So, must the unelected speak for UP students, youth? | Inquirer Opinion

So, must the unelected speak for UP students, youth?

/ 11:29 PM April 09, 2012

Numbers don’t lie, but they’re prone to (deliberate) misinterpretation. I refer to Kiboy Sagrado Tabada’s letter. (Inquirer, 4/2/12) Tabada, a UP Diliman student like me, claimed that Heart Diño does not speak for UP students since she was elected “by a mere 17.02 percent” of the studentry in last February’s university student council (USC) polls. Tabada’s logic is flawed.

He did not take into account the voter turnout in that election. Out of the more than 23,000 students enrolled last semester, 11,345 or just 48.91 percent voted. If less than half of UP students took part in the polls, how could a candidate realistically obtain the majority vote of the entire student population? Does this mean Diño does not have the “strong mandate” necessary to lead UP Diliman students and represent their interests? In case Tabada does not know, garnering a majority vote is not a requirement to do this.

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On another note, I wonder how Tabada has come to the conclusion that he speaks “for the youth who are against the RH bill and for the rest of (his) generation who do not know that it’s their future that’s at stake.” Is he a representative of the youth or, to borrow his own words, am I just listening to his personal views?

I happened to be present in the news conference where Diño, JC Tejano of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines and other student leaders reiterated their support for the reproductive health bill. They pointed out that reproductive health issues are indeed affecting the youth.

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According to figures from the National Epidemiology Center, 704 or 30 percent of the 2,349 new cases of HIV reported in 2011 came from the 15-24 age group. That being said, I challenge Tabada to explain how “a lawmaker’s vote for the RH bill is a vote against the youth.” And, how exactly does he want student leaders to “speak (his) voice, too”? Is he implying that they should avoid taking a definite stand on this issue? It is foolish to imply that one person can represent the views of all of his/her constituents.

And while Tabada is challenging Diño’s authority to speak on behalf of UP students because she didn’t get more than 50 percent of all the votes in the last elections, more and more mothers are dying while giving birth, as Inquirer’s Jocelyn Uy reported last Feb. 18. There are bigger issues to debate on, right?

—MARK PERE MADRONA,

www.rightonthemark.

wordpress.com

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TAGS: election, letters, RH bill, UP student council
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