The Legislative Assembly (LA) approved amendments to the Grievance Manual to introduce revisions to the informal grievance process and laid on the table a resolution on the Ombudsman Act of 2021 last May 7.
Publicized grievance manual
EXCEL2021 LA Representative Katkat Ignacio authored amendments to the Grievance Manual for Students, revising the types of grievances and grievance procedures listed and adding a publicity clause requirement.
The new publicity clause requires the grievance manual to be circulated and publicized to the entire University through the University Student Government’s (USG) various units. These publication materials will be posted on the third, seventh, and 13th week of each academic term.
The proponents of the amendment also found that the initial processes for individual, group, and class grievances were similar, prompting them to make the step more unified for the different types.
The manual also now includes a pre-initial process, wherein all grievances must first be raised to the concerned faculty member to see if they can be resolved before proceeding to the initial process. FAST2019 LA Representative Lara Jomalesa, meanwhile, motioned to include the department chairs in the initial process.
Legislators also moved to create the Ombudsman Act of 2021, which will provide the independent body-specific provisions and guidelines to enact its mandate after the office was ratified into the USG Constitution in the plebiscite earlier this year.
Chief Legislator Giorgina Escoto questioned the rationale behind why possible amendments can only be executed after two academic years. Judiciary Deputy Inspector General Lunette Nunez explained that two academic years are needed “to see if the law is really working for the Ombudsman mechanism” as one year is insufficient to see the effects of the law, citing advice from the Council Officers Committee. Judiciary Inspector General Elijah Flores added that provisions in the act can still be repealed once the lock-in period ends.
CATCH2T24 LA Representative Kali Anonuevo also raised data privacy concerns over a provision that gives the Office of the Ombudsman the power to conduct surveillance and covert activities with the approval of a special tribunal created by the Judiciary. Flores explained that the scope of the Data Privacy Act of 2012 still applies to anyone who processes any type of personal information.
“I think pasok naman ‘yung magiging provisions na ito. Pursuant naman din siya sa Data Privacy, as well as mga advisories and Data Privacy Manual ng DLSU Data Privacy Office,” he added.
(I think the current provisions still comply with the law. It is also pursuant to the Data Privacy Act and the Data Privacy Manual provided by the DLSU Data Privacy Office.)
The proponents stated that they will again present the resolution after they have made the necessary revisions. Once approved, the Judiciary can start on the necessary preparations needed to implement the resolution.