COMELEC Holds 2019 SSC Presidential Debates
Photo by Lance Matthew Tio Pahang
The afternoon of April 26, 2019 saw the annual SSC Presidential Debate. The bleachers of the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) Amphitheater were painted red, yellow and pink as students anticipated the exchange of thoughts and opinions of the different standard bearers of the three political parties of the university.
The USC Commission on Elections (COMELEC) organized the debate as an avenue for students to further know about the standard bearers of each party through the candidates giving their take on pressing issues within the university.
The debate began with a 30-second introduction of the vice presidential candidates — Kim Tubil from Tingog Carolinian Party, Miku Vicente from Students Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (STAND) and Kaye Palabrica from Student Power Party (SPP). Each candidate was then given a 3-minute privilege speech addressing the key advocacies their parties are representing.
COMELEC then gave a series of questions to the candidates. The audience were also given opportunities to ask. When asked about the manner as to keeping the balance between the pressing needs of the student body and the demands of the administration, Palabrica’s response focused on the value of diplomacy and knowing the two sides of the coin because “that is how we establish respect.” Tubil, on the other hand, recognizes the role of every student organization in the appealing concerns to the administration. Finally, Vicente focused on putting the needs of the students a priority. He further said that “we must cater the needs of the students because we are elected by the students.”
One of the issues raised, during which the candidates were given an opportunity to ask questions to each other, was the involvement of Tubil’s supporters in cropping other vice-presidential candidates out of a video by Today’s Carolinian without the publication’s permission. Tubil apologized to Today’s Carolinian and assured that the video has been taken down. “We policed the ranks of those who posted it on Twitter,” she said.
The same format was used for the presidential debate. Charlene Dasig of Tingog, in her privilege speech, emphasized Tingog’s effort of keeping the tuition fee from deviating from the standard. On the other hand, Clare Inso of STAND, focused on her party’s effort in the abolishment of unnecessary fees and empowerment of unrecognized sports.
In a question from Today’s Carolinian regarding the limitations of the policy-making and policy enacting capabilities of the SSC council and its consequent effect on their service towards students, Dasig cited the scrutinizing of the student manual spearheaded by her party. However, she said that “such rights of the students, such rights under the student manual and under the Magna Carta of Student Rights were neglected by the recent administration.” Inso said that “there is no limitation as what issues we can fight for in front of the administration.” She further said that the SSC shall ensure that none should stop the student movement within the university.
The debate culminated with the presidential candidates reiterating the platforms of their respective parties. COMELEC went on to announce that the election has been moved to May 6, 2019 with two schools having no classes between May 2-3, 2019.