The Legislative Assembly (LA) tabled discussions on more proposed amendments to the University Student Government (USG) Constitution and the establishment of the Disaster Risk and Reduction Management (DRRM) emergency fund, the only two agenda in their online session earlier today, December 11.
In their previous session, the LA tabled the USG constitutional amendments to finalize the provisions for Laguna Campus Student Government Representative attendance; mandated meetings for Activities Assembly, the LA, and the USG; and the addition of the Office of the Chief Legislator, among other things.
The LA also discussed a new provision to formally include the Committees of the Executive Secretary (CES) in the USG charter. Prior to the session, consultations were conducted with the Office of the Secretary (OSEC) and the Department of Activity Approval and Monitoring. Monthly meetings between the latter office and the Commission for Officer Development, a unit under CES, will be required under the proposed changes.
The floor hopes to hold their final discussion on the constitution’s amendments in their next session.
Concerns on DRRM funding
The body also deliberated on the creation of the DRRM emergency fund, to be financed with seven to 10 percent of the USG’s budget. DRRM Ad Hoc Committee member Nina Bermejo shared that the funds of the Center for Social Concern and Action and the Office of Student Affairs are insufficient in helping those affected by natural disasters, especially the recent typhoons.
EXCEL2022 LA Representative Brendan Miranda asked whether the allocation can be sustained when USG activities become more frequent once face-to-face classes resume. FAST2019 LA Representative Lara Jomalesa, who co-authored the resolution, assured that the allotment can still be provided given its small percentage relative to the USG’s overall reserves.
The USG, however, faces an impending budget cut, Majority Floor Leader Maegan Ragudo revealed, which she said could compromise their ability to provide the proposed percentage. Jomalesa instead raised that the percentage be given as a suggestion while also recommending that the minimum percentage be lowered to five percent to provide more allowance on the amount that will be allocated.
Ragudo also expressed her concerns that USG President Lance Dela Cruz and OSEC were supposedly not consulted. “It is the money of the students. The entire [USG] Executive Board has a say on it, especially the USG President…since they know how to manage the funds of the USG together with [the Office of the Executive Treasurer],” Ragudo explained in Filipino.
She also questioned the timeliness of the percentage scheme, highlighting how the percent allocation of the fund may be “premature” given the expected increase in USG activities the following year. She posited that the percentage scheme may be removed entirely and the allocation can be done on a yearly basis instead.
With the resolution ending up laid on the table, LA members are planning to discuss the matter outside the session.