Alumnus pained by DWCL ban

I have always known Jaime Lao as an admirable human being. While undergoing dialysis treatment twice or thrice a week, he managed to serve as president of the Central Student Council at Divine Word College of Laoag, and president, too, of the Rotaract Club. He was also Editor in Chief of the school paper. All these he did while striving to have his name consistently on two lists: the Dean’s List and the kidney transplant recipient list. The former, he achieved; the latter remains elusive.

I first met him in debate practices for an interschool competition their school eventually won… over us. He is a lighthearted fellow whose energy and optimism belie his medical condition. But the other night, Jaime, now a law student, gave me a call; his voice was obviously pained.

Read his own account, dear karikna, to learn why.

 *****

I have been on dialysis treatment for more than four and a half years now and Divine Word College of Laoag (DWCL) has been a source of strength and inspiration during my years as a student there. My sickness seized my hopes and dreams for a brighter future because during that time, I thought that my end was near. I felt dying. But when I enrolled at Divine Word College of Laoag last 2008 for my second course, I found a new hope and a sense of purpose to live longer. I owe this to the students and to the teachers who believed in me, them alone and no one else.

Without bragging, I think I could be considered as a good student when I was at DWCL. But now I am hurt and deeply saddened because the school administrators banned me from visiting my beloved Alma Mater. According to the newly appointed Director of Students Affairs, Prof. Michael Madamba, I am not allowed to enter the school. He told me this during my visit last September 9, 2011 for the school intramural. I was shocked because I was not informed about it formally and, in my personal opinion, the banning was too unreasonable. During the general assembly of the college students last June 2011, I went there to invite students to participate for the “KABAGIS Run for A Cause”. The event was intended to raise funds to assist patients undergoing dialysis treatment, including myself. I always feel that I still belong to the DWCL family even after I graduated. I also felt that it was not too much to invite students to participate since the event also aimed to promote physical wellness, running, and most importantly, the value of life.

With regard to the invitation I did during the general assembly, I had prior permission from the CSC President but did not ask the proper school authorities since it would just be an informal invitation to the students. After my five minute talk in the general assembly, I was summoned to talk to the Director of Student Affairs. The Director questioned me why I went to the general assembly and invited students without any permission. He also stressed that the new priest in the school saw me and did not like what I did. I felt sad about it but I still apologized for not asking the school administrators for proper permission.

I am hurting and my heart is crashed because I am banned to visit my Alma Mater that has been my source of strength and inspiration to live more. I now feel worthless as an alumnus of the school. The banning, for me, was a clear message that the school administrators don’t care any more after you graduate. I am banned because I asked help and invited the students to run for a cause. As far as I am concerned, I didn’t promote havoc, violence, or chaos. I didn’t go to the students’ general assembly to rob or steal from anyone — I promoted the value of life. Where is justice, peace, truth and love that we should all practice as it is embedded in our mission as Divinians? There was no due process which I believe I deserve and the others who are also victims of great injustice because of grave abuse of discretion. What kind of values are we trying to impart to our students if we cannot practice our authorities entrusted to us in a proper way? I wonder what Jesus Christ would do if He was the one to decide whether or not I will be banned just because I promoted the value of life by inviting students to participate in a lawful event.

We are a government of laws and not of men. Nobody can just decide based on his own opinion, it should always be based on written guidelines and policies. For when this happens it would result to dictatorship. This is the kind of evil that should be avoided.

I have been a proud Divinian and I will always be; and always be a Witness to the Word… of truth, love, and justice, all of which I did not feel last Sept. 9.

 *****

 School administrators may have been wary because the event promoted by Jaime was sponsored by the Samahang Ilocano (S.I.), a fraternity. Maybe the priests think, and they have the right to think so, that fraternities are harmful for students, and so they are taking extra precaution. But note that Jaime did not promote a fraternity. He only invited students to support a charitable event.

I am not defending the need for fraternities. In fact, my very first article that saw print (Mga Anak ng Frating), and that was in high school, was against such groups. And no, I am not defending fraternities because my Kuya Henry was president of S.I. at the Ilocos Norte National High School three and a half decades ago. I have never been a fan of fraternities, not even of the more popular ones.

But Kuya Henry has always been an astute citizen, a loving family man, and a devoted believer in God. And Jaime, an exemplary human being who finds meaning and purpose in S.I., has my respect. I am tempted to say that if all of us could be like these two men by joining fraternities, then, by all means, let’s join fraternities. But I will only say that if we believe in their worthy causes, then, by all means, let’s support them. We are quick to condemn fraternities when they initiate rumbles and public disorder, but why can’t we tap their back when they channel their vast energies into something productive? And why ban Jaime? A simple warning that he could not promote his group, in any way, inside the campus would have been enough. But to deprive the alumnus entry to a home he has always loved… isn’t that too much?

