As a result of the success of its first event one week prior, and to emphasize on the importance of the right of suffrage to the community, The Philippine College of Criminology (PCCR) repeated its voters education series entitled “Botong 641 : Sinong Bet Mo?” which it streamed live over the Google Meet platform. As seen in the first outing, Botong 641 Part 2 also featured heated debates, intellectual exchanges, as well as engagement between administrators and students about important issues and topics related to the coming elections.
PCCR Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) Noel Sergio kicked things off with his message about how we should enlighten our students’ minds about voting. This is our duty as educators, and it shows how much we truly love our country. He encouraged the community to vote intelligently, be observant, and vote with a loving heart.
Immediately afterwards, VPAA Sergio led the judges panel of the #DebaTEENS event together with College of Criminal Justice (CCJ) General Education Department (GEDU) Chair Lesa Diaz and Research and Accreditation (RAC) Head Jopo Andaya. Discussing whether or not criminologists should be apolitical during election campaigns were the team of James Patrick Suba and Don King Duque for the PRO side, and the team of Clark Lex Almonguera and Arman Bibiolata for the CON side. After assessing both sides and reminding the viewers that “being political is to be part of humanity” as well as “exercising your right to choose”, the judges decided that both teams gave very convincing arguments and declared a draw.
Following the debate was The President’s Hour, where PCCR President Lei Bautista reminded the community to exercise their right to vote. In connection with the earlier debate topic of being apolitical, she discussed that schools should be among the first sources of the truth.Since there is an overabundance of sources of information in the Digital Age, we must learn to discern which are sources of truth, and if we allow history to be revised, we would have failed as educators. She then reminded the participants and viewers to choose leaders that will have a positive effect on the economy of the country, because this will be the legacy and inheritance we will leave for the future generations.
As a short intermission, the music video of High School Faculty Member Lerie Gisalan’s original rap composition “Eleksyon” was played to the delight of the viewers. The song reflects the reality and truth about Traditional Politics and elections year in and year out. Much like previous speakers, Gisalan urged the public to scrutinize and choose their candidates well.
Just like the rap video feature, another new addition to the second round of “Botong 641” was the segment of special guest Joy Lee Borlagdatan, an entrepreneur and a working student who volunteered during the height of the COVID-19 health crisis to deliver food packs and microfiber Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) to medical frontliners. “Ate Joy” went on to talk about Good Governance and how prioritizing that would also lead to better Healthcare, Education, Housing, Livelihood, and Poverty Alleviation. Furthermore, She also took an objective approach to assessing the Top 5 Presidential Candidates based on Experience, Qualification, Track Record, and Platform, to help the viewers make a more informed, objective, and logical choice. She urged the public not to vote because of looks, party, or because of the choice of family members, but to vote for someone who will serve even those who are marginalized.
To add to the productive morning and in spite of the heat of the mid-day, Judge Ma. Socorro Almazan-Vista of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Teresa, Baras, Rizal repeated her talk on the various Election Laws in the country. She reminded everyone not to miss the opportunity because your voter’s registration may be deactivated, as she personally experienced in previous elections. She has since reactivated her registration, so she is ready and able to exercise her right on May 9.
As a final surprise for the day, an extension of the debate events was held at 4 p.m., this time featuring a combination of Faculty and Employees. Discussing the same issue as that of the students earlier on in the day were CCJ Faculty Member Alan Lad Santos and GEDU Head Lesa Diaz for the PRO Side, and CCJ Faculty Member Victor Jim Fallar and RAC Head Jopo Andaya for the CON Side. Just as this debate shared the same topic as the morning round, so, too, did it share the same outcome, with both the PRO and CON teams settling for a draw.