USC Presidential Debate 2016
Photo by Angelo Nico Daroy
The presidential debate for the candidates running for the Supreme Student Council (SSC) for the University of San Carlos (USC) was held at the SAS Open Theater last February 23, 2016.
The debate started with a three-minute introduction from each of the parties: Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (STAND), Student Power Party (SPP), and TINGOG Carolinian Party.
STAND’s introduction focused on what they have done and are willing to do for the rights of the students, such as bringing back the student council, student organizations and the student publication, saying it is the time for leaders who are. SPP stated that they believe in the principles of student empowerment, advocacy-driven service, transparency and accountability and socio-economic responsibility. TINGOG highlighted some of their achievements, including IDiscount, the Carolinian Summit, Innovation Convention and Warrior’s Run.
The second part was the vice-presidential candidates’ speeches, followed by the formal debate where they were asked questions and were given one minute to answer them, and 30 seconds for rebuttal. STAND’s vice-presidential candidate, Joahanna Veloso, an incumbent SSC councilor, successfully organized Pakighinabi: Sturya Ta, Carolinians, an effective method of communication between the student council and the students. SPP’s candidate, Krisha Jill Viado, who ran for councilor last year but did not win, was involved in different student organizations. Marius Viktor Aragon, TINGOG Carolinian’s vice-presidential candidate, is the president of the Chemical Engineering Society, and the youngest board member of UNESCO Clubs of the Philippines.
TINGOG envisions an SSC that embraces unity amidst diversity, Aragon said when asked how to convince students to be active. Veloso stated that STAND is planning to hold educational discussions to let the students realize the problems in USC, while Viado said that SPP would create platforms for the unrepresented students.
All three candidates were asked to use the core argument of their party to convince undecided voters. Aragon said that TINGOG envisions a council that collaborates with the students, while Viado stated that they are the party of the real students and that they have 18 sustainable platforms. Veloso indicated that STAND dares everyone to start getting involved.
The next part was the presidential speeches, followed by their debate. STAND’s presidential candidate, Shawn Go, two-time councilor, abolished the Red Cross membership fee from the students’ assessment. SPP’s candidate, Jan Rommel Duterte, said, “I was never ready for this, but then again, we are never ready for the moments that matter.” Deodatus Paulo Burgos, the presidential candidate of TINGOG, is a top-performing councilor, and was appointed as Vice-Presidential Assistant focusing on the drafting of the Magna Carta of Students’ Rights and Welfare.
Duterte, when asked about how to convince the administration to be sympathetic to the students’ rights and needs, said that what is needed is for the administration to see real students and their problems. Burgos stated that they have collaborated with the administration and have pushed for diplomatic dialogues. Go indicated that we have to make them realize that these are our rights and these should not be taken away from us.
“No other parties were present during the meeting for the academic calendar shift. Only TINGOG councilors were there,” Burgos said when asked about how their administration would help students adjust to the shift. Go stated that the shift is proof that our education is colonial.
Duterte, when questioned about his lack of prior experience in the SSC, stated that experience is not a guarantee of good service. He also said, when asked about why he had previously attended only two sessions of the council meetings, that he cannot work in an institution where the majority is telling him what to do.
The three were asked how they would guarantee that after the elections, the councilors would still be working together. Go answered that the councilors should realize that their goal is the same, while Burgos believes that they have acknowledged other parties’ initiatives.
After the formal debate, the presidential candidates were asked to give a final closing statement.
The next event for the campaign period will be the Grand Rallies on February 27 at USC-TC, and February 28 at USC-DC.