“Our political history has shown that we have put the burden of running this country to our “best” people for too long. […] For this ...

Ka-CSG: The Final Message

“Our political history has shown that we have put the burden of running this country to our “best” people for too long. […] For this country to succeeed, we need to make heroes of the ordinary people. We need to make heroes of ourselves.”

- Jesse Robredo
To our Vice President of the Central Student Government Ms Caryl Dorothy Dablio, to our esteemed speakers, to the student leaders and legislators present here today, to my fellow Ateneans, ladies and gentlemen.

Thirty-two years ago, the Xavier student body forged the dream of a government that espoused not just our individual identities as colleges, but the ideals we uphold as Ateneans. Ever since 1984, the Central Student Government has been an integral part of the student life of every Xavier Atenean, living out the dreams and aspirations of the student community. Every day, the CSG celebrates in the triumph of every Atenean student, whether it be in grandest pursuits such as bringing honor to the University or in the humblest such as getting an A from a book borrowed through the Book Bazaar. But as the dust subsides, as the fervor brought about by our achievements fade away, we remain conscious of the goal of our education to form men and women for others, and the zeal to “set the world on fire” remains strong.

Today, as we gather here to exercise one of the most important functions of our government, legislating, it is truly an honor to report to you the state of the student government address.

It was ten months ago when this administration started the “biyaheng kolehiyo” together with you. You voted for a government that holds itself accountable to its constituents, a government that puts the student in the center of everything it does, a government that is conscious of the role it plays in the bigger picture (READ: XU-CSG Presidential Agenda 2016-2017) . Today, let us look back and see where we are now in our biyaheng kolehiyo.

