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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.

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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.

 

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UST aces June 2018 nursing boards

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The University posted a perfect passing rate in the June 2018 licensure examination for nurses as all four Thomasian examinees passed.

Carmela Niña Sampaga Tormo led the new batch of Thomasian nurses, landing on the ninth spot with a score of 85.60 percent.

Last year, UST also recorded a perfect passing rate in which all the four Thomasian examinees passed.

Mark Tristan Pangilinan Robosa of University of Pangasinan topped this year’s board exams with a score of 87.60 percent.

Meanwhile, West Visayas State University – La Paz, Velez College and Xavier University were named top performing schools with a perfect passing rate.

According to the Professional Regulation Commission, 4,326 out of 9,873 examinees nationwide passed the board exam. 

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UST retains spot in 2019 QS world ranking, fourth in PH top universities

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The University retained its spot on the 801-1,000 bracket of the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, placing fourth among the Philippine universities that made it on the list.

The University of the Philippines kept its place as the country’s top university despite going down in the 384th place from last year’s 367th.

Ateneo de Manila University went down to the 651-700 bracket from the 551-600 last year.

Moreover, De La Salle University joined UST in the 801-1,000 bracket after dropping from last year’s 701-750 bracket.

Despite remaining unmoved from its last year’s spot, UST remained as the only Philippine university to receive a QS four-star rating.

A four-star rated university is “highly international, demonstrating excellence in both research and teaching,” the QS Top Universities website stated.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was hailed again for the seventh-straight year as the top university in the world.

The National University of Singapore dethroned the Nanyang Technological University as the best in Asia, placing 11th worldwide.

The universities are evaluated based on six factors: academic reputation (40%) , employer reputation (10%) ,  faculty/student ratio (20%) , citations per faculty (20%), international faculty ratio (5%), and international student ratio (5%).—B. Laforga

 

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UST slumps in May 2018 chemical eng’g boards

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The University posted a lower passing rate in the May 2018 licensure examination for chemical engineers.

UST registered a 20.69-percent passing rate, wherein only six out of 29 Thomasians passed. Last year, the University garnered a passing rate of 58.82 percent, with 20 out of 34 Thomasian passers.

However, no Thomasians made it to the roster of topnotchers.

Peter Matthew Paul Toribio Fowler of Mapua Institute of Technology-Manila led the new batch of chemical engineers with a score of 83 percent. Meanwhile, De La Salle University-Manila remained as the top performing school, recording a 96.55-percent passing rate.

According to the Professional Regulation Commission, 296 out of 636 examinees nationwide passed the board exam.

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