UP in the elections: University election initiatives for the 2019 midterm polls

| Written by Khalil Ismael Michael G. Quilinguing

With just a few days to go before voters troop to the polling stations for the 2019 midterm elections, several units of the University of the Philippines are busy publishing insights, fact check pieces and other materials aimed at aiding voters in their choice of candidates for the different positions in government.

An initiative which seeks to verify claims made by candidates in the campaign trail, as well as in media interviews, debates and public fora, Tsek.ph attempts to provide voters with information relating to the veracity of statements made by political hopefuls.

 


Video by the UP Media and Public Relations Office

 

Tsek.ph is a joint effort of UP, the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, online news organization Rappler, investigative journalism outfit Vera Files, ABS-CBN News, Interaksyon, Radio World Broadcasting Corporation, Baguio Midland Courier, Central Luzon Television, MindaNews, Probe Productions, The Philippine Star, Philstar.com, and the university’s own radio station, DZUP.

Representatives of these institutions signed a Memorandum of Agreement in February.

Aside from publishing verification reports made by its staff and contributors, Tsek.ph also accepts submissions from individuals who have come across dubious claims made by candidates to the public and the media.

“In Tsek.ph, we have what we call a claim submission. So, the public can put out a question on the website and send a query,” said Prof. Rachel Khan of the Department of Journalism of the College of Mass Communication. “And the members of Tsek.ph are committed to research that question, for as long as it is election related.”

Also involved in the project, aside from the Department of Journalism of the College of Mass Communication, are the university’s Department of Computer Science of the College of Engineering and the College of Law.

Over at the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, members of the Department of Political Science are also providing the electorate with insights on the issues and situations confronting the country via the UP sa Halalan 2019 project.

 


Video by the UP Media and Public Relations Office

 

An initiative which traces its roots to the UP sa Halalan project by the university’s Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs in the 2013 and 2016 elections, the project aims to provide the public with viewpoints from experts in political science, governance, the electoral process and other issues confronting the electorate.

Department chair and project head Prof. Maria Ela Atienza said the project aims to continue “the kind of work particularly during elections, where we present analysis, evidence-based data, that hopefully can inform different sectors about what is at stake during elections.”

She added it also wants to “highlight … the relevant issues that may not be discussed by the candidates and the political parties, but at the same time also, we feel they should actually prioritize.”

Aside from think pieces by its own faculty, the UP sa Halalan 2019 project also provides analysis from other units of the university, including insights from foreigners who have had a long history of studying the political landscape of the country and collaboration with the department.

The UP sa Halalan 2019 project maintains a website (halalan.up.edu.ph) where they publish analyses, viewpoints and materials from affiliated faculty and partners. It also maintains social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Preview of UP sa Halalan 2019 website

 

Tsek.ph also maintains a website (tsek.ph) where it publishes the results of its verification of claims made by candidates. It also maintains a Facebook page where it also shares its findings.

 

Preview of Tsek.ph website

 

By providing fact check findings, viewpoints, analyses and research materials on the candidates and the issues discussed leading to the election day, these units fulfill not only the university’s mandate to serve the people, but also to provide information and to educate and empower them as they prepare to perform a very important act of representative democracy.

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