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Lasallians respond to stricter off-campus activity requirements

Following the series of off-campus accidents such as the bus crash in Tanay, Rizal which killed 15 students from Bestlink College of the Philippines, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) implemented the CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) Number 63, series of 2017 on July 25 ordering stricter measures on Higher Education Institution (HEI) for off-campus activities.

The CMO requires Parental Consent Forms (PCF) to be notarized and medical certificates to be submitted, among other requirements, all of which are meant to follow the policies and guidelines to aid the HEIs in conducting off-campus activities.

The lead time to process requirements for local off-campus activities has also been updated to a month and a half (or six weeks) early, according to the August 14 memo circulated by the Office of the Student Services (OSS).

Reactions on CMO

Due to the sudden changes regarding off-campus activity requirements, select individuals from the Lasallian community most affected by the requirements shared their thoughts on the matter.

Coordinator for Retreat and Recollection Diana Jean Roque said she encountered queries on the sudden shift to stricter requirements as she handles retreats for graduating students, which usually take place at Tagaytay City.

“At first siyempre may mga nagku-kwestyon, ‘Bakit may pa-notarize?’ It’s normal na may mga reaction na ganon [lalo na] ang parents, pero so far maayos . . .wala pa so far reklamo,” Roque said.

On the other hand, fourth year AB Broadcast Journalism Block President Bianca Katipunan said the stricter measures weren’t necessary, especially since the students are already in college.

Hindi naman kailangang ganon ka-strict since college naman na tayo . . . Yes, so safety purposes rin since maraming accidents involving off-campus activity pero mas better sana kung i-check nila ‘yong mga vehicles na gagamitin sa field trips,” she added. “As class president, ako kailangan mag-collect no’n (PCF) and medyo hassle sa blockmates ko kasi hindi namin alam saan puwede magpa- notarize,” Katipunan said.

Meanwhile, the Performing Arts Group La Salle Filipiniana Dance Company (LSFDC), which receives year-round invites for a number of performances outside the campus, recently joined a competition early this semester and went through the new process of requirements.

LSFDC President Rudy Alduñar said the time and fiscal requirement to process the off-campus papers took a toll on their members.

“Sa aming part, ‘di ba performers kami, nagre-rehearse kami, ‘yong times sana na pinangre-rehearse na lang, pinupunta pa namin sa paga-asikaso ng PC.  So time-consuming din,” he added, “Sinagot din namin ‘yong pagpapa-notarize, imbes na pampagawa na lang namin ng costume, maco-consume pa siya sa pagpapa-notaryo.”

OSS Dean on notarization

OSS Dean Mario Torres said he recognizes that the CMO came in late for the preparation of activities this school year wherein concerned students are responsible for finding their own public notary with affordable rates.

“An alternative, which is being done right now, would be to refer the students or event organizers to notary public (associated with DLSU-D) that charges lower rate. I have a scheduled meeting with the University lawyer (Atty. Rafael Vicente P. Umali) to discuss the matter,” Torres said.

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According to Torres, the University is looking into properly categorizing different types of off-campus activities and is currently consulting with CHED regarding the minor non-curricular off-campus activities. He added that the Lasallian community will be immediately informed if there will be changes in the off-campus policies.

Torres added that the compliance of the Lasallian community and the drive for student welfare are vital in any policy change for the off-campus activities.

“Any modification or change in the current policy boils down to two things: the university’s faithful compliance with the regulation and its thrust in ensuring students’ welfare,” the OSS Dean said.