February 15, 2013. It was a breezy Friday afternoon as students flock in the Roxas open field to witness one of this year’s SCB Election’s highlights, the debate of the presidential candidates. Hosted by Ateneo Debate Varsity, Atenews, Office of the Buklod Ambassadors and Ateneo COMELEC, the said event shed light to students who still do not have their presidential bet for the elections. Ms. Jemimah D’lonsod of PIGLASAPAT and Mr. Robin Tongcua of BAHAGHARI were both placed on hot seats as debate moderator Mr. Lorenzo Jalotjot asked different questions.
Each candidate was given 90 seconds to answer. There were 3 general discussions raised. First was their party’s principle. Second, their platforms. And third, political and social issues. The second half of the event was allotted for the audience’s queries. Socio-Political issues were also discussed, such as their stand on the RH-Bill, K+12, TOFI, Gender inequality and etc.
The exchange of answers and ideas of the candidates made their supporters clap their hands and even shout for their names.
In an interview during the 5-minute break, Ms. Maureene Villamor shared her sentiments about the debate, “First I’m grateful that we have this. Okay naman. They have brilliant ideas. Mejo nagworry lang ko sa implementation part [platforms & plans]. It’s never easy to be the head of SAMAHAN.” Ms. Villamor also pointed out that there is something that she was looking for in the candidates’ answers. “Nagahanap ako ng bias, bias sa students. Concrete [programs] na mupanalipod jud sa interes sa students” said Ms. Villamor.
Furthermore, as students spent their activity periods listening to the candidates, the candidates themselves tried their best to please the students. After all, the winner of the event would be decided by the students through their votes.
Among the crowd were two 2nd year students, Cristine Gomobar and Cleah Angelica Laride. “Good thing na merong ganito [debate] para maging basis naming who to vote” Ms. Gomobar shared. “Okay sya. Para malaman namin yung kakayahan nila and yung ideas nila for SAMAHAN” said Ms. Laride.
The event was not only attended by students but also people from the faculty and alumni. Near the end of the event Mr. Hadji Balajadia from the faculty also addressed to the COMELEC and to the candidates his observation regarding the use of tarpaulins in the campaigns. “You are using anti-environmental plastics!” Mr. Balajadia stressed.
All in all, the event was successful. It has given Atenean voters a reason to vote for the upcoming SAMAHAN elections. In their hands and with one click they will elect their next SAMAHAN president.