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Miriam College To 'Form A Committee' To Address #MCHSDoBetter Sexual Harassment Accusations

More students from different schools have been speaking up.
ART SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

One June 24, the hashtag #MCHSDoBetter began trending on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook after a slew of students and alumni started writing about their personal accounts of sexual harassment from faculty members while enrolled in Miriam College High School. Some tweets also questioned the school administration's alleged poor management of the reported incidents.

MCHS students and alumni are now clamoring for corresponding action from the school management on the issue.

The movement also encouraged students from other local Catholic campuses to take to social media to share their own experiences of harassment from various school staff.

Time's Up Ateneo, a coalition of Ateneo de Manila University students, faculty, alumni, and parents fighting against sexual violence and impunity on campus, also posted a statement in support of the "growing number of high school students and alumni across the country who have been speaking out against sexual violence and impunity in their campuses."

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Other schools mentioned in the post are Marikina Science High School (#MARISCIDOBETTER), Quezon City Science High School, St. Theresa's College (#STCDOBETTER), St. Paul College Pasig (#SPCPSQUAREUP), and Bulacan State University Laboratory High School.

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Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago, who called for all schools mentioned to conduct a prompt investigation into all reports of harassment, also said in a tweet that the "Kabataan PL will be filing another resolution seeking probe into schools procedures for investigation of sexual harassment cases and corresponding administrative sanctions as mandated in RA7877. Isulong ang mas pinalawig na batas sa Anti-Sexual Harassment. Labanan ang abuso!"

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On June 25, Miriam College president Amb. Laura Q. Del Rosario addressed the allegations in an official statement about their "commitment to truth and restorative justice" on their website (published as is):

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Dear Members of the Miriam College Community, our dear Alumni, and Friends,

We heard and we listened to the pain- anger- frustration-driven Twitter messages on the purported inappropriate behavior of a few male teachers in our High School through the years. It pained us to know that said stories could be told in what we proudly call “a caring institution.” Please be assured that we have promptly initiated investigation of these reports and will take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.

We want all our teachers to be role models in leading their students towards well-being in partnership with the parents of our students leading their families.

We also do not want our students to fear retribution nor faculty members to fear lack of due process when cases such as the ones tweeted about are raised. It is thus to allay fear and to build trust in the Miriam College system that, aside from the present Academic unit mechanisms, we likewise move towards an institutional mechanism that will promote trust in the process, based on a culture of Christ-like understanding. This mechanism will be called the Justice, Truth, and Reconciliation Institutional Committee that will initiate a serious review of the cases in the past and the resolution of these cases. This institutional Committee, independent of any existing committees will also look into and act on the current cases, if any, and to recommend appropriate steps. And in the end, we hope that closures will be achieved, and reconciliation becomes possible.

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Beyond the formation of this Committee, Miriam College will undergo a serious process of self-criticism to re-define more deeply the meaning of Justice—especially in its restorative sense in addition to our lessons on social equity and distributive justice–so that our community will understand its meaning and realize that Love without Trust is meaningless.

We acknowledge that in any relationship, despite one side doing what it considers the “right thing”, the other side will consider it as not good enough.

On behalf of my fellow administrators, past and present, the Unit Heads, the administration of other units, the faculty of Miriam College in all levels, I wish to express to our Community, Alumni, and Friends our profound sadness for the pain and anger that the school system’s various members may have caused.

I wish to assure everybody that Miriam College will do better as it moves forward to serve other communities beyond our physical borders, and it will continue to produce graduates who are empowered not for themselves alone, but so they could help the powerless. And in the end, we can truly call ourselves “a caring institution.” 

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Stay tuned for more updates.

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I was, but I am not. Desperately, I am trying to reach you – my hope. I am in this particular space in my own constructed world where doubts and frustrations recur. Emphasizing how scared I am being here, I never explored this area before. I was always in those places filled with benevolence, hope shining like the light the sun and the moon possess. And I didn’t have any plans to visit a ‘dark’ place, as how I described it then. But, as funny as how my world suddenly flipped, I am now here, completely lost with monsters persuading me to go insane.

How did I end up here? I can’t logically tell you the answer for that, but I guess, I know when. It started when I had to consider what college course do I want to pursue. Well, if you want to ask what ambition had occurred in my mind when I was young – which is usually the case in terms of life when you were like 7-year-old young - it was definitely being a doctor. I’d thought about wearing a medical coat with a stethoscope around my neck, ready to cure people from their illnesses. It was actually stuck in my mind for so long I almost thought that I was sure of it, yet, as a particular song yields, almost was never really enough and still, it is and will never be.

When I realized that such a perspective was slowly draining me, I tried my best to stand tough. I convinced myself that this was just temporary, that I could think of a way out of this. “There’s still plenty of time,” I once convinced myself. However, my environment demonstrated the contrary: I felt like I was completely out of time.

I was there when my classmates were happily talking about that ‘dream course’ they wish to take in their ‘dream university.’ I was there when my family was suggesting the thought of using my ‘suitable’ speaking voice for broadcasting and voice acting purposes. I was there when my teacher was convincing me that Education suited me the best. That ‘Stand tough!’ aura I used to own back then, suddenly transformed into ‘I give up!’ state, slowly destroying my being. And now, I am here in this space where doubts and frustrations are filling my former enthusiastic self. I need help.

