ABSC hopefuls look to make council more accountable, transparent

Candidates for vice president-internal get ready to answer questions (L-R: Paulo Panganiban, Rona Agulto, Gerald Dela Cruz). photo by KRISTELA DANIELLE S. BOO/ THE FLAME

THE CANDIDATES for this year’s Artlets Student Council (ABSC) general elections defended their platforms that focused mostly on transparency and an improved grievance system during the annual miting de avance held Friday.

Their projects highlighted the need for seminars and meetings that will serve as an outlet for Artlets to voice out their opinions on social issues as well as activities to showcase students’ talents.

Improved transparency
Candidates for PRO, treasurer, auditor, and secretary agreed that transparency is important and should be upheld.

Auditor candidate Jelliza Letran of Grand Alliance for Progress (GAP) said being transparent may help solve or lessen problems with funds, while DEKADA bet Gabriel Lapid said he will be willing to admit fault and step down if he ever commits negligence of duties, specifically misuse of funds.

DEKADA treasurer bet Elan Castañares also emphasized the need to hold people, even the administration, accountable for mistakes in handling funds.

All three PRO candidates—independent candidates Trisha Ifurung and Eadric Espiritu and GAP bet Rosario Rañalikewise vowed to penalize fellow officers if proven guilty for wrongdoings.

Raña stressed that there is a fine line between transparency and confidentiality.

“Kapag malulutas pa ‘yung problema within the council, it’s okay to be confidential. Pero kapag it involves na the student body, we should be transparent about it,” she said.

“The council will try to be [as] transparent as possible when it comes to certain issues that directly concern the student body. However, we have to realize that there are certain issues that you have to keep, that we cannot disclose immediately,” GAP secretarial bet Jecelie De La Rosa explained as well.

Culture of apathy
The proposed projects of the VP-internal candidates highlight the need for students to have a discourse about different social issues.

Meron po tayong culture of apathy na kahit napapansin natin, alam na nating nag-e-exist ‘tong social issues na ‘to, more often that not, wala po tayong nagagawa to address that. Sa Advocacy Month po, hindi lang siya passively magbibigay ng information sa inyo kundi ipapakita po namin kung ano ‘yung mali, ano po ‘yung dapat gawin,” Rona Agulto (GAP) said.

Gerald Dela Cruz’s (DEKADA) “Talakayan sa AB” is an issue-driven seminar that aims to heighten discourse among Artlets about social issues that have direct effects on students and Filipinos.

Sole Students’ Democratic Party candidate Paulo Panganiban offered “Project Bayan,” which he said will be an “immersion” of students in partner communities with the help of the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office. However, a panel member commented that this project is not an immersion by definition, but a cultural integration.

Better grievance system
Presidential bets Irah Embile from GAP and Lady Freyja Gascon from DEKADA hope to shed light on Artlets’ grievances through their proposed projects.

Embile said she wants to provide an avenue for students to speak up through an open dialogue.

“I know that I am driven to speak up for my fellow students […] Willing ako to have a dialogue with students,” she added.

Meanwhile, Gascon said she believes that conversing with class presidents may be a good way of addressing grievances because they are “firm representations” of students.

Kailangan ng firm grievance system to be able to raise their concerns, their grievances. We need to consider, understand that there are students who are still afraid,” she explained.

The annual mandatory debate was organized by the AB Commission on Elections and held at the TYK parking lot. The election period will be from Apr. 23 to 27. F GILLIAN PATRICIA GERONIMO

Watch the Flame’s livestream of the miting de avance through these links: [1] [2]

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