In the interest of fairness, I tried to contact Prof. Michael Madamba of DWCL to get his side of the story, but the security guard who picked up the phone informed me that school employees were having a recollection facilitated by the famous Fr. Jerry Orbos.

Anyway, Security Officer Joselino Bobiles confirmed that his office has not received any memorandum, not even an informal advice, that Jaime is banned at DWCL. His tone even expressed wonder as to why, if at all, the well-regarded alumnus should be banned.

I hope, as a fellow alumnus (I went to DWCL Grade School), that this issue is resolved the soonest, and always on the side of truth, justice, and compassion—virtues we expect school administrators of the ‘Pride of the North’ have learned in their insightful recollection.

Look, Father, the event was safe and fun, even for kids.

17 Comments

Filed under Education, Ilocos

17 responses to “Alumnus pained by DWCL ban

  1. As the National Chairman of Samahang Ilokano-Kabagis, I want to clear once an for all that we are NOT Fraternity or Sorority, we are group of professionals, farmers, military, government employees and some students. We are registered as Ilokano organization last May 2009 by the SEC. We are not practicing HAZING, we focus on lecture of our goals and do more Community/School service rather than harming our recruits. The goal of our organization is more on brotherhood as one family. I think it is unfair to treat our brother Jaime Lao like that by his former school. Please do read our By Laws and if necessary we are willing to sit down with the officers of DWCL.

    Thank you and my kakabagis keep doing what is good…As the Lord said ” Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing”..

  2. waferstick

    Goose bumps while reading the article.
    I am missing the presence of Manong Jaime. He was indeed a good man, a good leader.

  3. VICTIM

    Jaime is good friend of mine. I know who he is, academically and as a person. We are both “maprinsipyo” and firm! We are just a few VICTIMS of injustice to that institution. I planned to fight them back, but suddenly I remember what a friend of mine told me about “PET THEORY”, I am helpless….

  4. juanki

    Made an enemy? Good. That means you stood up for something. However, I would like to dissect your letter given it is now public material. In the order of how I recall your letter, first, you are looking for due process whilst you did not follow due process when you wished to make an announcement on your behalf. Second, if your intentions were not to cause havoc, was it wise to state, “the school administrators don’t care any more after you graduate?” This statement will easily stick to those students who respected (and still do) you during your Divinian days. It may be a catalyst of an uproar.

    Please don’t take me for someone who is taking sides. Treat me as a commoner who came across the blog. I am just curious since I have witnessed your dedication to this school, the students and to the organization you are a part of.

    My opinion, should it matter or not, is, a simple courtesy call to the school administrators and slipping in the fact you wanted to invite students to the fun run should have sufficed. And please do tread very carefully with open letters such as the one you wrote. The pen is mightier than the sword. The school however, did go too far when they banned you from their grounds. Hopefully the school would not bury this issue and deal with it like the Christians they claim to be.

    • jaime

      Thank you for your fair analysis, Sir/Madam.

      Just to let you know, for you to understand, Sir/Madam, why I didn’t ask a formal permission to the school admin that I will invite students during the general assembly because during my time as the Student Council President, whenever there were just short announcement to be made by some people they don’t necessarily ask the school admin, they just ask the Student Council President prior the general assembly that they would like to make some announcements. This was a practice that has never been an issue until the time I was the one making the short announcement. I was in good faith because when I went there I have a permission from the Student Council President. But despite of that I still gave my apology. With regard to the due process I was demanding, it was very basic when you deprive someone of his right. It must undergo due process.

      And again I don’t promote havoc even when I stated the school admin don’t care any more after you graduated. Reading this line is very subjective, you may or may not be affected. It’s really up to the reader. My intention with this line was to express what I felt. I don’t want to entice any one to feel rebellious against the school admin. If I wanted to the article could have been different. I just stated facts.

      Thank for having the interest, Sir/ Madam.

    • MASTER

      MASTER…

      Life is indeed an IRONY….like the scripture says…you cannot be a hero in your own place…most of the time people will remember the single mistake we committed but the many good things we poured nobody remembers…isn’t it ironic…?

      Jaime committed a mistake in not making things formal…as a due respect he should ask permission from the School’s Administrator or President through black and white to conduct his clear intent of his cause….he may be in good faith but the result of his deed is not justified….his contention may be right but there will always be a school policy to follow…

      On the part of DWCL, banning is not speedy and abrupt remedy, they should first exhausted other remedies like inviting Jaime for a seat to explain his side and what Jaime is asking for…due process….it should be given first before verdict….

