>Women in the Philippines are paid less than men for doing similar work.
>Fuck gender discrimination.
When Lena first brought up the idea of Lenny to me, I was excited. Excited to speak to Lena, who I think is a genius, and excited to start thinking about what to complain about (that’s not what she pitched me, it’s just what I’m gonna do). When it comes to the subject of feminism, I’ve remained ever-so-slightly quiet. I don’t like joining conversations that feel like they’re “trending.” I’m even the asshole who didn’t do anything about the ice-bucket challenge — which was saving lives — because it started to feel more like a “trend” than a cause. I should have written a check, but I fucking forgot, okay? I’m not perfect. But with a lot of talk comes change, so I want to be honest and open and, fingers crossed, not piss anyone off.
It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable. When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need. (I told you it wasn’t relatable, don’t hate me).
But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.” This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I’m sure it’s both. But this is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? We’ve only been able to vote for what, 90 years? I’m seriously asking — my phone is on the counter and I’m on the couch, so a calculator is obviously out of the question. Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men?
A few weeks ago at work, I spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no-bullshit way; no aggression, just blunt. The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, “Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!” As if I was yelling at him. I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong. All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought I had said something offensive.
I’m over trying to find the “adorable” way to state my opinion and still be likable! Fuck that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard. Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share. Again, this might have NOTHING to do with my vagina, but I wasn’t completely wrong when another leaked Sony email revealed a producer referring to a fellow lead actress in a negotiation as a “spoiled brat.” For some reason, I just can’t picture someone saying that about a man.
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“Miss, angkas ka na sa ‘kin”
I got catcalled this morning, on my way to work. I got catcalled last week. I get catcalled almost weekly. The picture below shows how I looked like earlier when I was waiting for my ride. MERON BANG MALI? Kabastos bastos ba yung suot ko? Forearm, leeg at mukha ko lang ang balat na nakikita, nakatawag pa din ba ng pansin? Ang putla putla ko, magulo ang buhok, attractive ba?
Gusto kong malaman sa mga lalake mismo, BAKIT GINAGAWA NG MGA LALAKE ITO?
“Good morning, miss ganda”
“Hatid na kita”
“Uwi ka na? Ingat ka ha”
“Ganda mo naman”
Lahat yan sinabi na sa akin. At alam kong LAHAT ng babae naranasan nang ma-cat call. Sa mga lalakeng nagbabasa nito ngayon, ipapaalam ko sa inyo anong pakiramdam ng isang babae pag ginaganyan nyo sila.
Nahihiya, hindi kumportable, natatakot, naiinis, nagagalit, nababastos.
Tuwing may nagaganyan sa akin, nanginginig ang buong katawan ko sa takot at inis.
Sabihin nyo nga sa akin? Ano’ng dapat kong gawin? Ano’ng dapat gawin naming mga babae para hindi nyo kami bastusin?
Pag may nag catcall sa akin, minsan gusto kong murahin kahit hindi naman ako nagmumura. Kanina gusto kong ituro sa mukha nung lalake yung middle finger ko. Pero natakot ako. Lagi akong takot. Paano kung bumaba sya ng bike nya, at patulan ako? Paano ako lalaban, eh ang hina hina ko?
Sumagi din sa isip ko ang sumigaw para mapahiya sya. Pero, natatakot ako. Natatakot ako na imbes na yung lalake ang mapahiya, sa norm ng society na ‘tin baka ako pa ang pag isipan na papansin kasi iisipin na “harmless naman yan, di ka naman hinawakan wag kang maarte ate, pa famewhore ka eh”.
Kayong mga lalake wala kayong idea kung anong klaseng discomfort ang binibigay nyo sa aming mga babae tuwing ginagawa nyo yan. Wala kayong idea kung gaano kami nappraning. Ako, ayokong mag public commute talaga, dahil yan ang isang sitwasyon na mapipilitan kang makisalamuha sa kung sino sino. Ayoko, hindi dahil maarte ako, ayoko kasi I feel unsafe.
