Monday, September 20, 2010

The nominees for U.P. President present their visions, and answer questions before audiences at UP Los Baños and other U.P. constituent universities

 (Inside the College of Dentistry auditorium, at U.P. 
Manila where the remote site viewing of the 
UPLB forum was held)

By Chanda Shahani

Ten out of eleven nominees for the position of U.P. President attended today's "Search for the Next UP President: Nominees’ Fora," the first of a series of three held today at D.L. Umali Hall at UP Los Baños. The Board of Regents (BOR) decided that the fora should be held in U.P. Los Baños, U.P. Manila and U.P. Diliman and beamed live to various UP campuses through the U.P. Open University

The fora is an activity of the Board of Regents intended to enable the University constituencies to raise issues and concerns they would like the next UP President to address. The Diliman Diary attended today's forum via remote online teleconferencing at the auditorium at the U.P. College of Dentistry at U.P. Manila.

Of the eleven candidates, only former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral did not attend.

The candidates were chosen at random in terms of the sequential order in which they would give their respective presentations. Here is what the candidates said in order of their presentations:

(U.P. Diliman Chancellor Sergio S. Cao)
Cao, Sergio S.

U.P. Diliman Chancellor Sergio Cao emphasized that U.P. must focus on becoming a research university. "This means developing a true research culture in the university. We must employ scientific thinking, and give incentives, and funds for faculty as well as strengthen graduate programs," he said.

Cao added that:
  • Having Ph.D's should be a requirement for the hiring of teachers and granting of tenure. 
  • The development of research institutes should be accelerated. 
  • The use of e-books and the internet should be accelerated. 
  • U.P. should partner with industries.
  • The U.P. Faculty should participate more in refereed journals.
  •  During the open forum, Cao said that U.P.'s research culture must be institutionalized through putting a premium on policies, and the hiring of appropriate personnel as well as the allocation of resources to make this happen.

      (The former National Treasurer,
    NCPAG Professor Leonor Briones)

    Briones, Leonor M.

    National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) Professor Leonor Briones said that U.P. should still continue to be guided by "love of country," and that it should be at the cutting edge of innovation and change. Moreover, programs - especially graduate programs - need to be constantly assessed and reassessed.

    She added that:

    • The Visayas and Mindanao are the poorest regions.
    • University education should be extended to more minorities.
    • In terms of sustainable financing, U.P. should further tap the assets of the university.
    • As National Treasurer under the term of former President Joseph Estrada, she was entrusted with holding a budget of PhP 125 billion, so she can also be entrusted with taking good care of the University.

     (U.P. Los Baños Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco)

    Velasco, Luis Rey

    U.P. Los Baños Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco began his opening statement by saying that the traditional "Isko" or "Iskolar ng Bayan" should be transformed into an "Iskolar ng Bayan," or a scholar of the Nation who works for and on behalf of the national interest.

    Chancellor Velasco said that if selected by the U.P. Board of Regents as U.P. President, he would focus on three thrusts for U.P. These are:
    • Strengthen the constituent universities.
    • Reorient U.P. towards being a research university.
    • Resource generation.
    He also said that an emphasis should be paid towards training U.P. students in critical thinking and being made conversant with the scientific research process. He said that he did not approve of the comercialization of U.P. education. "I will not lower academic standards for profit," he said adding that other ways of raising funds had been set by other previous U.P. Presidents such as former President Francisco Nemenzo had set the pace of using idle and underutilized land for the benefit of the university.

    During the open forum, he said that the current practice in UPLB is to provide seed money to faculty so that they could jump start research that would allow them to seek external funding from outside sources. This can be done all over the U.P. System, he said.

     (Former U.P. College of Law Dean Raul C. Pangalangan)

    Pangalangan, Raul C.

    Former U.P. Diliman College of Law Dean Atty. Raul Pangalangan said that the great dillema U.P. was now facing is "What is the place of a public univbersity in a struggling democracy?" He then went on to make mention of an unnamed student who dropped out as a freshman as the silent price of the increase in matriculation fees which was the standard set during the administration of outgoing U.P. President Emerlinda Roman. He also said that U.P. should just focus on excellence, including being a research university. He said, however that:
    • U.P. should focus on basic and applied research. However, he said U.P.'s traditional strengh was in basic research or research for it's own sake or for expanding the frontiers of knowledge but that there was also a need to put emphasis of appl;ied reearch or bringing comercial applications to research.
    • The role of the U.P. President is not to offer answers. The U.P. President's role as leader is to convene constituents and to present options for their collegial decision making in the light of specific problems facing the university, since the teaching and practice of law itself was so specific a discipline that could not by and of itself solve particular problems alone. "Law professors are like high priests who have lost faith but kept their jobs," he joked.
    • During the open forum, Pangalangan said that U.P. Diliman was in a superior position  to raise more funds, but that a kind of affirmative actionwould have to be practiced to enable the raised funds to be spread throughout the different constituent units, according to their needs and abilities.
    • During the open forum, Pangalangan also said that U.P. should systematically tap into joint partnerships with foreign institutions to maximize financial returns accruing from its expertise.

