University Student Council Turnover ’09

April 20, 2009. We had a turnover ceremony for the University Student Council (USC). That pseudo-officially ended our terms as members of the University Student Council.

Good luck to incoming USC for 2009! The turnover ceremony was a joint ceremony. The outgoing and the incoming editorial leadership of the Philippine Collegian also had their part of the program. It felt a little anticlimactic for me. After all, involvement in campus issues has never really been confined to the USC, for me. And I didn’t feel that anything ended that day. Even engaging colleagues from the other parties in debates, surely, didn’t end that day–even if it was goodbye to the long and harrowing GA’s we regularly had, when we just couldn’t agree on some issues at all. Though, I’d have to say despite all that, we managed to get along somehow in the end, some more than others, politics aside of course.

Simultaneously, UP Administation officials, USC 2008 and Senator Richard Gordon unveiled a bust of Wenceslao Vinzons, which the Senator commissioned to do, in honor of the hero to whom the historic and quintessential hub of university activism and politics was named after. There were also dozens of brods present too–since Vinzons, the Senator, and a handful of members of the incoming and outgoing University Student Council are members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi.

It’s not just a Plan B or C

A few weeks ago, my colleagues in the UP Diliman University Student Council and representatives from the College Student Councils in Diliman deliberated among each other and chose to send me as the Student Regent nominee of UP Diliman to the UP System-wide Student Regent selection tomorrow in UP Miag-ao in Iloilo.

Hay, the things I [allow myself to] get into. I don’t know how to plan my life for this year anymore. With all these present uncertainties and possibilities. I’m just very indecisive right now. I don’t know which ones to do, which to drop, which to prioritize. Let’s see what will happen. So it’s off to Iloilo for me today for a KASAMA sa UP (Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa UP) National Congress then for the SR Selection sessions of the General Assembly of [UP] Student Councils (GASC).

See you all when I get back. I’m pasting below a short essay I wrote after some of my law blockmates nominated me with the College of Education Student Council endorsing the nomination.

As the next hundred years of the University of the Philippines begins, it is faced with challenges that confront its nationalist history and opportunities to reaffirm its pro-people and pro-student character.

We are at a time when education in the University is becoming increasingly inaccessible to a vast majority of Filipinos. Despite a one-year freeze on a supposed annual tuition hike, laboratory fee increases are pending across the board in almost all UP units. Student organizations, catalysts of student involvement in campus, are being challenged through imposed policies and requirements that essentially limit their freedom. Despite an increase in the capital outlay budget of the University, the government severely decreased UP’s maintenance and operating budget.

These are just a few of the issues that will confront the next Student Regent.

We are also at the juncture of time, however, when, due to the recently and successfully concluded CRSRS Referendum, there is heightened awareness with the Office of the Student Regent, its tasks and function, and its history. We are at a time when students’ involvement with the issues of the Student Regent is unprecedented. It is a great opportunity to reaffirm the Student Regent’s role among iskolars ng bayan.

Indeed, this is the year when great expectations are demanded from the Student Regent, and when great opportunities are present. This year is an opportune time for the Student Regent to harness the heightened awareness into increased involvement. This is a great opportunity for the Student Regent and his Office, to reach out to the widest number of students, through genuine and effective means of consultation and communication, and engage the students in matters that directly affect their lives as iskolars ng bayan.

More than ever, this is a time for the Student Regent to be more transparent, accessible, accountable and attuned to his constituents. The Student Regent, notwithstanding geographic limitations, must be accessible to iskolars ng bayan in all UP campuses. He must take advantage of effective and modern means of information & communication technologies and must devote time and resources to be physically present whenever it is imperative, through regular campus-hopping. The Student Regent must strengthen present mechanisms, through institutions like the historical KASAMA sa UP but be also more open to students and student groups who may decide to pursue alternative formations.

He should create innovative mechanisms for students to air their grievances to the BOR. He must also ensure the presence of devoted liaison officers and volunteers in every UP campus, distinct from the student council but in coordination with them, in order to effectively and efficiently mount campaigns and projects in a university system that spans the entire archipelago.

