In every government, money serves as “fuel in the tank” to carry out its various functions, which entails financial transparency and accountability. The USG is not an exception. Article III, Section 19 of the USG Constitution provides that the USG shall adopt and implement a policy of public disclosure of all its transactions involving the interest of its members.
The Office of the Executive Treasurer (OTREAS), as the custodian of the USG funds, technically serves as the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of the system. The office is tasked to monitor and manage USG funds.
Though not explicitly stipulated in the USG Constitution that OTREAS has to be transparent with the student body, it is, however, implied in the Bill of Rights of each student. In Section 2 of the Bill of Rights, students have the right to access important documents regarding transactions, which may include the documents pertaining to the allotment of funds done by the OTREAS. Section 7 and 9 of the Bill of Rights also pertain to similar student participation on the endeavors of the USG. Thus, the office’s implied task is to disclose financial information to the student body.
In an online survey conducted by The LaSallian, 45 percent of the respondents believe that the breakdown of tuition fees is significant. They are eager to know where the proceeds from their tuition fees are allocated among various expenses such as library fees, utility fees, and the like.
An estimated 40 percent of the respondents gave a passing grade of 2.0 to OTREAS in its goal of promoting financial transparency, giving access to financial statements, and promoting transparent financial reporting. On a higher note, the office received a 3.0 in terms of financial services provided and student scholarships handled from 37 percent of the respondents.
Finally, OTREAS received a mean grade of 2.5 from 34 percent of the students in terms of delivering its financial commitments.
According to 2011 USG Executive Treasurer Djon Nacario, financial transparency has always been a challenge for OTREAS since updating of USG records is usually done on a daily basis. There are also instances where finance officers of the various units, due to unknown reasons, forget to update their respective records, thus creating discrepancies.
Concerning the topic of OTREAS’ financial transparency under incumbent USG Executive Treasurer Carlo Inocencio, Santugon OTREAS candidate Kayne Litonjua says, “For the financials of each unit, it is publicized online, and every week, we give a summary of the financial status to the administration, Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation and Empowerment (SLIFE) for them to be aware also since their direct office [is] involved with the position.”
According to Inocencio, the main focus of OTREAS this year has been to increase the number of student scholarship grantees, financial assistance packages and loan grants. He adds that the office would be open to showing documents that concern activities and financial truncations if ever a regular student wishes to see them as available in the DLSU USG website. Inspection, however, of the USG website reveals that the office currently has not made available their financial reports and other documents.
Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) Jeric Maala affirms, “the USG is not that transparent in those financial statements.”
To address the various issues the office has confronted this year, Litonjua aims to improve financial transparency in the USG. He hopes to continue Inocencio’s initiatives such as the creation of a list of supplies and suppliers for the offices to closely monitor their expenses, and at the same time ensure that they could but costs by availing of discounts.
On the other hand, Maala envisions an OTREAS that utilizes the Commission on Audit (CoA) for prompt collection of transcript of expenses. It is through this coordination with CoA that Maala will advocate for transparency. He has shown enthusiasm in developing a financial check and balance system that would show the breakdown of funds.