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January 22, 1998
home USC Delays Vote on Commercialization
Herbert Villalon Docena
With barely six weeks before a new council is elected, the University Student Council (USC) has yet to vote on whether to oppose or support the commercialization of education.

Saddled with two major activities scheduled for the coming weeks, the Education Week and the UP Fair, the USC moved in their general assembly last January 16 to postpone their vote on commercialization to January 30.

"The body decided to set aside a date na 'yun lang talaga ang pag-uusapan, walang ibang item," shared USC Chairperson Percival Cendaņa. "It was a collective decision."

The postponement comes in the light of possible approval of the Commonwealth Property Development Project (CPDP) by President Ramos. While the USC has been relentless in its opposition to CPDP, a project deeply rooted in commercialization , it still has to take its clear-cut position on commercialization itself.

As the representatives of UP students, the casting of votes by the councilors will formalize and define the stand of the whole student body. Last year's USC, under the leadership of its chairperson Ibarra Gutierrez, voted "no" to commercialization.

Cendaņa, however, finds no problem with the postponement of the votation. He maintains that it is not yet that urgent for them to determine their position. "At this point in time, napaka-crucial na i-iron-out muna ang mga activities na darating," Cendaņa said. "But we will definitely be coming out with a position before our term ends."

As resolved during a plebiscite held last August, the elections for next year's set of USC officers will be held on the first week of March. Nevertheless, the present council has until June to wrap up their term.

He cited other organizations that are anti-CPDP but not necessarily anti-commercialization. SAGIP-UP, an organization of faculty members opposed to the CPDP for instance, has not yet spelled out their position.

If the council members vote strictly according to to the stand of their parties, then this year's SAMASA dominated USC will probably vote no to commercialization. Both SAMASA and Stand-UP are against all forms of commercialization. ISA, on the other hand, is for the utilization of idle assets but opposes the commercialization of education.

Meanwhile, councilor Satria Candao, one of those who voted against the postponement, warned against delaying the decision. "Student groups are asking what our stand is," Candao said. "We're thinking of the future of UP education here, not only of a week-long event, not only of a USC activity."

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