STAND-UP campaign trail ’09 (Part III)

One of the more traditional yet integral parts of the student council election campaign is the dorm tour, where dorm assemblies and debates are held every night at UP Diliman’s numerous dormitories.

For a week, the parties and the candidates go on two dormitory assemblies every night to deliver their campaign line, present their program, plans of action, and well, succumb to whatever questions or tasks the residents ask the candidates to do. Dorm assemblies also serve as opportunities where parties usually get to debate and well, hurl accusations and pose questions and challenges to each other. Continue reading

STAND-UP campaign trail ’09 (Part I)

For a large part of the two-week election campaign period for the University Student Council in UP Diliman, I went around with the candidates going room-to-room in the vast campus as one of their campaign managers. With more than twenty thousand enrolled students in the university and dozens of buildings scattered within Diliman’s 600+ hectares, it is no easy feat to reach out to the widest number of iskolars ng bayan to deliver the campaign line.

Continue reading

UP Diliman University Student Council ’09 Election Results

Here’s a short and partial rundown of the results of the University Student Council elections in Diliman.

Chairperson Party Votes
1. Titus C.K. Tan KAISA 4,900
2. Airah T. Cadiogan STAND-UP 3,389
3. Nina Marie D. Acasio ALYANSA 1,276

Titus Tan of KAISA won the Chairpersonship of the University Student Council, with a commanding 4,900 votes, while Jaque Eroles of STAND-UP clinched the Vice-Chairpersonship with 4,525.

Vice-Chairperson Party Votes
1. Jacqueline J. Eroles STAND-UP 4,525
2. Joseph M. Gutierrez ALYANSA 3,911

We only won four out of twelve seats among the USC Councilors.

I was honestly upset when news broke of the results, and I was actually in disbelief, as it was really something we, or I personally did not expect. Assessments of the election campaign have been ongoing and resolutions will be forged.

To our candidates who weren’t fortunate enough to win seats in the student council, I have no doubt on your continued commitment to serve the people and the students in various fields and arena. And I’m looking forward to the work that we shall continue to do. It’s been a tiring campaign season for all of us, but it’s genuinely been a pleasure to have been among your campaign managers.

The incoming USC will prove to be one of the most evenly-divided (among political parties) USC in recent history. Good luck to the incoming University Student Council!

Councilors Party Votes
1. Christopher T. Yu Independent 3,918
2. Mario C. Cerilles ALYANSA 3,888
3. Katrina Nessa M. Abad STAND-UP 3,486
4. Luis Jose F. Geronimo ALYANSA 3,446
5. Andrea Monica V. Gonzales ALYANSA 3,235
6. Fermina A. Agudo STAND-UP 2,884
7. Katrina Ross P. Manzano ALYANSA 2,738
8. Muhamad Jumer C. Sali STAND-UP 2,717
9. Raymond Charles V. Pestana STAND-UP 2,654
10. Brian K. Ong KAISA 2,621
11. Jose Leandro R. Alinea KAISA 2,578
12. Lee Tomas O. Tan KAISA 2,512

Collective action for social change

Those who profess the futility of collective action know nothing of their history. For the tide and ebb of world events are determined precisely by collective action. As one revolutionary put it, “The history of the world is the history of class struggle.”

Throughout the world, regimes and tyrants have been toppled down, and democracies established by the strength of collective action. The wheels of history from feudalism, capitalism to socialism, from monarchies to parliaments to peoples’ governments, were concrete conclusions of class struggle. Examples of which are the anti-colonization movement in Africa and Latin Amercia, the Liberation movement in Southeast Asia and Indo-China, the Religious Tolerance and Womem’s Rights Movement in most parts of the world, the anti-apartheid movement in Africa, and the establishment of the International League of People’s Struggle against Imperialism. And even individual heroes are propelled by the thousands of men and women who clamor, hand in hand, for a common aspiration.

