/ 18 October 2020

VARIOUS student groups from the Technological University of the Philippines are demanding to suspend their student council elections online for lack of transparency and student participation.

In a joint statement released on Friday, the groups all agreed the elections should be suspended until certain issues have been addressed.

Among the issues raised was the conduct of online elections as an alternative to manual elections, which the groups stressed still needs to be studied further.

“We cannot mirror the conduct of elections of other universities in TUP without proper benchmarking, analysis, and comparative study which are highly required such as on how student legislation is conducted and deliberated,” said the group.

The TUP Commission on Elections has also yet to release guidelines for the transition of manual to online elections even if the filing of candidacy will start soon.

The groups’ statement slammed TUP Comelec’s move to still push through with the online elections even if some of the students have difficulty in accessing online platforms, thus, limiting students’ participation.

“May we remind the commission that it is its role as well to ensure utmost inclusivity and broadest participation in consideration of any factors which may hinder the rights of students to vote,” the group said.

The group also expressed concern about the result of a recent survey, worried that non-students can react on it, and leaving the results to be dubious.

“The Commission has its anchors on the online elections as only supported by 42 survey respondents and the likes, shares, and engagements of those which may be non-TUPian netizens which in analytical statistical science, is in fact not reliable nor can be used to fully support the pulse of the TUP studentry as the survey title dictates,” they said.

“Furthermore, having these unreliable statistics to anchor such engagement of the online student elections renders it unreliable as well. The undersigned heads of the major student bodies and student political parties have it well known that no such consultation without non-student influence or intervention nor evident and sealed resolutions has been made to ratify such decision of the commission,” the group added.

The groups in conclusion, called for the suspension of the online elections until their issues with TUP Comelec have been resolved.