Head to head
July 28, 2016
July 28, 2016

The biggest spotlight during the General Elections (GE) season is on the candidates running for positions in the Executive Board (EB). The five highest positions in the entire University Student Government (USG) need to be filled and those vying for these positions carry an enormous weight on their shoulders as they strive to bring their respective party’s platforms and ideals into fruition.

The LaSallian talks to the different candidates from both Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) and Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) running for positions in the EB, finding out their opinions, stances, and plans on relevant issues throughout the year, and discussing the different political figures they hope to emulate.

Head to Head []

 

President

TAPAT1Kevin Tan (IV, AE-LGL)

With regards to the administrations motion to move the UBreak, what will you do to continue fighting for the student body that stands firmly against this proposition, and other similar proposals?

The U-break [was] one of the issues that students felt strongly about. As the USG, we should lobby for pro-student proposals to the administration. Other than backing this up with proper research and sound methodologies, we must stay firm in the stand of the student body. We must not fail the students in relaying their voice, even to the administration.

Now, the U-break proposal [was] in direct response to the Happy Thursday culture. This is where the admin and the students can meet on a common ground. There are numerous ways to try to counter this culture, assuming it was wrong to begin with. These alternatives can persuade the administration to see that the U-break proposal is ineffective and is therefore unnecessary. If students are to make the choice to continue drinking, it is better not to stop the choice but to inform them of its consequences and equip them of the necessary skills to prevent any untoward incidences. Responsible drinking can be integrated to the curriculum to better educate students about the risk of binge drinking. Self-defense classes can be taught in class. These are all ways to meet the admin’s demands without necessarily compromising the students’ stand on the U-break proposal and their choice regarding Happy Thursday.

 

Which candidate in the recently concluded national elections do you identify with? Why?

I have been very vocal about supporting Miriam Santiago. One of the things I’ve always admired about her was her tenacity and fearlessness when it came to voicing out her opinions…. especially in the Corona case where she said whatever she had to say, without caring as to how she was seen by other people. She’s not just a loose cannon; everything she says has substance, and every statement has a purpose. The second thing I admire about [Miriam] is her track record; she has experience in every branch of the government. In the executive, she was the secretary for agrarian reform. in judiciary, she was ITC judge, and in legislation, you know her as a senator of the Philippines. Besides those two things, I admire her sentiments towards the youth. She understands that the youth should play a vital role in shaping this nation… and most of the youth believe in her [as] the next president of the Philippines. Because she has, time and time again, proven that the youth have a place here in Philippine politics.

 

 

SANTUGON1Zed Laqui (IV, AE-APC)

With regards to the administrations motion to move the UBreak, what will you do to continue fighting for the student body that stands firmly against this and other similar proposals?

When they sent me the questions, I was really shocked with the word ‘fighting’. I feel like ‘fighting’ is such a strong word, but I admit that I was kind of disappointed with regards to how the administration saw Happy Thursdays. I didn’t like the fact that they believed that imposing rules and regulations to the students can change the culture that we have. But we have to consider that in this University, we are in a collaborative learning environment, where we shouldn’t fight or go against the administration, but we have to work with them [and] cooperate with them. Naiintinidihan nila tayo, naiintinidihan natin sila. That’s the ideal picture.

As long as Happy Thursdays are correlated with being a Lasallian, the administration will continue to lobby for certain policies. But it is possible that the admin listens, and compromises. In continuously representing the student body, the USG should be able to help in trying to solve the root cause of the problem, which is the access that we have to the [bars] here. So the way I see it, it’s as simple as conducting a research to come up with a pro-student proposal, pro-student meaning students agree to it.

One thing that we can see is extending the hours of the library and Razon, para naman [students] don’t just go to the bars right after class—they can gym, jog around, study. So it is the facilities being enhanced and being more accessible for students. And that’s how you continue lobbying for the rights of the students. When it comes to the administration, you can’t fight them, you have to be able to work with them.

