OPRES commissions disbanded over manpower, funding issues

Several OPRES commissions have been discontinued due to concerns over budget, manpower, and bureaucratic obstacles impeding their flow of operations.

Several OPRES commissions have been discontinued due to concerns over budget, manpower, and bureaucratic obstacles impeding their flow of operations. Since its inception two administrations ago, the commissions system under the University Student Government (USG) Office of the President (OPRES) has aimed to help the office create projects and initiatives that specifically address the needs of their target sectors. 

Insufficient funds, manpower issues, and bureaucracy hurdles pushed some OPRES commissions to disband.

The commission system originally included the Commission on Socio-Political Development, Commission on Mental Health and Well-Being (CMW), Commission on Anti-Sexual Misconduct and Violence, Commission on Gender Equality and Empowerment, Commission on Environmental Protection (CEP), and Commission on Disability Inclusion (CDI).

Most commissions, however, fell through the cracks and were eventually discontinued by late September last year. 

Based on the recently concluded Student Government Annual Recruitment Week, only the CDI and CEP were left among the original six systems from past President Giorgina Escoto. The Martial Law Commemoration and Human Rights Commission, meanwhile, was renamed the Commission on Human Rights.

Issues in manpower

Former USG President Alex Brotonel remained under office for an extra term amid the cancellation of General Elections 2023. A lot of commissioners, however, vacated their offices after completing their supposed tenures. 

“They had to resign. We had to change the system or change the people’s roles in OPRES na hindi na kayang hawakan ‘yung responsibility for the commissions,” Brotonel shares, pertaining to some of her former colleagues graduating.

“I believe that the dissolution of commissions [was] really difficult. Parang ‘yung dissolution nila, mas nagdagdag [pa] ng problema sa’min kasi katulong namin sila, kasama namin sila,” Brotonel also shares, admitting that even before the dissolution, other aspects of the system were already giving them problems.  “We [could] not pretend that the dynamics [were] working, when in fact, nahihirapan na kami in terms of funding [and] project management.” 

(The dissolution added more problems for us because they helped us and were with us. We were struggling with funding and project management.)

Insufficient funding

Budget concerns took a huge toll on the ability of the commissions to continue operations and push initiatives. 

Sobrang daming projects [that] really deserve funds. However, wala kaming mapagkukuhanan. Doon talaga nagsimula ‘yung problems namin, lalo na before, I think they were told na magkakaroon talaga sila ng budget,” Brotonel admits. 

(There were so many projects that really deserved funds. However, we had no source of funding. That’s where our problems started, especially since I think they were promised a budget.)

Brotonel goes on to say that most of the resources of OPRES were allocated to other platforms, especially those that were under her campaign promises. 

Former CDI Commissioner Nio Tujan likewise believes that issues surrounding funding are part of the roadblocks for the OPRES commissions.

“[There were] restrictions like document processing [and] the budget… We didn’t really have a concrete budget at the time. We were mostly just funded by OPRES, and [they get] their funds from DLSU-PUSO [and] the USG,” Tujan states. 

Bureaucracy and redundancy

Amid achievements from some commissions, Brotonel expresses that OPRES’ dissolved CMW had difficulties treating concerns, such as mental health, with more urgency due to bureaucratic processes inside the USG, prolonging concerns that should’ve been addressed immediately. 

“What we want is if it’s something urgent, if it’s something that requires so much priority, sana ang nangyari, diretso na agad sa akin, hindi [yung marami] pang pagdadaanan kasi siyempre buhay ng estudyante yan,” Brotonel explains.

(It should have gone straight to me, not through [many] other channels because, of course, that’s a student’s life.)

Some of these delays, according to Brotonel, came from the redundancy in projects and functions of the OPRES commissions with other USG offices and DLSU student organizations.

Ang daming projects na nagkaka-conflict. Like for example, OVPEA is really in charge of mental health initiatives. And then, for example, we’ve had mental health initiatives also in OPRES. So, medyo
nagc-crash.” Brotonel continued, “Maraming nagko-conflict [na] mga organizations and roles inside the USG and even outsidethe USG.”

In the future, Brotonel hopes that the commissions system will be utilized properly, especially by the current administration. She suggests to “really think which sectors pa ‘yung kulang ng representation or ano ‘yung sector…na very important na medyo hindi prioritized ng USG.”

The LaSallian also reached out to other former commissioners under Brotonel’s administration, but they either declined an interview or have yet to respond as of writing.

This article was published in The LaSallian‘s March 2024 issue. To read more, visit

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