PROFESSORS are at odds over how to use the accumulated P19.1 million in savings of the faculty union.

During the general assembly of the UST Faculty Union (USTFU) last September, some members sought the distribution of excess money that the union had collected from professors as membership fees under the “check off” scheme.

Teresita Meer, a professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy, said the union was duty-bound to give back what is due to the professors.

“[The check off] will continue [for a long time] and therefore the P19.1 million should be distributed this year… many of us will [soon] be retirees,” Meer said.

However, Jose Ngo, Jr., USTFU board director, said the money can only be distributed to members when the union is dissolved.

“What is written in the Constitution and By-Laws (CBL) of USTFU is that the money will only be returned to faculty members once the union is dissolved, consistent with cases of corporations,” Ngo said, adding that membership dues collected belong to the organization.

“Therefore, how could you demand money which is not yours to demand?” he asked.

Alicia Villamil, also a Pharmacy professor, said a portion of the amount should be distributed to members, noting that the money of the union is not a corporation fund.

“I don’t think there is a violation or conflict… I think the by-laws have not been distributed to all members,” Villamil said. “It has not been available to all members and I am not aware of any provision or policy that makes the distribution in conflict with the CBL.”

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According to Article XI Section 1 of the Union’s CBL: “In case of voluntary dissolution of the Union, or final cancellation of its registration certificate, the Union members shall enjoy equity to the Union properties/to the extent that said properties shall first be sold to the Union members before said properties are offered to non-union members and the proceeds therefrom, together with the balance of the Union funds shall be distributed, pro-rata to each member depending on the amount of membership dues contributed to the Union. The Bureau of Labor Relations may be consulted to settle differences of opinion.”

But Ngo disagreed, saying that the check off given to the union as dues cannot be returned to the members.

“For you to demand kaagad-agad, isasauli na ‘yung pera e ‘di pa na-dissolve ‘yun, ang dine-deprive mo ‘yung capital ng kumpanya,” he said. “Unang-una, paano na ‘yung pambayad nila sa utang, dapat unahin kung may mga utang ‘yun kaya ‘di pwede‘yun. ‘Di mo na pera ‘yun.”

During the general assembly, several options were presented by USTFU Internal Vice President Rene Tadle, such as outright distribution, business ventures, loan facilities, and retirement cash gifts.

For Meer, if the union decides to venture into a business, officials should start with a new check off.

The union should first conduct a feasibility study before engaging into business, she added.

Meer and Villamil also said the savings can be used to increase the benefits of faculty members.

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