BONTOC, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE- To give the students, faculty and staff of the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) ample chance and opportunity to know better the congressional, gubernatorial and vice-gubernatorial candidates of the province, the College invited all candidates in the said levels for the Social Accountability and Election Forum held at the College auditorium in the afternoon of April 24, 2019 where they presented to the academic community their respective platforms.
While all candidates for the congressional, gubernatorial, and vice-gubernatorial candidates were invited, only five chose to face the academic community. Of the aspirants for the lone congressional district of Mountain Province, Allen S. Ocden and Anthony D. Wooden attended. Of the aspirants for governor, only Harry C. Dominguez and Mateo L. Chiyawan chose to face the academic community. Only Ezra Samson A. Gomez of the vice-gubernatorial candidates appeared. During the forum, Ezra Gomez committed he will work to increase the scholarship assistance received by students and also source out funds from different agencies for this matter.
Mateo Chiyawan, on his part, explained that all legal actions can be done to help the College attain and complete its requirements, specifically on landholdings and physical facilities, to achieve university status.
Harry Dominguez, another gubernatorial candidate, answering the question on the unemployment and job order situation, saying he will promote the province as an investment hub. Allen S. Ocden, a congressional candidate, focused his speech on removing corruption in Mountain Province. He also promised to help the College comply with requirements for facilities. Anthony Wooden, another congressional candidate, spoke of regional autonomy. When asked about his plans on solving the issue relative to dominance of politicians and government officials regarding the selection of grantees in the Tertiary Education Subsidy, he said he will formulate a separate committee specifically tasked for this matter.
As observed, the questions did not only revolve around their plans for the province but included those for MPSPC as well. Some questions asked were their plans to help the College to reach its university status. It must be recalled that MPSPC has been consistently in pursuit of achieving university status but some of the requirements hinder this quest, much more that these are beyond the control of the College, specifically, those on the landholdings and physical facilities, and the candidates were one in saying the College has to be helped in achieving a university status.
Before the forum proper, Alumni Relations and Job Placement Coordinator Carolyne Dale Castañeda informed the candidates and the audience of the procedures and guidelines of the forum which was to be followed by the covenant signing as the event will also serve as a venue for the candidates to embed social accountability for a clean, peaceful and honest election.
“This activity shall be a non-partisan forum as the institution is a non-partisan organization. The audience will be prioritized to MPSPC personnel and students, thus, candidates were also advised not to bring with them more than 10 supporters and election paraphernalia are not allowed within the school premises,” Castañeda said as an advisory to the public.
Each of the candidates were given five minutes to discuss their platforms and two minutes in which to answer questions from the audience. A five-minute closing statement was also afforded each candidate. Selected faculty members and students served as members of the panel. Several questions were asked per candidate focusing on their programs during their opening statements.
After the open forum, a covenant signing was made witnessed by the audience stating that the candidates commit themselves for an honest and clean election free from any unfavorable actions that might degrade the right of each candidate to a proper election process and the right of the Filipino citizens for suffrage.
By Warden Taltala