UST to heighten Paskuhan security measures following alleged Agape breach issues
By Kaela Gabriel, Patricia Lumenario, and Alexandria Grace Magno
Despite exclusivity of this year’s Paskuhan Festivities to UST students and alumni, reports on non-Thomasian attendees during Agape have been a hot topic on and off line.
Days before the event, discourse on prohibition of non-Thomasians’ participation in this year’s Paskuhan festivities alongside tricks on how outsiders can join the said activities made rounds online.
“Mag-Grab kayo tapos sa UST hospital kayo b[um]aba” is just one of the few “UST hospital hacks” being shared online by some TikTok users.
“Guys… May way kaya para makapag-pasok ng outsiders sa Paskuhan? HAHAHAHAHAHA boring kasi bakit bawal?” an anonymous group member of UST FRESHIES 2022–2023 posted last Dec. 9.
After the official start of the Paskuhan festivities on Dec. 2, TomasinoWeb received narratives from Thomasian students regarding alleged security breaches, one of them being entry of outsiders during the Agape.
“Basta ang alam ko lang may na-meet siya [outsider] na girl [Thomasian] sa UST, nakalimutan ko kung ano yung faculty. Basta may na-meet siya doon, tapos nakapasok siya [outsider] while holding a food package from Agape. Taga-[school from the U-belt] siya,” a source told TomasinoWeb.
He also shared that one of his friends also managed to acquire a UST identification card despite being an outsider.
Alias Carlos from the College of Fine Arts and Design shared that his non-Thomasian batchmate from highschool entered the campus on Dec. 2.
“So actually batchmate ko lang siya noong high school and sure ako na hindi siya Thomasian […] So ‘yon noong night ng Agape, nakita ko lang naka-IG story [siya] na nasa harap ng arch na nakailaw. Not sure kung paano siya nakapasok,” Carlos said.
Another source from the Faculty of Arts and Letters shared, “Noong Agape, personal experience po ng friend ko na nakapila, she overheard daw ‘yung convo ng mga nakapila, gumamit siya ng ID ng Thomasian ta’s sabi pa raw, “I don’t even look like him.”
One of the sources said that even before the Agape started, some Thomasians had their QR codes and IDs “rented” so outsiders could enter.
“I wasn’t able to attend the Agape but according to [some] friends, super dami [pong] outsiders na nakapasok,” one Thomasian who refused to be named told TomasinoWeb.
TomasinoWeb also learned that there were people selling Agape food stubs online. As of writing, the said tweet has been taken down.
Another source witnessed a non-Thomasian attendee use the alleged loopholes in the circulars as an excuse so their plus one/s can pass through the gates.
“I pulled up the Paskuhan guidelines. I told them [na] pwede naman yung guests basta may stay safe,” TomasinoWeb’s source confirmed.
Stated in the circular under Appendix E: Health Protocol for Christmas Concert & Paskuhan 2022, that all University alumni and invited visitors must complete the online health declaration form using the given QR code or the StaySafe.ph app.
The said Thomasian argued that the Agape is covered by the circular despite being informed by the security personnel that the guidelines they presented will take effect on Dec. 19.
According to Lords Hernandez, University security supervisor, the released circulars are applicable to all the Paskuhan festivities but heclarified that the “guests” mentioned in the Appendix E refers to those invited by UST itself such as guest performers and speakers.
Meanwhile, broken QR scanners were also reported.
“There was [this] one gate na ‘di na nagta-tap ng ID. Sobrang dali lang makapasok,” one of the sources said.
“Sakto sira yung scanner sa P. Noval,” one non-Thomasian attendee verified to our source that they were able to pass through the gates by just presenting their QR codes.
Hernandez denied these allegations, saying the security personnel had never been lenient during the Agape when it came to entry of attendees.
“Aware kami sa sinasabi nilang so-called outsiders na nakapasok, pero sa ngayon wala kaming concrete data na mayro’n man. More on hearsay, sabi-sabi. Wala talagang detalye,” Hernandez told TomasinoWeb.
There were a total of 34,000 attendees during the Agape last Dec. 2, according to Hernandez.
Tighter security issues
In an interview with TomasinoWeb, Hernandez assured that the University will heighten security measures on Dec. 19 through deploying additional security personnel and establishing railings on certain areas of the University to prevent entry of outsiders.
Hernandez said that the security office conducted an ocular inspection days after Agape, which revealed “loopholes” in some spots of the University where non-Thomasians potentially entered last Dec. 2.
Among the possible points of entries for outsiders were the UST Hospital and the Carpark,Hernandez confirmed
“Yong sa […] likod ng hospital, mayro’n kaming nakita diyan. Pero ngayon, we will make sure na hindi na ito mangyayari kasi nakita na namin,” he said.
“May isa pa kaming nakita, ‘yong sa may bandang Carpark papuntang practice gym. Although may bantay kami that day, medyo malaki kasi ‘yong area. So may mga part na nakalusot din,” Hernandez added.
The security supervisor also considered that there will also be a mass at the Santisimo Rosario Parish Church on the day of the UST Paskuhan which can also be a possible point of entry for outsiders to join the crowd of the concert attendees.
“[G]agawa kami ng dedicated na daan para sa kanila [churchgoers] para at least hindi makahalo ‘yong mga non-Thomasians sa mga pupunta mismo sa event natin,” Hernandez explained.
Hernandez also warned of “disciplinary” consequences for students who will lend their IDs and QR codes to non-Thomasians.
“Ang instructions ko, tingnan nila ‘yong mukha ng tao […] So hindi porket nag-access granted na pagka-tap ng ID, eh siya na nga ‘yon. Kaya nga warning ‘to sa gagawa no’n [pagpapahiram ng ID], magkakaroon ng disciplinary action,” Hernandez added.
The UST Office of Alumni Relations announced last Dec. 2 that alumni who were unable to process and claim their alumni cards can now generate and use their QR codes as their access to the University for the Paskuhan festivities.
“The University made the Paskuhan festivities exclusive for Thomasians consistent with the University’s gradual and progressive return of students to the campus,” Emmanuel Batulan,
Executive Secretary of OSG, told TomasinoWeb.
“[M]easures have been put in place by the University, such as coordination between the security force of the University, Santisimo Rosario Parish, and UST Hospital. [A]nd identification of inner gates to serve as second screening points,” he added.
According to the University’s security personnel, the Paskuhan crowd on Dec. 19 is expected to peak at 50,000 to 60,000.