Local student councils complain of fund lack

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THE STUDENT council fee (SCF) is supposed to fund the projects and activities of the student councils. But local student councils are complaining that the SCF is not serving its purpose because it is not properly and regularly disbursed. As a result, the local councils say they cannot implement their projects. Moreover, cash-strapped councils hold fund-raising projects or even shoulder the expenses.

At the College of Nursing, budget requisitions are slow, said Katrina Urbi, council president.

She pointed out, however, that Fr. Antonio Cabezon O.P., the regent, distributes the resources fairly. Although the students do not pay any organizational or sports fee, the student council shares its funds with other organizations.

Delays in the release of funds also hamper the work of the College of Commerce student council.

Officials said it usually takes two to three weeks for the funds to be released.

UST Budget Office Director Florita Aguiling, said that if the requisition papers are complete, the Treasurer’s Office approves the request in three days.

The Commerce council also complains that it had been left in the dark about its financial standing. It SCF last year was supposed to have amounted to P89, 748, based on the number of students enrolled in the college.

The same sentiment is expressed by the Conservatory of Music student council. It said it is not sufficiently informed about its funds.

It added that the disbursements from the student activity fee (SAF) is charged to the SCF, thus leaving not much room for the activities of the council. The SAF is charged to fund some student councils’ projects that cannot be covered by the SCF.

The Music SCF last year was supposed to be around P11, 844 while the total SAF was some P493, 500, based on the number of Conservatory students.

Because of the delays, the Music council officers ended up using their own money.

According to Xialeemar Valdeavilla, president of the Central Student Council, local councils could get funds from the SAF, but it is discretionary on their advisers.

Dean Raul Sunico of the Conservatory of Music said the students should prepare the budget. “They are the ones who have to throw the ball first,” he explained. “The students have to give their proposals and the same goes for the colleges, with respect to the Treasurer’s office. This is standard for everyone.”

At the Faculty of Civil Law, the council said it does not know its financial standing so that it cannot properly program its expenditures.

Budget approval problems

The budget problems also hound the Faculty of Pharmacy student council.

Ryan Castro, last year’s council president, said the administration gave the student government a hard time in releasing funds.

Pharmacy Dean Rosalinda Solevilla denied this, saying she always approved the council’s proposals as long as they were reasonable.

The Pharmacy student council’s fund last year, for both semesters, amounted to P61, 440, based on the number of enrolled students in the Faculty.

Fr. Joaquin Valdes, O.P, Pharmacy regent, explained his office always approved the budget proposals after discussions with the council. He said his office never rejected any council proposal, especially for outreach programs.

He said that he always reminded the students they should study closely their proposals to cut unnecessary expenses like food so as to allot more to education materials and medicine during outreach programs.

The Faculty of Arts and Letters student council has no problem with the SFC, but it says it does not know where the SAF goes. But Artlets student societies said they had been receiving their allocation of the SAF.

Vincent Flores, auditor of the CSC, also said they have no idea where the accumulated SAF go.

But Aguiling explained that the accumulated SAFs are available. Nobody could use them except the students, she said.

The College of Education student council said it is in the dark about the the SCF as it is directed from one office to another. Student groups do not reportedly know of the SAF, and in fact, hold fund-raising projects to finance their activities.

Last year’s student council was entitled to some P60,000 in SCF, based on the number of enrolees.

Insufficient funds

Faculty of Engineering student council president Jose Lambert Lim said SCF funds would not be enough to support its programs.

The Engineering SCF amounted to P74,664 last year.

Lim said the major problem in Engineering is the lack of rooms for student organizations.

The problem is ironic since the college has the most spacious building on campus. Engineering does not share the building with another college. The Architecture and Fine Arts schools have moved to the Beato Angelico Bldg.

Not all, however, have budget problems.

With only around 600 students, the College of Rehabilitation Sciences student council is not complaining about funds. Eugene Lao, council president, said it manages with the small budget.

Medicine council president Marc Gellynck said the student council tries to avail of the SAF when the SCF funds run out. Important projects are prioritized, he added.

In the College of Architecture, the student council does not inquire about the SCF because the budget is enough to support programs.

“Sa amin kasi, dati pa naming ginagawa hindi namin hinihingi kung magkano. Parang nakagawian na, kasya naman kasi.” said Louise Marie Santiago, CA student council vice president.

The College of Fine Arts and Design student council said the failure of the immediate past student council to submit liquidation reports has resulted in the delay of the release of funds for the current student leadership.

“Hindi pa nirerelease ng office’ yung student council fee’ kasi open book pa yung last year. Siguro nagdududa sila kung saan na napunta yung pera. kahit ‘di namin kasalanan, kami ngayon yung nahihirapan,” Diane Taar, the president of the council, said.

Last year, the Fine Arts SCF amounted to P41,772.

In the case of the Institute of Physical Education and Athletics, students pay P20 in SCF even though it doesn’t have any student council.

According to Thelma Marañaof the Office of Student Affairs, the entire fee goes to the CSC.

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