Meet the Candidates: Patpy Miranda
Interview by: Randall Teh
To kickoff this interview, I’d like to ask, what motivated you or compelled you to run for presidency?
“First and foremost, I wanted to finish what I started. Going into the student council, sayang naman what I started with, not just with Externals but [with] the student council. My work last term was not limited to Externals but also going into other projects like Hairography which wasn’t really under the turf of Externals. Secondly, having been part of the student council, I’ve seen the things that we can improve on. Going into the student council, the first thing that you have to understand and to take into consideration always is your people within the student council, the student body, then everyone else. But, primarily, with the student council, I’ve seen how it works. Also I’ve seen the things not just within the student council but also within the other organizations— what my experience can help with, and, with the administration, what we can still give to them or ask from them.”
Earlier, you mentioned [one of your] projects from last year as the Externals PRO. Do you feel like you were able to push through with all of these projects? Were they successful? Do you see continuity?
“Yes, they were all successful: Information Dissemination, Hairography, Production Team. You can see by the results, for example, how many people donated in the Hairography. For starters, it was just a baby project for the student council; it was a first time project, even with the Production Team, like officially incorporating it with Team Externals. It was successful, and they could also be continued. There will be more MGMRs after this, and besides the MGMR, maybe other competitions that we could still join like kung gusto naming magpa-dance or chorale competition or something. For Hairography, of course there is some continuity with that. I believe in sustainability, and in thinking of a project, continually, you see the development. You see it being given to the people. Right now, I’m still waiting for the documentation. But you know, when you see that in the long run, like next year maulit, you’re giving not just opportunities to [your] beneficiaries but also opportunities to the student body. And Information Dissemination, of course, that will always be continued – not just continued but improved and enhanced.”
As you said earlier, you had a lot of experience being within the council as the Externals PRO. How do you feel this would make you an effective president, aside from the “experience” of being in the council?
“From a PRO, I was promoted to an EVP just [last] January, so technically, I took on two different jobs. Besides, being in the Externals, when you go out to the APMC, you’re encountering not just medical students but student leaders that you engage with about problems not just within your school but overall in the national level. You think about the things that you could do as medical students in the Philippines engaging in all those problems. Besides that, being a past President of the Microbiology Society, I’ve built up connections not just with my old alma mater but [with] other people I’ve connected with through events. And I believe that [with] those connections and experiences, I can handle them well and wisely because I’ve been sharpened to the brim. I’m not saying that I’m a perfect student leader now that I’ve handled a lot of things, but I’m saying that with experience comes knowledge and wisdom. Wow, feeling old. (laughs)
But the knowledge and wisdom that I got are not limited to being an administrative or executive chief officer. It’s also with your communication with others. Over the years, I’ve really noticed how I developed my communication skills not just with the people I work with in the student council or in an organization, but beyond that – talking to sponsors, et cetera. Besides that, it is actually [also about] recognizing the problems within the student council or an organization. That has developed well within me over time, and I believe that those things can help me perform the duties and responsibilities as a President.”
Do you have any concrete plans for the SC? Do you have any areas of improvement you can think of for the SC and its actualization?
“Number one is Constitution revision. If you see the constitution, it badly needs a revision in terms of giving delineations to the jobs. It’s very thin for some, like EVP and External PRO. Also probably adding more committees to improve and maximize what we have already. Another is to give provisions on if ever someone leaves the council. Generally, when a member of the student council leaves, parang limited ang mga provisions that we have in our Constitution.
Second is student leader empowerment. What I said in my COC is “organizational empowerment”; it describes the training of leaders. When you train your leaders, you have to start off within your turf, so that is within the student council. What I believe in is that when you train a leader, that leader can train more leaders, and it’s an exponential thing. You’re giving more opportunities not just to the leader but also to everyone else. Once we do that in the student council, you’re giving more opportunities for student activities; you’re giving more options to everyone else.”
What other projects do you have in mind, this time, for the upcoming academic year
“For the academic year, number one is having an advocacy for certain events to which it is applicable but also having an advocacy as a theme for the year. For example, an advocacy of ending the stigma on HIV in the Philippines. [If] for example, that is our advocacy for the next school year, kunwari, you have Mr. and Ms. Lukan; what we usually have is the typical pageantry. But if we have an advocacy, maybe, we can have the candidates plan a health program plan, and that is where we will base the point system. We’re improving the student awareness – social awareness, social responsibility. We’re giving our students, the community the option and ability to give out what they know. Overall, in my advocacy plan, I want our projects to be meaningful – to have essence.”