Napansin ko, tuwing kasama ko ang boyfriend ko; NEVER AKONG NA CATCALL. Kahit kasama ko si Dave, yung kapatid ko NEVER akong nabastos.
So ganon? Pag may kasama kaming lalake, dun nyo lang kami marerespeto?
Mula highschool ako hanggang ngayon nangyayari pa din sakin yan.
Nung nagwowork pa ako sa BDO, so mini skirt at naka stockings ang uniform namin. Sumakay ako ng trike, sabi nung driver “Talagang may stockings ang uniform nyo?” Sabi ko “opo”. Sagot nya, “AHHH OK NGA EH, ANG SEXY”. Again, nanginig ako sa sobrang takot.
Lalo na nung college ako, nakasakay ako sa jeep. Medyo maluwag mga apat lang kami nakasakay so nakatagilid ako maupo at yung kamay ko nakahawak sa bakal nun bintana. Paghinto ng jeep may barker sa kanto, HINAWAKAN NUN BARKER YUNG KAMAY KO SABAY SABING “INGAT KA HA”.
Pagdating ko sa school, iyak ako ng iyak sa takot. Hindi ko makwento kahit kanino kasi NATATAKOT ako na sabihin ang arte ko. Pero ngayon, hindi na ko teenager. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Kaya ko ‘to pinost kasi naalala ko yung pamangkin kong si Zildjian. Balang araw, dadating yung time na maglalakad na din syang mag isa sa mga kalsada. HINDING HINDI KO KAYANG MAIMAGINE NA PAGDADAANAN NYA YUNG CATCALLING AT KUNG ANO ANG MAGIGING EPEKTO SA KANYA.
Naala ko nitong Sabado lang sa KalyeSerye, tinanong ni Lola Nidora “May balot na balot bang nababastos?” Sabi ni Tinidora “MERON!” Nung tinanong ni Nidora yun, sobrang nagsisigaw ako sa loob ko na “OO, MERON! Kung alam nyo lang iba na ang panahon ngayon. Walang pinipili ang mga BASTOS.”
Sa mga kagaya kong babae, I encourage you to speak up. They may be physically stronger but if we show them resistance then maybe this unfathomable practice of catcalling will end. Or at least become illegal sa bansa natin.
Also please, sa mga lalake dyan ipaliwanag nyo sa kin, bakit nyo yan ginagawa at ano ba ang dapat naming gawin para hindi na yan mangyari sa amin. </3 Kasi ako ang tingin ko, dapat may makulong dahil sa pag cat call, para tigilan nyo yang ginagawa nyo.
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To my fellow lyceans particularly ladies,
I will share to you what happened to me a while ago. Please mag-ingat kayo sa mga ganitong klaseng professors. Wag nyo hahayaan na sirain nila pagkababae nyo.
So this is what happened…
Nagtext ako sakanya nung umaga para mag completion ng namissed ko na exam. Nagreply sya ng, “pls call”. Tumawag ako sakanya at ang napag usapan namin, pupunta ko sakanya sa Alex III Restaurant along Matalino st. kasi baka hindi na daw sya magpunta sa school dahil may meeting pa sya at sabi nya dun din yung law office nila, naisip ko din na baka busy sya at isisingit nya lang ako sa sched nya kasi attorney sya at sa senate nagtatrabaho kaya okay, pumayag na ako. Pagdating ko dun, pinapakain nya ako dun sa restaurant, sabi ko naman, wag na, kasi busog pa naman ako. Tapos sinabi nya, sa school nalang daw ako magexam, sumabay na daw ako sakanya. Tumanggi ako kasi nahihiya ako at pangit nga tingnan na kasabay ko prof ko sa sasakyan nya, pero mapilit sya, pumayag na din ako kasi less hassle nga naman at di mainit. So ayun. Habang nasa sasakyan kami…
H: Ano bang palayaw mo?
M: Machi po.
H: Machi nalang tatawag ko sayo. Oh ano bang plano mo? Gusto mo mag exam?
M: Opo sir, sayang naman kasi yung ireretake ko pa, eh eto lang naman po yung namiss ko.
