In preparation for the coming Legislative Assembly (LA) sessions, University Student Government (USG) President Migi Moreno conducted a short discussion on the rationale behind the proposed amendments to the USG Constitution in the informal LA session held today, November 29, 2013.
Moreno presented the grounds for Operation REFOCUS, a program initiated by the Office of the President (OPRES) which conducted research efforts and assessments on the current USG structure, and proposed a set of amendments based on its findings.
He tells that Operation REFOCUS was aligned with the 2003 Operation Revamp – a Student Council (SC) program which called for the amendments in the 2003 Constitution and laid the foundations for the creation of the USG – claiming that many of the problems faced by the Student Council of A.Y. 2003-2004 still exist at present.
The three main thrusts of the the program are direction, continuity, and inclusiveness. In terms of direction, Moreno cites the lack of total coordination between offices as one of the main problems that the proposed 2014 Constitution tries to address. He tells that by his observation, and based on statements from former USG Presidents, the different Executive Board (EB) offices “function independently, with their own visions and missions,” rather than collectively as the USG.
On continuity and inclusiveness, he furthers by saying that projects initiated by a set of officers in one year should not “be junked” in the next year, but rather officers should work to make better programs that have been effective in the past. “We have to address the mentality of ‘I, me, my’ and we have to embrace the culture of inclusiveness… it should be that we care about not only what happens in our years or terms, but what we can contribute to aid the officers next year, and the following year,” he says.
The amendments advocated by Operation REFOCUS also include the restructuring of the USG, mainly the Executive Branch. The proposed amendments will narrow down the number of units which operate in the Executive Branch from 43 to only nine, where the EB will include only the President, Executive Vice President, and Executive Treasurer, all with a shared office called the Cabinet rather than individual offices. This, Moreno claims, allows for a more unified and coordinated system.
Apart from this, the amendments also propose the creation of a USG Assembly, a Constitutional Convention, and Transitory Commission, among others. Furthermore, there will be full integration of the Science and Technology Complex (STC) Government into the USG.
Should the amendments be passed the new Constitution be ratified, Operation REFOCUS also aims to raise awareness among students of the rationale of the changes as well as ensure a proper transition into the new USG system.
The LA was set to discuss the resolution calling for the approval of the proposed amendments to the 2009 USG constitution in today’s session, however, this did not push through because it did not meet the quorum. The LA will pick up the agenda from today’s session next week, December 6, 2013.
If and when the amendments are passed, a plebiscite will be held to ratify them, and Moreno hopes that the target date for plebiscite will be set for before the end of January 2014, so as not to coincide with preparations for the General Elections.
The LaSallian will be pursuing this story as it continues. Discussions on the amendments will be ongoing for the remaining LA sessions of the 2nd term. Students may consult with their batch LA on the developments of the plebiscite, or sit in during the LA sessions held every Friday at 2:30 pm.
The soft copies of documents pertinent to the plebiscite can be accessed through these links: