By Frederick Paulo Tomacder and Rachel Miranda
Tinig ng Plaridel/UPJourn.net
A college-based political party has posed the first major challenge in three years to ruling party Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP) at the College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) Student Council (SC) elections.
The Alliance of Students Toward Innovative Governance (ASTIG)—composed wholly of Community Development (CD) students—is fielding candidates for eight out of the nine available student council positions, while STAND-UP is fielding five.
ASTIG’s Robert Deriquito, Adam Adonis Gorospe, and Simon Galileo Garcia are running unopposed for Graduate Representative, Secretary General and Finance Officer, respectively. Carlos Nacpil of STAND-UP will run unchallenged for Social Work representative.
“We didn’t expect them to have a party, but we are not afraid,” Yasmin Ongay, STAND-UP’s CSWCD standard-bearer said, welcoming the challenge from ASTIG.
Gorospe said he and his party mates originally planned to run as independents, but decided to unite for having similar goals.
“We wanted to run, but we didn’t completely agree with STAND-UP (so) we didn’t want to run under (their banner),” Gorospe said.
He added that they wanted to run without political affiliations to ensure that the council’s plans and programs come from the students themselves.
Carmela Lagang, incumbent CSWCD representative to the University Student Council, said in Filipino, “In the past, STAND-UP was the only party in CSWCD. ASTIG is saying that they represent fresh minds and new ideas… contrary to STAND-UP’s alleged imposition of ideology.”
However, Ongay said that the CSWCD SC stands on its own and is not dependent on STAND-UP.
She said the problem lies with the wrong perception of the party.
“We do not believe in dictated principles. Programs in CSWCD are not dictated by STAND-UP,” she added.
‘Basic unity’ in the college
Assistant Professor Thelma Magcuro, a faculty member of the Community Development Department for almost 11 years, confirmed that it was uncommon to have opposing parties in the college.
“The students debate among themselves but they still work together in the end,” Magcuro said in Filipino.
Lagang said there is indeed “basic unity” in the college because the candidates are still friendly with one another outside politics.
She added, “What differs is the approach or means or perspective on service for the students. Is it merely through projects or is it through mobilization and immersion?”
Ongay said she believes the college will bind together after the elections and that whoever wins will continue to call for unity.
“We don’t see (ASTIG) as our enemy. After all, each one of us is a victim of crisis and problems in society,” Ongay said in Filipino.
Updated February 15: Corrected Yasmin Ongay’s surname and the CSWCD representative candidates. Thank you to pmtc for the correction and the reporters would like to apologize for the oversight. -Ed