First in the agenda is a CSG that is accountable to all. During the first semester, with the help of the Office of the Vice President headed by our Vice President Caryl Dablio OVP Chief of Staff JM Sepe, we held our public budget hearing and exhibit to show to students where their money went, and how we planned to spend it. Through the efforts of our Department of Budget and Finance headed by Secretary Kathleen Suarez, we doubled down on fiscal responsibility, using a zero-based budgeting system to cut down on unnecessary expenses and invest in projects that advanced the student agenda. Because of this, we will leave a sizable amount for the next administration to inherit, which they will most definitely need during this time of transition. Our audit procedures have been kept unbiased and untarnished, thanks to the hard work of our auditors from the Commission on Audit headed by CoA Chief Commissioner Jasmine Endab. Through our social media platforms, we have also constantly kept the student body updated on the happenings in student government, including attendance to meetings and minutes of the meetings. In the Directorate, convened by our Vice President Caryl Dablio and composed of our college council Presidents and AECO Convener, our legislators are currently debating on the Ombudsman Act, which will institutionalize an Office of the Ombudsman who will prosecute student leaders who are not performing their solemn duties. To assist our legislators in the process of lawmaking, I have invoked my power to certify the bill urgent, and I sincerely hope for its urgent passage. In our Judiciary, headed by Chief Justice Mhenard Ubay-ubay, our laws are scrutinized to make sure that they pass the strictest standards of our constitution.
Second in the agenda was a CSG that was student centered. As first executive order as President, we have refocused our student government to nine distinct departments, namely the Department of Academic Affairs (DACA), the Department of Budget and Finance (DBF), the Department of Communications Management (DCM), the Department of Events Management (DEM), the Department of Internal Administration (DIA), the Department of Research and Statistics (DRS), the Department of Social Involvement (DSI), the Department of Student Services and Campus Development (DSSCD), and the Department of Student Leadership and Development (DSLD), from the previous thirteen departments. The reconsolidation of the student government is a response to better focus our resources and efforts to better serve the needs of the student body. Through the DACA, headed by Secretary Edchelle Rellama, we pushed for progressive academic policies in the Academic Council. We played an instrumental role in the reform of the faculty evaluation tool, which used to have no bearing in the teacher’s overall evaluation. Earlier in the second semester, DACA facilitated a consultation of the administration with student representatives to talk about the new student evaluation tool. DACA also fought for greater bearing of student evaluations in overall faculty evaluations. It was also through the efforts of DACA that the Delayed Enrollment of Second Semester was extended because of the growing concerns of students on delayed grades. Aside policy lobbying in the Academic Council, we also organized the 2016 Book Bazaar, a concerted effort of all the college councils to provide affordable and accessible books for students. This year also saw the creation of a special committee on Constitutional Reform headed by JM Sepe, which aims to pass a draft of a possible revised constitution to the next administration in the hopes of building a CSG that is better equipped and better responsive to the needs of the student body. The committee has conducted various focus group discussions and consultations with various stakeholders and parties in the University, and is currently in the technical writing phase. Through the DSSCD, headed by Secretary Amor Aring Jr, we have made ourselves readily available to the student body, particularly during our enrollment assistance and our first day of classes welcoming to the student body. It is also this year that we have expanded our services to include Projector Rentals not only for academic purposes, but also for organizational purposes. In the coming months, we also hope to further upgrade our services to better serve the needs of the student body. Through the DCM, headed by Secretary Charlemagne Cuabo, we have revived our CSG Website (csg.xu.edu.ph), which serves as a portal for students to quickly know what is happening in their student government. We have also maintained a CSG Hotline where students can easily text to voice out concerns or ask questions. Just recently, the DCM in partnership with the Computer Studies Student Council also conducted a workshop on the use of Photoshop to help train a future breed of designers. Through the DIA, headed by Secretary Jameson Lim, we have improved administrative processes to be more inclusive and bottom-up. It was through the efforts of DIA that we facilitated our thorough and inclusive planning process dubbed CSG: Built by You which incorporated not only volunteer and officer input, but inputs from the student body as well. DIA also facilitated the growth of our CSG volunteers through various initiatives such as the Basic Orientation and Leadership Seminar and the Midyear Evaluation. Through the Performance Evaluation Board, we also instituted a reward and recognition system for outstanding volunteers and departments who excelled in their service to the student body – with David Kit Mabascog being named Outstanding Volunteer and the Department of Research and Statistics being named Outstanding Department. At the forefront of protecting our democratic process is our Electoral Commission, headed by ELECOM Chief Commissioner Ronne Ambulo, to make sure that Botar Atenista 2017 will remain clean and fair. The commission is coming up with new methods to harness the power of technology to reach the goal of getting 50%+1 to vote this upcoming campus election, particularly the use of wireless voting for the first time in CSG Election History. This year, we have also strengthened our ties with the Students’ Rights and Welfare Commission, headed by STRAW Chief Commissioner Jonathan Hamilton, by providing them a seat in the Executive Cabinet. Earlier this year, we put students’ rights on the spotlight through the “Know Your Rights” display all around campus and the Magis Canteen. Another clear fruit of this collaboration will be the upcoming STRAW Month Celebration, where we will be having numerous activities to celebrate our rights as students and remind us of our responsibilities. Activities lined up include a launching of a 10 Rights and Responsibilities Initiative, a series of live interviews with university administrators, among others. To cap the celebration, we also hope to have the first ever STRAW Summit, where we hope to create STRAW Ambassadors who will serve as guardians of students’ rights in their own locales. Through the DEM, headed by Secretary Emmanuel Irvin Behiga, we staged spectacular productions and performances for the student body. Among them were the OrSem Talent Exposition, Festival of Heroes: The UniWide General Assembly and Organizational Trip, the Intramurals Opening and Closing Ceremonies, among others. The Department has also partnered with administrative offices to stage other productions such as this year’s Independence Day celebration, the XU Festival Days Festival Night, and the on-going Arts Month Celebration.