 

Which candidate in the recently concluded national elections do you identify with? Why?

I’m inspired by Mar Roxas. When I was a freshman student, I wasn’t active in the USG, I was active in my professional organization, even in second year. Wherever I am right now, this isn’t the track that I saw for myself when I was a freshman student. Just like Mar, he was an investment banker before, and he didn’t see that he was going to delve into politics and that he was going to work in the government—but it happened. I only became an elected when I was a third year student, and the reason why I answered the call of my party is because I knew that there was work to be done. I wanted to serve my batch mates, and I knew that I had something to offer. And that’s relating to Mar’s campaign of walang drama, walang backstory, walang kahit ano, trabaho lang.

 

 

Vice President for Internal Affairs

SANTUGON3Karl Ong (III, IME-IT)

Safety and security became a major concern throughout the year, especially with the issue regarding a masked assailant targeting a girl in Yuchengco Hall. How do you plan on addressing the concerns of safety and security in the year ahead?

I want to start by saying that each time I hear about [incidents of] violence happening in the University, I sense fear. People were affected with the Yuch incident that happened recently—I noticed that the students were different, they were more conscious on how they acted. However, I believe that safety and security should foster in an environment wherein each member of the University is confident enough to engage. Ensuring safety is the primary rule of the safety office and other members of the administration. However, we plan on taking an active approach in assisting the administration in identifying security risks and vulnerabilities, and actively contributing to solutions with the welfare of students in mind. It can be as small as an educational campaign against drinking and drugs, or a self-defense class [that teaches] students how to defend themselves. We can also go as big as coordinating with the local government in providing a safe Taft avenue for each member of the University. What we want to happen is that each student of the University will feel safe and secure. This does not mean having a University with no crimes, [but having] everyone in the University confident [that] even if crimes or accidents happen, there is a contingency plan for anything.

 

Which candidate in the recently concluded national elections do you identify with? Why?

There is this one person who ran in the senatorial race, Joel Villanueva, or Tesdaman. I first saw his campaign having an Avengers sign on a billboard, and at first glance, I did not know him. But I really admired him [because] even though he was someone I did not know before, it was easy to [get to] know him. By the title alone—Tesdaman—it says that he wanted to provide opportunities to us Filipinos. He stuck to his role as congressman, similar to me. I ran as Batch Vice President two years ago, and [then] as College President, and now as VP for Internal Affairs. The three different roles have different outlooks on how they conduct their work, but then, as a student leader I always think of myself as someone taking part in a solution of anything. I see myself as a stakeholder in the University, and I know that if I do what I am passionate about—serving the students—I know that I can give them opportunities and an avenue for them to grow and be empowered.

 

TAPAT2Erielle Chua (III, AEF-BSA)

Safety and security became a major concern throughout the year, especially with the issue regarding a masked assailant targeting a girl in Yuchengco Hall. How do you plan on addressing the concerns of safety and security in the year ahead?

I believe that the incident in Yuch is an outlier. We would recall that the phone [or wallet of the girl] was not taken, and that the assailant took care to conceal himself. So, most probably, the guy is familiar with the rules and policies, and would probably commit the same act even in different circumstances. So what has to change is the way we deal with it. It exposed the difficulties in [our security], like the CCTVs, roving guards, and the emergency response system. So that’s exactly my primary agenda for security.

What we need is an emergency hotline that responds to emergencies efficiently. Issues like the one in Yuch, or bullying, need a fast response, but the current system of contacting the security office takes a while. I also think we need to go beyond the campus, and as mentioned earlier, we are looking for the expansion of our Arrows Express to serve the students and professors going home late. We should also review the current protocol for risk management… and of course, there is always the stricter implementation of rules and policies, like ensuring the guards are more vigilant when they are doing their rounds to check the campus, especially at night, or revisiting the ID Lace policy, if it really is serving its purpose. We want to ensure that the security and safety measures goes not just inside the campus, but also extends outside.

