|March 16, 2013||By Roy Eriga under Opinion|
Is it just me, or is it not true that as we approached the elections, we started spending less on food since we’ve been getting a lot of stuff for free? Am I just hallucinating when I see different gimmicks online that are “worth sharing” via Facebook as we approach the General Elections?
To be fair, throughout the academic year, I have seen different USG posters about events that could be for the betterment of an average Lasallian, but while the USG has created events that are “worth it,” some projects have gained much criticism.
Recently, the USG gave out free Red Velvet Mochiko to students at the Yuchengco lobby. It drew mixed reactions among students. Most of them were excited for the free treat, but for some who tried to see beyond the so called “project”, it was a useless event.
Truth be told, the “event ” did not promote any Lasallian values nor pushed for any social action. It was simply the USG giving out free food, and for what? Is there a shortage of sweets at the University? Do we all lack sugar? If so, then that would have been very useful. Most likely though it was Mochiko for the sake of Mochiko or something else as members of one political party could call it.
But of course, who could resist free food? Just like the masses, students lined up for the sweet and rare treat, forgetting the story of Hansel and Gretel.
I, however, see it as a form of vote buying by the very officers that we have elected. Think about it. Why do we only get free stuff and why is it that the USG has kept on publishing posters with the line “brought to you by” when (1) it may not be necessary and (2) the USG just made the publicity for it and the real credit should go to the administrative office?
Why is it that everything the USG has done has a corresponding batallion of logos? Why do we need this when the USG was not established for recognition? Why should I know, which unit organized the event when I can just credit it to the USG as a whole?
The fact that they always display that they were the ones who organized the event is nothing but an attempt to hog glory. It is a subtle attempt to becoming an “epal,” which the USG has criticized. We don’t see it, but our USG is similar to the Philippine government.
Premature campaigning is also something we share in common (ie. “Derecho La Salle”). And while members and supporters of the candidates could argue that they are doing it without the knowledge of their best bets, it is still premature campaigning, and it is the same excuse our politicians have said throughout the years when their TV and radio commercials go on air before the campaign season.
The USG, just like the Philippine government, has also lacked transparency. Though the LA Watch page has a manifesto on the controversial Senate Bill 3183 more commonly known as the “Freedom of Information Bill,” most of the minutes and the available files that should be on the site is not there.
This elections season, we have to analyze the people we vote for because if you think that politicians who would do anything to get your vote only exist in our local and national government, you are wrong. The sad truth is that traditional politicians exist in this University as well, which ironically has the tag line, “The future begins here.”
Not all USG projects are bad though. Some actually promote responsible action mostly with the actual exposure of the students to the marginalized sector of our country. Some projects are also not self indulgent.
The USG then is doing its fair share of good projects, but we need to recognize that some inside that office may add to the “trapo” culture of Philippine politics. The USG was conceptualized as the ideal Philippine government. It should, hence, show that we can have a good, transparent and clean political system.
Our student leaders should recognize that exemplary leaders don’t just give freebies.