student council elections

Congratulations to the three ANAKBAYAN members of the UP Diliman University Student Council 2010-11: Chairperson-elect Rain Sindayen, Councilor-elect Gem Garcia, and Councilor-elect Dan Ramos. I have had the honor of working with these three (Rain is a former secretary-general of ANAKBAYAN-UP Diliman, Gem is the chapter’s outgoing chairperson, and Dan is one of the first members of our “Kalayaan Dormitory Chapter”), and I can personally vouch for their sincerity, commitment, and dedication.

Congratulations to my College’s new Representative to the USC: Gold Villar. As someone who is almost as old as I am, she is further proof that no one is too old for serving the people. As long as we do our best in explaining our message and in living up to it, there is no reason for us not to get the support of the masses of Filipinos. And it’s always good to have someone as talented as Gold (she is an active member of PETA) on board.

Congratulations to UP Baguio’s ACS, UP Cebu’s NKE, UP Tacloban’s PULSO, and UP Mindanao’s ANAK, for securing overwhelming majorities in their University Student Councils and putting the principle of serving the people back in the campus map.

2.

As someone who volunteered to help out with their campaign for a few days, I reserve a special section for UP Manila’s pro-student & pro-people party, ASAP-Katipunan.

In the entire week that I worked with them, I saw in their candidates a real desire to win. And one born, not out of desire for more credentials to put in their CVs, or out of spite for their rivals, but because they shared the despair many students and other stakeholders of the UP Manila community felt under two to three years of pro-Administration rule in their student councils.

Facing an opponent which had the advantages of more finances, campaign materials, as well as more supporters from incumbent student councils and block handlers, they made the most of their only advantage: the correct principles.

Congratulations to Ces Santos, UPM’s new USC chairperson. From the workers’ strikes in Intramuros and Kowloon West to the 4th floor office in the OUR building, the former chairperson of UPM’s Student Christian Movement chapter has gone a long way from the Biochemistry freshie who braved nonstop rains to attend the Protest State of the Nation Address in 2006. One of the pillars of the progressive youth movement in Southern Manila’s campuses and communities will now be seen in another arena of struggle: the UP Manila student councils.

Congratulations to Cleve Arguelles, UPM’s new CAS SC chairperson. As a blogger as well as the outgoing chairperson of ANAKBAYAN’s UPM chapter, he shows what genuine Iskolars ng Bayan should be: someone who maximizes all arenas, forms, and tools of struggle and campaigning, while remaining true to the principle of going to the masses in order to learn.

And congratulations to Regina Decangchon, UPM’s new CAS SC rep.-at-large. She is an example of the saying Kabataan ang pag-asa ng Bayan. She has taken more responsibilities than the usual freshie college student, first as a member of the League of Filipino Students, and then as a student council officer.

Of course, congratulations also to all the other winners: USC Vice-Chair Mac Panganiban, USC Councilors Mudir Estrella and Frank Abris, CAS Rep. to the USC Christine Bangud, CAS SC Chair Ellen Tayag, CAS Reps.-at-large Nikkos Monroy and Nikki Gregorio, and CAS 3rd Year Batch Rep. Kenneth More.

Last and certainly not the least, congratulations to every last organization, student, and non-student who supported them. We should all learn from this elections: cooperation and working together can help us overcome any obstacle. If we could achieve this at the local level, then there’s no stopping us from achieving this at the national level.

3.

The importance of utilizing the Internet and other forms of new media and technology was highlighted yet again in the recently-concluded student council elections. Those who wish to advance the agenda of real change on May 10, but with little resources, can learn a thing or two.

The rise of the “Factcheck” institution and its copycats is an example of how the Internet can empower ordinary Filipinos into becoming cyber-journalists. With a computer and an Internet connection, these journalists can reach out to a wide audience and overcome the limitations of not having enough money to print their reports on a large scale. “CJ” groups, in cooperation with each other, can help national and international news reach areas and people who are normally not reached by mainstream media. On the other hand, such networks can also help local news reach and enter mainstream media.

Candidates and parties made full use of the Facebook “Fan Page” tool to promote themselves. Some, such as UP Manila’s Cleve Arguelles and Mudir Estrella, even used their blog/websites. As in the case of the CJs, they were able to spread their message to people they were unable to reach through personal interactions. But more importantly, they used such sites as campaign centers. Voters could, and did, check their sites for information about them. Those who had made up their minds supported their choices by re-posting content from the sites, such as videos, articles, and pictures. And those who could not spare time to actively support their choices simply “Became a Fan”.

Some, such as UPD’s ALYANSA and UPM’s Bigkis, even used Facebook Ads, enabling them to appear in a prospective voter’s sidebar at any time. While this may be not-so-economical in the campus setting, it is definitely a good strategy for the national elections. Parties and candidates can reach out to millions of Filipinos at a fraction of what it would cost using posters, flyers, and radio and TV ads.

Of course, there is one “traditional” component that is still needed in an online campaign: the mass movement. To maximize the Internet’s potential, there must be an army of volunteers who are tapping into the many tools and strategies presented by online campaigning: from blogs to email to social networking sites to websites to search engines.

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One Response to student council elections

  1. Congratulations to UPV Miagao CAS’s SAMASA too for clinching 9 of 4 seats in the council elections. 🙂

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