The third and last point in the agenda was a government of greater purpose. Through the Department of Research and Statistics, headed by Secretary Paul Dalagan, we have innovated our data-collection and insight-gathering methods. In July, the Department organized two forums – namely a Forum on the Blue Form Policy with Fr Rene Tacastacas SJ, Academic Vice President, and a Forum on the Financial Status of the University, with Engr Lennie Ong, University Treasurer. These forums served as avenues for students to directly bring their concerns to university administration. The department also conducted a Midterm Approval and Evaluation Assessment, which showed that most respondents were “somewhat aware” and “somewhat satisfied” with the performance of the Executive Branch and Departments. In the coming months, the department will conduct another extensive survey on the final assessment of the performance of the student government. Through the Department of Student Leadership and Development, headed by Secretary Sean Paul Llenos, we have upgraded our flagship political and governance leadership program, the Ateneo Good Governance and Development Academy, to the Ateneo Good Governance and Leadership Academy. Together with partners from the Political Science Department and the Governance and Leadership Institute, we have infused new concepts and ideas of governance into the modules of the program. AGGLA is the only leadership program geared towards politics and governance in XU, and modules include immersions in City Hall, training in Parliamentary Procedure, and internships in the executive departments. Our 33 AGGLA Fellows are undergoing training in the concepts of governance in the hopes of them assuming leadership roles in student government in the future. Just recently, the program was able to help an IP initiative called “Buhat Eskwela” by assisting in the renovation of a toilet and water tank for the children of Maramag, Bukidnon to have access to clean water and basic sanitation. The department has also implemented the CSG Grants Program, which has provided financial assistance for students who represented the University to competitions and summits such as the National Youth Parliament and the BIDA Competition. This year, we have externalized our efforts through the various networks we have taken part in. It was the CSG which spearheaded the revival of ONE-CDO, the alliance of the student governments in Cagayan de Oro. Thanks to the leadership of Francis Urbina, ONE-CDO Convener, we were able to rekindle relationships with our fellow student governments here in CDO. Last May, the five Ateneo schools gathered here in Xavier University for the 33rd Buklod Atenista National Leaders’ Summit, followed by the 33rd Buklod Atenista Midyear Conference at Ateneo de Manila University. Buklod Atenista, the alliance of the Ateneo student governments, was able to discuss pertinent social issues and is currently planning possible mobilizations on issues such as the War on Drugs, EJKs, and the Death Penalty. Through the Department of Social Involvement, headed by Secretary Sean Baconga, we have implemented initiatives geared towards inciting a greater sense of political and civic engagement in the XU student body. In partnership with Task Force XU 4 SK, the department conducted a Forum on the SK Reform, which was graced by representatives from the National Youth Commission. The department also spearheaded the #BangonAdZU movement here in XU, and was able to collect funds to help AdZU during the fire. It is during these times of moral crises where the integrity of our principles are tested, and it was indeed tested during the issue on the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. On the anniversary of Martial Law, we bravely spoke out on principle against the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, and joined the nation in condemnation of his surprise burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. We refused to remain silent, and we made our voices clear that Marcos was not a Hero.

Truth be told, the greatest triumphs of this administration did not come from us, but rather it came in the form of you stepping up and becoming the change you wish to see. You are the real hero of this administration – it was you who reported the faulty enrollment system using #SLMISHugot2016, it was you who helped defer the sudden strict implementation of the Blue Form Policy, it was you who reported your situation during the 16 January floods using #KaCSG to help suspend exams and classes. It was you who stepped up, who waded the floods to help your fellow man, who provided food and shelter to those who needed it more, who volunteered your time and effort to making sure everyone was safe – you are the real heroes here. Truly, the greatest legacy we can leave is not of our own, but one which is painstakingly crafted by every man and woman for others in Xavier.
As we near the end of this administration, I hope that everyone here today will remember the simple acts of heroism we have done together during our biyaheng kolehiyo. Now more than ever, our student government, our University, our country needs unsung heroes like you to bring change where it is needed the most. I challenge everyone to dream bigger things, and to believe in our capacity to make them happen.

As I personally leave the doors of this university in just a few months’ time, thank you for entrusting to us this fragile dream we call student government. Thank you for being with us, for journeying with us, for believing in us despite our many flaws. This dream, after all, is a work-in-progress, and it is through heroes like you that we are able to make that dream a reality.

It has truly been the greatest honor of my life to have served you as your President.

Together, we can make a difference. Together, we made a difference. Together, let’s do it all over again.

Thank you, and God Bless!

- o -

This has been your Ka-CSG: Kasama mo sa Biyaheng Kolehiyo 2016-2017, signing off.
For further details on the administration, visit fb.com/XU.CSG or @XUCSG

The XU-CSG Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) and the Students' Rights and Welfare Commission (STRAW) play a big role in settling cont...

Supreme Court and STRAW engage in a Moot Court during the 30th EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary

The XU-CSG Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) and the Students' Rights and Welfare Commission (STRAW) play a big role in settling controversies within the student government. The SCC, as the branch granted with judiciary powers, have the authority to hear, and try cases brought upon the High Court. On the other hand the STRAW Commission is responsible for the pursuance and strict observance of the XU Magna Carta of Student’s Rights, Responsibilities, and Welfare. The same Commission has been granted by the authors of the Rules of Court, the role of Legal Counsels (or Oralist, in the student government context). 

