Last July 27, the Philippine Senate opened it doors to 450 student leaders from all over the country. From the pool of 1,400 applicants, eight from Negros Oriental were accepted as delegates: Kathleen Young from St. Paul University, and seven from Silliaman University: Rodolf Vincent Amor, Adelle Abalos, Bea Froilan, Fionna Chuang, Alessandra Pinili, Diane Grace Uy Matiao, Shekainah Santiago, and myself, Jhun Mark Tanilon.
In two days of competitive debates and readings of Bills, two emerged as possibly being passed in the actual Senate of the Philippines: the Good Governance Bill, and the Student Rights & Welfare Bill.
Negros Oriental was well-represented in stimulating congressional debates. The delegates engaged in workshops, and learned from the speakers. This congress is patterned after conferences hosted by the Ivy League in the northeast.
The event kicked off with a keynote speech from Sen. Bam Aquino, basically a timeline of pictures and descriptions of his achievements in the name of political reform. His battlecry: “It is not enough to voice out your concerns; you have to go out and actually do something”.
The delegates were divided into five committees whose bills that were previously approved would face the hearings under an executive chair. Given that we were to emulate actual Senate processes, Bills would face a first reading. If it had garnered at least 48 ‘yes’ votes, it would proceed onto the second reading, and with the same protocol, proceed to the third reading. A Bill surviving the third hearing would then be submitted to the Plenary, including amendments suggested by the delegates, with all delegates there to argue the Bill. A bill gaining 250 ‘yes’ votes would then be submitted to the actual Senate for consideration.
On the second day of the congress, we continued with the committee sessions.
Just like any other congress, known personalities in the political arena were present to give speeches: Sen. Sonny Angara, Chair. Leon Flores, Cong. Teri Ridon, and Washington Sycip. (Marki Tanilon)