The Legislative Assembly (LA) convened through Zoom last August 22 to discuss and approve several resolutions, including resolutions tabled in their previous session last August 7. Among the deliberations held by the Assembly were the establishment of detailed guidelines for the Arrows Express Shuttle Service, the resignation of a batch representative, and a statement on the country’s current economic situation.
In their last session, legislators debated on a proposed recall process guidelines for University Student Government (USG) officers. While the Assembly intended to again deliberate on the resolution, it was withdrawn by its proponents from the agenda due to unfinished revisions.
On the economic crisis
EXCEL2020 Batch Representative Nina Bermejo, EXCEL2021 LA Representative Katkat Ignacio, and EXCEL2022 LA Representative Brendan Miranda proposed to release a statement on the Philippines’ economic recession. Miranda emphasized that it is “timely” and stressed that beyond being a health concern, COVID-19 has also become an economic one.
At the moment, the Philippines is the second worst performing Southeast Asian country in terms of economic growth. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) previously recorded a 16.5 percent contraction in the country’s economy for the second quarter of 2020. Currently, 45.5 percent of Filipino adults, or 27.3 million people, are jobless due to the effects of the pandemic, according to the National Mobile Phone Survey by the Social Weather Stations.
The proponents deemed the country’s economic climate as “not justifiable” and the government response as “lacking”. The proponents further hit government failure to provide effective responses to the crisis instead of band-aid solutions; its failure to maximize available resources; and a lack of transparency over budget use.
The statement called for transparency and accountability and urged the Philippine government to take “better and data-driven responses that provide support to the most vulnerable sectors”. The legislators reported that the statement had been submitted to DLSU’s Office of Strategic Communications and revisions had accordingly been done before presentation to the Assembly.
The resolution was approved by the floor unanimously.
Guidelines for shuttle service
Laguna Campus Student Government Representatives Michele Gelvoleo and Michael Batallones, as well as CATCH2T20 LA Representative Paolo Delos Reyes, conducted a survey last term to gather student feedback and awareness on the Arrows Express Shuttle Service, which links the Laguna and Manila campuses. The survey revealed complaints from respondents, most of whom came from the Manila campus, citing that they did not know how to avail of the service. Batallones reported that students called for better publication of guidelines, pointing out that “it should be clear to them if they’re paying for it [through their tuition fees].”
The resolution authored by the proponents aims to update and improve the guidelines for the usage of the service.
Under the proposed guidelines, students, faculty, and staff may ride the shuttle not only for attending classes, but also for participating in events in the other campus. “Since we are an integrated campus, it would be unfair if not all of us have access to these resources and will go against our saying that we are ‘One DLSU’,” Gelvoleo said.
The guidelines were also amended to specify procedures for reservation, along with additional mandates for the proper dissemination of guidelines. Health and safety measures were also added in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
University administrators from both Laguna and Manila campus had agreed to the proposal, according to the proponents. Hence, the resolution was approved by the Assembly without objection.
‘Untimely’ resolution retracted
A proposed resolution to release a statement supporting health workers’ call for a timeout was withdrawn. FOCUS2018 Batch Representative Renee Formoso, one of the proponents, explained that the proposal was retracted because “it is seen as untimely.”
Medical professionals appealed to the government last August 1 to put Mega Manila back under a two-week Enhanced Community Quarantine to stem the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Metro Manila, along with Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, were then placed under a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine which started on August 4 and ended last Tuesday, August 18.
The statement underwent a review last session, with only assessments from the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement, Formation and Empowerment and the Committee on National Issues and Concerns pending.
Updates and concerns
Increased academic workload was bared as an emerging problem for the Assembly. EXCEL2019 Batch Representative Sofhia Montejo, who was unable to attend the meeting, tendered her resignation letter through Ignacio, citing academic concerns.
Members of other LA committees also admitted that academic responsibilities made it more difficult to present updates on their ongoing projects, while the National Affairs committee bared plans for webinars and awareness campaigns during the session. Meanwhile, the Students’ Rights and Welfare committee assured that FAST2018 Batch Representative Maegan Ragudo is continuing to work with the USG’s Office of the President on the Safe Spaces Initiative, with approval from the University eyed within August.