History itself reveals that there is no stronger mark of popular sentiment than mass actions, making collective demonstrations indispensable in the realization of our common goals. In the Philippine setting, the stirrings of collective dissent began in the aftermath of the Spanish conquest. For instance, the Katipunan was borne out of the unity of the peasants and artisans against the colonizers. From the Spanish to the American regime, a common sentiment for national sovereignty fueled radical movements for freedom. Corrupt and authoritarian regimes were crushed when confronted by the ferocity of widespread mass demonstrations. In fact, the mere existence of repression attests to the potency of collective action — why suppress mass demonstrations if it does not instigate fear in the most hardened of dictators?

Thus, our stance remains — collective action is still our most potent weapon for social change. For only by participating in a coordinated action of thousands of people can individuals pursue both their personal and social liberties. As long as there are forces and establishments that conspire against the democratic rights of the people, individuals have to unite to register their shared will.

The sharpest position is to stand for collective action, which is comprised of all arenas of struggle, whether in the parliamentary or in the streets. Indeed, claiming that collective action is passé succeeds only in exposing the crass ignorance of the groups doing the claiming.

The history of UP alone is rich with instances that illustrate the potency of concerted action. During the 1950 witch hunts, when calls for nationalism were vilified as communism, our shared efforts were crucial in the struggle for academic and press freedom. In the 1970s, at the height of political repression during Martial Law, our united dissent contributed to the struggle for democracy, with hundreds of student leaders heeding the call of history, whether in cities or in the countryside. The social ferment generated by the Diliman Commune and the First Quarter Storm pierced the core of national affairs. Student institutions, publications, and formations were reestablished in the 1980s through adamant and tireless collective action. The list goes on, from the closure of US military bases in the country, the ouster of Erap in 2001, the retraction of the largest budget cut in 2000, and the removal of Provision 444 of the University Code, which unduly prohibits religious and provincial organizations.

Despite the machinations of the state and administration, the student movement persists because it has forged an inextricable link with all sectors in the call for social change. After all, the aims of collective action are collective victories — a gain enjoyed by the broadest and the most democratic.

At present, we are facing the blatant implementation of neoliberal policies, which direct the state to fully abandon state universities and colleges. The manifestations of commercialization are increasing, from corporatization to the endless proposals to increase tuition and other fees.

As students reject this overall scheme through protest actions and other peaceful activities, the state and administration have responded with crushing repression, through direct attacks against student formations and institutions. All over the nation, there is a systemic effort to entrench an education that is colonial, commercialized and fascist. Meanwhile, in the political arena, the state continues to commit grave sins against the people — intensified suppression and repression, political killings, the neglect of social services, high unemployment, lack of genuine land reform, increasing hunger, and continuing plunder — while aiming to extend its term through Cha-Cha. Now, more than ever, we need the force of collective action.

The fact of the matter is, those who say that collective action is “illusory” are themselves in delusion — they do not understand history nor do they know their place in history. The challenge for us, iskolars ng bayan, is to participate in the struggle for social change. We must fight for an education that is nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented. Because we cannot spur change in isolation, we must therefore link arms with the broadest masses in our struggle for a better society, where there is genuine land reform, national industrialization, genuine freedom, and social justice. For the broadest collective is also the strongest. Ultimately, we must recognize that our collective is our people and our nation.

VOTE STRAIGHT STAND-UP!

Scrap all proposed fees! Rollback the tuition!
No to commercialization!
Struggle against state abandonment of UP education!
Fight for a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education!
Strengthen our unity! Advance our struggle for greater victories!

THE LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS-UP DILIMAN

Crumble their deception!

Leadership and unity, as propounded by some political formations in campus, can never be conceived by mere grand statements and more so, claimed in the absence of praxis. For such calls must always be situated in conditions that manifestly surround us.

Indeed, more recently, we have emerged victorious in our fight against a vicious attempt by the administration and its cohorts in the person of false student leaders, that tried to rob us of our representation in university governance and tested the power of our concerted action. It is important to note that it was only STAND-UP which has been firm in its struggle for genuine student representation by defending the Office of the Student Regent, while other political groups have collaborated to further their own selfish interests and hunger for power in the guise of flawed calls for “democratization” and “student participation”.