 

Which candidate in the recently concluded national elections do you identify with? Why?

I would like to see myself as Vice President Leni Robredo. Her style of leadership and personality is simple, passionate, and people-centered. Those are the three characteristics that I personally want to embody. I’m the type of person who silently gets my hands dirty, na kapag may problema ka, tutulungan kita hanggat sa kaya ng powers ko. I also believe in the grassroots approach of governance, wherein you promote participatory governance. There is a misconception that the USG is composed of officers only, but in reality, the USG is composed of the entire student body, and what we hope to see is people participate in that governance. Politics in DLSU has become [negative] because of all the issues and drama that people bring in, but as Leni Robredo once said, good governance and successful politics can be achieved. This is our focus next year, making DLSU a center of good governance where USG officers, elected or not, are simple, passionate, and people-centric.

 

 

Vice President for External Affairs

TAPAT5aJason Dizon (III, LGL)

With regards to the youths function in societal development and nation building, how will you convince Lasallians to take part in programs with regards to national relevance? How will you promote an even stronger sense of youth involvement even outside the University?

I intend to shift the attention [of students] towards the tangible benefits of being part of a bigger picture. It is my view that students here, as with ordinary people, respond to incentives. Now, given the fast paced terms that go on in this school, the heavy workload causes students to focus on their studies more than anything else, making it hard [for them] to go out of their way and participate in nation building. But if the attention is brought to what a student gets out of participating—if students are shown how nation building contributes to a student’s growth emotionally and politically, they will naturally participate. The strong sense of involvement comes after, when they’ve been in the work long enough to understand and appreciate it.

 

Which candidate in the recently concluded national elections do you identify with? Why?

Mar Roxas. I see myself in him because [even] though I’ve often been misinterpreted in the past, all the reasons why I say I am capable of the things I want to be are based on my track record of competence. A lot of things have been said about Mar, and true enough, he has had his fair share of shortcomings. But what anyone cannot deny is the fact that he has had an immense contribution to shaping the business climate of the Philippines, from the days of Mr. Palengke to building the country’s BPO industry. Mar is someone I know [who is] focused on work and work alone. That’s who I am. Give me whatever [work] and I will get the job done.

 

SANTUGON2Reigner Sanchez (III, BSED-ENGL)

With regards to the youths function in societal development and nation building, how will you convince Lasallians to take part in programs with regards to national relevance? How will you promote an even stronger sense of youth involvement even outside the University?

One program that I have is Social Conversation, wherein you give [students] a list of issues, you open it to the whole University, you invite them to talk. In research, para siyang focus group discussion, talking about various social issues. We come up with stands, and then with actions. What we need is to make the students aware of what’s happening, as well as provide them with avenues to talk. And then that’s when you evaluate kung tama ba yung action mo or not.

We also have LSV, Lasallian Vounteerism, which is like Teach for the Philippines. You go outside, teach, and create an impact. I want to expand it by coordinating with the offices and the brothers. Then let’s try to provide short-term projects, kasi as of now, LSV is a one-year program. Let’s take it one step at a time. Maybe make it a 10-day trip. The point is, you as a Lasallian, you grab this opportunity, you share your life to other people.

 

Which candidate in the recently concluded national elections do you identify with? Why?

I really think that it’s the former vice president, Jejomar Binay. This is in the context of upholding his benefit of innocence until proven guilty in terms of corruption allegations. I want to segregate that. Kasi if you’re trying to dissect the person, the VP used to be a human rights lawyer fighting for farmers, for oppressed laborers. He was then given the opportunity by former president Corazon Aquino to become the OIC for Makati, and thus, his political track began. He is a very decisive and practical leader. By giving people a free massage, nail polish, at least for a day, they would feel that they’re dignified as human beings. And it is a starting point of them getting out of the poverty mentality. Another thing is the grassroots relationship wherein the USG will build a relationship with the students, so that when there are decisions to be made, I could speak in behalf of them. Lastly, my heart for poverty education is really one of the sole purposes as to why I took up education. I personally believe that one of the solutions to solving poverty is through education.

