By Marjohara Tucay
Posted 13 February 2009/10:05 pm
Let the games begin.
Contenders for the upcoming University Student Council (USC) elections defended their stand on various campus issues, like tuition increases and dormitory admission policies, in a mudslinging event held at Kalayaan Residence Hall last February 12.
Party candidates from Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral Para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (Alyansa), Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan (Kaisa) and Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (Stand-UP) attended the event, along with two independent candidates for USC councilor.
The issue of tuition and other fee increases (ToFI) was one of the main topics discussed by candidates in the first stop of their dormitory tours. Though each of the three parties opposes ToFI, they propose different alternatives.
While Stand-UP reaffirmed their calls against commercialization of UP’s idle assets, candidates from Kaisa said that they are “pro to productive utilization of assets, but with certain safeguards.”
Alyansa contenders said that “social justice” will be the solution to the lack of state subsidy for UP. They favor the idea of richer students subsidizing the tuition of those coming from families with lower income.
The three parties, however, all agreed that there should be transparency in the application procedure and a review of the current centralized system implemented by the Office of Student Housing.
In an interview with the Collegian just before the debate, USC candidates for chairperson shared their experiences in preparing for the campaign period.
Alyansa standard bearer Niña Marie Acasio said that though they had barely a week to prepare for the campaign, they are thankful that their whole party ticket was approved by the University Student Electoral Board (USEB).
Aside from the two standard bearers (chairperson and vice-chairperson), Alyansa has nine candidates for the USC councilor position.
Kaisa standard bearer Titus Tan, on the other hand, said that they are confident about winning the elections despite the last-minute disqualification of Ramon Miguel Abeleda, their contender for the positon of vice-chairperson. The USEB disqualified Abeleda because he did not meet the minimum grade requirement stated in the election code.
Kaisa has 12 candidates running for the USC councilor position.
Meanwhile, Stand-UP standard bearer Airah Cadiogan said that the party is entering the elections with ‘high morale,’ brought by the success of the recently concluded student regent referendum.
Stand-UP will be bidding with a complete party ticket of two standard bearers and 13 councilors, although they had initial difficulties with the applications of their councilor bids.
The mudslinging event is only the first of the dormitory tours to be conducted for this year’s campaign period. The Alliance of Concerned Dormitories, which is spearheading the tour, has yet to finalize the schedule of mudslinging events in the eight remaining UP dormitories.