#FEATURE: S.Y. 2021–2022 Elections: The Elected Officials of Batch 2025

by Samantha Nicole S. Gianan and Athena Cleo Ap-apid

Cover Art by Maxine Marqueses

It is January 11, 2021, and the Students’ Electoral Commision (SEC) has announced the postponement of elections for the batch councils (BCs) of Batches 2025 and 2023, as well as that of the Student Council (SC), due to a lack of candidates. Fast forward to February 13 when, after a second candidacy period, candidates emerged for the SC and 2023 BC, two of the three councils previously proclaimed to be lacking applicants. One batch council has yet to be formed. Where are the aspiring student leaders of Batch 2025? Around a month later, on March 26, the SEC introduced a 2025 BC founded via the preceding BC’s appointment of batchmates they saw fit to fill the positions, among which were Amelia Gosiengfiao for Vice President and Maria Manauis for Treasurer.

More than half a year since that 2025 BC took its oath of office in April, officers of a new BC have once again emerged, now as winners of a formally held election.

The Beginnings

“We didn’t feel the presence of last year’s council that much,” said one of the newly elected BC officers, DC Orongan.

The rest of the new BC share this sentiment. In fact, this influenced the council’s beginnings when Gosiengfiao, further driven by this lack of presence, carefully selected four capable and passionate individuals with whom to serve their batch. Brought together by a shared vision for Batch 2025, the B.U. Party was formed.

“Our party name, B.U., is quite simple. It stands for Batch Unity, and as you’ve been hearing repeatedly, it can also mean Being Yourself,” said Bianca Espinoza, B.U. secretary, during their Miting de Avance. She went on to say that the name “perfectly describes [their] main advocacy” of having the batch become united, all while being unafraid to express their thoughts and concerns.

Orongan, the vice president, added that they “wish to create opportunities with the students of their batch to get to know each other and connect.” B.U. aims to establish a connection between them and the students of 2025 in order to provide a sense of comfort and trust, not only towards the BC but also towards other students as well.

B.U. consists of Gosiengfiao as president, Orongan as vice president, Espinoza as secretary, Ally Guitierrez as treasurer, and Manauis as auditor, all of whom are female. They explained, however, that there is no particular reason for this. As mentioned previously, Gosiengfiao simply “believed [they] were fit for the role.” The party does not view this as a potential issue, instead showing faith in their batchmates’ morals and good conduct.

“We think that the batch would not dwell on such trivial things because our own abilities and skills are not determined by our biological sex,” said B.U., adding that they “wish for no one to view this negatively since [they] wouldn’t want misogynistic or sexist discourse to arise due to this mere coincidence.”

The First Leap: The Elections

This academic year, B.U. has a term of around 7 months, as opposed to the previously appointed BC who only had a term of 3 months. They also went through the formal procedures of candidacy and election. These differences prove to be advantageous to B.U. in achieving their goals as, according to Gosiengfiao (who was the vice president of the preceding BC), the elections provided a “head start” on establishing their presence within the batch.

“Last year, not only were we formed rather late, but we were all adjusting to the new setup; thus, we did not have the time to plan projects nor execute them,” said Gosiengfiao. “Thanks to the elections, B.U. and its members have already been formally introduced to the batch.”

This initial presence has only given them momentum; they intend to carry out various projects to be proactive leaders connected with their batchmates.

“We still would like to expand our platforms so that our batch has many ways of contacting and keeping up with us and our projects,” said Gosiengfiao.

Moreover, the new council is very grateful and excited about winning the elections. With their new responsibilities, they are a little nervous, but this only pushes them to do their best in making preparations.

“Aside from the initial serotonin rush of excitement, we’re busying ourselves with creating outlines of our projects and patching up any holes in our plans. It’s a bit nerve-wracking to be given the roles to lead and represent the batch. Nonetheless, we’re very thankful for all of those who trust us enough to vote for us as their new batch officers. We promise to fulfill the duties our batch has trusted us with,” said B.U.

Plans for Batch 2025

B.U. intends on utilizing their term to make a long-lasting, meaningful impact on their batch. Their plans include the use and improvement of social media platforms, the establishment of batch committees (such as an Academic Committee in charge of batch reviewers), and an outreach program and donation drive set for December. All of these will require effective internal and external communication — something they regard as of utmost importance in their main agenda of connecting.

“Aside from organizing and creating batch committees, we would like to properly establish and clean up blurry connections between the batch council and other officers (class officers and the Parents-Teachers Association),” they said, later adding that they “believe that communication is a fundamental part of creating connections” that would be “filled with mutual respect and trust.”

Their projects aim to help the batch and give opportunities for them to interact with each other and be more involved in batch-wide activities. They hope for the students to be able to trust and be comfortable around the BC and other batchmates. In today’s digital age, B.U. aspires to have humanity shine through our screens.

“We plan to humanize the batch council through frequent check-ins with officers or even a simple kamustahan every now and then. We wouldn’t be able to communicate effectively if we’re only seen as disseminators of information; that just causes a huge disparity between what we know and what they are going through. We want them to feel that they can point out or suggest anything to us, so expect the council to be much more active rather than passive,” said Espinoza.

Gaining trust can be a challenge, but all the BC officers intend to do their best to achieve this. Guitierrez, B.U. treasurer, plans to help with the financial aspect of this via making “transparency reports after every project that requires batch fundings” that will be accessible to the batch on social media.

“Knowing that we will be fully transparent with them in relation to financial aspects, we hope that they will also be fully trusting of us, even if it takes a significant amount of time, as our main vision as Batch Council is for our batch to be united, above all,” Guitierrez stated.

Auditor Manauis, who was the treasurer of the preceding BC, will be working hand-in-hand with Guitierrez regarding these financial matters. She claims to have gained valuable insights from her past experience, which she intends to utilize in her work this academic year.

“Being able to work as a treasurer last year made me grasp the idea of how the treasurer and auditor work together. I will use my knowledge from last year so I can work well with our treasurer to ensure transparency in all our financial reports for our planned projects,” said Manauis.

So far, the only project of B.U. that involves funds is the donation drive. However, the layout of their projects is flexible given the possibility of there being face-to-face classes in 2022. Additionally, they said that although their focus is Batch 2025, they are open to collaboration with other BCs and the SC.

Messages for the Batch

Along with the excitement of creating projects and committees for the batch, there is also much gratitude from the newly elected officers.

“I would like to thank our batch for voting for me and my fellow party members,” said Orongan, who also looked forward to having fun and getting to know her batchmates more.

Treasurer Guitierrez had a few words to say as well. “First and foremost, I’d like to thank my batch for voting for me and the rest of the B.U. Party, who are now officially your batch council for SY 2021–2022! Salamat sa pag-BU2 sa BU! I’m very much looking forward to leading Batch 2025 as the batch treasurer in our journey towards batch unity …. Here’s to a great school year with you all!”

Gosiengfiao thanked the batch for entrusting her with the position of batch president and for allowing B.U. to lead this year. “I hope that you can rely on the batch council as well as be comfortable coming to us for anything you need!” she said. “We know that we all have a difficult year ahead of us, so we would like to help take some stress off your shoulders. Your batch council is here for you, and we only wish the best for our batch. So don’t be afraid to voice out your opinions, especially if you have helpful feedback and/or suggestions for the batch council!”

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