and writing traditions. I’m not a Wattpad reader and writer so I’m in no position to judge people who appreciate and write in it. My job as a teacher is to teach and set standards. At the same time, I have to be open as well to new trends.

Common challenges of students taking up Filipino

Other common concerns, questions and challenges of students taking Filipino subjects vary: the challenge in translating English sources to Filipino (which is a required skill, especially for research classes since a researcher-writer also needs to present the review of related literature in Filipino); the “pressure” to sound malalim or deep, which is also a common stereotype, when using the language; and their notion about the relevance of taking up the subject in this day and age where almost everyone aims to achieve mastery of English.

My major task then throughout the entire semester or school year is: to remind, convince, and reinstate to my students that the value of learning to use Filipino as they speak, listen, read, write, research, watch, perform, and express themselves in various forms is for their own country, so that they get to communicate their ideas, breakthroughs, and discoveries to our own Filipino-speaking and -thinking citizens. I always reiterate to them that with the onset of more and more creative works like films, shows, and books being translated to Filipino, the language as a medium is still alive and evolving up to now, and that if they want more Filipinos to learn and benefit from whatever work or career path they would delve in, they ought to practice and learn to take reading and writing in Filipino a very important skill to develop and enhance.

I also continue to uphold my view about using Filipino in interdisciplinary studies—meaning, seeing Filipino as a tool to communicate ideas and concepts that are usually written and available only for the English-speaking and -reading market to Filipinos who are still comfortable in reading, speaking and “thinking” in Filipino. As an educator, I don’t force my students to write, research, or work on anything in my class within a certain set of topics under the “Filipino subject or discipline” only. I make it a point that my students get to write about their own interests and work on researches within their chosen areas of discipline. In this way, taking up Filipino classes would be more meaningful and “professional” since students get to link their experience to a more academic one, which is, of course, aligned to their own areas of interests and discipline.

Through the years, my conviction in what I do has become stronger, which has served me and my students well. When students see this in their teacher, they would feel that the work they do in class is something of value and definitely non-negotiable. Of course, there would still be times when I feel that certain students tend to make me feel that what I’m teaching isn’t important. Instead of being emotional about it, I just continue with my work. I continue to channel my emotions and passion to the goal of producing more graduates who adhere to the value and principle that Filipino is a significant language and discipline, and partner in achieving our collective goal of nation-building and learning.

Giving credit where credit is due

I always try my best to commend my students whenever there’s an opportunity, say, by praising a group presentation they did well or giving written affirmation on a well-written term paper. Apart from boosting their confidence, these measures give them an idea on how far they can go in using Filipino as a means of expression. I always make it a point to also balance these with criticisms so that my students still get to meet the standards I expect of them.

If I may recommend some things to the Commission on Higher Education, I would like to suggest that colleges and universities have higher Filipino research and writing classes that can also lead students in using the language to write their research work or theses. Giving Filipino the same priority as English could motivate more Filipino students to finish their studies because they have this option to write in their first language.

I continue to believe and maintain my position that Filipino is not a dying language. I encourage fellow Filipino teachers to continue to have an open mind while remaining passionate and attuned with current context and needs of the Filipino society. May more leaders and future generation of Filipinos see the need for us to elevate the Filipino language as part of the academic and professional scenes, and not just view it as the language of the masa. Filipino has evolved so much through the years that there’s no other way for it to go but up.

Angelica Flores-Morales or Gel, as friends and colleagues call her, has taught Filipino classes in Miriam College since 2004. She has taught Grade 6 and 7 Filipino classes, Komunikasyon sa Filipino (Communications in Filipino), Pagbasa at Pagsulat tungo sa Pananaliksik (Reading and Writing for Research in Filipino) and Masining na Pagpapahayag (Creative Writing in Filipino) in the college. She’s a graduate of B.A. Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Filipino from UP Diliman and Masters in Education major in Special Education from Miriam College. She’s currently working on her PhD in Family Studies, also in Miriam College.

SOURCE: Manila Bulletin > www.mb.com.ph/teaching-filipino-to-filipinos-in-the-21st-century

Who says one cannot win in a swimming competition without a swimming pool? Probably not Miriam College NUVALI (MC NUVALI) Grade 7 student Enrico Lorenzo P. Burgos, who won all six gold medals in swimming at the recent District Meet West 1 held in Don Bosco Canlubang, Calamba City, Laguna last August 5, 2016.

Last school year, Lance also won four gold medals and a silver medal also at the Calamba District Meet. His achievements then moved him a notch higher when he represented the entire City of Calamba in the 2016 Southern Tagalog – CALABARZON Athletic Meet (STCAA).

His motivation comes from the full support of his family and his MC NUVALI family.

Two Japanese students from Kobe College have been in Miriam College since July 31, 2016 taking undergraduate courses in International Studies, Languages, and Biology. Haruka Kiyotake was born in Osaka, Japan. She is a sophomore student at Kobe College taking Bioscience. Currently, she is taking Biological Sciences under CAS faculty Joel Cornista.
Ayaka Nakahara was born in Hyogo, Japan. She is a second year English major and a member of the Brass Band club at Kobe College. Her interest in International Studies made her decide to take Peace Studies under Dr. Jasmin Galace.
As it is their desire to learn more about Philippine culture, both are taking the course, Issues and Challenges in Developing Nations under Lorna Israel.  To improve their skills in English, both are also enrolled at the Language Learning Center taking the Content Area Literacy and Languages course.
For more information about the international programs of Miriam College, please email Dr. Gail R. Galang of the Institutional Partnerships and Programs Office at ggalang@mc.edu.ph.

