LA mulls response on anti-terror bill, student governance concerns in second Laguna session

The University Student Government’s (USG) Legislative Assembly (LA) held a session at the Laguna Campus last March 6 to deliberate on resolutions related to the recent Senate approval of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, and other matters concerning student governance in the Manila and Laguna campuses. 

Anxieties over Anti-Terrorism bill 

The Assembly homed in on Senate Bill (SB) 1083 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, approved last February 26, with several LA representatives expressing apprehension toward the bill. The bill, which repeals the earlier Human Security Act of 2007, sought harsher penalties, including life imprisonment, against anyone directly or indirectly involved in any terrorist plot. 

Wary over possible abuse of the new law, LA representatives called for the release of a statement against the bill. EXCEL2021 Batch Representative Katkat Ignacio explained that a pronouncement will help the Lasallian community become more aware of the bill’s implications. 

“SB 1083 blurs the importance of dissent, allowing the government to freely accuse anyone of committing terrorist acts, and even red-tagging students to an extent,” Ignacio argued.

Questioned on the purpose of the statement, Majority Floor Leader Maegan Ragudo responded that “[the USG] can send the statement to the Senators and then have a Senator hopefully sponsor [the statement].” Ignacio added that the statement also aims to urge members of Congress to re-analyze the bill and for student organizations to mobilize similar action. The resolution was approved by the Assembly, with two representatives abstaining.

Addressing matters at the Laguna Campus

Laguna Campus Student Government (LCSG) LA Representative Michele Gelvoleo also presented two resolutions to the Assembly. First off was the establishment of a manual for the Laguna Campus College President’s Circle (CPC).  Gelvoleo reasoned that, unlike in the Manila campus, the rules for College Presidents in Laguna Campus still remain mostly unwritten, making the creation of a formal manual necessary. The manual currently only specifies the membership of the CPC and rules on its meetings.

Photo by Deo Cruzada

Gelvoleo’s second proposal called for the compulsory attendance of LSCG officers in the campus’ State of Student Governance (SSG) address, to be delivered by LCSG President Enrico Español. Similar to the SSG address in Manila campus, the Laguna campus SSG address is done at the end of each term, to evaluate the state of the LCSG and its future plans. Gelvoleo explained that the SSG will require interviews from LCSG officials, from college representatives to LA representatives “on what are the things, events, or anything they were able to do for the campus this past term.” 

Gelvoleo, however, explained that there is currently no set date for the SSG. “This resolution is just calling for the mandatory attendance but we are planning to hold the SSG at the end of the term,” she elaborated.

With the LA’s approval, both of Gelvoleo’s resolutions were passed.

Efficient communication

Another resolution, authored by Ignacio and fellow representatives 73rd ENG Batch Representative Alfonso Claros, EDGE2019 Batch Representative Johann Coscolluela, and BLAZE2022 Batch Representative Robin Lim sought to mandate all Facebook pages of the USG to share important announcements. Batch and college government pages will be required to share announcements including those regarding processes for enrollment and pre-enlistment, class suspensions, and other academic matters. 

Lim explained that USG college and batch governments will receive penalties if they do not comply. These penalties will come in the form of a two-week or even a month-long ban from USG conference room reservations. It will still remain under the USG Executive Secretary’s discretion, however, if the resolution will apply to the LCSG or not. The resolution was also passed by the Assembly.

The LA originally also planned to discuss the creation of position papers on SB 2232 or the Mandatory ROTC bill and the increase of the number of Filipino units in the University’s curriculum from three to six, but these were laid on the table due to the proponents needing more time to fix technicalities and to consult the University administration.

Furthermore, the LA decided to not discuss the resolutions calling for approval of the appointment of Joan Encarnacion as 71st ENG Batch President and Joanne Tung as 71st ENG Batch Vice President due to the incomplete attendance of the current LA Representatives. Minority Leader Neal Gonzales was not present during the session.

Update: March 8, 2020. 6:40 pm

The previous version of this article states that one subject of tabled discussions will the addition of six Filipino units to the University’s curriculum. It has since been corrected.

Deo Cruzada

By Deo Cruzada

John Robert Lee

By John Robert Lee

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