The Student Regent must also be accountable and transparent. He must constantly communicate his agenda through regular press releases to be published in campus papers, and via communication lines through the internet. For this purpose, the Student Regent may also maintain an interactive website to ensure access to information that pertain to the BOR’s agenda.

The Student Regent must also not only represent and ensure the rights of present students of the University but of every Filipino aspiring to enter UP, and for all Filipinos who look up to the University as an agent of change and as an incubator of the nation’s progress. Decisions passed by the Board of Regents are policies that shape the destiny of UP and affect present and more so, future UP students. Policies in UP are also echoed among many other public institutions of higher learning across the country, and affect every Filipino’s chance of achieving formal higher education. As such, the Student Regent must always and continue to be grounded on the principles of accessible education for all Filipinos, especially whenever he is confronted with the many issues that tend to limit access to this inalienable right.

The Student Regent must be unwavering in his principles, despite adversity or animosity, for he must recognize that the University exists at a time when the government’s standing policy is to decrease spending on higher education, more so this year when it is bound to implement and fulfill the objectives of its Long-term Higher Education Development Plan 2010. He must also recognize that he exists in an arena largely controlled by administrators and politicians. He must not be cowed by administrative pressure, and not be afraid to expose irregularities in the administration where they exist.

Despite these, the Student Regent must also know how to strike a balance and to cooperate, whenever possible, with allies in the administration and the government, to gain tactical victories and ensure that the rights and interests of present and future UP students are not compromised at the altar of vested interests.

Most importantly, however, the Student Regent must recognize the potency of the collective strength of the tens of thousands of UP students he represents. He must draw inspiration from them, and learn from the history of collective action.

Through this vision he must ensure that UP students themselves, together with his humble but dignified representation in the BOR, and the rest of the student institutions such as the student councils, will chart their own destiny in the University and the nation. With all humility, I submit this vision for the Office of the Student Regent as a nominee for the position of Student Regent.

It’s been a while

A few weeks ago, I had dinner and drinks with my STAND-UP friends in the outgoing University Student Council. Since our terms are about to end in less than two months, we all decided to go on a ‘farewell’ night out at Conspiracy Bar along Visayas Avenue. There are fourteen of us in USC 2008 (vice-chair, seven councilors, six college representatives) and only three of us were absent that night. It was quite a blast reminiscing and sifting through collective experiences from the student council election campaign all the way through the year, along with our experiences with our colleagues from ALYANSA and KAISA. Ha ha. Oh boy. We ended the night at past five in the morning with personal speeches and messages for everyone. 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

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

Jaqueline “Jaque” Eroles

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)

Strengthen our unity! Advance our struggle for greater victories!

Last week, we secured the historic success of the CRSRS (Codified Rules on Student Regent Selection) Referendum, a process that drew over 26,000 students from all over the nation, a resounding 73% if which voted yes. This is the epic triumph of all iskolar ng bayan who responded to the clarion call of the times, heeding the need to defend that most basic of civil liberties — fair representation.

Our success in the referendum attests to three things: that efforts to discredit the mandate of the Office of the Student Regent — an institution that is borne and continues to assume the democratic struggle of the students — will end in futility; that attempts to place student representation at the crux of uncertainty will fail at the gates of our collective dissent; and finally, that we are ready to overcome divisions so that higher battles may be fought and won over. Indeed, both the UP administration and the state have evolved mechanisms to thwart our democratic rights, covertly attacking student formations and institutions. Yet no assault can withstand the strength of our united stance; our collective resolve shall always persist and prevail.

The referendum, however, is just one of a series of victories. Last year, we were able to set a dialogue with UP Pres. Emerlinda Roman, resulting in the barring of Provision 444 of the 2006 UP Code, which unduly prohibits sectarian organizations. Through UMAKSYON, an alliance of student formations against commercialization, we exposed exorbitant and pending fee increases from the colleges of Engineering, Mass Communication, Human Kinetics, Economics, and Education.

We also forged inter-unit alliances to assist other UP units in their campaigns. For instance, following strong pressure from students systemwide, UP Los Baños Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco finally recanted his earlier stance to bar the university student elections, resulting in the highest voter turn-out of 70.53% in UPLB after seven months of delay.

