After passing two resolutions on appointing the new EDGE2018 representative and amending changes in their manual, the student legislators present in the recent Legislative Assembly (LA) session last March 11 decided to hold the last agenda on passing the release of the manifesto regarding the Manila Bay reclamation issue.
During the session, EXCEL2021 LA representative Jocef Ocampo, together with 73rd ENG LA representative Nathan Quach, who co-authored the said manifesto, explained that it was created in response to news reports stating that Manila Bay is being rehabilitated for potential land reclamation projects by private companies. “So in our eyes, it shows how the government is using public funds for something that’s good, but they are selling it to private companies,” Ocampo explained.
However, Quach, in an online interview after the session, clarified that they decided to defer the release of the manifesto in order to make necessary edits to make the unified stand of the University Student Government (USG) clear and straightforward, with the hope of having it approved in the next session.
Applying lessons learned
It was pointed out by Quach that the legislators had recently attended a seminar conducted by the Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation and Empowerment (SLIFE) on how to create a good resolution and manifesto. These learnings, he explained, was applied to the current draft at hand. However, some of his fellow legislators still found confusion with the manifesto, adding their own suggestions for improvement based on the lessons from SLIFE as well.
Majority Floor Leader Neal Gonzales mentioned that the initial second paragraph still focused on reporting about the issue, which was already done in the first paragraph, and requested that it instead should state the stand of the USG. Likewise, Gonzales added that the third paragraph should be the call to action on what the Lasallian community can do.
Chief Legislator Stella Santos decided to have a 10-minute recess, which was further extended in an attempt to polish the draft of the manifesto and have it passed during the same session. Unfortunately, the manifesto, similar to the previous manifestos drafted by the LA, was not passed and instead was laid on the table.
Reminders for future manifestos
After the authors called for the manifesto to be laid on the table, Santos gave some reminders to the legislators on how to handle these resolutions in the future.
The chief legislator believed that the representatives were “overthinking a lot of points” to polish the resolution, which she admitted was a good thing, but cautioned legislators to still respect the authors’ original vision.
“If the authors feel that they only want to focus on this, and [then] we won’t agree, I hope we come to a consensus or agreement [instead so that] we will maintain an atmosphere of respect towards what the authors want to do,” Santos added.
Santos, however, admitted that she was previously unaware of the land reclamation concerns on Manila Bay. “Honestly, this issue wasn’t known to me until it was raised that [the proponents] wanted to make this manifesto in their own initiative,” she continued.
Santos further reminded the rest of the legislators to read the draft of the resolution or manifesto before the session to better facilitate discussion during the meeting itself.
Change in quorum rules
In response to the recent vacancies in LA positions, which would make it difficult to pass major resolutions, it was in their interests to approve the resolution on amending Article 10, Section 8 of the LA manual that states the required number of LA representatives for quorum to happen.
In the original version, it is stated that quorum during sessions should be two-thirds of the total number of positions available, but the resolution called for this to be revised to two-thirds of total number of “occupied” positions instead.
Santos, wanting for the resolution to have constitutional basis, instructed proponents to include an additional section to the said manual which explains that decisions in implied quorums are final if two-thirds majority vote is unchallenged in the next session, or a unanimous vote occurs in the present implied quorum.
EDGE 2018 appointment
Before discussing the agenda on the release of said manifesto, Ria Magtalas had been appointed as the new EDGE2018representative through a unanimous vote. Prior to her appointment, Magtalas had been the research and development chair under the batch government.
When asked what her platform was as an LA representative, Magtalas said that she wanted for the LA and student body to closely work together, specifically through student consultation. “Kasi possible na yung para sa atin na problema ay di nila (student body)problema, tapos yung para sa kanila problema ay di natin nakikita, so maganda na magkaroon ng student consultation possibly every term kasi maraming nangyayari, at kailangan natin malaman ang side nila para yung ginagawa natin is for the students,” Magtalas explained.
(It is possible that what we consider as problems are not necessarily the problems of the student body, and vice versa, so it is better if we have student consultations possibly every term because a lot of things happen, and we need to know their side so that we can really say the initiatives we undertake are for the students.)
She also shared her personal advocacies that are aligned to human rights, democracy, and education, elaborating her plan to objectively explain and inform people of different national issues.