I believe in 5 things in a project: being realistic, feasibility, advocacy, sustainability, and organizational empowerment.
“First of all, let’s start with feasibility. When you conceptualize a project, hindi iyong simpleng, “gusto ko mag-MGMR sa Philippine Arena”. Given your manpower, your resource, the time, given that you are a Lukan medical student, how do you think that would be possible? Second, realistic ba ang gagawin mo, given your time, resources, manpower, et cetera? Third is sustainability. What will be the effect of this project 3 years from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now, when you’re out of the college? It gives you the sense of purpose. It’s a win-win not just for you, not just for the students, but also for the whole community. And of course, in line with sustainability, is advocacy. And then [lastly is] organization empowerment. Hindi lang siya limited sa student council or student leaders ng mga organizations but also sa student body. Right now, we’re having problems looking for candidates, but maybe the following year, we will have an abundance of student leaders. I want it to be extensive leadership training, not just the simple team-building. I want it to be like [the] situational projects that we are doing; for instance, “This is your goal: give me your letters. It is an on-the-spot project.”
And of course, the Constitution revision will not only affect the student council but also the whole student population. Like, kung sino mga pwedeng tumakbo, probably we could change that a bit. If you would notice, I only have 4 things going on for me for the SC and for the student body because I want to focus on these things. I want to focus on the realistic things that we can do. Being in the student council as a medical student, given all those factors, maikli lang ang isang taon to make changes in the community, and given na maikli lang ang time mo, you can only do so much. I feel that these are the things that are not looked on but may have an effect this year and the following years, which are sustainable.
There is always room to add more projects, but we have to understand quality over quantity in projects. We can think of projects, but if elected, I’d have to consult with the whole team first in implementing a new project that was not proposed in the campaign. Of course, I’m open to it, but first and foremost, I’d like to focus on what I’m having right now. I’d like to focus on those things because I want them to be sustainable. I want them to go beyond my term.”
Given that, what are your apprehensions in running for Presidency?
“First and foremost is student body cooperation. It’s a yearly problem, but given the time and opportunity, I think we can manage that. Depende rin sa approach doon sa mga students. Second is probably being a third year. I just heard that the third year [students] have more than 60 papers just last year, and being a second year, we only handled, what, 20 papers. It’s really [about] asking myself if I should run. You have to weigh those things out. And the people I’m working with, half of them are basically new to the student council. You’re going to train new leaders who will train more leaders. I want it to be an exponential effect, and that takes time.”
What I believe in is that when you train a leader, that leader can train more leaders, and it’s an exponential thing. You’re giving more opportunities not just to the leader but also to everyone else. Once we do that in the student council, you’re giving more opportunities for student activities; you’re giving more options to everyone else.
How do you foresee handling that academic conflict?
“Basically time management. My personality is that I work better if I have an outlet, which is usually student organizations, on being a leader. If you’ve seen my COC, you would see that I’ve been through a lot of organizations, and it has helped me a lot. Third year is a different turf, I know, and I’m pretty sure of it, but if the other student leaders from the past school year can do it, then why not me?”
Given a situation wherein the SC and its members have conflicting interests or opinions, how would you, as a prospective President, deal with it?
“One of the things I envisioned and one of the things I have learned in the long run is that you have to remember that you are a cohesive factor in the student organization or wherever you go. In a community, you are always a cohesive factor. Being part of an organization, you have interactions with everyone.
In the long run, you develop relationships with these people, and there are conflicts that will arise. We have to handle it professionally. You always think in line of what is on the line, which is your job, which is what you were elected for, what you’re serving for. You always have to think what’s good for the student body, what’s good for St. Luke’s. You have to think of what will be better, not just as the President but also as a student leader. But as the President, you are their presiding officer. Kung may ramble man diyan, ikaw na ang mag-referee – not just referee but prevent it from the start. As the President, you have to talk to them. It’s kind of difficult to explain the approach that you would do because it will always, always depend on the situation. And not just the situation but with the people involved. Malay mo, mag-boyfriend-girlfriend pala iyon. Tapos conflicting interest tapos trabaho. It’s a different dynamic. But at the end of the day, you just have to talk to them. Know the root cause, know what they can do first – what they think they can do to remedy the problem, the issue – and then give them your point of view. You’re mixing in options in between, so, give them choices or options in what you can do about them. If you can’t resolve that, you take it to the Admin. You can’t resolve that, you take it to the APMC.”