We also made a deep mark in national affairs, mobilizing some of the largest number of students, professors, workers and other sectors to protest the depravity of the current Gloria Arroyo regime. We lead in the convening of the national youth alliance, Youth ACT Now, to press for truth and accountability from the government, especially after the $329 million NBN-ZTE scandal.

In all these, the iskolar ng bayan was a critical participant in the shaping of issues both local and national in scope. For in a time of conflict, where opposing ideas contend to determine the order of society, it is all the more crucial to stand for the voiceless and marginalized. This is why, in its 100 years of existence, UP has stood as a stronghold of activism.

At this juncture, we recognize the long, arduous road ahead; there are grave concerns that we have yet to confront. Even as the global economic crisis deepens, with over 1 million Filipinos jobless, the thrust of the government is still aligned with the blatant neglect of social services.

Our response, then, is to glean lessons form previous victories to guide us in present confrontations. Today, battles continue to be fought. The ferocity of struggles we wage within and outside the university is crucial in the resolution of social ills that have kept many deprived. We should not hesitate in the fulfillment of such vital responsibility.

As past events demonstrate, only the collective action of students can counter the regime’s systematic attempts to abandon the education sector at the behest of commercial and corporate interests. Let us summon, therefore, the spirit of collective indignation. Let us rebuke authorities who occupy the highest echelon of government, but do not serve the common interests of the people. Let us break the bonds of apathy and silence, and instead, claim the nation’s destiny as our own. Let the force of our united dissent reverberate through the halls, inside the classrooms, and in all corners of the university.

Thus, we look on to the future, resolute in the struggle for our student rights, and those of other marginalized sectors.

We shall amplify our fight for added state subsidy, and assert our legitimate right for accessible and quality education. We have endured dilapidated facilities and equipment, and declining university services due to reduced state subsidy. But we share an abiding desire to end this imposed scarcity, seeing that budget cuts have proven disastrous for UP.

We will push for democratic access of education, especially for the brightest and poorest of our youth. We are steadfast in the belief that education is a universal right, in which each of us has a claim. It is tragic irony when solons refuse to provide adequate funding for education but, in the same breath, condone the lavish misallocation of resources to military spending and corruption.

We will expose commercialization as a scheme that merely reinforces state abandonment. The government has maliciously approved various policies that erode the basic rights of the people. Through the Long Term Higher Education Plan (LTHEDP), exorbitant tuition and other fees have been imposed, despite the intense hardship of the Filipino people. But we know that once commercial interests pervade the university, profit-making — not academic pursuit or democratic access — becomes the overriding concern. That is anathema to the needs of the Filipino people who, at the very least, deserve a relief from the excessive fees that have kept them from receiving education, a right that is duly theirs in the first place.

Hence, our principal task is to advance our struggle for democratic rights, in the perspective of attaining a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education. Let us condemn state abandonment by opposing the UP tuition policy while simultaneously insisting on greater state subsidy.

Let us fight the commercialized and repressive nature of neoliberal education by renouncing its manifestations — such as exorbitant fees, scarce resources and services, attacks on student representation, and the lack of tambayans and even the unfair procedure for the recognition of student organizations. On this historic platform, we will not be silent or passive.

History tells the story of a great struggle for democratic rights. That struggle is alive and well today, in each of the thousands of youths who will stand for justice, freedom, and ultimately, real and encompassing democracy.

Iskolar ng Bayan Pag-aralan ang lipunan Paglingkuran ang Sambayanan

Unity in securing our representation

A referendum is essentially a good thing. But this referendum doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It comes at a time when there is a pending proposal in Congress to cut UP’s maintenance and operating budget in 2009 by PhP 200+ million, which will justify another round of tuition and lab fee increases. It comes at a time when the administration, through UP President Roman, admitted on cable television the strong possibility of increasing tuition once again.

The SR (Student Regent) has traditionally stood against these whenever he sits at the BOR (Board of Regents), an arena dominated by administrators and political appointees. The referendum, I believe, is a cunning way to challenge the presence of the SR in the BOR, and effectively neutralize the representation especially at this crucial juncture of our university’s history.

