Despite several disagreements between the De La Salle University Parents of University Student Organization (PUSO) and the University administration, the parents’ organization has confirmed that they are still in operation. In a recent interview with The LaSallian, DLSU-PUSO president Atty. Dindo T. Garciano has clarified that, contrary to earlier reports, their office has not been disbanded.
Just last term, the University announced, through a letter from University Chancellor Dr. Robert Roleda to, their decision to discontinue their relations with PUSO. Furthermore, the administration requested the organization to vacate their office in Br. John Hall starting December 22, 2017.
Recently, however, the tension between the two parties has simmered down and opened up to more amicable discussions until they can reach an agreement on their respective roles.
PUSO, a non-profit and non-stock organization, was formed in 1985 and incorporated under the Certificate of Registration No. 130425 issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It acts as the parent organization of the student body, with the objective to assist the University, especially its studentry, in providing Lasallian education, as well as promoting the values of St. John Baptist De La Salle.
Aside from representing its students and parents regarding University matters, or holding activities for co-parents, DLSU-PUSO also aids in financial assistance for particular activities, such as the CLA Thesis Grant. More recently, PUSO has played an active role in conducting the regulatory board meetings on the issue of “Happy Thursday.”
Alongside other sectors, PUSO has also been vocal in other University concerns, such as the recent University Break shift and the upcoming tuition fee increase. Given that the involvement of different sectors would not have a single strand of agreement, reaching a consensus would instigate a clash of perspectives before meeting all terms.
Impasse in the past
“Actually, we were also wondering what happened. I guess there were some sectors in the University that did not agree to the results of our elections,” Garciano explains. On the contrary, according to Ang Pahayagang Plaridel’s interview with Roleda, the administration started their suspicions when Garciano signed a document that contains sensitive information. Following the administration’s decision, Garciano said that PUSO was still insistent of their right to exist as an independent organization from DLSU.
With the recent absence of PUSO during the meeting of the Multi-Sectoral Consultative Committee on Tuition and Fees (MSCCTF), an abeyance has been requested by Garciano, until their organization reaches a memorandum of understanding with the administration, following some conflicts in the past. “The PUSO is part and parcel of the MSCCTF and chairs that committee, and because of this seeming impasse that happened between PUSO and the administration, PUSO has not been invited to the deliberations of the multi-sectoral,” Garciano clarified.
However, the presence of parent representation in MSCCTF is granted mandatory, especially with PUSO as the chair. “We had a meeting with the Chancellor and a PUSO representative, and it was agreed that there would be a status quo. Meaning to say, whatever issues that stand in the way between PUSO and the Office of the Chancellor would remain where they are,” Garciano further explained.
“There were discussions and some clarifications and some disagreements between PUSO and the Office of the Chancellor. I wouldn’t say it was a nice discussion, it led to some heated discussions, but it turned out that cooler heads prevailed and the interest of the University and the parents were served,” he added.
The importance of independence
Since its formation, PUSO is independent from the University, and will remain independent. It is not accredited as an office under DLSU, nor created as an official organization by DLSU. It serves as a regulatory power that guarantees independence from the University. “Our main role is to be critical on policies of the University that would grant the best interest of the parents. So, it is not correct if the parents’ association and the University would appear as to be looking at one direction where the interest of the parents and the University are on opposite directions,” Garciano said.
The LaSallian has reached out to University Chancellor Dr. Robert Roleda for a comment, but has not replied as of publishing.