People argue that the UP local campus politics incubates the same atmosphere, if not the same mentality and experience, with that of the national counterpart. One of the reasons this is said is maybe because those who are running the national campaigns of these presidential, vice-presidential, senatorial and even the local candidates were once UP students themselves, and maybe at one point or another, have managed or have been involved with local campus politics when they were younger.
Besides labeled as being similar to the national scene, experiences and observations show that UP political parties, namely Alyansa, Kaisa and Stand-UP, the three political organizations in the University of the Philippines – Diliman, are cutthroat vying and besting each other for the available University Student Council positions for the Academic Year 2010-2011.
Campaign: Blue, Red and Yellow
Colors have been associated with those who are running for the Philippine Presidency. Senator Noynoy Aquino, Former President Erap Estrada, Senator Richard Gordon, Senator Jamby Madrigal, Former Defense Chief Gibo Teodoro and Senator Manny Villar have been identified with the colors yellow, orange, red, green, green and orange respectively. These colors represent, brand and package these candidates in a way they stand out and appeal to their supporters and the people in general.
In UP, this parallelism and similarity is very much seen inside the university as colors, more specifically, red, blue and yellow, are matched and identified to the longstanding political color-spectrum debate of Stand-UP, Alyansa and Kaisa.
The University elections will come as a shock, and sometimes an entertainment, for the freshmen, who will get to know and see first time the candidates who are campaigning all around the campus. They will also see some if not many similarities and differences between campus politics and national political exercises.
As starters, candidates are trained all the works – from how to dress, walk, talk, shake hands, engage students in interactive discussions, and a lot more – this is why when a candidate comes in your classroom and campaigns, you’ll be impressed at them
They are packed very properly, and can answer questions from local campus issues to the broad national debates, even presidential candidates answer during forums. Sometimes, you would even consider your student leader better at answering questions than your actual presidential candidates.
Issues and the Internet
All electoral exercises have rules promulgated by the authorized electoral body responsible for the elections. But even with rules in place, people get to find loopholes and ways how to circumvent or avoid violations of these election rules.
Sometimes, similar to Senator Jamby Madrigal or Senator Richard Gordon attacking the credibility and person of Sen. Manny Villar because of issues that hound him, true or not, ways to discredit and malign candidates happen even in the university level.
Others resort to blatant and indirect mudslinging, sometimes found online, in the social networking sites of the students or fake accounts. Black propaganda is as prevalent or even worse in the campus than in the national stage.
Last year’s campus elections started to utilized not only room-to-room campaign, poster, fliers and pins but also the internet, specifically the social networking sites and the blogs. This year, some parties, who have the money to spend, have even bought targeted ads in Facebook. It’s not far-fetched to see online advertising in Google in the next few years, like how current national candidates dominate the ad spaces and optimization in search engines.
Youth Leaders in Action
As youth leaders of the University of the Philippines, it is necessary and crucial that we must transcend politics, and adapt to the changing times and context of our society. Beyond the colors, or the parties, one thing is clear – we must progress and develop.
In this time that we are faced with the election of our new leaders of government this May 2010, the youth must bond, and select leaders which champion the youth and our nation’s future.
We must rise to the challenge of informing our fellow students in the universities, our families and our community as a whole, of this important role of choosing the best and the right leader who will move us forward together. This is important so that we could make this dream of a better Philippines, not only for us, but for everyone, happen.
It is always said that the youth has the largest stake in this coming elections. Let us prove that we care, that we are not apathetic or indifferent to what is happening not only to us, our friends, but also to the rest of the nation.
Let it be said that we never try quitting, and never quit trying in finding inclusive solutions to this countries’ mistakes and problems. At the end of the day, we, the elected student leaders have a great burden to change and touch the lives of our constituents, and lead each other to a better state.
Brian Ong is an incumbent Councilor of KAISA: Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan, one of the three political parties who are contending in this year’s local campus elections in UP Diliman, in the University Student Council.
Post was reposted from Blogwatch.ph's Start them young *Today in this post means yesterday (February 09,2010). :)