Asst. Prof. Emerito Gonzales of the Faculty of Arts and Letters is the new UST Faculty Union (USTFU) president, replacing Dr. George Lim who has occupied the post for a decade.

Gonzales, Sulong USTFU party’s presidential candidate, won with 440 votes, while Asst. Prof. Revenendo Vargas of the Institute of Religion, standard bearer of Lim’s Kabalikat party, got 419 votes.

Lingkod-Guro bet Prof. Jove Jim Aguas, also of Arts and Letters, mustered 208 votes.

Gonzales was among the negotiators removed from the union panel during the 2016-2021 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations for allegedly violating confidentiality rules when they publicly called for the immediate release of the faculty’s 70-percent share of tuition increases since 2016.

Deciding votes 

Gonzales received 78 of 116 votes cast by the Senior High School faculty. The Medicine bloc, the faculty with the most number of voters and Lim’s bailiwick, gave 122 of 136 votes to Vargas.

Gonzales also obtained the most votes in the colleges of Nursing (52 of 55), Pharmacy (39 of 48), and Arts and Letters (64 of 104), and in the National Service Training Program (21 of 24).

Another sacked negotiator and Gonzales’ running mate, incumbent USTFU internal vice president Asst. Prof. Edilberto Gonzaga, secured the executive vice presidency with 568 votes. Gonzaga edged out Lingkod-Guro bet Patrick Ellis Go, who got 435 votes.

Kabalikat wins most posts

While Sulong USTFU claimed the top two spots, Kabalikat won most of the executive posts, with Claudine Say as the new internal vice president, George Chao as external vice president, Leny Gadiana as vice president for labor education and research, Pocholo Mari Arabit as vice president for grievance and complaints, Aurora Cristina Bermudez as vice president for legal affairs, Elizabeth Kapulong as secretary general, Joyce Tan as treasurer, James Mark Nidea as public relations officer and Jonathan Cabero as sergeant at arms. 

Kabalikat party members Stephen Querico Buñi, Raymond Clarin, Kristi Ma. Fevie Macasaet, Raul Ortega, Crisensio Paner and Dominador Ulaye were elected to the USTFU board of directors.

They are joined by Lingkod-Guro’s Marvin Zapanta and Sulong USTFU’s Maria Victoria Bongar, Ulysses Parado and Elvis Llarena.

A special election for the USTFU auditorship will be held on Feb. 25 to settle the tie between Sulong USTFU’s Leonid Lintag and Kabalikat’s Maria Luisa Reyes.

Campaign vows

Gonzales will serve a five-year term as USTFU chief until 2026.

Earlier this month, Gonzales said that if elected into office, he would immediately form a CBA panel and renegotiate the existing CBA.

“After two months, we shall renegotiate the remaining two years of the current CBA. Then by July or August 2021, we shall invite the management panel to start formally talking about the 2021-2026 CBA,” Gonzales told the Varsitarian.

He also said that his party would demand the release of the faculty’s share of tuition increases.

“Why do we need to negotiate for it when the law already assures us that it is ours? The [tuition increase] shares at the end of the school year must be released immediately to the teachers, within the first month of the following semester,” Gonzales said.

Under the law, 70 percent of tuition increases must go to salaries, wages, allowances and other benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel, while 20 percent must go to the improvement or modernization of buildings, equipment, libraries, laboratories and similar facilities, and payment for other operational costs.

The latest CBA gave salary hikes to faculty members regardless of rank and increases in some benefits. Faculty members were also given a “pandemic assistance” of P10,000 amid the Covid-19 outbreak, apart from the usual signing bonus.

The Sulong USTFU party plans to focus on strengthening networks and labor relations, and boost labor education and the entrepreneurial and financial well-being programs for members.

Gonzales also supports free vaccines against Covid-19 for all faculty members.

Voter turnout reached 83 percent, with 1,090 voting out of 1,310 eligible union members. with reports from Christine Joyce Paras 


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