H: Nako, mahihirapan ka sa exam, at babagsak ka.
M: Bakit naman po? Nagbasa basa naman ako kanina ng konti.
H: 1-70 items yun. Puro essay. Memory work.
M: Grabe naman yun sir. Dalian nyo naman po ng konti.
H: Eh pano nga? Wag ka na mag exam?
M: Kung pwede lang po eh kaso baka babagsak ako nakapagexam. Mag eexam po ako sir, itatry ko po.
H: Nako, babagsak ka talaga. Tell me what you want. Give me some proposal para mapagusapan natin. Lets vault in.
M: (Tahimik na ako kasi kinakabahan na ako, parang alam ko na yung gusto nya mangyari.)
H: Oh pano balak mo? Gusto mo wag ka na mag exam, mag date nalang tayo. Kasi pag nag exam ka, babagsak ka at ibabagsak kita.
M: La, date talaga sir? Pangit naman non.
H: (di na sya sumagot)
M: (nagcellphone na ako at tinext ko boyfriend ko kasi kinakabahan na ako.)
H: San gusto mo kumain?
M: wag na sir, derecho nalang po tayo sa school kasi baka di ko na po maabutan ojt expo.
H: Kain muna tayo, o gusto mo dun nalang sa taas kumain. Order tayo.
M: Saang taas sir?
H: (di na sumagot, sabay kinanan yung kotse sa basement parking ng SOGO Banawe. Buti may kotse sa harap namin na di umaabante kaya nasa bungad pa kami)
M: (sobrang kaba na ko kaya nagpatawag ako sa bf ko, sabi ko sabihin nya sakin naaksidente kunwari mami ko. Kasi hindi ko talaga alam kung pano ako makakababa sa sasakyan. Ayoko din naman magsalita ng di maganda kasi baka magalit sya at kung ano pang gawin sakin, lalo akong mapapahamak kaya kalma lang ako kahit nanlalamig na ako sa kaba.) Sir, naaksidente daw po yung mami ko, kailangan ko pong umuwi na. Bababa na po ako.
H: hala. Saang hospital? Ihahatid na kita. (sabay atras ng kotse)
M: wag na sir. Magpunta na po kayo sa lyceum. Kaya ko na po.
H: hinda, ihahatid na kita sa may fishermall.
M: (naiiyak na sa sobrang takot)
H: tingnan mo muna kalagayan ng mommy mo, tapos text mo nalang ulit ako kung kelan ka pwede para maiencode ko na din yung grade mo.
M: sge sir. Bababa na po ako.
Di ko alam na makakaencounter ako ng ganitong klaseng tao. Kung sino pa yung may pinag-aralan sila pa yung ganitong ang ugali. Di bale ng bumagsak ako sir, wag lang masira pagkababae ko. Mag paalam ka na sa lyceum kasi makakarating to kay VPAA, pwera nalang kung di sila maniniwala sakin at itotolerate nila ang ganitong klaseng professor. Please students, wag nyo hahayaan na mangyari to sainyo, alam ng mga punyetang prof na yan na may kailangan tayo sakanila kaya ginaganito nila tayong mga students. Kunwari pang concern ang mga hayup na yan, isa lang naman gusto nila. Mga tigang!!!
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I was able to make an appointment with the Dean last December 02, 2016, Friday at 6:00 p.m., to get my recommendation letter for graduate studies. I came from my work and was able to make it and arrived at the College of International Relations (CIR) office around 5:50 to 5:53 p.m.
Pagkadating ko, binuksan ko kaagad ung office door pero ang daming tao, and I think student leaders ung mga yun, nagmeeting ata sila kasama nila si Dean. So sinara ko and I waited outside. Nung nakita ko na silang nag-aalisan, mga 6:25 na yun, I immediately went inside.
