Catch this article also in our Boto Bedista 2023 3.0 Special Issue

UNDER THE BANNER of the Nationalist Youth and Progressive Democrats (NYPD), freshman Robert dela Paz answered the clarion’s call as he attempts to win the electorate’s favor in becoming the First-Year Representative of the Class of 2027. 

The former president of the San Beda Debate Circle in San Beda Senior High School and now a freshman taking up the AB Political Science program, Robert is standing before the Bedan community as he introduces himself, his plans for the college, and his stance on the controversies circulating around the campus. 

Q: Introduce yourself.

A: I am Robert DelaPaz running as a first-year batch representative representing the Nationalist Youth and Progressive Democrats that advocates for the political ideology of Radical Centrism.  

Q: In a short anecdote, introduce to us who Robert is?   

A: Who Robert is? Well not to go too much on my credentials muna, but to explain my personality while I have seen my father’s sacrifices back when I was younger in order to make ends meet, and through that I’ve seen how service could potentially help a person. And through that I’ve been championing service for other people because I want other people to feel the same way that I felt when my father sacrificed for me. But now, since wala pa naman akong anak, I’m championing the service towards my compatriots.  

Q: A month into San Beda, what are the problems you noticed leading you to run for the position of first-year representative? Kindly elaborate 

A: Okay. Well there are tons of problems that we could turn into issues in order for us to break down and solve. One of them that I’ve seen, that have been scaring the community of first year batch – of our first year batch – right now, not just student-leaders but also common students who don’t have any leadership positions, is the freedom wall. We know na, through the freedom wall, yes there’s freedom of speech but there’s lack of accountability; there’s a lack of basically owning what you give. Like, for example kahit hindi ka nga Bedan you can still post sa San Beda Freedom Wall; and even though it’s nonsense, even though it’s just for pure harassment or cyberbullying, we can see that it’s being posted. So the freedom wall has been weaponized in order to potentially turn student-leaders who are active in the community and turn them into people who lack the confidence to have the initiative because of the potential cyberbullying that they could experience through the freedom wall. But not only the freedom wall in terms of physical, well may problems din naman tayo if we’re gonna look at it at a broader scale how the society affects San Beda. Inflation is a problem, we know na basically some students, eto rin yung nakita ko first-hand experience, they find our uniforms expensive and many more. Well that’s my concise answer for that.  

Q: What is your principle of leadership, and how does this align with the political banner you’ll carry in San Beda? 

A: Well first of all, NYPD has two platforms for that, basic platforms, first is holistic progress and second is transformational leadership. So yung sakin, ang advocacy ko naman it’s always been servant-leadership, meaning I am willing to go above and beyond in order to put the needs of others before mine; because I recognize that without the people I wouldn’t even be in the position, and the position isn’t even my goal it’s just a means for me to have power in order to serve the people; because inevitably if you don’t have the legitimate power how could you be recognized as someone who can make significant changes, therefore, few people will listen to you rin. So that, my servant-leadership and alam natin na kasama sa tatlong values ng NYPD ay ang unity; actually am just gonna explain them a few. Meron tayong unity, service, and credibility. And yun dun palang sa pangalan ng servant-leadership na advocacy ko, aligned na yun sa isang value ng NYPD which is service. 

Q: What social issue/s pertaining to the students are close to your heart that you seek to address? Elaborate as well 

A: So social issue inside San Beda would be – well there are tons, but I guess in order for me to give light to my answer earlier even more is yung sa cyber-bullying. As we come to a more digital age, it’s just part of it na, ayun nga yung bullying before physical ngayon online na – cyberbullying; but this still affects the person that we are bullying. So yung sakin talaga dito, firstly is gusto ko i-address yung cyberbullying that stems from the freedom wall, a platform that promotes almost virtually total freedom without accountability. And then secondly is students who feel excluded, kasi we know that sometimes students could feel excluded in a naturally conservative university, we’re naturally conservative for the reason that we are a religious university. So some students feel na they’re too restricted…so they feel excluded. So I wanna create a San Beda that will be more inclusive towards the freshies; because again, maganda kapag okay na rin yung impression nila dito – first year sa San Beda maranasan na rin nila the inclusivity that they are longing for, for them to be included in the community  

Q: What are the primary concerns of your batch that you noticed or observed to be neglected by the council or by the administration? 

A: Well if I’m going to enumerate this one, let’s start first off is with the little problems that I see that are being told to me by my peers. Firstly they are in concern with the tuition fee, masyado daw malaki, some of them are actually asking for a tuition freeze. They’re telling me that kasi it’s like, what, at least 140,000 per year. So with that, yung hinihingi rin nila, besides from that, is malaki tuition namin – we need transparency. So they want transparency as well from the student-council. We’re gonna address that. And then secondly, yung na-notice rin ng iba kong kasama is bakit parang ang hirap, hirap i-reachout ng student council. Well one obvious answer for that would be, first of all wala pang first-year batch rep; pero nung tinanong ko naman, wala pa naman kasi talagang first-year batch rep, sabi nila meron daw ibang mga officers na pag chinat nila, nasa student-council yung officer, pag chinat nila it would take at least two working days in order for that person to chat back. So approachability of the student-council officers. First, to reiterate my answer, first is transparency – transparency, san napupunta ang tuition fee na malaking binabayaran ng magulang nila from their hard-earned money. And secondly is approachability of the student-council officers. 

