Former College of Liberal Arts (CLA) President Zeanne Garcia recalls a time when she decided to donate P20,000 from her college’s own unit, the Arts College Government (ACG), to the Filipino Youth Summit (FYS) 2019, an event spearheaded by the Office of the Vice President for External Affairs, and the ID 116 Graduation Ball, organized by ID 116 batch government units.
The process to make these donations, Garcia explains, is known as a book transfer, wherein an organization is allowed to relocate its own funds to an organization within the University. In reference to the recent book transfer she carried out, Garcia shares, “The donation, in general, has helped the college in a way that other units, may it be a USG unit or any DLSU office, can provide support for student organizations in actualizing relevant and quality initiatives.”
A mutual agreement
USG Executive Treasurer Kevin Wu reveals that donations can either be in the form of an internal or external book transfer; the former only concerns the transfer of assets within the University, while the latter serves as a similar route for exchange, but going to or coming from external organizations and companies.
Before a book transfer is successfully completed, Wu explains that the respective parties must first obtain approval from the Office of the Executive Treasurer (OTREAS) and the Accounting Office. Among those requirements would be if the transfer was to fund “big projects or events”, which are where book transfers are most applicable.
The approval of the Dean of Student Affairs and the Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation and Empowerment (SLIFE) may also be required in some cases, former Executive Treasurer Adrian Briones adds.
Processing the approval also requires an internal memorandum of agreement between both parties, acknowledging the donation process and the amount of money to be donated.
College of Science President Julia Brago also discloses that an additional justification letter is also required. On internal book transfers, Brago explains that the letter, which outlines the reason for the need for the donation, must be written by the USG unit head and sent to the OTREAS.
“When this is approved, it is the only time that they can prepare and process the payment requisition slip for the book transfer,” she expounds.
Authorized figures, prohibitions
In an internal book transfer, the authority of who approves the donation will be verified. According to Wu, book transfers can only be made with the approval of College Presidents, the OTREAS, and the Office of the President. In addition to this, former USG electeds are barred from making any donations. “The Office of [SLIFE] and the Accounting Office only approves requests made by the incumbent officers,” explains Briones.
Briones also states that while all of the USG units are qualified to make donations to other units—so long as they respect and meet the given requirements—the book transfers can only happen if it is represented by the unit’s highest official, which is the Batch President for batch governments or College Presidents for college governments.
“No one is allowed to donate their money from their own pockets,” Wu emphasizes. Brago says that in order to prevent USG members from shelling out money from their own pockets, USG units are encouraged to conduct fundraisers to gain money.
Elaborating on the matter, Briones mentions that officers of the USG and the Council of Student Organizations (CSO) are required to utilize their respective Depository Funds for book transfers as the sole type of fund that can be utilized. The former Executive Treasurer also notes, “In terms of accountability, no cash on hand is involved since the Office of [SLIFE] prohibits officers of the USG and CSO to hold cash.”
In contrast with Briones’ administration, Wu discloses that each college government and Executive Board unit now has its own Petty Cash fund—a sum of money from the Depository Fund of an organization’s treasurer, which can then be used for unforeseen needs of expenses.
The Petty Cash fund replaced the phased-out reimbursement process followed by each unit, with a Student Procurement Form now required for expenses costing P50,000 and below. The process was introduced following the new guidelines authored by Briones and CSO Chairperson Nicolle Bien Madrid last academic year to ease the process of requisitions among student organizations.
In line with this, Brago also notes that the incumbent college or batch presidents and their units’ treasurers are expected to be “fully aware” of the different transaction processes since it is expected of them to be competent in handling and monitoring the “safekeeping of their finances.”
Assisting one another
Although Briones considers the paperwork and the justification process during his term to be among the restrictions of the donation process, he justifies, “This was done in the rationale that in partnerships, all units involved bear the costs of implementing the initiatives.”
Wu also considers one restriction regarding the external book transfers, where partners and sponsors for an event would pay the University organizers with personal checks, which are not allowed as donations by the administration offices. “Instead, they have to ask the bank for managerial checks,” Wu recalls.
Despite such restrictions, Briones does not hide the fact that book transfers help in implementing unit initiatives. He also adds that, while being in-line with the process of the Procurement Office, it can also assist USG units to pass the budget certification stage of the Accounting Office for procuring products and services.
Sharing similar sentiments, Brago claims that, currently, the book transferring process does not require any improvements or amendments. Consequently, she praises it for being “beneficial for future projects” that are in store for her college as it promotes a collaborative effort between USG units.