by MATTHEW DAVE JUCOM
THE UNIVERSITY is collaborating with various media, advocacy, and student groups to promote voter’s participation and fair elections.
“The University underscores the importance of voter education and participation in order to prepare the Thomasian community for the 2022 national and local elections,” UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel said in a memorandum dated Feb. 19.
Through the Office of Public Affairs, UST is partnering with ABS-CBN’s “#HALALAN2022: Andito Kami Para Sa ‘Yo” and GMA’s election-related community program “YouScoop” to promote the role of the youth in the May 2022 polls.
The University is also collaborating with CNN Philippines and Microsoft to host the presidential and vice presidential debates on Feb. 26 and 27 at the Quadricentennial Pavilion Arena. During the debates, students will be allowed to participate as virtual audiences and to ask candidates questions about key issues.
“The University supports the said activity (debates) as a form of voter education and participation among the Filipino electorates, especially among the students, alumni, and University staff… Everyone is enjoined to participate virtually,” Coronel said in a separate memorandum.
Through its partnership with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPRCV), UST will house the transparency server for the 2022 polls to ensure the practice of health and safety protocols.
The transparency server distributes the copy of the election results received by the Comelec’s central server to political parties, the PPRCV, and the media in real time.
UST is also collaborating with higher education institutions and election-related student initiatives to promote voter education and to combat disinformation.
The UST Simbahayan Community Development Office, the UST Central Student Council, and various local student councils and organizations will also host the “Thomasian Voter Education Program,” “Youth Decides,” and “Boto Pilipino,” programs that seek to enable Thomasians to make informed decisions during the election.
“Considering that voting is not just a right to be protected, but also a duty to be fulfilled, the sanctity of our votes rely on the profound discernment of our choices through fervent prayer, careful study, involvement, and vigilance,” Coronel said. F