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Bittersweet Mocha

IN THIS day and age, everything we say and do is observed, analyzed, and critiqued.

When President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Mocha Uson as Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary, all eyes (and ears) were on her.

Uson has been very vocal about her support and loyalty toward the Duterte administration. She continues to defy the public through condemning all the anti-Duterte spills and defending and patronizing all the questionable and controversial decisions of the current administration. Her loyalty to Duterte proves to go beyond all the issues that haunt his administration.

When Duterte decided to give her a Malacañang post, no one was surprised.

Uson continues to influence and drag the people into a spiral of lies and fake news. It is ironic that a Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary leads the agenda of falsifying the truth and spreading all sorts of lies and misinformation. She, however, claims that she is not the perpetrator of fake news, rather a victim of it.

The newbie public servant indeed earned a name for herself.

Recently, the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association, Inc. (USTAAI) decided to give Uson the Thomasian Alumni in Government Service (TAGS) award. According to the USTAAI’s statement, Uson deserved the award for she fit the criteria: 1) a graduate of UST, and 2) a government employee working for the Executive, Judiciary, House of Representatives, and Senate.

Uson graduated from UST in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in medical technology. Meanwhile, the entertainer-turned-blogger was appointed as the communications assistant secretary on May 8, 2017.

The USTAAI explained that although TAGS is not the highest award given by UST, it is “envisioned to inspire and challenge the recipients to lead the Thomasian core values of compassion, competence, and commitment.”

Despite the USTAAI’s efforts to provide a logical explanation for their illogical decision to bestow Uson the government service award, Thomasians were not convinced.

Thomasians were immediately outraged when news broke. Student councils and organizations did not hold back in expressing their disappointment towards the USTAAI. They released statements condemning the association’s decision. They pointed out that Uson does not only deserve the award but she also nowhere near fit as a role model to public servants.

USTAAI, however, stood firm in its decision and decided not to rescind Uson’s government service award.

The call for Uson to return her award is not an indication of unfair treatment or judgment towards her, rather, it is about upholding what it means to be in public service.

Giving the award to anyone just because they fit in with the criteria is just like giving away candy to any random person. The award became an accessory than a privilege. It has downgraded and belittled the essence of having a government service award.

Being a recipient of such award does not necessarily mean you have been in public service for a certain period, or you have to have a certain amount of accomplishments. It is about serving the people with integrity, diplomacy, and truthfulness. For eight months in office, Uson does not seem to possess any of these qualities.

Fortunately, Uson gave in and voluntarily returned her award to the alumni association. She said in a report that she returned her award to put an end to the bullying of then USTAAI President Henry Tenedero.

Uson is secretly trying to send the people a message–that despite the criticisms and bashes, she still has the upper hand.

Maybe we can learn from Uson a thing or two.

Or maybe not. F

For feedback, email stardigay.theflame@gmail.com.

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