Student Election Code to be revised
◢ Jose Martin V. Singh
The University Student Council (USC) has coordinated with the Office of Student Activities (OSA) to review the UP Diliman Student Election Code (SEC) as previously instructed by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA).
There are some provisions in the SEC which are not applicable any longer because of the academic calendar shift implemented in 2014, said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jerwin F. Agpaoa.
The SEC serves as the official guidelines for the UPD USC elections held annually in the months toward the end of the academic year. The code provides for the standards of the campaign and electoral processes as well as other procedures related to the USC elections. It was last revised in January 2010 and was approved by then UP President Emerlinda Roman.
The current USC brought up the issue on their fourth General Assembly (GA) which was held on August 28. The council had an earlier discussion with Agpaoa about the possible revisions in an informal meeting held earlier than the GA.
“Every year the USC is consulted regarding the dates of the next election,” said USC Chairperson Benjie Allen Aquino, noting that the SEC topic “was just a ‘by-the-way’ thing.”
For this year, the USC was also asked to look for other provisions that could be amended. But there are no specific provisions subject for change, except for the dates which are the most glaring, said Aquino. Consultations on the SEC are also not yet done, he said.
But aside from the dates, Agpaoa noted that the implementation of free tuition in UP may have an effect on the election code. Electors are required to be duly matriculated in the current SEC. The implementation of free tuition will affect those candidates qualified for it, he added.
On August 3, 2017 President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (RA 10931), thus paving way for the long sought implementation of free tuition in state universities and colleges like UP. However, the implementing rules and regulations of the law have not been finalized yet.
The revised SEC is originally expected to be done by November 15 but an extension is inevitable.
The deadline has been lifted because of class suspensions on ASEAN week, said Aquino, adding that a new deadline is yet to be set. However, a meeting between Agpaoa, the USC and OSA will be held soon to discuss the SEC revisions including the new deadline for the draft of the revised SEC, said Agpaoa who did not specify the dates.
“The amendments [to the SEC] are crucial,” he said. “If they are not implemented though, we’ll see how we can factor in the new changes in the conduct of the next USC elections,” he added. ◢
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