It is in light of this that we challenge ALYANSA and KAISA to go beyond the confines of their deceptive and misguided advocacies through an honest assessment of their actions in the past years. True leaders, after all, are judged not by their seemingly noble yet hollow declarations in a desperate effort to gain public approval, but by their concrete efforts to unite with their people armed with the sharpest of principles and a clear course of action. As such, the formations must be exposed for the populist and vacillating groups that they truly are.

ALYANSA contends to “define leadership” by invoking a “shared purpose” and the “timeless ideals of integrity and service”. Yet, it is this same group and their allies serving in student councils who obstinately demanded that their own proposed changes to the Student Regent selection rules be subjected to the recently concluded referendum, without consideration for the equally significant positions of other student councils.

It is this same group which originally supported the tuition increase in UP, only to retract their position after belatedly realizing its dire effects on the majority of incoming students. It is this same group that has been gravely silent on major local issues, like dwindling state subsidy and the consequent lab fee increases, administration repression against UP professors Sarah Raymundo and Judy Taguiwalo, and widespread demolitions of UP communities.

Similarly, KAISA now asks us to “unite” and make a “difference”. It must be remembered, however, that they have also been active in campaigning for the failure of the Student Regent referendum without realizing the danger of losing the Office of the Student Regent with such position.

KAISA has long been evidently absent in most of the major student campaigns, and such failure to make a principled stance forebodes ill of the kind of change they now forward. Certainly, this is not the kind of “difference” we would like to be part of.

Ultimately, both ALYANSA and KAISA have undermined the power of our collective action, to the extent of dismissing the same as a mere illusion.

We are now called upon to realize that the democratic rights we now enjoy as students, the institutions and agencies we have been privileged with, were all borne of consolidated efforts to rise against tyrannical interventions, precisely what the 12 years of the history of STAND-UP unwaveringly represent.

Anakbayan united with student organizations in giving full support to STAND-UP in the coming student council elections. Once again, we will not let their deception vitiate the validity and potency of our collective action.

Strengthen our unity! Advance our struggle for greater victories!

STAND-UP sa USC 2009!


Airah “Airah” Cadiogan
Chairperson

Jaqueline “Jaque” Eroles
Vice-Chairperson

Councilors
Katrina Nessa “Nessa” Abad
Fermina “Amme” Agudo
Isabelle “Issa” Therese Baguisi
Ronnie “Ron” Bermundo
Allan “Allan” de Guzman
Janina Karla “Karla” Domingo
Jemimah Grace “Gem” Garcia
Efren “Efren” Maglangsakay, Jr.
Iris Charmaine “Iris” Olaso
Raymond Charles “Mon” Pestana
Mohamad Jumer “Jumer” Sali
Marian Kris “Marian” Santos

College Representatives
Danim “Danim” Majerano (CAL)
Kim Elaine “Kim” Balderama (CHE)
April Angela “Gel” Nolasco (CMC)
Rainer Astin “Rain” Sindayen (CSSP)
Ana Angela “Angela” Cayabyab (CSWCD)
Ma. Cristina “Brandy” Brandares (CEduc)
Demi Anne “Demi” Obidiencia (CEng’g)
Rudolph “Ralph” Guibani (CFA)
Catherine “Kate” Razo (CMusic)
RG Emmanuel “RG” Tesa (NCPAG)
Teopisto “Theo” Futalan, Jr. (SLIS)
Lester “Lester” Cajegas (SStat)

Now the campaign manager

Topping the previous elections is sure to make a lot of people expect you to run for the student council the next year. Indeed, for the past weeks, it’s been a nagging question among friends, random strangers I bump along the campaign trail and even on blogs and message boards.

This is my first election season in four where I’m not a candidate. To be perfectly honest about it, it was simply because of a grade I got in one of my major subjects in Law last semester, which effectively disqualified me. It was quite unfortunate, and it has caused me, and my circle of friends, brods and colleagues some disappointment.

For a few days some weeks ago, I felt quite bad how disappointed I made some people feel. But that’s over, there are many other ways of serving the people and the students.

Once again it’s student council election season in UP Diliman. I never would have realized how similarly and even more tiring managing the campaign is than being a candidate. I shall be posting pictures from the past days in the next few entries. Here’s some from STAND-UP (Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights – UP) presentation of candidates for the student council elections.