By Deogracia William Bemida | News Editor
Vol. XCI No. 16
Jan. 24, 2020
Silliman University officially launched safe campuses project in collaboration with the Canadian Embassy and Active Citizen Foundation (ACF) during its ribbon-cutting ceremony last January 27.
The ceremony took place in the Oriental Hall outside the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) office.
According to Maria Fiona Labacuas, a volunteer from Safe Silliman Task Force, safe space is a nationwide project. Its purpose is to improve the university’s grievance desk by providing a safe space for students to address their concerns within the university. It is a place where the students are safe from discrimination and harassment as this can be an avenue for the admin and personnel to communicate with the students on addressing their problems.
Dr. Jeny Lind Elmaco, Director for Strategic Partnerships emphasized that safety should be the concern of everybody, and it is basically the freedom from fear.
“You can express yourself in whatever, in however you would want to be and you should be able to reach your potentials on campus,” Dr. Elmaco said.
“This is just a little space but I hope it is also an opening and also a symbol not only for the student government and students but also for us the members of the faculty and staff that there is a place that they can share their fears, hopes and dreams.”
Shamah Bulangis, a member of the Safe Silliman Task Force shared her experiences related to safe space. Bulangis remarked that the goals of safe space/safe campus are for safety, confidentiality, and accountability.
“This is only the start, the cutting of the ribbon is just a ceremony, it’s a symbol of telling everyone that ‘hey, you have a dedicated physical space for this state campus project’. It’s our job at the safe space task force to make those people’s voices heard”, Bulangis said.
The flow of ceremony was followed by the solidarity message of SUSG President Aprille Juanillo and Tiffany Urrutia, Coordinator of Canada Fund for Local Initiatives Embassy of Canada in the Philippines. Urrutia said that without active citizenship, the safe space spot would not be possible.
“We funded Active Citizenship Foundation, an NGO that is actually where this whole idea came from. Canada is always been supportive of feminist, international development policy and Canada believes that when we want to address issues like poverty, political action, you have to go into the equation wherein everyone’s voice is heard,” she added.
According to Reyman Krystoffer King Sy from the Office of the Strategic Partnership, the initiative of safe space project began in Dec. 2019 with an initial meeting with ACF. They came up with what to do which is to have the consultation for two Mondays and after that, they came up with recommendations.
During the ribbon-cutting, Sy announced that they are publishing the official page for the safe campus project for Silliman. As of now the staff is working and finalizing everything, the deadline is set to be at the end of the school year.
Photo by Ian Zane Esparaga