Two Teams from the Miriam College High School unit qualified for the World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions at Yale University scheduled for November 18-21, 2016.

The Top 1 Team is composed of Maria Gabrielle Regina Yap Taruc, Alaina Licia Tan Arcenas and Cassandra Camille Gonzaga Cuaresma; while the Top 2 Team is composed of Ana Beatrice Malibiran Salumbides, Justine Gabrielle Ferrer Ramirez, and Alessandra Deone Yabut Roldan. 

The students competed at Xavier School last July 9-10, 2016 under the Junior Division for the World Scholar's Cup Manila Round. The categories were: Group Debate, Collaborative Writing, Scholar's Challenge and Scholar's Bowl. 

The Tournament of Champions is the final league of the competition where all top teams from around the globe compete. By being in the top teams, the MCHS students were able to skip the Global Round at Prague and directly qualified to compete at Yale.

Nathalie De Guzman, a Senior HEU student taking up Bachelor of Arts in Applied Arts major in Visual Design successfully represented Miriam College at the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) Discovery Camp 2016.  

She is part of a delegation of 50 student leaders and achievers selected from different universities in the country and in neighboring countries in Asia.  

The theme of the camp this year is on Building Environmental and Cultural Awareness in the Asia Pacific Region through Philippine Indigenous Environment, Culture, and Arts. The interactive, educational camp, held last July 30 to August 7,  is designed to enhance the participants’ knowledge, skills and attitude on the concepts of climate realities and resiliency, as well as experience and appreciate cultural diversity through the  arts, cuisine, music and dance. 

The participants joined in workshops, conducted study visits and tours,  and presented cultural numbers that featured the country’s colorful native costumes.

UMAP Discovery Camp is organized by the Commission on Higher Education in partnership with Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University and Lyceum University of the Philippines-Batangas.

Around 80 vibrant and dedicated college students who make up the Council of Leaders (COL) listened and learned from Dr. Edizon Fermin as he guided them through novel principles to becoming an effective leader. His talk was held during the COL General Assembly last July 30, 2016. 

Dr. Fermin ignited the young leaders’ imagination and inspired them with bright ideas by sharing how leaders can integrate innovation in their activities.  His talk drew on the writings of St. Catherine of Sienna who said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Dr. Fermin said that St. Catherine and the institution’s founding Maryknoll Sisters are Dominicans.  
The talk, which is part of the Leadership Series of the Office for Student Affairs (OSA), aptly set in motion the planning and calendaring of activities for the school year 2016-2017 led by the Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Miriam.

Dr. Fermin is the director for Innovation Development and the principal of Miriam College High School.

The Lower School celebrated its annual Nutrition Week last July 25 - 29, 2016 with the theme Tamang Nutrisyon at Ehersisyo ay Kailangan Upang Katawan ay Mapangalagaan.  

The celebration kicked off with a Zumba session.  Students and teachers across all grade levels moved to the beat by following a dance video entitled Kain Na which was choreographed and performed by selected Lower School teachers.  

To promote healthy eating habits, students brought healthy food items such a fruits, vegetables, and dairy beverages for recess and lunch during the week-long celebration.

The students also participated in different activities.  Grades 1 to 3 spent some of their time in the Nutrition Nook while Grades 4 and 5 showed their athleticism by joining the fitness challenge.  Students and teachers were also given the chance to test their knowledge about nutrition through the Trivia for the Day contest.  A mini-market was also placed at the Chapel Covered Court to familiarize students with the English and Filipino names of different fruits and vegetables.

There were also different activities provided for the faculty members. Teachers showcased their cooking skills during the LS Healthy Cook-off wherein they prepared healthy snacks using eggs as main ingredient.  

The Wellness in the LS program of the Music, Art, PE, and HELE areas was also launched during the Nutrition Week.  Several teachers joined the circuit training which was facilitated by PE teachers.  The teachers also participated in the LS Olympics which featured an Amazing Race type of competition. Different stations tested the teachers’ body coordination, knowledge about nutrition, and physical fitness.

The Wellness in the LS program encourages the MCLS community to be conscious about their health and maintain an active lifestyle by regularly participating in different wellness sessions.

Last August 1-4, 2016, Marie Katrina Salonga joined 80 participants from the ASEAN, Korea, China and Japan to participate the 2016 ASEAN-Korea Youth Network Workshop.  Salonga is the Internal Vice President of the Miriam Environmental Planning Organization (MEP-Org) and is taking up B.S. Environmental Planning and Management Major in Urban Planning and Green Architecture.

The workshop carried the theme “Marine Conservation—Promoting the Sustainable Use of Coastal and Marine Resources.” The workshop was held in Busan and Seoul, Korea.

The organizer was the ASEAN-Korea Centre, an organization that aims to promote exchanges among Korea and the ASEAN Member States. The objectives were to promote awareness on ASEAN and ASEAN-Korea partnership among the youth and to enhance active networks and genuine friendship among the ASEAN, Korean, Chinese and Japanese youth towards a shared future.

The workshop included team-building activities which helped forge friendships among participant. Three experts also talked about ASEAN-Korea relations as well as marine conservation in the ASEAN and Korean context.

One of the highlights was the video-making activity about marine conservation. This enabled the participants to produce an output based on their learnings from the lectures. Salonga’s team won the Most Entertaining Award.

The workshop introduced the participants to meaningful experiential activities and first-hand experience on the different marine conservation initiatives. This was complemented by visits at Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve, Korea National Maritime Museum, KOEM Marine Environment Research and Training Institute and KIOST South Sea Research Institute.

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