The first quarter of 2013 has seen the youngest political formation in UP Diliman sweep the two top posts in the University Student Council (USC) elections, the start of the 90-day national electoral campaign period, and the first papal resignation in almost 600 years. Within the next six months, electoral exercises will decide the fate of the two major institutions in Filipino society.
In Rome, seat of the Catholic Church, cardinals will soon be convened into what is called a Papal Conclave. The assembly is expected to elect a new pope before Easter. Reports indicate that this particular Conclave has the highest chance of producing a pope hailing from the developing world. In fact, several Vatican analysts have floated the scenario of a Filipino succeeding Pope Benedict XVI – a possibility that will mean the world to the 75 million-strong Filipino Catholic flock.
Closer to home, the May 2013 midterm polls are well under way. Thousands of candidates vying for local and national positions across the country are already campaigning, engaging in an electoral spending spree so vast it may once again make our economic numbers spike – as they did in 2007 and 2010. This year, however, might be slightly different from the past election years in terms of general voter sentiment. The voters who will be flocking to poll precincts in May are more critical of political dynasties, and are fed up with “epal” politicians. Besides the oft-used “trapo” branding, Filipino voters have also coined the term “bimpo” (batang isinubo ng magulang sa pulitika) – a jab at prospective politicians who seem to have no credentials other than having parents in public office.
Indeed, 2013 is election year. It is precisely because of this context that for this year, Beyond focuses on electoral exercises that have made the headlines in the University and, yes, beyond. This issue will interrogate the just-concluded USC elections, the ongoing national campaign, and the Papal Conclave via a simple question: Who will benefit from these elections? It is important to note that these elections are held in order to legitimize institutions of authority. Therefore, analyzing these events must ultimately be grounded on the impact they will have on those from whom authority springs from, and is directed at – the people.
Beyond will also be reviewing the events of the past year, as it has done so in previous issues. We’ve also included UP stories from 2012 that will continue to have an impact on the University and the community it sustains in the years to come.
This issue will also feature a Newsmakers section, wherein the top personalities of 2012 here and abroad are profiled in less than 150 words. It is an effort to further condense the past year’s events, and make Beyond 2013 as comprehensive as possible.
As a post script, we also added The Year So Far section, a nod to the events that have grabbed headlines during the first quarter of the year.
Finally, a note on our format. We’ve decided to release Beyond online primarily for economic reasons – printing a 24-page publication is prohibitively expensive for any student organization. There is also the stop-murdering-the-trees gambit. But we also want to send a message to students to start valuing the student publications that do get printed. Having readers throw the publications away or seeing them lie around everywhere after being read isn’t just disrespectful – it’s downright insulting. And come on, the number of publications – student or mainstream – that go out on print will start to dwindle soon. We have to start treating our printed publications not just as carriers of history, but as pieces of history themselves.
Forever beyond propaganda,