I’m an alumnus of the Young Software Engineers’ Society (YSES), an academic organization based in the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB). I graduated from the university when the first AY2009-20010 batch of new members entered the organization. Among them was Ms. Given Grace Cebanico.
My first personal encounter with her was during her acceptance rite in joining YSES. I’m not a resident member of the organization anymore thus I don’t have close interaction with her. Only the social network Facebook creates my window to get in touch with some of the current resident members.
It was Wednesday around 6pm, I got a text message from my high school Precious if I knew someone named Given Grace. And yes I do. And Precious replied that maybe, that someone that I knew is the one mentioned dead in a fast growing news in UPLB fb community.
I left my laptop in San Pablo City because my younger brother needed that for a week and my girlfriend borrowed my iPod Touch. We have wifi in our place but unfortunate for this very moment that all my senses are really needing online resources, I don’t have device to see the news. I just asked Vic, my batch 2007 orgmate to confirm and the reply made me hanging. That time, I was working with my miniature building but I felt the sudden huge momentum drop for what I am doing.
Later on the evening, two of my housemates, who are also YSERs, and I decided to take a leave from work and went to UPLB the following early morning.
God’s Given Grace
Given’s remain was at the St. Therese Chapel inside the campus. Early that morning, we had a talk with her mother. I found her mother quite far from what I was expecting. I was expecting to see a lady, who is so hopeless and helpless, a mother who doesn’t know what to do for the suffering of her daughter, with some thoughts that she may be full of anger for the those who did the brutality or some thoughts she may gave words to at least show the desire for revenge.
I found Given’s mother with calmness, with teary eyes. I sensed that she didn’t want to talk or state about what was her daughter’s last hours. And the thing that I would never forget was the presence of faith. She was not questioning God why He let the tragedy happened. The mother was firm that after all God has plans and her daughter will be good where ever she is. I was amazed how Given’s mother take every bit of news about her daughter’s death. That was very very pain full. Probably, that was the most painful day of her life. And yet this faith give power and hope that life doesn’t end here.
Given Grace, as I heard from her close friends, professors and our orgmates, was a happy person. She was able to maintain her DOST scholarship as a junior student. She was a kind of student that will not let herself fail a subject. One of her professors testified that Given was doing subject consultations which he believe most of the student won’t do. In YSES, she was chosen to be one of the Promotion Committee Heads in an incoming major activity Practicum Fair. In her family, she is the eldest daughter.
About 10am that day, a service was made during her last stay in the university. Her family will take her remain to Binangonan, Rizal. Testimonials were addressed and lasted by her father.
Her father in spite of the inhumane tragic that happened to her daughter is an image of a strong and calm man. He thanked all the people who made contributions to the life of her daughter during her stay in the university. He stayed positive. He was so thankful for the 19 years of grace that God had given to them.
A tribute for Given Grace from the Young Software Engineers’ Society
First of all, God never wants us to suffer or to put us in danger. When I heard the news, I always asked why God let this happened to her. I was judging God’s power and will for the bad things that came along to Given. For sure, He loves Given and He doesn’t want her to suffer and die. There is just a reason why. Personal thoughts; we don’t know but maybe instead of somebody else to suffer, He choose her for she is a good example and she can be an inspiration for most of us. Or maybe, with some unconscious being, Given choose to sacrifice herself to be abducted instead of someone else because she doesn’t want her friends to suffer. We really don’t know the reason. It is Him who knows.
One of the earliest media report about the incident was brought by the ABS-CBN and large number of netizens react against the sensitive image of the victim that was posted online. Also, online protests occurred against the misinformation of the said online news.
The Gabriela Youth-UPLB together with the University student council with other student organization though out UP Los Baños condemn Given’s fate. The news over spills online social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The incident caught the attention of national television media. A number of blog sites and websites of different institutions like UST’s buhayuste.org showed concerns and calls for justice for Given.
Meanwhile, massive and non-stop man-hunt operation were being done by the police find the suspects of the crime.