Thursday, April 18, 2024

Reps plan mass consultation for consti amendments

By Jan Andrei Elizalde | November 30, 2023

Following the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) Student Assembly’s initial discussion on amending the SUSG constitution last Nov. 19, its proponents shared their plans to invite the student body for a mass consultation on its proposed changes. 

“To ease the concerns of the student body, we will be sending invitations [to] certain representatives of certain sectors—the academic sector, [socio-civic], and other affected constituents regarding this constitution just so we could have a preliminary or, rather, a cohesive and comprehensive discussion,” Rep. Frances Aldaba said.

The Assembly is set to continue deliberating on the amendments in the next regular session on Dec. 3.

Rep. Aldaba clarified that they will “not [vote] on anything” during the said session, but invite constituents to listen to the discussion on the rationale for the proposed amendments.

“[During this] phase, [we will invite students] [while] still deliberating on [the amendments]. And once everyone [reaches] a decision [on] specific amendments, we vote on it [through a plebiscite]. And once we vote on it, of course, the amendments will take effect the next school year,” she added. 

As of writing, however, she said they are adhering to protocol and have yet to officially consult with high school and college governors and other affected bodies. 

“I think [in the current constitution], there’s no constitutional convention that is here in the SUSG compared to the Philippines, where a constitutional convention is inviting sectoral representatives to deliberate [on] the constitution,” she said.

Since the proponents are still in the first phase of the deliberation, they first fulfilled the requisite that one-fourth of the representatives of the total members of the Assembly should propose the amendments in writing.

Rep. Aldaba then added that it would be up to the rest of the representatives to consult with their respective governors.

“This is so that they can strengthen the mechanisms and communication with their respective colleges [on the amendments],” she said. 

The said mass consultation will occur in the second phase of amending the constitution. Proponents also planned on using the SUSG Student’s Rights and Welfare committee to consult with the student body through the organization’s “Silliman Stance.”

A few of the proponents also foresee issues upon implementing some amendments. 

Rep. Karla Fontelo said that one of their “most controversial amendments” is the “separation of powers in the SUSG.” 

 “We believe that if we can adhere or listen to the concerns of the bodies that we will be inviting [to] the [consultation], then perhaps we can air out our side so that we will all be on the same page on this matter, as well as whatever they may have to raise about the different provisions we plan on amending,” she added. 

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