In your Presidency, I’m sure there will be a lot of issues, arising spontaneous opinions and conflicts of interest. In light of school issues, what is your opinion on the Christmas party issue?
“Noong first year kasi [ako], when we were posed with [organizing] the Christmas party, I thought, bakit first year lang? In the long run, now that I’m a second year, given the time and weight of the academics and everything else, you will understand that much of the work should be done by the first-years. I’m not saying that everything should be done by [them], I’m saying maybe 50% of the work should be by the first-years then divide the rest among the second- and third-years, perhaps second-years taking more because of the load of third years. We have to decide on that as a student body. We have to get the opinion of the first-years on that as well. But personally, dividing it equally among all the levels – I don’t think that’s fair for the upper-years, given their academic load. I also thought of it as some sort of initiation… It’s not. It’s really not. It’s just that when you get to second-year, you really understand how much load of work you have to do besides everything else. What I can suggest is that when you move on to second-year, i-turn-over ng second–years sa first-years ang files nila. Maybe they have more contacts than the current first-years; they could maybe give that. They could give them their evaluation, like how difficult it was. And of course, enlighten the first-years why they have the bulk of the work. Financially speaking though, I believe in equality with the financial burden, and I think we should all work together in making a larger IGP, not just iyung first-years lang mag-iisip ng ganoon. First-years, second-years, third-years, perhaps clerks and interns have an idea given that they have experienced Christmas party organization. Think of an IGP that could fund the Christmas party well, and besides that, maybe we could get more sponsors. I think that we’re lacking in the Christmas party is a beneficiary or an advocacy; I think that would attract more sponsors, maybe.”
Given what you’ve said, what would the President’s SC’s role be in the Christmas party in the upcoming school year?
“Most likely the role of the SC would be giving the connections to the upper-year levels. Because the first people that the first-years encounter are the people from the SC: Internal PRO, External PRO, and I think better communication process is the key to distributing better information to the incoming first-years. Including when the SC introduces the Christmas party, I do hope that mostly a lot of second-years can give out their own experiences perhaps when they were officers who organized the Christmas party, and they could share their insights. Even [for] the upper years, like the incoming third-years, basically the role is to disseminate information well, of course. Hindi lang iyung “kayo mag-oorganize ng Christmas party kasi ganito.” Hindi lang dapat ganoon. They should be given something to look forward to, kung bakit sila nag-oorganize. They should be given enough information about it.”
Thank you for that opinion. Regarding the tuition fee increase, what is your say about it?
“I think we need to grasp the idea that we are a private school and that private schools are businesses and that they need to earn. Tuition fee increase in general is unavoidable given the expenditures, et cetera, not just in private schools but also in state schools. Fortunately, I was part of the tuition fee increase meeting, and the things that they told us seem relevant to the tuition fee increase; this is coming from a student who’s actually paying the tuition fee. Of course, medical education is really expensive wherever we go, but it is relatively cheap in the Philippines. We’re a premier school, one of the front-runners of the medical schools even though we’re young, and we are being offered really good education. And I think personally that it’s okay to have a tuition fee increase given that we see the results. I’m not being pro-administration given their decision, but I’m just rationalizing [it] because we have to understand that it’s a business. They have to earn, and they are not earning as much since they are funding the scholars as well. Maybe the thing is we could include more students in the discussion about it, not just the student leaders – maybe randomly pick someone in class, malay mo may “tribute” sila na there is someone who is really good in business who could help out.”
Lastly, what gets you up in the morning? What inspires you to work for more?
“First and foremost is the dream to become a doctor – not just any doctor but a Lukan doctor who is a good leader and cares for the patient. We all know these things, but it makes me get up in the morning. I’m still at the tiny bit of the loading bar; it’s a long way to go. But when you look at that, when you look behind at what you have achieved, you’d give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve done this – what more can you do? You challenge yourself. The fact is that I want to challenge myself every day. Challenge, like these are your goals yesterday. Why not improve on them today? You always want to improve yourself.”
Is there anything else you would like to say about your running for the Presidency, about yourself, about the elections in general?
“I’m expecting a really exciting election. It’s nerve-wracking. I’m looking forward to the student leaders that are stepping up and rising up. And to the whole student body, what I can say the following year is that I don’t want everyone to expect great events, great term, great things, but expect great leadership.”
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