This year’s SAMAHAN is noticeably silent. Of course, what I mean about being silent is not referring to having no records of achievement and activities at all. Rather, their efforts failed to adequately satisfy the students’ needs and their passiveness to issues is observable. There are no specific programs that will develop students’ skills and visions. No enough avenues for meaningful discourse. And there are no sufficient mechanisms to lobby the students’ concerns and needs aside from the seemingly futile Viewfinder. As the elections pave its way to give another chance to the candidates, are the prospective SAMAHAN officers ready to become more vigorous and more courageous than the previous administration?
This election period is not far different from the rest. It’s the same environment filled with loud chants and familiar platforms modified to appear new and elegant. It’s the same strategy of appealing to the students’ needs to win a vote. While independent runners and candidates of political parties have already pledged to take the responsibility of giving back to the students through their own brands of leadership, why should we bothered by this year’s SAMAHAN elections?
Firsthand, this is our elections. Candidates only represent their platforms. But, they should never dominate the political arena. As voters, we have to show to them that their promises are not there just for the show. We have to question their mechanisms and principles. We have to debate with them and throw questions that will stir up their stances on pertinent issues concerning the studentry. We have to voice out our concerns and remain critical of what has been lacking in the current status quo. Therefore, our vote should not be isolated in silence; rather, we should adequately criticize and scrutize vague political statements and question the feasibility of platforms.
Secondly, our vote should not be automatically assigned; it should remain sacred and unstained. Unlike the traditions of political parties, they vote straight for the benefit of their namesake. This is indeed problematic because it deprives the members to be critical and consider the plans and visions of the other candidates. We have to deviate from this trend. We have to be conscious enough to filter out what is beneficial to us – of what will help us grow and transform. This elections should be unforgiving to candidates who have no concrete plans and actions. We have to put in mind that SAMAHAN is always about us, students, it’s not an organization of student leaders.
So, let me ask the question again. Why bother? The answer is simple: it is our right to choose who will represent us, who will fight for our concerns and who will champion our urgent needs. This election is the best time to show to the candidates our force; that we have never been satisfied with silence, with incompetence, with unnecessary platforms, and with calling them leaders without actions.