By Frances Josephine Espeso
The University of the Philippines Diliman forwarded two nominees for the 34th Student Regent (SR) selection after deliberations last June 10.
Local student councils picked Josiah Gil Hiponia and Raoul Danniel Manuel, from College of Mass Communication (CMC) and College of Science (CS), respectively, for their well-laid out plans of actions and leadership experiences.
The student regent is the sole representative of the students to the Board of Regents (BOR), the highest governing body of the entire UP System.
Part of Hiponia’s plan of action is to intensify the campaigns for free and accessible education and liberation of political prisoners, as well as strengthening the campus press and publications to improve communication channels among the university stakeholders, especially the students.
“Uunahin nating palakasin yung Rise for Education Alliance sa buong UP System,” Hiponia said to strengthen the campaign against the Socialized Tuition System (STS) and other school fees.
Meanwhile, Manuel’s plans include the facilitation of maximum student participation under the new administrations in both the university and national levels and close scrutiny of university policies such as the Proposed General Education Framework in all UP constituent units and the Return Service Agreement (RSA) in UP Manila.
“The first thing I will do is unite the student councils in UP in challenging President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to heed the call of the Filipino youth for accessible education, social change, and just and lasting peace in the country,” Manuel said.
Hiponia was the CMC Representative to the USC for the academic year 2015-2016 while Manuel holds the distinction of having graduated as the first summa cum laude of UP Visayas campus in 2015.
“Josiah’s strength was mainly his being a people person, while Raoul’s was his attention to detail,” University Student Council (USC) Vice Chairperson Beata Carolino said.
Manuel said his stint in KASAMA sa UP has given him “the experience in coordinating and launching system-wide campaigns that sought to advance the democratic rights of the Filipino people.”
Despite their credentials, Hiponia said collective action is still the answer to the students’ struggles.
“Meron at merong edge yung bawat isa sa aming mga nominees, pero at the end of the day, hindi naman yung personal naming galing yung makakapagpatagumpay sa kampanya natin para sa ating karapatan sa edukasyon kundi yung sama-sama nating paglaban (We both have an edge over the other, but at the end of the day, collective effort and struggle and not our individual capabilities, would win the fight for the right to education),” Hiponia said.
Aside from the two, incumbent College of Arts and Letters Student Council chairperson Joey Anne Mariano had also been nominated.
The selection of the UP System’s next Student Regent consists of nominations, respective deliberations of the colleges, UP constituent units, and the system-wide General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC).
No date has been set yet for the GASC deliberation.