‘A USG you deserve’: What USG bets had to say in online MDA

Candidates from Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) and Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) unveiled their plans of action in the Miting de Avance for Make-up Elections 2021 via Facebook live last January 22.

The LaSallian provides a quick recap of candidates’ speeches.


Santugon standard-bearer JM Gutierrez promised to bring the student body to what he called the “next normal”, sharing his advocacies on mental health and youth empowerment. “Each student has the right to be able to maximize their Lasallian experience,” he affirmed. “Together with the college presidents and the [Executive Board], we can achieve great things.”

Tapat’s candidate Maegan Ragudo, meanwhile, called for student representation and upholding quality student life within the University, highlighting her commitment to ensure that “no student will be left behind” during the pandemic.

“We will fight for a future that will secure our education, that will invest in the student body, and a future that will champion the progressive student movement,” she declared.

Vice President for Internal Affairs

As the sole candidate for the position, Jaime Pastor from Tapat promised to “shape the way our learning is conducted.” Finding that some people struggle with online classes, he proposed to have modular learning so that the health and well-being of the students are put first.

Vice President for External Affairs

Santugon’s Earlrich Ibon guaranteed the audience that he would increase active student involvement. He seeks to promote “innovative” solutions to University problems and wants progressive external opportunities to be offered to the student body.

He elaborated that a “maximum Lasallian experience” does not only pertain to online learning, saying, “Ito’y pakikipagkapwa, pagtulong sa iba, pagiging aktibong mamamayan, at marami pang iba.

(It is about fellowship, helping others, being an active member of society, and more.)

Tapat runner Cate Malig, meanwhile, emphasized the impact of student leaders on the University and the country. She aims to push for policies to protect the rights, safety, and security of students.

“We have a student body that is more than willing to empathize, engage, and fight alongside us so long as we prove to them that we are worthy of their trust,” she went on.

Executive Secretary

Unopposed, Tapat’s Annika Silangcruz vowed to have an office focused on the welfare of the University Student Government (USG) while maintaining transparency and accountability. Her platforms include using a virtual platform for document tracking and activity processing of organizations and ensuring that student artists and athletes are able to continue their activities online. 

“As your executive secretary, I want to guarantee that you’ll experience a better student life,” she stated.

Executive Treasurer

Three-time Tapat candidate Shei De los Santos maintained that her sought-after position this year goes beyond “just signing papers and spearheading the bazaar.”

“You deserve an executive treasurer who pushes for platforms that address the needs and struggles of the student body—increased scholarship, financial grants, and student support for technological, medical, and mental health needs of students,” she told the audience.

Meanwhile, Noel Gatchalian from Santugon intends for the USG to provide “sustainable” financial opportunities, such as tuition fee loans and discounts, as well as gadgets and other resources to DLSU students in need.

“I am here to deliver the kind of leadership…that guarantees full transparency in the University by having a chat channel where you will be able to see our termly transparency reports,” he assured.

Laguna Campus Student Government (LCSG) President

Running for Tapat, Gab Dela Cruz said he wants the Laguna Campus to be a safe space where students express themselves freely without being judged. “I envision Laguna Campus to pioneer a system through an active student citizenry, to mold globally competitive Lasallian leaders for God and country,” Dela Cruz said.

Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) President

Hailing from Santugon, Marcus Guillermo wants RVRCOB to go “above and beyond” and to stand on inclusivity. “Allow us to provide you with assistance and opportunities that mold, engage business students within the University and understand their roles in our country,” Guillermo stressed.

Meanwhile, Carlos Valondo of Tapat called on RVRCOB students to fight for their future as the business leaders of tomorrow, and as “Lasallians for Lasallians.” He trumpeted, “We will go beyond representation. We will turn our conversations into plans of actions.”

John Gokongwei Jr. College of Engineering (JGCE) President 

While Tapat did not field a candidate for JGCE president, 73rd ENG batch president bet Alfonso Claros filled in to reassure his batch that his batch government will listen to students and champion their welfare and advocacies as future engineers.

On the other hand, JGCE president candidate Madeline Tee of Santugon lamented the need for service and empowerment within the college. “Now is not the time to give up. Instead, we must push harder. We worked hand-in-hand with the officers, established intimate relationships with our batchmates, and simply being close to them to empower them,” she stated.

