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Head to Head: Marcus Guillermo, Carlos Valondo row on COB student life

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The Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) is one of the biggest colleges in De La Salle University. The number of students entails a sizable responsibility for the Business College Government (BCG) College President. The LaSallian speaks to Carlos Valondo of Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista’s (Tapat) and Marcus Guillermo of Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) on how they intend to take on such task.

The LaSallian: What part of your background do you think contributes the most to making you a capable college president for [RVRCOB]?

Marcus Guillermo (Santugon): I think the position that makes me most capable of being college president would be being an incumbent batch president for BLAZE2021. The [ID] 118 [batch] is over 900 people strong…[including] LIA-COM [and] ECO-COM…It may be 900 people, but we’ve interacted with each other. I’ve seen their low points, their problems…I really feel like that’s the thing that really makes me capable of being college president. 

Carlos Valondo (Tapat): I became the first Vice President (VP) for Interdisciplinary Business Studies (IBS)…This is [where] I handled a team, curated projects and programs for the benefit of all IBS students across all batches…I closely worked with the department, specifically the DSI (Decision Sciences and Innovation) Department of COB in forming our new electives in the IBS program…With that, I believe that it is important we make sure all students are being catered to in the BCG.

The LaSallian: What are some issues you observed in [RVRCOB] and how can these issues be addressed?

Valondo: As the chairperson for Student Services [in BCG], we constantly receive concerns from our students…making me realize that there are problems in our well-being and the way we progress as one college…That is the biggest problem in COB right now because nawawala ‘yung motivation. We are being burnt out because our academics has been hard [and] not all students have the same resources…We plan to rekindle our student life by investing in them and their different life pursuits. We will be providing opportunities geared towards growth, making sure that lahat tayo ay nagkakaroon ng magandang COB life amid the pandemic.

Guillermo: First, I really think that in our college, nahihirapan talaga tayo sa student services….We experience people contacting [us]…Hindi natin sila masagot agad…because it is very centralized and does not empower each batch to its full potential. Second, it is how we grow holistically…We want to shape the Lasallian business leaders of tomorrow…And lastly, I feel like COB is not inclusive enough…We do not include different sectors of our college for issues, for stances with the administration, [and] for so many things. We do not represent the PROBE (Alliance of Professional Organizations of Business and Economics) organizations, the batch units, the LGBT, the PWD, the scholars, [and] the athletes [who] need representation…We need to be able to tell our students that this is our COB.

The LaSallian: Are you planning to lobby to administrators for any sort of academic-related reforms for your college?

Guillermo: One of the things that we need to take into consideration ngayon is that we are in a pandemic…First of all, we saw na failure due to absence, wala dapat iyon. We should have the freedom to come to our classes and kung hindi natin kaya, dapat it is not taken against us…It’s really difficult to see na everybody is equal and that is one important thing na kailangan maintindihan ng administration…When I want to push for academic policies now, I take into consideration that education has to be equal for everybody, that we need to push for policies that bridge the gap between people who can and people who can not. For long term policies…I want to push for data-driven policies. I want to interview mga college mates natin if they are for ‘yung [policy that] magkaroon ka ng failure, tatanggalin ka ng [Latin honors]. Those are the things that are really the big issues in our university…We need to see the bigger perspective with all of them considered.

Valondo: Una, dapat natin i-recognize that there are academic policies na hindi pa rin polished. First, we need to address the need for better policies from our Vice Chancellor for Academics when it comes to online classes…The College Presidents and Executive Board will always fight for quality and accessible education…In terms of academic reforms, we will be there and make sure that the BCG they will have with me is a BCG for them, making sure that everybody is ready when it comes to our post pandemic future in academics. 

The LaSallian: Are you planning any student services reform for your college?

Valondo: First in my plans is to redesign our student services function…We are going to introduce the first set of the COB Student Services Council in partnership with our PROBE organizations…The problem with [the] Student Services [team] is that nagkakaroon ng overlapping (sic) in the roles and responsibilities of the point persons…‘Yung pagkakaroon ng point person na iyon would ultimately translate into a streamlined students services function. Other than that, we will add or improve our information broadcast system by revisiting current channels in the BCG and introducing other channels that would be more accessible for our students…Lastly, process primers, academic advisories, and course management guides will always be provided to aid our students.

Guillermo: Assistance really has been (sic) a huge role in the USG…We need to reevaluate and restructure how our college handles student services. We want to empower each batch government to have a degree of autonomy…We really want to ensure efficiency because currently, it is very centralized in the sense that all student concerns need to go through BCG…It is better that we are able to talk to our administration already. It is better that we are able to represent them (students) directly so that we can push for policies [and] reform a lot quicker. And actually, just for a quick rebuttal, actually PROBE councils, katulad ng sinabi ni Carlos, have existed for so long already. Santugon leaders have pushed for this since 2010. Sarah Phoebe Lim [and] Igi Natanauan had PROBE councils. Nawala siya pagdating ni Isa Topacio [and] Nates Driz. And for me, I really want to bring that back as well. 

The LaSallian: During the online academic year, how do you plan to encourage student utilization of USG services within your college?

Guillermo: First of all, I think it is important to consider that when we give projects [and] pursue initiatives, it is important that we need to be creative. A lot of our college mates are very down right now. Ang dami sa kanila need engagement…Second for our projects para at least it resonates with them, rather than a top-to-bottom approach, where we just propose evertything and gawin natin lahat, we want to consult with them…We really want to start at the bottom so that we know that our projects resonate with each and every student.

Valondo: The first step we wanted to do as Tapat leaders is to secure the future of our education…We wanted to provide not just student services; we wanted our students to discover their different life pursuits…Next, we wanted to give our students project management opportunities to ensure na their capabilities and potentials are being utilized and actualized better…Other than that, we wanted to fortify our corporate relations kasi this will open and pave the way for a lot of opportunities for our students.

The LaSallian: What is your overall vision for the college? And how do you plan to integrate that vision to your plans and advocacies?

Valondo: My vision for [RVRCOB] is to be ready—[an RVRCOB] that is ready for the ever-changing world…As business students, nakita namin how globalization affected all of us. As an IBS student, nakita ko how innovation and technological advancements shifted our paradigms in the business industry, kumbaga…I experienced it firsthand, and I’m pretty sure that all COB students are experiencing the same thing…We will first equip them with the right opportunities while securing the future of their education and, of course, protecting their rights and welfare as we champion for social change for a progressive movement as students.

Guillermo: I just want to address something na nasabi ni Carlos…We are 4,270 students-big and we are not experiencing the same things…Ang dami sa kanila (students) nawalan ng sources of income, nawalan ng pamilya, and ako ‘yung kumakausap sa [professors] nila…What we need more than just projects, more than just promises, is hope…For [the RVRCOB] Santugon slate, our vision is empowering Lasallian business leaders of tomorrow…because a lot of our students need to get back on track. They need to reignite their purposes. They need someone to be there, a USG that is there for them, and the leaders to help them get through tomorrow. 


Valondo: When I said that we are experiencing the same things, we are experiencing in one way or another, at some point in our education na na-lost tayo; we are not guided. That is what we are fighting for, to make sure that our student body is well-guided through our initiatives starting from the inside in BCG by fixing our organizational structure, ensuring na maayos tayo from the inside as BCG and hindi lang college president ‘yung nandoon para sa atin.

By Oliver Barrios

By Dustin Albert Sy

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