 

 

Executive Secretary

TAPAT3Mikee De Vega (IV, ISE-LGL)

In forging an efficient system of communication between the USG and the rest of the student body, how will you address the issue of student apathy?

If you examine the communication system we currently have now, especially after the improvements done by the USG this year, we do have a good system as far as the sender’s half is concerned. I think that in reality… the problem is on the receiver. The receiver is supposed to be willing to take the information, and that is where apathy comes in. Because I can talk about communication all day, but as long as the students are not willing to listen to it, it’s a fruitless system.

I feel like the Office of the Executive Secretary has to take the next step from there, which is recognizing where the apathy exists. Students lose sight of the importance of the USG because the government doesn’t seem to do anything of material relevance to the students. So what my office has to address is the image of the USG, branding it in such a way that there is material relevance. Creating a good communication system for the USG must include restoring the students’ interest in it, and that’s precisely why I started this campaign.

We want to focus on problems that are actually relevant, even to the average Lasallian. Therefore, the OSEC cannot exist in isolation… it has to work hand-in-hand with the [different] units to make sure that the information we disseminate… has material relevance.

 

Which candidate in the recently concluded national elections do you identify with? Why?

I chose Walden Belo. I like him because he uses the intellectual field as the way by which he advances the progressive cause, and that is essentially one of my principles. I believe a sound intellectual decision is the best way to come up with a decision in governance. I don’t think the academe should be isolated in its research, I think it has to be shared with governance, and the same can happen with my style of leadership.

On relevant issues, I’m more of a socialist than a communist, but generally, I do agree with the progressive cause. I like the fact that [Belo is] pro-LGBT, that he’s a feminist, and that he’s for the security of the tenure of workers everywhere, and the thing is, I don’t think these issues are just [relevant] outside the University. More importantly, the reason why I like the progressive cause is it prioritizes the minority. What I hope to emulate is someone who’s really strong and who stands with the people who don’t have the power to stand for themselves.

 

 

SANTUGON4Monica Otayza (II, AB-DVS)

In forging an efficient system of communication between the USG and the rest of the student body, how will you address the issue of student apathy?

I can’t really characterize the DLSU community as apathetic, because to say that means that they don’t have potential. I have seen the amount of potential our fellow Lasallians have, and I believe that it is the USG’s role, together with other sectors, to unlock these potentials.

The growing involvement of students can be done in a more micro to macro [perspective]. First, we show the student body that the USG is there with them, because of them. Aside from just information dissemination, the USG is there to provide them with avenues to maximize their potentials and make the most out of their stay here in DLSU. So, in my office, I believe that first, communication with different sectors will allow me to advance what it is that the students really want, what it is that they need. We want a unified University wherein each sector will work together and as the Executive Secretary, I believe that’s something I can really focus on.

Students are not apathetic, it is just that they have different ways of serving others or they have different ways to show their potentials and capabilities to other people. So in my office, we want to be able to streamline all the initiatives and make sure that all the sectors in the University are heard.

 

Which candidate in the recently concluded national elections do you identify with? Why?

I feel really inspired by Leni Robredo, in a way that Leni is a very personal leader. As a student leader, my relationships with my fellow Lasallians is something that I really value, because I believe that without that relationship, you won’t be able to represent them well. As a two-time Batch President, that’s something that I really made myself do, not just [to] represent them but to consult with them on what they actually need. Because more than just making projects in our GOSM, I think it is important [to make] opportunities for them that are relevant, which will make them see the relevance of the USG. Aside from that, during Leni’s inauguration, she said that she wanted to open her office to everyone, and next year that’s what I want to do for the Office of the Executive Security. I want the office to be open to everyone, I want them to know that they can come to us anytime they need help, not just for information but for avenues to grow.