Think of an ordinary organization seeking recognition from the OSA (Office of Student Affairs), in order to be eligible to use the university’s facilities. For more than a decade, this organization has existed with is own constitution and rules on selecting their organization officers. In a sudden turn of events, this year, before the OSA recognizes the organization, it asks the formation to submit its constitution and rules on selecting its organization officers to a referendum by all its members. It’s quite an added burden, which was largely unnecessary because of an already existing democratic and working mechanism. Perhaps it may not be a problem to ordinary organizations with around thirty members, but think of it this way, 60% of the members rarely show up at the tambayan. UP has 55,000+ students. Even in the most heated student council elections, turnout has never exceeded 50%. The administration knows this. It’s a challenge it knows will be difficult, logistically, for the students to fulfill. It’s the challenge that will give them the space to maneuver and to do what it seeks to implement while the selection of the SR is uncertain.

Some groups try to create the atmosphere that it’s okay for the referendum to fail because the OSR (Office of the Student Regent), as a public office, will not be abolished anyway and that the law abhors a vacancy in public office. True enough, the OSR will not be abolished, and that the current SR will remain in a hold-over position. However, for how long until the other members of the BOR challenge her presence? This propaganda line doesn’t take into consideration the historic tendency of the UP administration to intervene in what is supposed to be a purely student affair, whenever it suits its interests.

In 1991, President Abueva shunned the nominee chosen by the students and appointed his own SR. In 1999, the administration expelled the sitting SR from school, and consequently the BOR booted him out of the board, because he wasn’t a student anymore. These, despite the legalities that supposedly ensure student representation in the board.

Current SR Abdulwahid is a graduating student. She will cease to be a student in a few months. The administration and pro-administration groups can assure us all they want that there shall be no vacancy in the OSR but we all know what the administration has done and is capable of doing in order to take advantage of the situation in case of such a vacuum.

Fortunately, in 1999 a replacement was chosen after the student regent was ousted, but that was when the CRSRS was in practice and recognized. In the event of a failure of a referendum this year, there will be no mechanism to replace SR Shan, in case she ceases to be a student, or if, god forbid, something terrible happens to her. Indeed we will have an OSR, but we will be unable to choose a new SR. That’s where the vacancy comes in.

Granting without conceding that the law really abhors this vacancy, and that it won’t happen. And in case it does, we can file a case in court to assert our rights and our representation. This is exactly the kind of space pro-tuition increase administrators is seeking to roll the dice for another round of hikes.

Instead of the SR or the OSR and the students uniting in principle to oppose such moves, we shall be concerned still with validating and securing our representation in the board. That’s where the delay comes in.

I’m similarly frustrated, honestly. Student councils have bickered and campaigned for amendments last year. All of us had the chance from June to December to argue over this and I’m really disappointed that even after they have failed to gather popular support and to be accommodated, they insist on their political agenda and divide the students at a time when unity is imperative in securing our representation. Last year, from June to December, they campaigned for amendments and consulted with their constituents. There was very little favorable response among students. Ask for the qualitative and quantitative results of their consultations. There is no unbiased clamor for these amendments. The fact is that these amendments have been campaigned for year in and year out by the same political force who have their own interests in mind. Year in and year out, when the GASC convenes, these amendments are rejected by majority of student councils system-wide.

Last year, despite their effort to gather support for their amendments, the students aren’t biting. And what’s more, they didn’t submit their amendments on time, despite the fact that the mechanism for amendments wasn’t repealed by RA 9500 (the new UP Charter). I was personally willing to concede and accommodate whatever they want, even if I don’t agree with the merits of their arguments in favor of amendments. But given the results of their consultations, there really is no un-colored clamor for amendments even in their colleges. It really just comes from the same political force whose efforts are frustrated every year. All I see is blue and yellow. It almost makes them similar to pro-administration congressmen hell-bent on pushing for charter change without any clamor from the constituents they supposedly represent, except for the clamor within their frustrated political parties with vested interests.

