In light of the events that plagued this year’s General Elections, Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) and Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat), the two political parties in DLSU, have decided to set aside their differences and form a unified body that will be the students’ voice in the University.
The new political body will be called Lasallian Student Union (LSU) and will embody a similar propaganda to that of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, acting towards better student representation within the University.
Putting the past behind
Both political parties have maintained a strong presence in the University for almost 30 years. Every election that has occurred during that timespan has been riddled with a number of issues, the most recent being the ineligibility of the entire slate of Santugon, as well as more than half of the candidates running under Tapat, in the 2015 General Elections.
Tapat President Robbie Arcadio mentions that he, along with the core officers of his party, have been negotiating with their counterparts in Santugon, led by President Pam Ramos, regarding the matter. “We have met with Santugon quite a couple of times during this year’s elections to discuss the merging process,” he mentions.
Ramos expresses the initial hesitation both parties faced when talks about the merger first broke out. “Of course, with everything that has happened over time, we were hesitant to consider joining forces with them. It is not easy to settle differences with someone who has been your competitor, so to speak, for a long period of time, but I realized that it was all for the best,” Ramos explains.
According to Ramos, finding a common ground between Santugon and Tapat was “not difficult,” seeing as both parties are centered on defending student rights and advocating student representation, although both parties present them in different ways.
Making the decision to merge will serve as a breakthrough for the two parties and, most importantly, the University. “I know that the students may not be receptive of the Union at first, but in time, they will realize that our actions are for their benefit,” Arcadio comments. He also mentions that while he is aware that it may be difficult for the members of the two parties to come to terms with this idea, he knows that “they will see that having a unified body is a better option.”
Acting as one
Arcadio and Ramos have agreed on setting a transition period for both parties during the special term. The period will be allotted for finishing the remaining agendas of both parties and the start of the formal preparations of the Union.
“We have unfinished businesses separately as Tapat and Santugon, and we must work in finding resolutions to that before we finally build a stronger and better Union for the students,” Arcadio explains.
Meanwhile, both party presidents are also finalizing plans of forming a committee that will be solely in-charge of streamlining the Union’s vision and mission, as well as short and long term propagandas to be implemented. The committee will consist of the presidents and key members of Tapat and Santugon.
“We are currently in the middle of a deliberation of who will comprise the committee since we need to consider different factors in setting the goals and projects of the Union,” Ramos remarks. She confirms that both parties are keen on forming the group before the term ends so that the Union can formally start by mid-May of this year.
When asked about the future projects of the Union for better representation of students, Arcadio and Ramos are both certain that it will most definitely center on acting upon problems encountered by Lasallians and becoming a frontrunner in pushing for student rights within the University.
“We really look forward to engaging Lasallians to become more participative since student apathy really makes a huge impact on successful implementation of projects,” Ramos comments. Agreeing with Ramos, Arcadio continues, “We were able to attract students to our respective parties and the next step would be to involve them in this new political venture.”
The Union will be introduced to the Lasallian community by the first term of academic year 2015-2016.