Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Search Process has begun for a new University of the Philippines President

         (U.P. President Emerlinda R. Roman)

By Chanda Shahani

Wanted: A New U.P. President.

The Search for the New University of the Philippines (U.P.) President to replace President Emerlinda R. Roman has started with the June 2, 2010 U.P. Board of Regents (BOR) decision to constitute the BOR as the Search Committee. President Roman's term ends in February of 2011.

The details of the nomination process and schedules are still to be discussed, according to Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo in a comment dated June 4, 2010 in her Facebook page. However, going by past precedents, the nominations of candidates are expected to begin in June, once guidelines have been established and communicated by the BOR.

Some of the burning issues that the next U.P. President will have to tackle are: 
  • How will the UP President lead U.P. to contribute to national industrialization
  • U.P.'s reduction of its income & asset inequity
  • Promotion of clean & transparent governance, including opening the books of University affiliated foundations to the Commission on Audit
  • Strengthen excellence in science & technology, and creative Filipino culture, including arts, humanities & literature.
  • Increase faculty & staff salaries & benefits, 
  • Wise use of land  and other assets of the University to ensure greater advantage in its contracts with business contractors & subcontractors
  • How will UP take advantage of Global ICT to promote excellence in its academic programs? 
  • What will the next U.P. president do to reduce the rate of professors who leave the University, to seek greener pastures in foreign countries?
  • How can U.P. generate more income without compromising its core values of producing graduates to serve the Filipino people?
President Roman's Mixed Legacy

As her term draws to its inevitable conclusion, President Roman's legacy is decidedly mixed. Touted by her spinmeisters as the “Centennial President” she will be judged by how well she was able to carry out her ten-point program which she detailed at the start of her term:

President Roman can count among her successes the passage of Republic Act 9500 or the University of the Philippines Charter of 2008, the very successful U.P. Centennial celebrations in 2008 that instilled pride in U.P. alumni everywhere, the further development of science and technology capabilities of the university and the improvement in faculty and staff welfare benefits, and the successful raising of funds though university-affiliated foundations

But the dark side of her Administration's legacy cannot be ignored either. Critics cite the simultaneous removal of former Student Regent Charisse B. Bañez,  and PGH Director Jose Gonzales as part of a U.P. administration-hatched pincer movement to guarantee the unimpeded implementation of the privatization of the Philippine General Hospital, despite criticisms from the Department of Justice that there was not enough consultation, and that the contract was contrary to the U.P. Charter. Others have criticized her, as chief academic officer of the university, for the denial of an appeal for tenure by U.P. Diliman Sociology Professor Sarah Raymundo despite her obvious qualifications, forcing Professor Raymundo to successfully appeal for a positive ruling from the Board of Regents, widely seen as a slap in the face of Roman over her executive decision. Still others have decried the implementation of the Large Class Scheme in U.P. Los Baños on a test basis, as part of an effort to cut costs and compromising quality at the same time. They say that the Large Class scheme will be rolled out over time throughout the entire U.P. System, replicating an essentially flawed policy.

Readers are invited to send in comments about how well President Roman was able to carry out her ten-point program by emailing us at or just send in your comments by clicking on the comments button below (comments are subject to editing):

 A Blast from the Past:

Included below is an excerpt from the U.P. system website in 2004 entitled, “Search for UP President”:

"Who will succeed UP President Francisco Nemenzo when he ends his term in February 2005?

Last September 6, the Board of Regents decided to accept the nomination of 11 candidates for the next UP President. On September 10, the nominees hit the campaign trail via a public forum/ consultation in UP Baguio. The public forum culminated on September 27 in UP Diliman. Then, from October 11 to 15, the candidates will be interviewed by the BOR. By November, a new UP president shall have been selected."(

(Chanda Shahani is the editor of the Diliman Diary).

UPDATES: We are including below comments to this article sent to us via email:

Jennifer Parker (via Facebook)

I'm not familiar with the rules on choosing the UP president but I do wish that President Roman have another term...UP have a lot of 'physical' improvement during her term. It was not an easy undertaking but I like the UPD campus better than four years ago...

Paul Lee (via Facebook)

I can say it's about time. The university needs an overhaul.

Jenny Ortuoste (via Facebook)


Prince Gabonada (via Facebook)

I do not know the exact programs of Pres.Roman, but the aftermath of her term will continue to hurt students...especially the TOFI (Tuition and other Fee Increases) ... I think its time to find a pro-student president...

Lorna Adlawan Fernandez (via Facebook)

Yes I think she should be replaced..despite other comments on the contrary, I believe UP (Diliman) has wasted away...such potential, such beauty when we were there. Even then good teachers continue to disappear to greener come infra and personnel hasn't been addressed despite increase in tuition. I think Roman is only an academician and not an administrator and manager with the vision to move forward and put UP back in its proper place of being the number1 academic institution in the Philippines!

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