In the wake of her receiving the Thomasian Alumni Award for Government Service from the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association Inc. (UST-AAI) at the Grand Alumni Homecoming last Sunday, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson drew yet another wave of flak. Uson, who's a UST Medical Technology graduate, got most of it from the online platform, where supposedly she also holds great influence as a blogger.
Some claimed Uson being undeserving of such honor, considering her reputation as a "Duterte propagandist" and "source of fake news." Uson has been highly controversial since campaigning for President Rodrigo Duterte mainly through her personal blog and social media accounts. Soon after Duterte assumed power, the former entertainer got appointed into power in the new administration, first as a board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board and then now with the PCOO. These events have already garnered hostile reactions online, so it was no surprise the recent news of awarding her another "badge of honor" met aggression.
This time, more of which came from the Thomasian community. The University of Santo Tomas Central Student Council (UST-CSC), for example, quickly denounced UST-AAI's decision with a statement posted on their social media accounts.
Echoing the stand of UST-CSC lately are Thomasian alumni from the millennial generation. We got in touch with some of them to weigh things in—read what they have to say!
"The UST-AAI failed the university as a bastion of truth and compassion. As a Thomasian alumnus, this is an utter disrespect for notable Thomasians who continuously uphold Thomasian core values in their respective fields. If the UST alumni association does not apologize or retract its recognition of Mocha Uson, UST will forever be imbued with unending hypocrisy." - Anton, 20, AB Economics graduate, research analyst
"It's embarrassing that the institution which claims to embody compassion, commitment, and competence recognized the performance of Ms .Uson as 'outstanding.' Personally, I don't recognize Ms. Uson as committed and competent given her recent acts. Her careless use of the new media implies her lack of regard to the proper and ethical exercise of press freedom. I don't see her as an 'outstanding' public official and her award therefore shall not have been given." - Ace, 24, AB Communication Arts graduate, resident law student
"Hindi ito kayang lusutan ng UST basta-basta. Kahit maglabas sila ng statement justifying the recognition, hindi niya na-awardan yung ibang tao na mas deserving. It's more of UST's fault than Mocha's." - Julius, 24, AB Communication Arts graduate, teacher
"As a graduate of UST, I felt nothing but shame—shame that my Alma Mater gave such recognition to a person not worthy of one." - Angela, 24, AB Communication Arts graduate, resident law student
"The award-giving body shall re-examine their standards in conferring merits to its alumni. Someone who truly manifests and embodies the core values of competence, commitment, and compassion shall be recognized. Nothing more, nothing less." - Joseph, 24, AB Political Science graduate, resident law student
"The Government Service Award must be given to those officials who showed the core values of being a Thomasian. The university should be responsible in creating the criteria for the possible recepients of the award. In the case of Mocha Uson as a government official, it is clearly seen that there is no sign of the Thomasian core values in her service with her continuously spreading of fake news and wrong information to the public." - Jerome, 23, AB Communication Arts graduate, marketing officer
"It’s a disgrace to give someone who spreads fake news and hate recognitions. It’s very disappointing to see your alma mater glorifying such acts." - Neala, 24, AB Asian Studies graduate, executive assistant
"I feel utterly disgusted and insulted. I'm disappointed with the recognition given to someone who spreads fake news and bias opinion. Even Rita skeeter will be a better option." - Pia, 25, AB Economics graduate, banker
"Awarding Mocha Uson 'to inspire other government officials' is surprising and very ironic. Giving her such award, for me, lowers the standard of UST and of the government. Kung ka-award-award pala magpakalat at maging promotor ng kasinungalingan, what does that say about the values that UST truly promotes, 'di ba? Nakakahiya sa madla. And, of course, the bottomline is hindi deserve ni Mocha 'yang award na 'yan." - Myrel, 22, AB Communication Arts graduate, account executive
"According to the statement of the president of the alumni association, they were hoping for the recipient to live the Thomasian core values in their public service. So baka nga naman ma-instill sa kanya 'yung idea na 'yun at matauhan siya. Kasi siyempre 'yung mga kasama niya na nabigyan ng award ay public officials talaga. So, nakakahiya naman kung wala siyang gagawin after being granted that honor." - Trixie, 24, AB Communication Arts graduate, sales officer
What are your thoughts on Mocha Uson being honored by the alumni association with the Thomasian Government Service award? Sound off in the comments below.
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Banner Photography from UST-CSC and ABS-CBN News