May girl na nagtanong sa akin, ano daw pakay ko. I said I have an appointment with the Dean. She went inside Dean’s office and I waited, then after a while lumabas na sya and told me to come in. I was so nervous when I step in inside his office. Takot kasi ako sa kanya noong estudyante palang ako. He asked me what I want, who am I, and told me he doesn’t remember me daw. . He said “Panget ka siguro noon”, I just brushed it off and said “I’ll take that as a compliment Sir”. He asked me a lot of things such as: my plan if ever I will be accepted in my chosen school, if I’m thinking of taking the FSO exam, my grade in his subjects, what am I doing now, and if I’m reading his column. Our conversation went well inside his office. We even touched subjects about Duterte and Trump.
I gave him my draft of the recommendation letter (I heard kasi na hindi talaga sya gumagawa nun at estudyante din nya nag-ddraft, so nag-prepare na ako). He had some minor corrections. Before that, he asked me kung yun na daw ba ppirmahan nya. I told him na it’s not because he has to do it online, ung draft ko is guide ko lang for him. Knowing how busy he is. Sabi pa nya na ano daw ba yan gagawin pa online. I needed his e-mail and his number so the school can contact him. Binigay naman nya.
We talked for more or less 30 minutes. He stood up and he said he is going home. He asked me if I’m also heading home and where. He said he could drop me off near my place, I agreed to be drop off at Coastal.
We went down the stairs and he went inside the clinic, we saw the guard at Gate 2, he held my elbow and said “Dito kita rarape-pin”. I gave him a quizzical look and said, “Sir?.” Medyo kinabahan na ako nun pero nung nakita ko may tao naman sa loob, naging okay naman ako. It turns out he will get his blood pressure check in the clinic. I waited for him inside and there were three people inside the room, while the guy is getting his BP check, the Dean told them that I was his student and he can’t remember me and wondering if I’m ugly before.
After that, we headed where his car’s parked. (sa loob pa to ng LPU, sa may quadrangle) The driver was already inside, we took a seat but apparently the Dean left his IPAD in the office, the driver went to get it.
We were alone inside the car. He suddenly said, “You really turn me on”, I was in complete shock and was not able to say anything. He tried to grab my face and said “Pa-kiss nga”, I refused. The driver came in. I was already scared but I thought the Dean will not do any inappropriate behaviour in front of his driver. We’re finally outside Lyceum. The Dean grabbed my hand and said, “Bakit ang lamig ng kamay mo, kinakabahan ka sa akin noh?”, I said “No, sir” and pull my hand back. He get it again. I opened up topics like asking him if he remembers any of my classmates. I showed him pictures of them and said he does remember the names. I was browsing my phone to look for more pictures and he touch my lips, and said “You have a very kissable lips”. I took his hands away immediately. He touch my lips for more or less three times throughout the ride. He even said that he will not do my recommendation if I didn’t give him a kiss.
I can’t fully remember the chronology of the comments that he made, but I surely do remember verbatim of such. He asked me if I have a boyfriend. He asked me if I am still a virgin. He said he went to Thailand, and told me, in a painfully slow and malicious manner, the best part of his business trip is the massage because it has happy ending. The question If I am still a virgin was not only asked once by the Ambassador, he asked me a lot of times, and I just keep saying next question or I just shrugged it off. He told me that one of the passers of the FSO was asked during the interview of the color of her panties are and what material. It seems like, he is making me feel that asking if I am still a virgin is justifiable as such kind of questions were asked in FSO. Inside the car, he also make similar comments that he don’t really remember me and maybe I was ugly before. He even asked “Nagpagawa ka ba?”, he was wondering if I did something in my face. Throughout the ride, he was holding my hand and constantly squeezing it, I felt like he tried to reach until my elbows. But I would try to pretend that I need to check my phone or get something from my bag to pull my hand back. I think I was redirecting his attention when I asked kung naalala nya pa mga batchmates ko, but after nun babalik na naman sya sa mga bastos na comments nya. Around like 7:45 to 8:00 p.m., I alighted from his car in Coastal.
