A sea of red and yellow washed over the Amphitheater last November 17 when candidates from both Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) and Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) bared their platforms in the 2018 University Student Government (USG) Special Elections (SE) Miting de Avance. Members from both parties shared their plans to the student body, hoping to occupy the seats still left vacant after the General Elections in July where 52.48 percent of the student population exercised their right to vote.
As a party, Tapat stated that their belief is in a progressive platform, service, and inspiring others. Santugon, on the other hand, highlighted that their goal is not to win but to serve the student body, challenging the audience to be the best version of themselves.
Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB)
“Thirty-two votes! Our college has fallen short by 32 votes, and it broke my heart,” Santugon’s College President candidate Jess Magaoay said. Reflecting on how close she had been to winning last general elections, Magaoay added that she would “always turn to the call of serving others.”
Tapat’s Isa Topacio, running for college president in RVRCOB, stated that despite never being elected, she is “not blind to the problems of RVRCOB.” Her goal would be to instill a government that is “for the students, of the students, and with the students.” Citing St. John Baptist de La Salle’s life, she added that “no problem is too big to be overcome and that everyone can make a change.”
Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE)
Meanwhile, EJ Baillo, Tapat’s candidate for GCOE College President, presented a vision of what his college ought to be. He said, “Muli nating ibabalik ang dapat sa college of engineering.” He stressed that the USG should focus more on the students, who are the main stakeholders, instead of external affairs. Formerly a batch vice president for 70th ENG, Baillo was prompted to run because of his “desire to serve the entire college.”
(Let us return what is rightful to the college of engineering).
Santugon’s Madeline Tee, candidate for 73rd ENG Batch President, expressed her desire to share the opportunity to be excellent with others. “I thought that I can only be mediocre, when I can be excellent. I want to share this feeling with all you people,” she relayed.
College of Computer Studies (CCS)
Nicole Domingo, who is running for college president under Tapat, bared that she believes in the capacity of the students to be much more than programmers. She called the CCS students “more than just regular students.” Finally, Domingo stated that she desires to be “a kind of leader that serves as a bridge between the administration and the students.”
Correspondingly, Jolo Casana, Santugon candidate for CATCH2T22 Batch President, revealed that the best way to lead a college of leaders would be “to provide avenues and direction.” He expressed his desire to grow with his batch and to unite the students using similarities and differences that complement each other.
Br. Andrew Gonzalez College of Education (BAGCED)
Santugon candidate for EDGE2022 Batch President Dannie Perez focused on the future in her speech. She explained that education is about building a foundation for a great nation. Labeling teaching as having the power to change lives, she remarked that she “sees the future in her batchmates.”
Meanwhile, EDGE2018 Batch President candidate Kara Avecilla from Tapat revealed that she had developed a “genuine passion for service.” Believing that BAGCED students will also realize their own passions one day, she stated that her end goal is to see her peers learn and grow.
College of Liberal Arts (CLA)
Running for FAST2018 Batch President under Santugon, Aamal Aslam claimed that he wants to create avenues and opportunities for the students. “Batchmates, there are many opportunities for you, and I want you to maximize it to become a [great] Lasallian,” he expressed.
In response, Tapat’s candidate for the same position, Shei De Los Santos, described the student government as “full of empty promises.” She called the audience to vote for candidates with sincerity. “For years, I have chosen to stay away from politics because I know politics plays the dirtiest games…now, I choose to stand up,” she remarked.
College of Science
Santugon candidate for FOCUS2018 Batch President Bianca Bracamonte ensured in her speech that the student body will be provided with the proper student representation that they needed. “We can have service without leadership, but we can’t have leadership without service,” Bracamonte highlighted.
Running for the same position under Tapat, Jillian Roxas asserted, “Leadership is a state of mind; we don’t need to win to lead and make a change”. Roxas wanted to remind the students that “the USG works with policies to ensure better student representation and welfare.” She added that she believes that it is Tapat’s time to “rise up to the challenge.”
School of Economics (SOE)
“SOE, let us go for experience and excellence,” announced Joshua Arao, Santugon’s bet for EXCEL2021 Batch President regarding his plans for his batch. Arao added that he stands for the SOE students because he wants to “give them everything that they deserve.”
In contrast, Lizelle Cruz, Tapat candidate for EXCEL2019 Batch President, promised that their platform lies “not only in what students want to hear but in what they need.” “SOE, we are a home of excellence but we have been bombarded by problems, and we have a solution and that starts with student leadership,” Cruz explicated.
Following the candidates’ speeches and plans of action, the floor was opened to students who wanted to directly ask questions. The first to do so was USG President Gabbie Perez who wanted the parties to give their platforms regarding the upcoming national elections and the new curriculum.
Santugon EXCEL2021 LA Representative candidate Jocef Ocampo responded that his batch government’s project, Eco Naman, shows a “sense of accountability.” “With Eco Naman, there will be a platform in which there will be a signatory that people with the same interests [and] people with the same beliefs will be gathered together,” he explained.
Magaoay addressed Perez’s query about the curriculum and talked about her plan for the Business College Government. She mentioned establishing SOS 118, a platform that will aim to help freshmen have their Senior High School courses credited.
Speaking for CLA, FAST2015 LA Representative hopeful Matt Ang of Tapat spoke of the CLA Citizenry Initiative, which aims to bridge theory and practice within his college to connect students with organizations outside DLSU and enable them to contribute to nation-building. Tapat’s candidate for Batch President of FAST2015, Flo Del Agua, expounded that the plan is to train students to write manifestos and spearhead community projects.
Speaking about academics, Methuselah De La Cerna, running for CATCH2T22 Vice President under Tapat, elaborated, “We want to work hand in hand with the administration to be able to have those subjects we took in Senior High be accredited since, basically, in a sense, it’s (taking non-credited courses) becoming redundant.”
Tapat’s JP Argana, vying for 73rd ENG’s LA Representative, meanwhile, mentioned that his batch government’s plan was to conduct a study involving all engineering freshmen to determine which subjects should be revisited. He added that partnerships with professional organizations and with the Society of Young Engineers towards Achieving Excellence could also help in the transition to the new curriculum.
Another concern raised was brought up by a member of the Council of Student Organizations (CSO), asking candidates about their stand on the moratorium on student activities issued by the Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation and Empowerment (SLIFE).
Ang answered by saying his party believes that because students are the biggest stakeholders in SLIFE’s processes, their concerns should also be heard. “We want to launch a probe into why the procurement was put into place in the first place,” he continued, also saying he wants to know how the system can be made more efficient, more pro-student, and more pro-organizations.