The ongoing University Student Council (USC) elections at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman logged a 6.62 percent voter turnout as of 2:10 pm on Thursday, May 30.

Polls for the two-day hybrid USC elections commenced on Thursday morning and will conclude the following day at 7:00 pm.

UP Diliman Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jerwin Agpaoa told DZUP that the election team is closely monitoring this year’s student council elections.

Per data provided by Agpaoa, the early afternoon turnout on the first day of the elections accounts for 1,649 votes cast out of 24,911 qualified student voters.

The majority of voters by Thursday afternoon are undergraduate students, constituting over 90 percent of the votes.

At this point, the College of Law boasts the highest voter turnout among all academic units on campus, registering 26.13 percent. It is followed by the National College of Public Administration and Governance at 17.47 percent, College of Social Work and Community Development at 12.52 percent, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy at 12.05 percent, and College of Mass Communication at 11.46 percent.

The remaining colleges have only posted a single-digit voter turnout so far.

In an interview with Agpaoa, he underscored the significance of the annual elections.

“Napakahalaga [ng USC] dahil silá ang nagsisilbing boses ng mga estudyante na walang affiliation o merong affiliation pero hindi sapat iyong kumpiyansa, halimbawa, o walang pamamaraan upang iparating ang kanilang mga hinaíng o kanilang mga pangangailangan sa administrasyon,” the Vice Chancellor said.

(These elections are crucial as the USC serves as the voice of students who may not have affiliations or have affiliations but lack confidence, for instance, or lack the means to convey their grievances or needs to the administration.)

“Siyempre, nando’n na rin iyong authority upang mag-lobby ng pangangailangan ng kanilang kapuwa estudyante, dalá na rin ng kanilang posisyon,” he added.

(Of course, they also have the authority to lobby for the needs of their fellow students, given their position.)

“Ang student council ay napakahalaga rin dahil nagbibigay silá ng perspektiba mula sa viewpoint ng mga estudyante. Iba iyong pananaw na gáling sa administrasyon at iba rin ang pananaw na gáling sa mga estudyante,” he continued.

(The student council is also important because they provide a perspective from the viewpoint of students. The perspective coming from the administration is different from the perspective coming from the students.)

“You can just imagine how problematic it would be if there is no student representation that will voice out the concerns of student stakeholders who occupy the biggest percentage among our stakeholders in the University.”

Agpaoa urged students to “actively” engage in selecting the next USC, following the low turnouts in recent years.

“Hinihikayat namin ang ating mga estudyante na makilahok sa dalawang araw ng USC elections. Makibahagi táyo sa pagpili ng susunod na kasapi ng ating USC.”

(We encourage our students to participate in the two days of USC elections. Let us take part in choosing the next members of our USC.)

“Siguraduhin natin na ang ating mga iluklok sa mga key position sa USC ay mga táong masasabi nating magsisilbi parehas sa bayan at sa sambayanan.”

(Let us ensure that those we elect to key positions in the USC are individuals who will serve both the nation and the community.)

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