Pagkatapos ng pangyayari, nung una parang hindi totoo. The person I highly respected before could do such things. Wala din talaga akong naririnig na may issue syang sexual harassment that time. Nasa bus na ako nun sa coastal. Nasa isip ko pa rin ung recommendation letter ko. I informed one friend thru text, sabi pa nya na the dean will never do my recommendation until he gets a piece of me.
Conflicted pa ako kung irereport ko kasi pano kung ako lang pala yung ginawan nya nun, (dahil nga ang taas ng tingin ko sa kanya). Pag-uwi ko, nakatulala lang ako, hindi ko talaga alam yung gagawin. Inaya ako ng mom ko kumain, sabi ko busog na ako tas nagkulong na ako sa kwarto. That’s where I started to think na it’s impossible na isang beses pa lang nya to ginawa, ginawa nya to sa harap ng driver nya ng walang takot. That’s where I started to think I need to complain about this.
After the incident, I wrote a letter of complaint last 05 December 2016 addressed to the HR Director of LPU. The letter was received by her office on 09 December 2016. Pinadala ko kasi through courier yun and hand-in. She set up a meeting with me together with the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) on 16 December 2016 to verify what I have written. There was a moment during the meeting that the VPAA asked me how many people already know about this and told me to not tell this to a number of people and to not post in social media whatsoever. In which, I agreed, in confidence to them and hoping to settle the case administratively.
They told me that there will be two scenarios sa case ko, 1) The Dean will admit it and he will resign; 2) The Dean will not and there will be a hearing committee composed of 7 people from different sectors within the LPU. Syempre, Dean will be there to defend his side. Yung second scenario, it made me feel nervous. Syempre, una ung credibility nung pitong taong magddecide, pano kung may impluwensya dun si dean. Second, hindi ko alam kung kaya ko ulit harapin si dean. At the end of the verification of my complaint, the HR and the VP asked me if I get any recommendation from the school, I said no. The VP offered me to write a recommendation letter, in which I decline because I don’t think he can attest to my educational background. They still insist saying that, they have my records and that I am Cum Laude. I insist not to and told them thank you for giving me options. (I felt na they’re trying to appease me eh, as if them writing me the letter could settle the matter right there.)
By 20 December 2016, the HR informed me through SMS that the President of LPU has already notified the Dean of my letter and asked the Dean to reply. I did not receive any copy of it.
By 04 January 2017, the HR called me arranging the meeting with the Dean because he wants to apologize to me. Masyado akong natuwa nun kasi it means I don’t need to be dragged by this case any further and hindi ko na kailagan pa humarap sa committee na sinabi nila. Dahil alam ko how it can drain me emotionally. After our call, naisip ko parang too good to be true ata. Knowing dean, inamin nya nga kaya talaga.
We agreed to have the meeting on 11 January 2017 with the HR present. Not knowing what parts of story is he going to apologize to.
On the day before the agreed meeting, the HR called me that the Dean could not come. Hindi daw pala nabasa ni dean ung text nya, but I remember her texting me na nagconfirm naman si dean dun sa date. (see picture for reference)
By January 11, Ms. Reyes texted me and I quote “Hi KV- Amb. (his surname) will text you re the new date. See u.” and I replied “The Dean will text me? What?” She did not reply for several hours so I texted her again that I was so displeased what how she handles the situation. She called me and she was angry to what I have said. She even said that the school is busy because of the recent hazing issue the school is facing. Hindi na kami nagkakaintindihan at sya pa ang galit, sabi ko I’m eating nung time na yun and I don’t think it’s the right time, in which she replied na, buti pa daw ako kumakain na,she just came from a meeting pa daw. My point is she let the dean texted me. I find it very unbecoming for an HR to let the Dean to just text me, someone who sexually harassed me.
The day after, 12 January 2017, the Dean texted me an apology but did not admit what his real offences are and just admitted that he is sorry for saying “Panget ka siguro noon” and said that it is his only means of saying I am quite attractive. He even said that he hopes that with this apology we shall consider the matter closed. I never heard from the HR that day. (see the text apology)
By 13 January 2017, I went to CHED to ask for advice. I was advised to write a follow-up letter of my complaint and addressed it to the President. Nung mismong araw na yun, nagtype ako sa may UP shopping center of the follow-up letter, tas derecho na agad ako sa school. I cc’d the CHED in the letter. Napareceived ko sya within the day din.
