In the heat of the election campaign period, information drives and efforts to educate the voting population are prevalent. With the aim to provide factual information and proper discernment, while also driven by its core values of Leadership, Accountability, and Service, Philippine College of Criminology (PCCR) Student Affairs and Services (SAS) Department held a Voter’s Education Series entitled “Botong 641:Sinong Bet Mo?” over the Google Meet online platform. Playing on the moniker for its student and alumni population, Batang 641 (from the school’s postal address, 641 Sales Street), PCCR’s virtual series featured debates among its students and special topics discussed by several invited experts.
The event kicked off with the first round of debates discussing whether or not Social Media is helpful in choosing the right candidates. This round featured debaters from the High School Category with the duo of Asherie Maglantay and Crescent Muyot against the team of James Bonilla and Jervin Aniban. Both teams showcased both factual evidence and personal examples of Social Media use and misuse to drive their points across, with the team of Maglantay and Muyot (representing the negative side) taking home the prize.
Immediately after the first round of debates, Judge Ma. Socorro Almazan-Vista of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Teresa, Baras, Rizal gave a talk on the various Election Laws in the country. Among her discussion points were the qualifications for voting, what disqualifies one from voting, and the qualifications for candidacy. Judge Vista also gave a list of reminders on what to do before election day to make sure that the voting process goes smoothly.
Leadership Hour over the Lunch Break featured Council of Student Leaders sharing their insights on the elections. The student leaders also shared what it meant for them as future criminologists and law enforcers.
The afternoon session opened with a talk on Empowered Voters given by Bishop Jonel Milan, Head of the ASIN at ILAW (Ating Siyasatin Inihahalal Natin / Itaguyod Ligal at Wasto) Movement. In highlighting the sacredness and power of each individual vote, Bishop Milan reminded the participants not to vote based on affiliation or party, but to scrutinize each candidate based on his or her qualifications. He then pointed out that intelligent votes are needed because the outcome does not only affect the individual voter, but the whole country.
Following the seminar, the debates continued in the afternoon with the College division. First discussion pitted the team of Hannah Melina Aquino and Hanna Mae De Lara against the duo of Ariane Pagao and Ace Robert Candado debating whether or not the qualifications for Presidency under Article VII Section 2 of the 1987 constitution were enough to deem a candidate viable for the said position. After an hour of intelligent exchange, the team of Aquino and De Lara (representing the negative side) won the judges over. This was immediately followed by another round of debates, this time discussing whether or not the country can overcome poverty if its leader was corrupt. The team of Clark Lex Almonguera and Rojeshca Krizzle Francisco, claiming that the country cannot overcome poverty in this case, bested the tandem of Yuvia Vequeso and Arvin Dave Birad to claim the prize. Each winning team of the debates won Three Thousand Pesos, while the opposing teams each brought home One Thousand Five Hundred Pesos as consolation prize.
Before the judges announced the winners, PCCR Research and Accreditation Head Jopo Andaya inspired the student body to stand up and live the core values of PCCR. He reminded everyone how these are non-negotiable and non-debatable, and how fighting for this set of values will always have a winning outcome.
To cap off the productive event, PCCR President Lei Bautista thanked all the participants for their valuable input and contribution to enlighten and educate the student body, as well as the rest of the viewers. She also took the time to engage with a few of the participants, getting constructive feedback about the event and the issue at hand. President Lei then presented an in-depth discussion on the importance of this year’s elections and how the potential president’s character, track record, and economic plan will affect the future of the Philippines.