THIS YEAR’S Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC) aspirants have promised to offer new projects and platforms that will cater to the interests of the Artlet community and help students voice out their stands on campus issues, particularly the proposed tuition fee hike.
During the mandatory debate for ABSC candidates held April 4, independent candidate for vice president for external affairs Jancisko Valera slammed his fellow aspirants’ projects that were already done by past council officers.
“Tama na ‘yung mga project at flyer na paulit-ulit lang. Tama na ‘yung mga project na iniiba lang ‘yung pangalan, at tama na ‘yung mga project na trabaho naman namin,” Valera said, noting that projects now should focus more on national issues.
Valera and Dekada’s candidate for vice president for external affairs Jan Krianne Pineda both aim to connect AB to other liberal arts colleges in the country through their projects ABSC’s Initiative to Form the Liberal Arts Association and United Liberal Student Councils Association, respectively.
Independent candidate for public relations officer (PRO) Ia Marie Valdezotto and Dekada’s bet for auditor Rodrich Rey Rebollos want to expose Artlets to mental health issues and social issues in Mindanao, respectively; while Dekada’s candidate for treasurer Peniel Grace Esguerra and independent secretarial candidate Maria Ann San Andres vow to address environmental issues.
Standard-bearers of Dekada and Grand Alliance for Progress (GAP), meanwhile, aired their disapproval on the proposed 10 percent tuition hike for the next academic year.
Former ABSC auditor and Dekada’s presidential bet Brian Earl Leshen said that the incumbent student council disagrees with the tuition hike, claiming that the University’s only reason for it is the normalization of funds.
“Lumalaban kami (ABSC). We exhausted all means. February 14, nagkaroon kami ng meeting sa Office of the Vice Rector for Finance kung saan nagkaroon ng consultation with the students at dito, we opposed. Pumirma kami, kasama [ng] mga student council [officer] na pumirma laban sa tuition fee increase. Gumawa kami ng aksyon,” Leshen said.
GAP’s presidential candidate and former The Political Science Forum Vice President Reymark Simbulan said there should be a justification for the University’s move.
“I disagree with it frankly because they haven’t provided the necessary justification to have an increase. […] Malapit na matapos ‘yung taon, wala pa ring basis kung bakit mag-i-increase tayo ng 10 percent. Kulang tayo sa explanation [at] kulang tayo ng consultation with the students. So if they’re going to have a tuition fee increase, better justify it,” Simbulan said.
Independent candidate for treasurer Rafael Enrico Arellano plans to provide financial assistance to underprivileged and deserving Artlets through his platform Paaral ni Mulat should the tuition fee increase be implemented.
Aside from conducting issue-based dialogues, Simbulan wants to make sure the students contribute in the actions of the council, particularly in the revision of the ABSC Constitution, which he claimed has still a lot to improve.
“We will reintroduce the Artlets Student Council with a constitutional convention that will amend the current eight-page ABSC Constitution kung saan bibigyang pansin natin ang kahalagahan ng mga estudyante sa trabaho ng konseho,” Simbulan said.
Leshen, through his project named DAKILA, wants to immerse the Artlets to the country’s current issues. “Artlets are the future leaders of the society, and your development now is essential for our future. And my vision is to bring out the leader in every Artlet.”
Pineda and Dekada’s bet for vice president for internal affairs Lawrence Adrian Gutierrez, want Artlets to participate on topics such as youth empowerment and gender equality through their projects TED Talks and Project Empowerment, accordingly.
Independent candidate for vice president for internal affairs Daniela Angela Frigillana, furthermore, vows to provide an opportunity for students to pitch their projects to the council and participate in community development projects inside and outside the Faculty.
Transparency of information
Candidates for the position of treasurer and auditor said they would ensure more transparency in the Faculty through financial reports.
GAP’s candidate for treasurer Nazarene Centinna Cammayo would require all treasurers to remain truthful to their duties and provide detailed breakdown of profits from projects and merchandise in her Bawal Paasa Policy and AB Breakdown, respectively. GAP’s candidate for auditor Reziah Angelica Famorcan, moreover, wants all council officers and project heads to publish liquidation and financial reports a week after every event in her project Quicktime.
Rebollos, Valdezotto, and independent candidate for auditor Jan Rafael Lipat want to hear Artlets’ complaints and evaluations on AB’s facilities.
GAP’s candidate for vice president-internal Daverick Angelito Pacumio, likewise, aims to address students’ concerns through his project AB AID (Assist-Inform-Do). “Taking a step back, I saw that we, Artlets, deserve better. […] Magiging open-minded po ako sa mga opinion at hinaing ng ating kapwa Artlets.”
Dekada’s secretarial bet John Pauleen Balbadores aims to give students updates on complaints filed through another project AB Complaints and Relief while GAP’s candidate for secretary Janina Louise Catap pushes for a portal containing uniform templates, forms, and documents for all secretaries in the Faculty.
Establishing Artlet identity
GAP’s bet for vice president-external Michael Olivier Simpao plans on reviving the Artlet Youth Ambassador and Ambassadress pageant to gather ideas for the Faculty’s community development projects.
“Dito sa AB, sama-sama nating ipakita ang ating galing sa iba dahil tayong Artlets ay may kooperasyon at koordinasyon. Let’s extend our service and get involved,” Simpao said.
Leshen and Balbadores would like to celebrate the talents and recognize the skills and diversity of the AB community through their projects AB Talent Showcase and Artlets Sining Awards, respectively.
Gutierrez’s HEART (Holistic Engagement for Artlets) Project would also cater to the interests of the Artlets in various aspects such as spoken word poetry and dancing. Famorcan, moreover, intends to develop Artlets’ speaking, thinking, and listening skills through her project Smartlet.
Pacumio targets providing a career fair solely for AB students while Balbadores wants to orient the Artlets on internships and job openings.
Improved connection with the students
PROs from the political parties target to establish a stronger connection with the Artlets for better dissemination of information.
Aside from increasing the media literacy of students, Dekada’s Airei Kim Guanga also wants to enhance the communication and connection between the ABSC and the students through an improved feedback system.
AB Know-tified (ABSC Communications Plan & Infrastructure) by GAP’s Wrexler Reiven Bayani, meanwhile, aims to review the current communication process of ABSC and learn the aspects in need of improvement. This would feature an online and on-ground update of information.
Among the hopefuls, independent presidential candidate Samantha Makayan was absent during the mandatory debate. The Flame tried to reach Makayan but to no avail.
The event was organized by the AB Commission on Elections. F VANN MARLO M. VILLEGAS