Last 25 February 2017, the members of the three (3) student government offices assembled to be trained to fulfill their respective roles inside a Court Room. 

Atty. Shidik Abantas during his talk on Conducting a Hearing and Trial

The main speaker for the event was Atty. Shidik Zed T. Abantas, former Prime Minister for the Ateneo Debate Circle back in 2008, and is currently the Legal Officer for the Mindanao State University System.

After the talk, the assembly then was divided into two groups in order for everybody to fulfill their roles during the Moot Court session that shall follow after the working break. 

The Court Room being setup...

What is a Moot court? It is an extracurricular activity at many law schools in which participants take part in simulated court proceedings, usually involving drafting written submissions and then participating in oral argument. Typically students are provided with a hypothetical fact scenario which raises various legal issues, and are allocated as counsel for one of the parties to the dispute. Students are required to research the relevant legal principles and then present a case in favour of their allocated side. During the course of oral argument, students are asked questions by the bench concerning the merits of their arguments. The adjudicators can be academics, lawyers, or other students. (Source: Wikipedia)

Below is the sample case that shall be discussed by both groups, this was drafted by Atty. Abantas himself:

The case concerns constitutional matters, thus as provided by the Rules of Court 1112, the case should be heard en banc.

The first session was then presided by ASC Justice, Hon. Klahrinz William Catubig acting as Chief Justice, with him is ACES Justice, Hon. Junard Jason Vequiso and Senior High School's First Chief Justice, Hon. Maya Asuero.

The second session was presided by CSSC Justice(and Senior Justice), Hon. Raphael Erick Marcial, with him is TG Justice, Hon. Kate Mary Queen Ebonia and a Justice from Senior High.

Atty. Abantas guided everyone all throughout the Moot Court.

The activity then concluded by the awarding of the Certificate of Appreciation to Atty. Abantas and as well as a photo-op session with everyone.

(From left to right; SHS Chief Justice Maya Asuero, STRAW Chief Jonathan Hamilton, SCC Chief Justice, Mhenard Ubay-ubay)

Truly, it was an afternoon with a lot of insights gained, and skills developed. With the completion of the joint event, is a step further into the unified vision of the Supreme Constitutional Court, to have a judicial system that keeps improving to better serve the XU Student Body.

Note: No budget of the Supreme Constitutional Court was spent for this event. Snacks and honorarium are contributed by the Students' Rights and Welfare Commission.

For the first time ever in the history of XU Elections, the CSG Electoral Commission will pursue wireless voting for Botar Atenista. Wi-F...

ELECOM launches Wireless Voting for Botar Atenista 2017

For the first time ever in the history of XU Elections, the CSG Electoral Commission will pursue wireless voting for Botar Atenista. Wi-Fi spots will be set-up around campus to serve as new voting precincts, and students are just required to get a token from designated volunteers and they may vote using their mobile device.

This is part of the commission's thrust towards attaining a larger voters' turnout for Botar Atenista 2017.

As part of their mandate to ensure transparency and accountability in all student government operations, the CSG Commission on Audit conduct...

Commission on Audit conducts spot audits on CSG and College Councils

As part of their mandate to ensure transparency and accountability in all student government operations, the CSG Commission on Audit conducted spot audits on CSG and all college councils. This is in line with the mandate provided to them by the 1996 Local Government Code which empowers them to conduct spot audits.

Part of the spot audit is to check financial records, audit of inventory, and other checks to ensure that control measures are still being implemented by the college council/CSG.

For CSG, the spot audit was conducted by CSG CoA Chief Commissioner Jasmine Endab, along with staff auditors from the Commission on Audit. In behalf of the CSG, Budget and Finance Secretary Kathleen Suarez and CSG Treasurer Christine Jungoy were also present.

Last 11 February, in celebration of STRAW Month, we conducted an interview with Mr Edison Sasoy, VP For Administration, on the Univers...

REPLAY: Live Interview with Mr Edison Sasoy, VP for Admin, for STRAW Month

Last 11 February, in celebration of STRAW Month, we conducted an interview with Mr Edison Sasoy, VP For Administration, on the University Facilities and Services. Moderating the interview is Aage Benedict Maneja, UNITASS President and Project Head of Ask Series.

Interviews are also scheduled for OSA Director Ivanell Subrabas, and VP for Acad Fr Rene Tacastacas SJ.

Watch the replay here: