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No ‘abstain’ in upcoming CSC elections; students develop new electronic voting system

In a press conference on Thursday, Central Commission on Elections Medicine Commissioner Ivan Pulanco elaborated that they have removed “abstain” in the new system developed by Computer Science students, but voters could leave their ballots unanswered.



Photo by JC Alvero/TomasinoWeb.

(UPDATED March 10, 1:10 a.m.) There would be no “abstain” option in the upcoming Central Student Council (CSC) elections as the polls switch back to an electronic voting system developed by the University’s Computer Science students.

In a press conference on Thursday, Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) Medicine Commissioner Ivan Pulanco elaborated that they have removed the option—which won the CSC posts for president, vice president, auditor and treasurer in the last elections—but voters could leave their ballots unanswered.

“Unanswered means unanswered. That is our official stance. We are following the procedures conducted by the local elections in the Philippines for voters are allowed to leave positions blank and we don’t feel that it is proper to compel a student vote for an individual… So it’s not abstain, its unanswered,” Pulanco said.

This move is in accordance with the order of the Central Judiciary Board last year, which stated that including “abstain” in the ballots was a violation of Article X Section 5 of the UST Student’s Election Code of 2011 as ballots should only contain “the printed names of candidates, their positions and their parties , a box before each candidate’s name, serial number and the instructions” with no mention of an “abstain” option.


Thomasians develop new voting system

The Computer Science Society (CSS), in partnership with Comelec and the UST e-Service Providers (STEPS), developed the Evosys system, the very first electronic voting system developed by Thomasian students which they said would ensure fast, reliable, accurate and secured canvassing of votes through the use of the University’s local servers provided by STEPS.

“For this upcoming elections,  we will be hosting it with STEPS [with their] local servers…. It’s intranet, [meaning] within the internet of UST, so transferring of data will be fast,” CSS President John Regalado told reporters.

The elections last year became manual after the proclamation of elected officers in the 2016 CSC elections were delayed due to technical glitches with the Blackboard e-Learning Access Program, where the polls were hosted.

Evosys Project Manager Angel Luis Santos said the system would be more reliable than manual voting since “it requires a login to access the system and it automates the canvassing of votes” and that “the counting will be done by the system.”

Comelec Vice Chairman and Evosys Project Head Mely Cherrylyne Cruz said that Comelec, Potato Codes, an organization of Thomasian developers, and the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) decided it would be best that CSS would develop the system.

“There is no other competition… outside UST. [Developers outside the campus] cannot develop the software for UST because that would bring about concerns on outside influence, etc. This is why we chose specifically and only CSS,” Cruz added.

Santos also ensured the election’s security, saying that the system “underwent rigorous testing from developers and some faculty members of the Computer Science department.” She also said the system is secure from hacking since votes can only be accessed within UST’s local servers.


Security, technical concerns

Santos demonstrated the new voting process, which involves verification of voters by assigned deputies, the actual voting of students, submission of all votes and upon completion, and the acquisition of reference numbers as proof that a student has finished the entire voting process.

While students would be using their student numbers as theirs username in voting, Comelec Chairman Arvin Bersonda said that the password would be unique in every voting session and that it would come from verifiers.

“Malalaman lang namin yung password nila on the day that they will vote, on the day they were verified as a Thomasian voter kasi we have verifiers, sila yung mag-eencode and ‘dun palang nila makukuha yung access code nila sa elections upon entry sa [computer laboratory],” he added.

Bersonda said that if computer units crash during the voting period, the system would only process finished and submitted ballots so that students could still resume voting.

To accommodate all voters,  there would be an allotted time for every individual to vote, according to Allan Theo Hernandez, OSA’s staff for student activities.

University-wide mock elections held to earlier today to test the system. The filing of the certificates of candidacy would be on March 21; elections are set to be held in April .—B. Laforga

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dates regarding the exact schedule of elections and proclamation of officers were removed due to disputing claims from officers of Comelec.




Songco is new Alumni Association president; Tenedero takes chairman post

The UST Alumni Association, Inc. elected its resigned president Henry Tenedero as chairman while former student affairs director Evelyn Songco was elected president, taking over Tenedero’s post.



Photo grabbed from the UST Alumni Association, Inc.'s Facebook page.

(UPDATED March 19, 10:15 a.m.) The UST Alumni Association, Inc. (AAI) elected former student affairs director Evelyn Songco as its new president while resigned president Henry Tenedero took over the chairmanship of the association.

Tenedero stepped down from his post last Jan. 23 after the UST AAI drew flak for conferring Medical Technology alumna and Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson an award on government service (READ: Alumni Association prex resigns, Uson’s award not revoked).

“As the president of the association, I’m taking full responsibility for whatever this has created. Well, of course, we have committees assigned for this, it is incumbent of me to accept responsibility,” Tenedero told TomasinoWeb in a phone call following his resignation.

Songco served as the director of the Office for Student Affairs from 1990 to 2006 and 2010 to 2016. She was also the director of the Office of Alumni Relations from 2007 to 2010.

Jerenato Alfante, Maria Elena Manansala, Teresita Meer, Nelson Tan Afuan, and Maureen Pickering were also elected as vice president, secretary, treasurer, auditor, and public relations officer of the UST AAI executive board, respectively.

The UST AAI is the mother organization of the University’s duly recognized alumni associations; however, it is a corporation separate from UST and operates independent of the University.—M.G.P


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UST improves in March 2018 physician boards



The University posted a higher passing rate in the March 2018 licensure examination for physicians, with two Thomasians landing on the top ten highest scorers.

UST registered this year a 90-percent passing rate, wherein 36 out of 40 Thomasians made the cut. This was higher than last year’s 88.89-percent in which 32 out of 36 examinees passed.

Meanwhile, two Thomasians made it in the top ten. Abdulraoph Gaus Deki placed fifth with a score of 86.33-percent and Regina Mae Lo Ang landed sixth with a score of 86.08-percent.

Far Eastern University-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation was named the top performing school in the examination after posting an 89.29-percent passing rate.

According to the Professional Regulation Commission, 1,067 out of 1,601 examinees nationwide passed the board exam for physicians.



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UST slumps in March 2018 pharmacy boards

The University garnered a passing rate of 61.54 percent, significantly lower than last year’s 94.15 percent.



Photo by Abbie Vinluan/TomasinoWeb.

The University failed to make it to the top performing schools in the March 2018 pharmacy licensure exams, with no Thomasian landing in the top 10 roster.

UST garnered a passing rate of 61.54 percent or 16 out of 26 examinees passing the tests, significantly lower than last year’s 94.15 percent, with 193 out 205 takers making the cut.

UP Manila dominated this year’s board exams as they claimed all 10 posts of the topnotcher list, with Ryan Joseph Tuzon topping the exams with a 92.95-percent score.

UP Manila also rose again as top performing school with a 100-percent passing rate.

A total 1,605 out of 3,039 takers made the cut, according to the Professional Regulation Commission, lower than last year’s 2,426 passers out of 3,732 examinees.


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