By LUIS MIGUEL B. ARUCAN
THE CANDIDATES for this year’s Arts and Letters (AB) Student Council elections seek Artlet involvement to carry out their advocacies and promised to focus on gender-based issues during the mandatory debate held April 12.
Wrexler Bayani from the Grand Alliance for Progress (GAP) challenged his fellow presidential candidate Dindo Jerome Roxas (Independent) on how he plans to prevent tuition hikes as he promised in his platforms.
Roxas said he is prepared to launch signature campaigns and protests if the University’s administration declines his request.
“’Pag hindi tayo pinakinggan, sasandig tayo sa lakas ng kolektibong pagkilos. […] Sa ganoong pamamaraan, [p]alagay ko makikita natin na pwede natin siyang gawin dito sa isang pribadong paaralan,” Roxas said.
The Political Science Forum President Alma Patricio pressed the presidential candidates on how their platforms can help them perform their constitutional mandate as president.
Roxas said his project Kumustartlets will bring the council closer to the students. “Magagawa ko ‘yung constitutional duties ko sa pagpapakita na naa-address ko ‘yung problema ng Artlets.”
Bayani said that in addition to showcasing the Artlet identity, his project Humans of AB will also coordinate the Council’s activities with the students.
“Doon po sa Humans of AB kasi, it’s a huge project para magkaroon ng coordination with the students and at the same time para maramdaman ‘yung presensya ng konseho,” Bayani said.
Students’ Democratic Party presidential bet Rafael Enrico Arellano said his AB Societal Convention, a platform for projects “that will have societal impacts,” will also serve as an avenue to talk to Artlets. “Dahil naniniwala tayo na meron silang mga ideas.”
Arellano could only attend the debate through video call because of chickenpox, as he said during his campaign.
Candidates for vice president-external both bared platforms geared toward helping communities, with GAP’s Wilfredo Reyes Jr. proposing Project Sibling, a year-long project aimed at letting Artlets bond with children with autism.
“One kid with autism and one Artlet, [n]aniniwala po kasi ako sa genuine empathy through intimate relationships. […] Kasi sa isang araw na ‘yun, ang laking impression na po sa kanila ‘yung mabibigay natin,” Reyes said.
On the other hand, SDP’s Jeanric Biñas seeks to “uplift the spirit[s]” of children whose parents died in military service.
“Naniniwala ako na ‘pag binigyan natin sila ng proper recognition, sa paraan [na] ‘yun maa-uplift natin ’yung kanilang spirits to move on keep forward,” Biñas said.
On gender-based issues
Dekada’s candidate for treasurer Tania Eliesha Luna proposed Safe Space: Gender Help Desk and Hotline, a project aiming to help Artlets who are victims of sexual harassment file and process complaints.
“[S]tudents can reach out to their fellow student volunteers to talk about their concerns regarding sexual harassment, gender sensitivity and many more. [‘Y]ung mga student volunteers will be well equipped with the knowledge on how to properly assess and manage these [kinds] of cases,” Luna said.
GAP’s bet for vice president-internal Karen Daryl Brito plans to launch an advocacy fair, Project Tipon, to collaborate with different organizations concerned with issues such as gender equality, youth empowerment and clean environment.
“Ang aim po ng programang ito ay ma-exercise natin ang ating personal advocacy. We all have our ideas, but we need greater outlets to foster [them].”
SDP’s secretarial bet Pauline Bartolo seeks to launch seminars about breast cancer and its prevention through her project Pinky Swear, which would also provide free check-ups and subsidized cures for Artlets.
Bringing out Artlets’ potential
To prepare Artlets for life after college, Brito said her AB Ready would be an on-the-job training and career caravan, while Dekada’s VP-external bet Lady Freyja Gascon proposed Project “Sustain that Ability,’” a platform aiming for self-development and improvement of students.
“Nakipag-ugnayan na po ako sa guidance counselor at handa po sila magkaroon ng mock interview at [curriculum vitae] making,” Brito said.
Dekada’s vice president-internal bet Thomas Sandino Baluga proposed BOUNDLESS, “a series of alternative classes and workshops that focuses on honing everyone’s possibilities,” while Reyes’s Konektodo will invite award-winning researchers and writers to help Artlets create “masterpieces.”
Also, GAP’s secretarial bet Candace Marie Umbay aims to develop Artlets’ leadership skills through her project Finding Leaders.
“[W]e believe that all Artlets are natural born leaders and we want you to unleash that innate potential within you,” Umbay said.
The mandatory debate was organized by the AB Commission on Elections. F