I know, at this point, some of you may never consider me ‘fatal’ because, as you’re reading this, you may judge that I still have the ability to transform my thoughts into words that can be read, so that ‘automatically’ falls into the aspect of complete sanity. No, because I will never tell everything to you in the first place if I still have the urge to stand like I used to, relative to my belief that speaking up through writing is the best way to attract help.

When you look at the photo of mine above, you may say that I was okay. That I was successful. That I was never losing myself. Yes, I was. But, think about what happened days after that was taken and the message of this passage you started reading minutes before, do you think I am still the same girl smiling in the photo? I hope I will be or better yet, improve if the world will permit me. But, now I’m sure – I’m not the same.

LIFE ADVICE YOU NEED TO HEAR WHILE YOURE STILL YOUNG

This blog is dedicated to all teens out there struggling in determining what they really want in their life or if you simply want a glow up. And since were still facing a pandemic, I think this is also a season where everyone is re-thinking about their lives. So, I hope these advices might help you.

Tip #1. TAKE RISK - since most of you are still young, I advice you to take your biggest risk. Whether it may be taking the course you want, a skill you want to acquire or just simply taking the risk to throw away your emotional baggage from your childhood. While you're still young, you have very little to lose. You dont have that much commitments and responsibilities. Because the older you get, the more responsibilities and obligations came. So when they are still not piling up, take the risk! As for me, the biggest risk I took when I was still a teenager is to CUT OFF TOXIC FAMILY TIES.

I may sound rude here but, yeah. I decided to throw away my emotional baggage from my traumatic childhood and cut off some of my family ties and it is completely okay! You dont have to be bothered by whatever they will say. Because at your age, you are already investing on your growth as a person. If you really want to grow, THERE IS NO PERFECT TIME FOR YOU TO TAKE RISK BUT NOW. Because in taking risk you are actually giving yourself a reward of getting something amazing or beyond what you expect you can have. As they say, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Keep in mind that the bigger the risk, the bigger possibility of FAILURE. But that is completely OKAY. Because just like what I said earlier, you are still young. You dont have so much to lose so, dont be afraid to take the risk and then fail. But after failing, learn from it and the more courage you have to take risk the greater the learning, reward or happiness. Ito na nga, how to take risk nga ba? And what are the risk that would actually help me to grow? #

2: VOICE LESSON - dont get me wrong, hindi ito vocalization para sa pagkanta. What I mean is, learn to listen to that VOICE INSIDE YOU. Listen to your heart, to your intuition and to your visions because it will be your GUIDE. Because I realize that as you go along your journey of your life and if you really want to be YOURSELF and be successful in achieving your goals, the only GUIDE that you should follow is your OWN VOICE.

It is okay to take and consider other people's advices but at the end of the day,you should never forget to listen to your own voice. Because that voice is what tells you what you truly want. How would you know that if it is your 'own' voice? Your own voice always comes from your HEART. The voice where YOU and GOD'S voice are one. Because I firmly believe that God knows your heart and that is where he reside. I like journaling because whenever I journal my thought every night and every morning, I feel a dual voice inside my head. Like, it contradicts what the other voice is telling. For example: If we have dreams or goals that puts us so much weight and pressure to the point that it makes you exhausted, STOP. Because it might be a dream or goal of someone else. I believe that your own dreams and goals may be frustrating most of the time, but that frustration has fueling feeling that will always tell you that 'This is the hard way to better so keep going'. Frustration in your own dreams will not make you feel exhausted because achieving a dream itself is a fulfilling feeling.

#3. TAKE ACTION - if you really want something to happen, take action. Dont just sit there and wait things to come your way. Make action or decisions that will take you to where you want to go in your life. Just like what I said in one of my novels that I am writing in wattpad, "There is no such thing as destiny or fate. Because YOU make your OWN life choices." For example, I cannot expect to be a published author if I dont write any novels right? The bottomline here is, if you are not moving forward you are actually moving backward. And it is a sad thing. Life is full of situations where you will be put in the line whether you take courage or just stay where you are. Because GROWING needs consistency in moving forward. So if you dont have to enough courage to take action, your life will always stay the same or worse you will continuously shrink down.

#4. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS - this means stretching your comfort zone. I watched an anime entitled "Black Clover" there is a captain there where he always tell his subordinates to surpass their limits right, here right now. Going out of our comfort zones are surely scary and uncomfortable. But you have to accept the fact that you cannot stay on the coast forever. You have to change, because the only thing that is constant in this world is change right? Go out of your comfort zones because LIMITS are just in the MIND. There are disabled people who are successful in their own careers. Because the lesson here is, if you hold back there will be no growth. Because GROWTH blooms in DISCOMFORT.

Last, #5. INVEST IN YOURSELF - especially now that you are still young, you should focus on investing on yourself more. Time is your bestfriend at this point of your life. You have so much time to discover things about yourself. I never regret buying and reading books that I never knew will help me later on in dealing life's challenges. You can use that time to read books, gain wisdom, or pick a new skill, improve your talent and learn from your experiences. Keep learning outside your home or your school. Because the real battlefield is OUTSIDE. What you learn in school will only help you in your career but your wisdom and experiences will help you in life or as a person. People who doesnt embrace growth will never succeed in their life. (This is a reflection blog from my 21st birthday last week. I hope you can feature this on your page and I hope it can help others as well. )

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