Maanne Ilagan Lopez


The Blue and Silver, February-March 2008 (Opinion)

Paper Talk by Maanne Lopez


The University Student Government Constitution and by-laws serve as the guiding light of officers to provide the students and the University with worthwhile activities, projects and programs and Article 7, Section 10 duly states the sense of duty to uphold USG-PCU Constitution. Throughout the academic year, has the USG fully adhered to their Constitution? I dare to say ‘not.’

The legality of the Commission on Student Election has been doubted because of the presence of Ms Glaiza Dimapilis (acting USG president) during the meeting for the body’s formation prior to her resignation on January 24. Yes, she resigned a month before the February 28 election in accordance to Article 17 Section 2, and that makes her action constitutional. But the fact that she knows that she will run for presidency then follows the question, “Was her action ethical?”

The duties and functions of Comselec are clearly enumerated in Article 15 Section 5 and Ms Mary Jo-anne Sapalasan (USG officer-in-charge during election period) was noted to have hampered the commission in their functions. The Comselec as an independent body has the right to formulate and enforce all rules and procedures relative to the conduct of election. Complaints should be properly addressed to the body since the USG Constitution authorized it to be the sole judge of all election contents, returns and electoral protests. Ms Sapalasan was also noted to have intruded with the release of Comselec’s fund, despite the commission’s request. The Comselec shall budget and spend the USG-PCU allocated funds of the Executive Committee for them (Comselec) in accordance with the election activities. With this, the USG has no authority to infringe the powers of the commission, unless it can indicate grounds committed by the body which are subjected to disciplinary actions.

The Constitution has no provision with regards to the desired number of voters that should participate in the election. The reason why a failure of election cannot be declared despite the Comselec’s record that says around 600 students casts their votes out of the Registrar’s recorded 3,493 students enrolled this semester.

Aside from providing worthwhile activities, projects and programs for the students, USG shall have a Student Congress, composed of the Execom and the College Council (Article 9 Section1). It is the function and responsibility of the Congress to be the highest policy-making body of USG. It shall convene three times per semester which the previous administration failed to fulfill, since only one Student Congress was convened for the year.

It is the Congress who shall formulate, revise and approve policies and programs of action of the USG-PCU; review the rules and regulations of the Executive Committee and College Council and give necessary action; and be the venue for discussion, deliberation and recommendation of the proper action(s) on issues the general welfare of the students. The fact that the prescribed number of Congress conventions failed to be achieved shows its inefficiency to execute its function and responsibility as the highest policy-making body of USG.

Moreover, the past administration had performed well on its principle that the University should make every effort to achieve a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented and Christian education; and its general objective was to encourage student awareness and involvement on both national and international affairs. This was marked by the number of discussions and forums conducted regarding national issues. On the other hand it has not emphasized the general well-being and the best interest of the students as its primary concern. Dimapilis’ government focused on national interests rather than students’ interests which is the reason why majority of the university’s population do not actively participate in their activities. It isn’t bad to encourage students to get involved, but I say that there has been a conflict of interest since she is also the spokesperson of the National Union of Students of the Philippines-NCR. Her position in the university as acting USG president helped her perform her duties well as NUSP spokesperson. But her service to the students had been minimal.

The university witnessed Ms Dimapilis’ management this year, and now that she’s given another term to administer, the USG should accomplish more on the coming academic year. And for this to be achieved, the student government should first address the need of its officers to be well familiarized with the Constitution. Otherwise, how can the USG function well if the officers making up the body are not well informed of their Constitution. With this, I would like to quote Alvin Michael Pre, USG president 1999-2000: “I understand fully the things that were written in our constitution, and by doing so, we will attain easily our vision to have and develop responsible and concerned students.”

Taking breaths

The semester is about to end so give yourself a pat on the back no matter how awkward it may seem. A year of holding two positions in this publication was never easy for me. I know that next year would be a lot harder since I will be having my internship, that’s why I’m already preparing myself. Being the editor in chief and the news editor of the Blue and Silver is very challenging. I did not use the word “difficult” for it would sound problematic. Hence, it challenges me to improve more, not only me, but the whole publication as well. Bu that is never easy. I can improve for myself, but to improve the publication – the initiative should come from all the staffers. It’s a team work. The term may be so plain, but the publication is not a one-man team. My role is to set an example as I carry out my responsibilities and I hope that my colleagues would follow. More than the skill to write, one must have the determination, passion, love, patience, courage, commitment and the dedication to serve the studentry. Actually, words aren’t enough. You probably won’t understand unless you get into my shoes. As a journalist it’s very exhausting to chase sources, suffer all those sleepless nights, finish piles of paper works, beat extreme deadline pressures, defend the newspaper from those who are unsatisfied, plus the academic life of a normal student. So I know give BnS staffers a pat on our backs for a job well done and for a better tomorrow. May the source be with us!


One Response to “Preamble”

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