On 15 January 2017 (Sunday), the HR texted me and I quote “Hi KV, please be informed that the President is on top of the matter. Amb has ultimately asked Amb to resign to which Amb will comply. We apologize for delay in the decision coz of due process we had taken. Thanks. Cc Pres Laurel.”
I replied that I need the copy of the resignation letter as well as the written apology, in which she replied that I need to have an undertaking that the matter is closed upon receipt of the documents. In which I agreed in assumption that I will receive a valid written apology and resignation letter.
On 16 January 2017, the HR sent the documents through e-mail and to my surprise, the letter that the Dean signed was the same SMS apology he sent me on 12 January 2017. I texted the HR that these are not his offences and it is sexual harassment. She replied and I quote “Amb (his surname) has resigned effective today Jan 16 and we accepted his resignation so he is no longer under the employ of LPU, sorry, but we have no control of or cannot force him to admit on sexual harassment you stated. Thank you.” (see picture) I replied and said I would need the copy of President signed accepting the Dean’s resignation. She did not respond anymore.
The next day, since I asked for the copy of President signed accepting the Dean’s resignation, the HR forwarded it to me but it was not signed by the President and it was signed by the HR. After which, she texted me that I need to have the undertaking, since they have given me what I want.
But the school especially the HR fails to investigate on this in the first place, the resignation letter and even the acceptance of the Dean’s resignation do not have any sexual harassment words whatsoever. According to the Dean’s resignation, the President advised him to resign, in which I believe, do not commensurate, (if he is really resigned) to what he had done to me and to other victims.
I know other victims, too. A lot of them gets their dreams shattered, respect gone towards the authority, and traumatized. Some of them chose not to go back sa school. They are afraid, in which I am too. But, this has to stop. I exhausted all the options I could think of and this case has been dragging me and affecting me, my work, and my family for almost 2 and a half months.
As much as possible, I agreed to settle this matter administratively, but I failed. I failed because I believe in them. I believe that I will get justice from the President, VPAA, and from the HR. But, I was wrong.
I felt na I should not be afraid, because that’s the feeling the Dean wants to instil in us; to be afraid. That’s why he thinks na walang mali sa ginagawa nya. We all looked up to him and respected him. I, personally, just give my respect to him right off the bat knowing that he was once a representative of our country to different places. But he is completely the wrong person you will ever go to if you ask him for help. You will be taken advantage of before he can even help you.
I am posting this to raise awareness and there might be other people that are experiencing the same thing, I don’t want her/them to feel that their issue is isolated.
I am posting this, kasi nakakapagod na, and I don’t think I will get justice that I need If I communicated pa sa school. I exhausted all my options.
The thing is, I don’t imagine myself and my family to be dragged by this case pa sa korte. I know the repercussions and consequences. (Note: I went to PAO and IBP already) What I want is for the school to recognize that they handle this case wrongly. Lalo na si HR, pinag-resign lang nila tas hindi na nila kargo? Kung hindi ko pa hihingin ung approval ng resignation ni dean, hindi pa nila ibbigay. Pakiramdam ko noon uutakan pa ako, na since walang approval, the dean could just go back sa school.
And kay dean, I was under the illusion na we have the best dean in the university. I WAS so proud na I was his student and the college is under his supervision. Kasi non-conformist sya, pinaglalaban nya yung tingin nyang tama. Pero hindi pala, ilusyon lang lahat. After the incident, I really felt na my education was a lie. Yung kolehiyo inidolo ko ng buong apat na taon, ay pugad pala ng isang manyak.
I don’t know what should be my next steps, from the two lawyers I got free legal advice, they told me I should write the school again, to give them another chance. Pero para ano, aasa nanaman ako na may kayang gawin ang school? They had treated this case insensitively, and I could not just let it happen and isipin nilang tama na ang ginawa nila.