By Hannah Patricia Abril & Nathan Angelo Cruz | News Writer & Web Manager
Vol. XCI No. 17
Feb. 21, 2020
Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) Commission on Elections (COMELEC) gave announcements on the upcoming student government elections in a Facebook Live press conference last Feb. 18.
The conference was hosted by the Weekly Sillimanian (tWS) in the COMELEC headquarters at the Oriental Hall. Present at the conference were Chairperson Earl Padayao, Commissioner Raia Aguilar, Commissioner Marielle Paguidopon and Commissioner Christian Culanculan.
It began with Padayao announcing the updated election calendar which was revised due to the Advisory No. 1 given by the university on Feb. 3 stating that all extracurricular programs in and out of campus were cancelled.
“We hope for your understanding and we apologize for this delay in the election. This is in compliance of university policy. The COMELEC, although independent in nature, is still under the powers of the university administration and we cannot go against the university advisory,” he stated.
Afterward, tWS asked questions to the chairperson and the commissioners regarding the election.
When asked about improvements made to the voting process this year, Paguidopon said that the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) is being revamped consisting of the head, deputy heads, and the heads per polling station. There will be training for the members of the BEI and the poll watchers per party.
To increase voter turnout, Aguilar answered that an open campaign has been decided and allowed by the COMELEC, meaning, there will be no restriction for the schedule of the parties as far as the campaigning of the colleges is concerned.
“We wanted a high voter turnout, in order to have that, we want an open process to be easy for the students. That’s why we also decided to have a lot of polling through things all around the campus. We also decided to have a lot of hotspots as well,” Aguilar said.
Previously, the voter turnouts were 42 percent in 2017, 36 percent in 2018, and 32.91 percent in 2019. This means that there is a notable decrease in voters each year.
Meanwhile, Paguidopon added that voters for this year will not only vote for their candidates, but also for a plebiscite.
She explained that a plebiscite is: “a vote by the student body wherein they get to say a yes or a no about the proposed changes in the constitution here in our SUSG. Maybe [the voters] will be shocked wherein in their ballots, they don’t only get to vote for candidates but they also get to vote for a yes or a no for the proposal for the changes of our constitution here in our school.”
The registration of campaign managers is scheduled on Feb. 26 located at the COMELEC office at the Oriental Hall. The official launch of the campaign period is from March 2 to March 9.
The election forum is on March 2 and it is in partnership with the School of Public Affairs and Governance. The Miting de Avance is scheduled to March 6.
On March 8, the COMELEC will be in the process of finalizing the BEI, along with the training of the poll watchers. The election date will be on March 11, 2020.
A partial list of candidates from the SUSG election has been released last Feb. 17 on the COMELEC’s Facebook page. The revised election calendar was also released on Feb. 19.
tWS will host a livestream during the election forum, Miting de Avance, and the tallying of votes.