The Ateneo de Naga University Office of Student Affairs (OSA), in partnership with the Philippine Association of Practitioners of Student Affairs and Services (PAPSAS) – Region V, conducted its thematic session/webinar, “TBH (To Be Human): Reintegration in the New Normal” last 30 October 2020. The webinar, which was livestreamed in Facebook, generated approximately 1,900 views as of writing.
The OSA invited renowned social anthropologist, researcher-writer, and human rights advocate, Fr. Albert Alejo, S.J. or commonly known as Paring Bert to be the resource speaker.
Fr. Alejo divided his presentation into two topics: (1) being human and (2) pagpapakatao. For the first part, he discussed the definition of being human, a question that has been continuously asked and debated since time in memoriam and how humans differ from living and non-living creatures such as plants, animals, machines and even artificial intelligence, in terms of the qualities, capabilities, and limitations. Fr. Alejo notes that humans are interconnected with other beings and must be mindful and aware of these connections. He further notes that being human entails having innate human rights and dignity.
For the second part of his presentation, Fr. Alejo defined “pagpapakatao” as the continuous process of being human and the challenges that comes with it. He characterized “pagpapakatao” into three terms: (1) pagpapakataong-tao, (2) pakikipag-kapwa-tao, and (3) pakikipag-kaibang-tao. Pagpapaka-taong-tao refers to the acknowledgement of the rationality of being human or the capability to use one’s intellect and will to be different from other creatures. Pakikipag-kapwa-tao denotes the forming of relationships with fellow human beings and communal instinct to help other in times of peril. Lastly, pakikipag-kaibang-tao is the acknowledgement of one’s difference from their fellow human beings, in terms of characteristics and beliefs; it also implies that human beings must respect the uniqueness of a certain individual. Paring Bert deemed that despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic people can still practice to be human; he notes the examples of frontliners who continually serve the country, socio-civic organizations extending help to effected communities, and the like.
Majority of the participants of the webinar came from various schools or universities around the country. Dr. Evelyn A. Songco, a former president of PAPSAS, and Rosendo Badilla of the AdNU Theology department, together with several student leaders from AdNU and Universidad de Sta. Isabel, partook in the open by presenting their respective reactions to the presentations of the speakers; sharing their insights and asking tips or clarifications from the speakers. Clyd Rex Jesalva of the Theology department facilitated the open forum.
During the open forum, Fr. Alejo briefly discussed the importance of Cyber-ethics in this technological-driven age and gave practical tips to be ethical and compassionate in various social media platforms.
The webinar was conducted with the help and support from the following: University Choir, Philippine Association of Practitioners of Student Affairs and Services, Office of Mission and Identity, and Office of the President.