 

 

Executive Treasurer

SANTUGON5Brian Chen (II, AEF-LGL)

Recently, the University approved a 4.8% increase in tuition fees starting next academic year. Do you think this increase is reasonable? What is your stance on the yearly increase in tuition fees, especially with the continued implementation of K-12?

I think this year is the perfect time, the perfect example of the need to realize the present reality. Ideally, of course, as students, we would obviously not want [an] increase in our tuition but we must remember that part of student representation is about being able to accept the present realities of our time. In regards to TFI (Tuition Fee Increase), [it] may at times be necessary, and may at times not be necessary din, depending on the present situation that the academic community is currently facing. It is therefore the USG’s role to ensure discipline and a justified TFI, again recognizing the present fiscal realities of our University.

[In ensuring a justified TFI], we need to hear out what the other sectors have to say as they are also stakeholders of the University. And as the next Executive Treasurer, of course, I value their insights, but then as a student naman, makikita naman natin kung bakit kailangan ng TFI, right? Because there’s K-12, and napakalaking bagay nun, and just imagine kung gaano kalaki mawawalang estudyante nun with K-12. So I think it’s evident naman na K-12 will really affect TFI.

 

Which candidate in the recently concluded national elections do you identify with? Why?

Ako, personally, I have always felt a sense of devotion to working together with my fellow students, and having a strong grasp in their different walks in life in the University. Despite coming from a relatively comfortable background, I look up to presidentiable Mar Roxas because of how he never allowed his privileges to inhibit him from being one with the people, being one with his fellow citizens. If you think about it, Mar Roxas could have just stopped serving with his current status, but then [what] he wanted is for every Filipino to experience a better life. That’s why he ran again, and personally, dun ako humuhugot nang malakas. This is my inspiration this coming elections, to continue my service for my fellow Lasallians.

 

 

TAPAT4Maryss Ong (II, IBS)

Recently, the University approved a 4.8% increase in tuition fees starting next academic year. Do you think this increase is reasonable? What is your stance on the yearly increase in tuition fees, especially with the continued implementation of K-12?

I honestly can’t say whether it’s justified or not, and that’s precisely the problem. The student body’s campaign against the tuition fee increase was marked by the lack of proper information dissemination, transparency, and accountability. I tried to do my own research as to what really occurred during the meetings, however, I would never reach a sound conclusion due to the fact that I couldn’t find credible sources.

But in general, I honestly believe that an increase in tuition fees is inevitable. School expenses increase, and when we don’t reach the number of enrollees for the year, an increase to cover all those expenses become all the more necessary. There is no denying that. While no one can ever promise a zero percent increase in tuition fees, one can, however, promise the lowest justifiable increase, taking into consideration only the reasons allowed by the CHED memorandum on tuition fee increase. There is definitely no problem in a justifiable tuition fee increase if only to improve our Lasallian education. But if ordinary students cannot understand it, then it becomes a problem. Students cannot possibly agree with a tuition fee increase when there is a failure to present and share all evidences, proof, and studies behind the proposals.

 

Which candidate in the recently concluded national elections do you identify with? Why?

I’d like to think that I’m closest to Risa Hontiveros, considering her work ethic, and where she stands on current issues. She has a general no ‘non-sense approach’ towards things, and most importantly, she does not stop until the job is done. This work ethic is validated by her numerous accolades. As for persistence, let’s not forget that two straight losses did not stop her from trying a successful third run for the Senate. It’s how I work personally when there’s a job to be done—I prioritize efficiency. But more important to me is where she stands on today’s pressing issues. Aside from a firm opposition to corruption, she prioritizes universal health care, which I think this country desperately needs. In fact, her version is much more progressive by immediately including mental health concerns—something very necessary, but somehow unpopular worldwide. Risa sheds light on issues cast aside unfairly. In a sense, this means that Risa is a progressive thinker, something that I, personally, and of course, our party, continuously promotes.