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PRO bet appeals to Comelec: Reconsider removal of ‘abstain’

Public relations officer (PRO) candidate Jeremiah Pasion said that the removal of abstain votes “undermines the democratic right of every Thomasian to demand and call for a better student council.”

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Public relations officer candidate Jeremiah Pasion appealed to the Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) regarding its decision to remove “abstain” votes in the electronic ballots to be used in the upcoming elections, saying the move “undermines” democracy in the University.

In his Facebook post last Monday, Pasion stated that the removal of abstain in the ballots will not only “trample” on Thomasians’ right to express their approval or rejection of candidates but it also has “insufficient basis.”

“We stand against their decision to remove the ‘Abstain’ vote in the student council elections. This move undermines the democratic right of every Thomasian to demand and call for a better student council,” Pasion said.

He said that in the history of student elections in UST, abstain held a symbolic role in Thomasians’ collective call for political transformation.

“To exclude the choice of ‘ABSTAIN’ is to deny the voters an avenue to express their discontent and rejection towards certain candidates that may not reflect their standards of what a true student leader should be,” he stated.

In his appeal letter, the article of UST Students’ Election Code (USEC) of 2011 on manual voting, in which the Central Comelec and the Central Judiciary Board (CJB) based its ruling, cannot be applied since the upcoming elections will be automated.

“All sections under Article X of the USEC, which all pertain to manual elections, are rendered inapplicable and cannot be used technically to justify the removal of ‘Abstain’ in the ballots,” Pasion said.

USEC Article X Section 5 states that ballots should contain “the printed names of all the candidates, under the position to which they aspire, followed by their party affiliation; a printed box appearing before the candidate’s name; a serial number; and printed instructions on how to accomplish the ballot.”

In a resolution released on July 24 last year, the CJB ordered the Central Comelec to proclaim the candidates with the highest number of votes as winners in last year’s April student polls, following petitions to disregard “abstain” votes.

Pasion, moreover, asserted that the Central Comelec will commit errors both in substance and procedure if it decides to proclaim lone candidates with 25-percent of total votes as winners.

“In terms of substance, it can lead to outright dismissal of the voice of Thomasians especially if we consider the results of the 2017 UST CSC elections,” he said.

The Central Comelec must not refer to USEC Article I Section 8 since it was irrelevant addressing the issue of lone candidates, the statement further read.

“This provision must only be used in extreme cases when less than a quarter of the voting population went to the polling centers to cast their vote in the whole CSC elections,” he argued.

He also urged Thomasians and authoritative bodies to raise the political discourse, review the USEC, and make necessary amendments of the Code.

“In times when explicitly written rules are absent and are yet to exist, institutions must rely on the wisdom of recognized conventions founded on the democratic right of members to elect their leaders,” he added.

The Central Comelec is yet to comment as of press time.

During a press conference last March 8, the Central Comelec announced that abstain will be removed from the ballots, but students can leave them unanswered (READ: No ‘abstain’ in upcoming CSC elections; students develop new electronic voting system).

Abstain won 4 out of 6 positions in the last elections, leaving only the secretary and the public relations officer posts filled.

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UST bags 5th School of the Year honor in 2018 Student Quill Awards

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Photo grabbed from IABC Philippines' official Facebook page.

For the fifth consecutive year, the University was named School of the Year in the Sixth Philippine Student Quill Awards on Monday, July 9.

UST bagged 36 awards, beating De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, UST Angelicum College, Inc., De La Salle University-Dasmariñas, Bataan Peninsula State University and Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Manila.

Winning entries from the University came from The Varsitarian, UST’s official student paper; TomasinoWeb, the official digital media organization of the University; Tomasian Media Circle and Talents; The Flame, the official publication of UST Faculty of Arts and Letters; and communication arts and journalism students.

School of the Year award is the highest distinction in the Student Quill Awards. It is given to the school with the most Awards of Excellence.

Meanwhile, TomasinoWeb took home its first Student Quill awards, with three Awards of Merit.

TomasinoWeb’s entries titled “Right Click 2017: TomasinoWeb’s Special Coverage of the UST Student Council Elections” and “UAAP Season 80 Campaign” won under the communication skills category; while  “Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya National Advocacy Campaign” won in the communication management.

The Philippine Student Quill Awards is the junior division of the Philippine Quill Awards, which recognizes private organizations and corporations in the country for excellence in business communication.

Awarding ceremonies were held at the Mariott Hotel Grand Ballroom in Pasay City.

The event was organized by the Philippine chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, a network of business communicators around the world advocating for professional growth, learning and communication excellence.

READ  Presidential bets push for passage of Students’ Code

ERRATUM: We have been informed that the previous photo used in the article was actually taken by The Varsitarian. It was not our intention to erroneously credit the owner of the photo. The image has since been replaced.

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UST tops June 2018 architecture boards

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The University was named as the lone top performing school in the June 2018 licensure examination for architects, with three Thomasians landing in the top 10.

UST recorded an 84.19-percent passing rate, in which 197 out of 234 Thomasian examinees passed the exam.

This was higher than last year’s 83.26 percent, wherein 184 out of 221 examinees made the cut.

Karl Justin Sayseng Diocales led the new batch of Thomasian architects after placing fourth with a score of 82.90 percent.

Thomasian Jomari Patrick Meñoza Guzman placed seventh with a score of 82.60 percent, while Marie Dominic del Rosario Castillo landed in the ninth spot after scoring 82.20 percent.

Moreover, Paolo Gabriel Torres Martires of Polytechnic University of the Philippines- Sta. Mesa led the new batch of architects with a score of 84.10 percent.

According to the Professional Regulation Commission, 1, 778 out of 3,177 passed the board exam nationwide.

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Applied Physics gets Level I PACUCOA accreditation

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Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) granted the Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics major in Instrumentation the Level I accreditation status.

Applied Physics is the newest program among the six straight degree programs of the College of Science.

The accreditation, which was received last May, is valid for three years, up until May 2021.

According to PACUCOA’s website, Level I accreditation status allows the program to have “full administrative deregulation and financial deregulation in terms of setting of tuition and other fees and charges.” It also gives the power to change the curriculum without the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)’s approval.

The program is also made priority during awarding of grants and financial assistance from CHED and from the Department of Education (DepEd).

Pacucoa is a private accrediting agency set to give formal recognition to an educational institution through a series of phases which tests if the academic program of the institution maintains excellent standards.

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