I also want some amendments (albeit not the ones they push for), but I believe the time had past for all the bickering and arguing over them. We all had the chance, we all had the time, from June to December last year, to exercise our duties to consult our students. Pinag-awayan at pinagpuyatan na natin ang mga debate tungkol dito. Now is the time for us to unite in securing student representation in the BOR. If we really feel so strongly about amendments or whatnot, student councils can deliberate on it as early as April once the referendum has succeeded. If the referendum fails, wala rin naman tayong magiging arena to debate on these proposals.

Unwillingness to settle for this compromise is for me quite unreasonable–taking into consideration all the pressing issues we’re going to face in the next few months, from budget cuts to tuition increases. Putting it in another way, the willingness of some groups for this referendum to fail just because their amendments weren’t accommodated now (and justifiably so), at a time when we’re facing further attacks on our rights as students, is preposterous and selfish. We can’t afford uncertainty. We can’t afford any delay. It is imperative for us to secure student representation in the BOR now.

University convocation

Last December 11, the University Student Council called for a university convocation to discuss pressing campus issues, especially with regard to the Student Regent [Selection Process] Referendum, and to gather inputs form the students on the matter. We were able to request for the campus Chancellor to suspend classes for students that afternoon, so they could freely attend the assembly. Several hundreds were present that day at the NCPAG Assembly Hall.

After the talks by USC Councilor Jaque Eroles, former Student Regent JPaul Manzanilla and present Student Regent Shahana Abdulwahid, representatives from the student councils of CAL (College of Arts & Letters), CMC (College of Mass Communication), CSSP (College of Social Sciences and Philosophy) and NCPAG (National College of Public Adminsitration & Governance) presented the reports of their consultations.

University Convocation (Dec. 11, '08) University Convocation (Dec. 11, '08) University Convocation (Dec. 11, '08) University Convocation (Dec. 11, '08) University Convocation (Dec. 11, '08) University Convocation (Dec. 11, '08)

As expected, as the traditional amendments to the selection process were introduced by the CSSP Student Council and company, the assembly became a venue for the usual debates and the arguments which became heated towards the end.

The assembly was supposed to help the USC form its own comprehensive report to be delivered at the All-UP Student Councils Meeting the next week. We, however, could not come up with anything more comprehensive than simply reporting all the points of arguments and that there is no consensus in Diliman with regard the proposed amendments.

The convocation served as a very mild prelude to the student councils’ assembly the next week. I’ll talk about my own obvious position about the issue on that entry. After the convocation, some students proceeded to march to Malcolm Hall by going around the Academic Oval for the anti-Charter Change candlelight vigil initiated by the UP College of Law.

Four months left in USC 08-09

USC General Assembly #17 (Dec. 8, '08) USC General Assembly #17 (Dec. 8, '08) USC General Assembly #17 (Dec. 8, '08) USC General Assembly #17 (Dec. 8, '08) USC General Assembly #17 (Dec. 8, '08) USC General Assembly #17 (Dec. 8, '08)

I’m just dumping a few pictures here from our last General Assembly (GA) for this year in the University Student Council last December 8. We went over-time for one hour that night, which is a good thing already–considering we’ve had a GA a few months ago when we went beyond midnight debating and arguing. This time, we were trying to come up with a comprehensive report with regards to the consultations in UP Diliman regarding the Student Regent [Selection Process] Referendum. We were trying to come up with a consensus, which is really hard to get by in the present USC, with party dynamics and whatnot. After three hours, the only consensus we reached was that we have to defend the institution of the Office of the Student Regent at all costs. Oh, we did also have a pretty strong consensus with regards to our stand against the Arroyo adminsitration’s Charter change. That’s it.

Karolfest 2008 (Dec. 9, '08) Karolfest 2008 (Dec. 9, '08) Karolfest 2008 (Dec. 9, '08) Karolfest 2008 (Dec. 9, '08) Karolfest 2008 (Dec. 9, '08) Karolfest 2008 (Dec. 9, '08)

The next day, coinciding with the launching of Cine Veritas Human Rights Festival was Karolfest, an annual inter-college choral competition spearheaded by the OVCSA (Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs) and OICA (Office for Initiatives for Culture and the Arts) and supported by the USC. I wasn’t able to sit through the entire competition as I had meetings that night, but I was able to catch the last performance and the announcement of winners.