By Leslie J. Batallones
IN A PRESS statement issued last Dec. 8, Silliman University (SU) President Ben Malayang III urged Sillimanians to exercise their right to vote in the May 2016 elections. He clarified, however, that the university does not and will not endorse a particular candidate or party.
To ensure voters being informed, the university supports voters education on candidates’ respective platforms and their individual and party stands on Philippine issues.
The university also stressed that political rallies are not allowed in the campus. SU supports forums, lectures and roundtable discussions with the approval from the university. Events must also be properly coordinated and sponsored by a registered organization in the campus.
“Silliman itself, as a university, does not and will not favour any political candidate or party. But in the interest of promoting democracy, it encourages all and every Sillimanian, and every Filipino, to openly and actively express support for candidates of their choice who they believe may best lead our communities and country,” Malayang said.
Malayang added that elections are opportunities for the Filipino people to be actively involved in democratic processes and practice rights like voting.
The Commission on Election Dumaguete also called Sillimanians to vote.
Gildo Agoncillo, Dumaguete Election Officer and lawyer, said that out of the 54 million total registered voters in the country, 37 million are youth voters.
Agoncillo also pointed out that the youth have knowledge on the current political issues and candidate qualifications because they’re more exposed to media, on school and engaged on ideas of good leadership.
“If you vote for corrupt leaders, you will have no job in the future,” he warned the youth.
Fr. Julius Heruela, convenor of the Diocesan Electoral Board (DEV) of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) in Negros Oriental, urged the youth to be poll watchers to protect every vote.
DEV is pushing for the ‘One Good Program’ that aims for a clean, honest, accountable, meaningful and peaceful elections. Under the program, the PPCRV and volunteering institutions will identify a sitio or subdivision in a barangay as a pilot area. The people in the barangay will also undergo trainings, values formation, and voters education.
The program was launched last September 2.~