SOCIOLOGY student Justin Elizaga was counting election returns that scrolled through his arms day and night.

He encoded some of the 76,475 election returns for validation and catalogued them, not an easy task especially when you had been doing this non-stop all day, up until the wee hours of the night.

Still, Elizaga did not let up knowing he—like many other UST volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) for the May 10 elections—was doing something noble.

“It wasn’t really just a piece of cake,” Elizaga said. “It was a real job in the real world. It was something for our country.”


‘Getting involved’

As the external auditor of the recent elections, PPCRV assigned volunteers to its media and communications centers, including its encoding staff.

“It’s a matter of getting yourself involved,” said Eilleen Esteban, president of YouthPinoy, the official youth arm of PPCRV.

YouthPinoy had four Thomasian alumni in its office to help in delegating and teaching the poll watchers about their responsibilities.

“I’ve seen Thomasians work, and I can say that they really stand out from the rest,” the legal management alumna said. “They are low-profile but amazingly competent in what they do.

Esteban launched YouthPinoy’s website last January in the University to encourage Thomasians to actively participate in the organization’s events, especially with regard to guarding the vote.

“Thomasians recognize the value of servant leadership,” said Esteban, who has always been active in her organizations even as a college student. This leadership showed especially when she became the vice-president internal of the Thomasian Alumni Leaders Association last year.

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“I’ve learned that academics is not primarily the thing they teach you in school,” she said. “My alma mater has molded me as a total human person in the Thomasian upbringing.”


Passion in action

Elizaga, president of the UST Sociology Society, took his 200-hour internship in PPCRV. But the job proved more than just a school requirement. Elizaga, along with the 2,800 volunteers, found a deeper meaning.

“Volunteerism is not easy,” Elizaga said. “It was just really a part of my on-the-job training. But when I knew that the situation called for my participation, I stopped counting the hours that passed by.”

The seemingly unending hours monitoring the election and the canvassing made the youth members heavy-lidded and exhausted. But stepping out of their comfort zones and giving up on the usual outings on the beach in order to do election work was all worth it. It meant being part of history.

 “All the stress and strength drained were all worth it in the end,” Elizaga said.


  1. UST Sociology Society was supposed to be UST Sociological Society, but still thank you for publishing this article. thank you for appreciating what we did out there. =)


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