By Alexandra Gabrielle Francisco
Candidates for the College of Mass Communication Student Council (CMC SC) elections grilled each other in the annual miting de avance on Thursday.
Each candidate challenged his or her counterpart from the other party in Hot Off the Grill, where parties attacked each other’s principles, past achievements and Specific Plans of Action (SPOAs).
Hot Off The Grill, the local CMC miting de avance, is hosted by the UP Mass Communicators Organization.
Incumbent Journalism representative Gail Orduña, CMC Representative to the USC candidate from STAND UP-CMC, criticized incumbent CMC Representative Nigel Cornel, a member of ISA, for being one of the members with the most absences in USC General Assemblies.
Incumbent Broadcast Communication representative Jake Rivera, ISA’s bet for CMC Representative, defended Cornel, saying most of Cornel’s absences were in preparation for the Mass Media Awareness Month (MMAM) in September.
Rivera said Cornel did most of the work, even if Cornel and Orduña were co-heads.
In defense, Orduña said Cornel did not give her any tasks, to which Rivera replied that she should have asserted her position as co-head.
Rivera also noted how Orduña failed to assert herself generally in the council, after Orduña said she gave the council a rating of five out of ten.
“Assuming but not conceding that an ISA student council does not hear out your concerns, again this is hypothetical, then why didn’t you assert yourself?” said Rivera.
Orduña said her rating was for the council concentrating too much in local events and lacking involvement in university issues.
Orduña said that she informed the council about announcements from university-wide alliances like the League of College Councils (LCC), but the current leadership always said they were busy with local events.
Meanwhile, STAND UP-CMC chairperson bet Norman Riego gave last year’s MMAM a lower rating than its predecessors, which were headed by STAND UP-CMC council members.
This year, the council, in cooperation with Tinig ng Plaridel, staged exhibits of the ten most talked-about issues of the year in different colleges.
The council may have extended the project to other colleges, but an exhibit was not enough for students to truly understand the issues, said Riego.
In light of ISA’s freedom wall Issues Avenue, Riego also questioned ISA’s grasp of national issues by asking Catubay’s stance on Oplan Bayanihan, the government’s counter-insurgency program.
After one audience member explained to Catubay what the program was, Catubay replied, “Hindi po kami pro dito. Tayo po ay tao at dapat po ay nag-aapeal tayo sa basic human rights. Ang pagpatay po sa mga aktibista ay isang violation of human rights ng isang nilalang.”
Sindayen issue resurfaces
Other old issues included the near removal of USC chairperson Rainier Sindayen.
Sindayen almost lost his position when he failed to meet the retention grade in the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. He had to reapply as a non-major to stay in the college. Sindayen eventually retained his position as chairperson.
ISA’s chairperson bet and incumbent treasurer Ruby Ann Catubay said a student-leader should be able to uphold academic and council responsibilities.
However, STAND UP-CMC’s standard bearer Norman Riego said that was easy to say in an “ideal and perfect” world.
Riego also had his own share of issues from his stint as Journalism representative.
In September, Riego faced a possible suspension from the CMC Student Council, which cited Riego’s use of his name and position in signing a letter he wrote as convenor of a multi-sectoral alliance which was not connected to the CMCSC.
According to the motion, “The inclusion of Mr. Riego’s positions within both bodies in the aforementioned document implied the Council’s knowledge and support in an event they knew nothing about.”
The motion also cited a statement drafted by Riego to be the joint demands of the CMCSC and Solidaridad, the Diliman-wide alliance of student publications, of which Tinig ng Plaridel is a member.
The proposal said the council was not informed of Riego’s actions. Solidaridad also said the draft had many erroneous claims.
In the end, the Council of Representatives, composed of representatives of CMC organizations, junked the proposal for lack of merit.
However, ISA journalism representatives Loj Guinmapang and Dee dela Torre said Riego should have still observed transparency and due process in his work.
“You’re one party moving as one, dapat may consensus lahat, hindi pwede yung hindi alam,” said dela Torre.
On the other hand, their opponents Sarah Torres and Mario Urrutia said the problem should have been resolved internally.
“Dapat hindi ito nilabas agad. Ayaw natin ipakita sa masscom students na hindi tayo united,” said Torres.
