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Declare 2010 Year of the Thomasian

Declare 2010 Year of the Thomasian

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:32:00 02/16/2010

Filed Under: University, Anniversaries

Ten years ago, on Feb. 8, 2000, President Joseph Estrada signed Presidential Proclamation 243 declaring 2000 “The Year of OFWs.” It was the result of a yearlong campaign that I—a former OFW in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia—initiated in 1999. The aim was to focus more attention on OFWs and recognize overseas Filipinos’ immense contribution to the general good of our country, with the hope that it would jump-start renewed efforts in promoting their welfare and wellbeing. (Incidentally I was also one of the earliest advocates of the absentee voting and dual citizenship bills which were eventually passed into law.)

Last July, I sent a letter to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo proposing another declaration—2010 as the “Year of the Thomasian.” I believe this would be a very good way of beginning the second decade of the 21st century and the perfect prelude to the global celebration of UST’s Quadricentennial in 2011. February is half over and it seems no action has been taken on the letter, except its referral by the President’s Correspondence Office to the head of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office on Aug. 6, 2009. It is, however, not yet too late to push for the declaration.

So why 2010 as the Year of the Thomasian?

UST is the oldest university in Asia and the largest Catholic university in the world (in terms of student population in one campus). It counts among its alumni four Philippine presidents, six Supreme Court justices, and hundreds—perhaps thousands even—of prominent and outstanding men and women in various fields of endeavor. Consider, too, UST’s role in Philippine history. All this should make the university’s 400th anniversary not only a celebration for the Thomasian community but for the entire country as well.

Lest this sound as a bid by present-day Thomasians for self-aggrandizement, the proposal is just this UST alumnus’ idea of honoring the academic community that he was once, is still, and will always proudly be a part of—the Thomasian family.

President Arroyo, let this be one of your last significant actions before stepping down from the presidency. But more than that, let it be your ultimate tribute to one of the greatest Thomasians who ever lived—your own father, Diosdado Pangan Macapagal.

For your father and the men and women of centuries past who have brought honor to UST by doing their share in the shaping of our nation through their professional expertise or talent in the fields of engineering, commerce, education, law, arts and letters, fine arts, nursing, medicine, pharmacy and sciences; for the UST graduates of the recent past who stood out or continue to stand out in the fields of entertainment, music, film, business
and public service; for the entire Thomasian family of the past four centuries—declare 2010 as Year of the Thomasian! It would be a tribute and recognition well-earned and well-deserved, the perfect gift to the Thomasian community on the eve of their alma mater’s 400th year.

Fine Arts-Advertising 1981,
1990 POEA
Bagong Bayani Awardee


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