College of Computer Studies (CCS) President

Santugon’s Jolo Cansana relayed his vision to create an inclusive CCS environment. He recalled the “familiar” experience from face-to-face classes where the college was built and strengthened on collaboration, calling for these experiences to be revived in the online setting. 

“CCS is a challenge, but it became easier because we have each other,” he voiced.

Meanwhile, Tapat’s candidate, Kate Magbitang, wants students to be empowered and impact society through their advocacies. She raised the need for student support to continue online learning. “We want to empower you to fight for fairer academic policies and be vocal about the quality of education you deserve,” she concluded.

Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education (BAGCED) President

Running for the EDGE2018 presidency, Kara Avecilla spearheaded the introduction of Tapat’s batch government candidates. While the party has no college president bet for BAGCED, Avecilla assured students that each batch government’s slate has “worked immensely” to create platforms students deserve.

Santugon’s college president candidate Leonna Gula, meanwhile, shared her belief that everyone is capable of making a difference in the lives of those around them. She stated that BAGCED is composed of diverse groups of individuals ready to take on the challenge as future educators.

College of Liberal Arts (CLA) President

With the vision of a student-centered CLA, Santugon college president candidate Raina Nivales aims to redefine collaborative engagement and student services as well as introduce “purpose-driven” opportunities to students. “Even though we are having a hard time in this pandemic, the Lasallians of CLA have continued to rise and fight,” she said in Filipino.

Likewise, Tapat candidate Jian Medina-Cue also introduced platforms such as financial assistance, a welfare help desk, and social action. Under her leadership, she wants to create a government that cares and connects with its students and gives them a sense of belonging. 

College of Science (COS) President

As Tapat’s candidate, Renee Formoso imparted that she believes that a leader must not only create new platforms but also reinforce existing ones. In her drive to ensure an inclusive, accessible, and efficient education system, she holds that “no student should be left behind as we close this great divide in these trying times.”

With her belief that change must be done to adapt to the students’ needs, Santugon candidate Bianca Bracamonte vowed to give the service and representation that the college deserves. Her vision is of a COS that pioneers changes and redefines service.

School of Economics (SOE) President

As Santugon’s candidate, Joshua Arao wants to rekindle the passion of being an economist and to engage students with social responsibility by fostering an environment that produces well-rounded economists. “We aim to do this by one of our projects, the SOE Congress, which aims to do a very simple thing: it aims to listen—listen to you and create an agenda which our college will act upon,” he shared.

Tapat candidate Zaniel Kekenusa, meanwhile, noted that students have found it difficult to function and feel motivated. However, he believes that bridging the gap and providing options for welfare and growth can help students reach their full potential. He concluded, “No matter how far we may seem, we will work tirelessly to give you a USG that you deserve.” 

Open forum

Asked on how the student body could create healthy political discourse despite opposing views between political parties, Malig highlighted the importance of fostering difficult conversations. “I think, through these healthy discussions, we create the best solutions and the most progressive of policies,” she reasoned.

Gutierrez and Ragudo were queried on their opposing stances on charter change, and how their opinions align with principles and values that students should uphold.

Ragudo made it clear that she completely disagreed with the government’s plans to amend the Philippine constitution, as she believes that it is not the right move with an economic crisis and global pandemic at large. The standard-bearer concluded her answer by encouraging Lasallians to vote in the 2022 national elections.

“It’s about time that we let the Philippines and the country know our voice as students, and at the same time, to curtail all acts of fascism and authoritarianism,” she emphasized.

Gutierrez agreed with Ragudo that it may not be ideal given the current circumstances, but he argued that constitutional reform could be beneficial in the long term. “Charter change may be impactful down the line,” he expressed, “but maybe with certain minor revisions, it will really make a difference as well.”

Ibon, on the other hand, was questioned on his views on academic freeze. He maintained that he was still in favor of it, explaining that varying household conditions among students make it important to re-evaluate the effectiveness of online learning and to be considerate to students who have lost access to education due to the pandemic. 

However, he clarified, “There are also relevant points to not pushing for an academic freeze…There will be a lot of people who will be losing their jobs and that alone is important in itself.”

Sophia De Jesus

By Sophia De Jesus

Dustin Albert Sy

By Dustin Albert Sy

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