In review: The Legislative Assembly

The University Student Government (USG) Legislative Assembly (LA) is the highest policy-making body in DLSU. Led by the Chief Legislator, the LA consists of 31 members with representatives from each batch unit and two members from the Science and Technology Complex. The LA is also comprised of three sub-committees, namely, the Rules and Policies Committee (RnP), the Students’ Rights and Welfare Committee (STRAW), and the National Affairs Committee (NatAff).

According to the USG Constitution, the functions of the LA include reviewing resolutions on University, national, and sectoral issues, the budget allocation proposal of the USG, the approval of the Election Code, the approval of appointed officers, and the approval of replacement officers for resigning or impeached elected officers, among others. The LA also has representative positions in Council of University Representatives (CURE) Committees.

Regular LA sessions are conventionally held every Friday afternoon, though the Chief Legislator may call for a special session if deemed necessary.

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Positions and committees

After the success of the Special Elections in October, this year’s LA held their first session on November 27, 2015. During that session, they elected Patrick Alcantara (BLAZE2016) as Chief Legislator, Julio Ponce (67th ENG) as Chairperson of the RnP, Ryan Chu (68th ENG) as Chairperson of STRAW, and Natasha Athab (FAST2013) as Chairperson of NatAff. Jorge Francisco (CATCH2T18) and Kevin Tan (EXCEL2015) were also elected as Majority and Minority Floor Leaders, respectively.

As Chief Legislator, Alcantara heads the LA and ensures proper decorum is maintained throughout the sessions. He also signs all necessary documents and represents the policy-making body in events. During LA sessions, he sets the agenda but is required to maintain a neutral stance during the discourse.

As Majority and Minority Floor Leaders, Francisco and Tan are responsible for consolidating their arguments and positions on issues. Currently, the Majority Floor is composed of representatives who ran under Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon), while those who ran under Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) occupy the Minority Floor.

The three LA Committees—RnP, STRAW, and NatAff—create resolutions that address issues that fall under their directorate. The RnP is usually the most active committee since it handles issues regarding internal processes of the USG and the appointment of officers. On the other hand, STRAW addresses student concerns, such as the Student Handbook and student grievances. Meanwhile, NatAff creates manifestos and open letters that represent the student body’s stand on national issues.

Reviewing this year’s resos

The LaSallian compiles a list of resolutions that have thus far been deliberated this academic year.

November 2015

The first resolution of this batch of LA representatives was passed during the first LA session, which discussed the inclusion of different representatives from the student sector in the Tuition Fee Board under the Office of the Executive Treasurer (OTREAS). Moreover, the LA also elected the officers for its three sub-committees, as well as its top officers for this academic year.

January 2016

The LA sessions resumed in January, which called for the appointment of the new Magistrate for Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE) Rafael Rabacca. After a lengthy discussion, the LA approved Rabacca for the position. During the same session, the LA also discussed the release of the students’ manifesto on the Maguindanao Massacre.

The LA convened its next session on January 15, when it was proposed that the Tuition Fee Increase (TFI) manual should consist of the proper structure and procedures to be abided by during tuition fee-related meetings. The resolution was approved. For the next agenda, the LA called for the release of the open letter for the Leader I Want Forum, which encouraged Lasallians to participate in the said forum through social media.

February 2016

Another regular session was held last February 5, which discussed the release of a position paper on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Vote Count Machine (VCM). The Comelec, following its demonstration of the said machine last January 25, requested several parties, including DLSU, to release position papers on the issue.

For the next agenda, the LA approved the USG budget allocation of P567,400 for the next academic year.

The next session dated February 12 deliberated upon the proposal of a master list, which contains overlapping subjects between courses, and degree programs with many elective courses. The resolution was laid on the table or, in layman’s terms, postponed for the time being. After certain amendments, the resolution was passed in a succeeding LA session.

In the same session, the LA passed the provision of financial assistance to aspiring student organizations, allowing them to loan money from the appropriations fund from the USG.

The LA subsequently approved a manifesto regarding electives for ID 113 CLA students.

Another LA session held last February 19 passed the release of an open letter aiming to foster support for the Philippine film industry.

The next resolution on reverting to the original elevator scheme of Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC Hall was passed following the previous session’s decision to lay it on the table.

The next agenda called for the approval of amendments to the Science and Technology Complex Government (STCG) Rules of Internal Governance, which is still excluded from the USG Constitution. The resolution was laid on the table.

A resolution to pass certain amendments in the Convention of Leaders (COLE) manual was passed unanimously. For the next agenda, the LA also approved revisions of the COLE Board manual.

The last agenda approved the release of an open letter regarding the EDSA Revolution’s 30th Anniversary.

March 2016

For the last LA session of the term, the first agenda called for the release of a manifesto regarding the review of electoral qualifications in the Philippine government. The proponents deemed it essential to lay the resolution on the table due to the need for more information.

The last agenda passed the resolution to approve Department on Activity Approval and Monitoring (DAAM) chairpersons, Yedda Diaz and John Dulay.

Future plans for the LA

With just one term left for the LA Representatives, both the majority and minority floor are preparing resolutions to be passed once LA sessions resume.

According to Tan, the minority floor is going to push for resolutions for the “disadvantaged” sectors within the Lasallian community, such as the LGBT community. They are also working on resolutions for post-national elections efforts in line with Boto Lasalyano, Sulong Pilipino (BLSP). Tan also mentions that they are collaborating with the majority floor for amendments in the Code of Conduct and the Social Media Manual, as well as the Jesse M. Robredo Institute for Governance to establish DLSU as a center of good governance.

On the other hand, Francisco reports that one of the majority floor’s main concerns is the USG Constitution and that they are working on amending critical points, such as the Election Code. They also plan to release detailed manifestos regarding the new government officials that will be elected into office during the upcoming national and local polls in May. He shares that they are also currently working on resolutions that will ease student life in the University.

Both floor leaders note that they will also be looking into ways to improve security measures within the University in light of the recent incidents at Yuchengco Hall.

Jill Chua

By Jill Chua

Bianca Suarez

By Bianca Suarez

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