In the coming weeks, UP Diliman will experience its seasonal spring of student democracy and creative (black) propaganda. Photocopiers will be working overtime to duplicate promises printed on primary colored paper that would come in grand flood in the university, primarily in AS. Our classes will be (thankfully) interrupted by people who will say their names over and over again with snide indignity for the possibility of serving us- their better/lesser counterparts in our very charming student government.
So it’s election time again and in AIT, our KAISA slate is yet again unopposed. It goes without saying that our institute is one of the most solidly yellow colleges in the university. At least other colleges have more colorful elections come this time of the year. NCPAG, for example, is a yellow college too because of KAISA-affiliate PALS, allegedly the biggest student organization there. However, in last year’s elections, a pseudo-independent party diluted what could have been a unilaterally colored council. In other words, most of them won.
The fact that we have only one active political party in AIT is not necessarily a bad thing. As to how and why we ended up this way is probably due to factors I can’t pinpoint yet with little uncertainty.
Maybe it’s because we’re a small college. Maybe having more than one party would just make things more complicated. Maybe the majority of us don’t really give a damn about politics and nobody really wants to run in the first place. Maybe, but that doesn’t help much when we come from an industry that entails a lot of awareness and politics.
The disadvantage simply is that come election time, AIT students can only either vote for the SC candidate or abstain. In principle, this is not really wrong but it does lessen the incentive for students to be critical about their choices. If may kalaban, at least we get to compare our options and assess which one is better.
Though it’s supposed to be a given that we heckle our soon-to-be-council, many of us rarely do. We ask the obvious questions about what they can do but not to the point that we analyze their answers in depth. They appeal to us through their witticisms, rhetoric, taglines and even their clothes. Because what’s the point anyway to be so critical? It’s either them or a failed election.
The worst thing that happens is that there isn’t a working system anymore for checks and balances in the council. At the end of their term, have they really achieved what they set out to do from the start? (No pun intended) Or worse yet, do we even care if they did?
In a college where almost everybody is yellow, or is friends with somebody who’s yellow, it doesn’t become representative anymore of the larger KAISA entity, but becomes a reinterpretation of that party in our college. Are the majority of AIT students even aware of the party’s track record on the university scale? I think not. We just love KAISA because it’s the only party that does a damn good job at reaching out to us, in spite of the overpass.
As for the other parties, ALYANSA and STAND-UP, well the AIT studentry is either indifferent or annoyed with them. Or secretly believes in them.
However, to define our personal stands solely on political parties should not take precedence over our critical judgment of our candidates’ platforms and capabilities. Though it would personally make me happy if there was a three-way or even two-way slate battle in AIT, having the KAISA slate is something I can live with- as long as we don’t give them an easy time getting into office.
Simply, I’d just like to say that I hope all of us gives a damn. I mean really give a damn about these things and get to know what all the colors are fighting for, how they’re fighting for it, and what you think makes the most sense. Let’s assess the yellow brick road and make sure that it’s not lubak-lubak. We’re tourism students and we’re good at detours.
Maybe there’s a quicker way to Emerald City.