Independent candidate Angel Britanico said members of the council should be vigilant in guarding their colleagues, but they should expose issues only when they have sufficient basis.
The candidates for treasurer both bared their resumes. Astrid Acielo of STAND UP-CMC said she had experience marketing Mr. and Ms. Educ of 2008 and 2009 in the College of Education.
She emphasized “diskarte” as an important factor.
To reconcile STAND UP-CMC’s anti-commercialization stance with the goal of marketing, Acielo said she would only accept donations and scholarships that would not hinder academic freedom.
Marji Manlunas of ISA said the two parties apparently had the same stand on the issue.
The candidate for treasurer highlighted her experience as head of various committees in projects of the UP Junior Marketing Association (UP JMA). Manlunas is currently a member of the UP JMA’s finance committee and boasts of having handled sizeable amounts of money, including a check worth P50,000.
Acielo raised the issue of the Long-Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP), the government’s rationalization of the budget for state universities and colleges as implemented by the Arroyo administration.
Both Acielo and Manlunas opposed the LTHEDP, but Acielo asserted that her party did not know the consequences of the government policy.
“Ito po yung dahilan kung bakit tayo nagkakaroon ng commercialization of idle assets,” Acielo said.
Acielo said that the LTHEDP is a World Bank policy that justifies reductions in UP state subsidy.
BC representatives from both parties included promotion of DZUP in their SPOAs, and they showed how their project was more feasible.
Ea Acaylar of STAND UP-CMC said they only planned to monitor radios at dormitories and guard stations, which she claimed was more feasible than ISA’s proposal of placing radios in “points of convergence on campus.”
Farah Ghodsinia of ISA said they did not plan to give out radios for everyone, but they would consult with other faculty from other colleges to find out where best to place radios.
For marketing, they would help DZUP’s existing marketing team and use their own marketing system with the help of their treasurer, said Ghodsinia.
Acaylar, who is also part of the DZUP marketing team, said they would ask help from the USC through the CMC representative.
Writing workshops, freedom wall
The communication research representatives also dissected each other’s SPOAs.
Diane Carabeo of ISA said STAND UP-CMC’s project DERP sa DERP, which pushes for student involvement in selecting topics for research, said the project was not necessary since students were consulted for topics in their Communication Reserch 165 course.
Her partner Carla Cucueco, a freshman, said that while she could not relate to any of their opponents projects, she questioned the lack of freshmen representation in her opponents’ GPOA.
“Sorry lang po, Comm 100 pa lang po ako. Ang ginagawa ko lang ay Powerpoint,” said Cucueco.
Nadine Escalona of STAND UP-CMC said the technical writing workshops and online bulletins they cited were for everyone.
STAND UP-CMC candidate Bebs Abrillo pointed to her experience in her Communication Research 165 course, noting that they were not happy with the topic they selected.
They both criticized ISA’s COMMural Property, a freedom wall where students could write their thoughts on plagiarism, noting that it was more important to teach students how to avoid it through writing workshops.
“Sinasabi na magsusulat ka raw ng mga thoughts on plagiarism, so anong mangyayari sa buong taon, magkakaubusan tayo ng thoughts about plagiarism,” said Abrillo.
In defense of their project, Cucueco said the freedom wall is a way to show that students are aware of these issues.
Creating a CMC Stylebook
Journalism representatives from ISA defended their proposal for a college stylebook.
Urrutia of STAND UP-CMC said Journalism 121 classes use the Associated Press stylebook, one of the most widely used stylebooks in the country.
“Ano pa po ang magiging essence ng isang journalism stylebook kung tayo po dito ay tinetrain na po doon?” said Urrutia.
Dela Torre of ISA argued that their goal was to make stylebooks easily accessible.
“Alam naman po natin na dito sa UP ginagamit natin ang AP stylebook. Pero pano naman po yung iba? Alam na po natin ang standards dun pero paano sa ibang newspapers?” said her partner Guinmapang.
Lab fees dialogue
To address the issue of laboratory fees in the Film department, Sabs Quesada and Chanelle Filio of STAND UP-CMC, running unopposed, said they would form a dialogue committee with the administration of the UP Film institute.
Quesada said this eventually goes back to the issue of state abandonment of higher education.
With reporting by Marisse Gabrielle Panaligan. Photos by Rae Anne Ducut