Q: Follow up. So what your peers had noticed is also what you noticed? Or you’re just addressing the concerns of your peers 

A: Well the transparency is what I’ve noticed. Na-notice ko yung transparency. We need more transparency sa budget. But not only that, yung sa second na sinabi ko which is yung sa approachability – well, I don’t want to throw shade with anyone but it’s a problem that they have seen, at the end of the day we’re working for the people.  

Q: How do you intend to address these concerns that you’ve noticed actively? 

A: So we’re gonna have to coordinate with the treasurer for this one, treasurer and auditor. So through that, through rigorous meetings, we could eventually make something in order for us to be more transparent about the budget system. Now secondly approachability, for approachability we could make systems such as for example help desks in order for the students to share their grievances & concerns, and you know we could get some volunteers; I’m not gonna get too in-depth to this because malaman rin naman ito sa MDA – my platforms and all that; but actually nakasulat na rin siya sa student-council constitution about the job of the first year batch representative. So we’re gonna have some help desks, and that help desks are going to have people who are working at specific schedules in order to hear the grievances & concerns of the students.  

Q: How do you intend to position yourself as the youngest member of the council among your fellow executive officers? 

A: Well for me to position myself, first of all kailangan muna natin malaman yung atmosphere ng pinagkatrabahuan natin, so ngayon I have read the student handbook, the SC Constitution. But we know na knowledge is crucial, however experience is crucial as well, pagkapunta ko dun they have been working for at least more than a month diba? Magkakasama sila, so mangangapa ako. Time will be one of my biggest challenges kasi sila – magkakasama na sila, ako – I need to know my surroundings and the atmosphere that I’m in in order for me to operate well; kasi pagkapunta ko dun, how I will position myself – yes I recognize that I’m the youngest there, but I also recognize that I was voted by the people. So once I get there, my first job would be to, again, familiarize myself with the atmosphere, and then secondly – think, plan, think and plan – kailangan ko yun in order for me to operate well there. So pagkatapos malaman okay eto yung atmosphere natin, eto yung environment natin” and now it’s time to think & plan on how to navigate throughout all of this.    

Q: If elected, share your banner platform for the first-year students of San Beda 

A: Well I have three platforms, the first one will focus on how the students will exceed expectations, how the students will be more focused on growth, self-growth; because kapag individual, nag-improve yung mga individual diyan, eventually mag-iimprove din yung batch diba? Kasi magkakasama tayo dito. And the second one will focus on the connectedness of the people in the batch. So it will focus on integration within the community. And then thirdly, it will focus on, my third platform will focus on alleviating the stress that we experience; kasi syempre first-year culture shock, senior high school ganito kami chill chill, pagkapunta namin dito sa college – “oops, ganito pala ang mga professors, kailangan mas disciplined ko na pala,” and all. So understandably, iba sa kanila culture shock and because of that it causes stress. So my third platform will focus on alleviating that stress.  

Q: Why is Robert qualified to be the first-year representative 

A: The first thing that we’re gonna assess here is the heart, kasi pag walang heart wala din yung compassion at wala dun yung desire – basically paano ka magserve? Kapag nagkaroon ng problema since wala naman tayong desire “ah hindi kain lang pala ako ng pancit canton sa gilid” so we can’t have that. So yung sakin naman, what I am going to offer the students is my burning desire to serve; but not only that, but through the intellectual prowess that I think I have already proven, but I will still continuously prove, throughout my academic years. And the third one is, syempre gusto ko rin kayong bigyan ng ano ba yung nakikita niyo, di naman tayo dito puro salita diba? Kumbaga, kaya ako dapat mapunta dito because I have numerous experiences from leadership positions. I have been the former president of the Debate Club of Senior High School in San Beda, not only that but I’ve also served and led my group to the research congress back when I was in Senior High School, and many more. But I’m not gonna explain those any further, baka makikita niyo yung CV ko. So again, because I have heart to serve; and second because of the intellectual prowess that I have proved before and I will continue to prove; and thirdly, because of my various leadership experiences that I have had in the past; but you know more than that, it’s because of the philosophy that I have and my advocacy for servant-leadership, kasi we can’t have a leader na – sure magaling ka, but if you don’t listen to the people, paano mo malaman yung problema? Anong problema na isosolve mo? Sarili mong problema? Kaya ako andun sa position na yon para makinig sa mga tao. You need to be approachable, you need to hear the people, you need to, not only hear, but to listen to the people; and after listening to the problems be competent enough in order to be capable of solving that problem, and hard-working enough in order to actually put into long hours and the boring hours, and work until you solve the problem of the people; kasi you are a public servant, you’re job is to again, lastly, to listen, be competent enough, and put in the hard-work in order to solve the problems or issues of your community.