      I can see in the issue, in the case at bar, COMMUNICATION was the problem…Jaime failed to make a formal communication to DWCL to make his intention valid…

      The school failed also to communicate to Jaime, and may be the President himself misinterpreted what jaime is campaigning for, they maybe misquoted him he is promoting fraternity or violence may be because of the presence of S.I. KABAGIS in the campaign material as Jaime’s co-organizer….

      I may find also the CSC President of DWCL as liable, he was the one who gave the floor to Jaime to talk infront of the studentry, he should not entertain him without the formal request and approved letter. Friendship is not enough, rules. policies and even laws should be considered above anybody else…DURA LEX SED LEX the law may be harsh but it is still a law….

      I salute Jaime, we salute him, his struggles in life and yet he still manages to do his part as a good citizen of the society and be a good servant to everybody even during his times to DWCL instead of becoming a liability to DWCL…but i tell you friend…what is ironic is that…the people whom you considered as your own family is sometime the one who will disregard you later on…Even Jesus, he was persecuted misjudged and unjustly convicted…DATAYO PAY NGATA APO JAIME A TAO LAENG….

      May this Jaime’s experience will serve a lesson to all of us….

      Let us give what is due to EVERYBODY!

      • jaime

        Master,

        Thank you for your fair and detailed opinion. I appreciate it. I really admit my fault in not asking the school the proper permission before inviting the students, but as I have said it before I was in good faith since it was a practice during my time that short announcements don’t necessarily ask permission to the school admin. Well, having said that I was still willing to apologize to the school admin if they have given me the chance to be heard but unfortunately they did not.

  5. So sad Jaime, like us, you are also a victim of grave abuse discretion in DWCL. The respected officers and even the priest pwera delos buenos forget their role as model of Christian values. A Christian institution at that must be the first to support such cause especially it promotes value of life. Anyway, Jaime, just remember God loves those who are being persecuted by no reason at all. Keep up!

  6. vynette

    Kuya Jaime is really a great person. He is not just a good leader but he’s one of the strongest person I know. Before he graduated, he was able to do good things which contributed a great help to many people. A nice classmate, an intellectual leader and a good friend as well. Kuya Jaime is indeed a good person.

  7. somebody

    You knew very well Mr. Lao that the school doesn’t recognized fraternity!!!it is easy for you to tell that you have a good intention…it doesn’t look nice that you involve students in your activities and later on you will try to convince them to join you….have respect with the priest and administrator…you are a divinian pero sinisira mo pangalan ng divine sa ginagawa mo..:( i am also an alumnus but i always salute my alma matter, the teachers, administrators and priest who molded the students….come to think of it, kung ang mga administrator ang nasa teretoryo niyo at bigla nalang mag-announce na di man lang sabihin sayo..ana ngata met ti mariknam Mr. Lao…thats all thank you!

    • jaime

      Sir/Madam,

      You are right, I knew very well that the school doesn’t recognize fraternity, I have no question about that. But I would like you to understand that I went there to announce our event and not a fraternity. Yes, I didn’t ask permission to the school admin but I had a permission from the Student Council President. During my time as the CSC Pres, it has been a practice that when people make short announcement they don’t necessarily ask permit from the admin, they just come straight to me and ask if they can announce. With regard to your statement, “it doesn’t look nice that you involve students in your activities and later on you will try to convince them to join you”, this is a very poor assumption. You may want to check out our pictures during the event so that you will know that the event were participated by wholesome people (doctors, lawyers, family members, including kids, business people and other professionals). And for your information, the event was co-organized by TEAM KIMAT which is a group of advocates in running composed of lawyers, doctors, business people, and other professionals.

      I want you to know also that I still respect the administrators in DWCL, but maybe not all of them. There are people who are not worthy, I tell you. I’ve been with them myself. You can ask the students and the teachers if you want.

      I am doing this because I want this kind of case to be the last. I don’t want any Divinian to be hurt, including you, because of abuse of authority.

  8. Jimmy Castillo

    Why do people always judge something which is beyond their knowledge? A am not a fan of any fraternity but since I assumed office in the barangay,(as secretary), I have witnessed how great and how noble its (SIK) mission is. It always support all our endeavors and projects. It is always there whenever it is needed most. The group should not be condemned and treated that way.
    With regard to JR, I am a witness of his good intentions. I am a witness how he struggles for his survival in this world. When it is true that he had “violated” or “skipped” a procedure, I think it is very inhumane to threat him that way. In the real world of law, we are given some time to defend our selves in whatever accusation. The law doesn’t give us an outright punishment. Why is the school so partial about the issue? You have all the right to think he has the negative intention why he had a talk that time but please learn to be rational. Now, you have proven your self wrong. However, this should be a lesson to all of us. Let’s keep all things right. To JR, I salute you… for your courage-courage to keep on fighting for your life. I just want to share this words to you. I learned this just recently…. “Ti Mangga nga adu ti BUNGA na, isu ti bakbakalen da”

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