    (Former Budget Secretary and U.P.
    School of Economics 
    Professor Benjamin E. Diokno)

    Diokno, Benjamin E.

    U.P. Diliman School of Economics Professor Benjamin Diokno said that if he became the U.P. President, he would focus on beefing up the Faculty Development Fund to develop 25% increase of the faculty with PhD.'s after six years. He said he would also ensure that there would be a 33% increase in the num,ber of students who would enjoy modern internet facilities in dormitories in the variouys U.P. campuses. He added that:

    • U.P. should take advantage of the large resources available that can complement its own in-house expertise in many subject areas.
    • U.P. should utilize its collective talent to bring more resources to the university, including tapping its alumni network as public subsidies are dwindling.
    • U.P. should review existing programs to prevent overlapping and more efficient.
    • U.P. should find more innovative ways to finance its expenses.
    • During the open forum, Diokno U.P. should establish more research institutes to upgrade its capability to become a true research university.
    • He also said that U.P, must provide incentives for faculty to publish in refereed local and international journals.
    (Former U.P. Vice President for Academic Affairs and 
    U.P. Diliman Professor Ma. Serena Diokno)

    Diokno, Ma. Serena I.

    U.P. Diliman History Professor Ma. Serena Diokno said the challenge of the day was for U.P. and by extension the U.P. President to "justify our being before the public and the government."

    "None of us wants to see U.P. crowded out by other national priorities," she added.

    She also said that:

    • Where U.P. once trained its neighbours from other Asian countries, it is now trailing behind.
    • U.P. should have a two-pronged educational thrust made up into a U.P. basic education initiative and a U.P. higher education initiative. In the basic education initiative which would fall under the General Education program, there would be an emphasis on secondary and tertiary learning while in the higher education initiative, U.P. will partner with other state universities and colleges in order to collectively maximize strengths.
    • There is a compelling need for U.P. to formulate plans and policies that are informed by data.
    • There should be an academic leadership and development program for those who show leadership ability.
    • There should be an academic appeal system because no particular of the sort exists yet in U.P. However, rigorous academic standards remain the prerogative of the concerned faculty while the Board of Regents ensures that due process is observed.
    • In U.P. there should be an employe welfare Ombudsman to ensure that U.P. employees' rights and welfare are followed up and fought for with other government agencies such as the Government Security Insurance System.
    • In response to a question asking if she was open to the idea of posting U.P.'s annual budget and detailed expenditures online for the sake of transparency, she said she agreed with that idea.
    • During the open forum, she also said that U.P. faculty were not doing too badly in terms of compensation compared to their counterparts in De la Salle University (DLSU). She said that adjusting the salaries of both institutions on a per unit basis (that is, number of pesos of remuneration per each unit taught by a faculty member from both institutions showed that the U.P. faculty came out ahead, primarily because by 2012, the typical U.P. professor will be teaching 24 units while the typical DLSU professor will be teaching 36 units.

       (Dr. Patrick Alain T. Azanza)

      Azanza, Patrick Alain T.

      According to U.P. College of Education Senior Lecturer Dr. Patrick Alain T. Azanza, U.P. has been left behind in recent years. He cited a recent survey of Asian universities where Ateneo de Manila University ranked # 59 while U.P. ranked # 78. He criticized the administration of U.P. President Emerlibnda R. Roman for refusing ro participate in other surveys, such as the the Times Higher Education Survey where Harvard University, Oxford University and Cambridge University were active participants. "Who are we (U.P.) in relation to these other universities?" he asked. He said that if he becomes U.P. President, he will work to ensure that:

      • U.P. will become an ICT-based global research university.
      • He said that it was easy to raise tuition and thus pass the burden onto students, but when he was a vice-president of AMA University, they were able to find ways of reducing tuition fees of the students by 25% and he committed to doing the same with U.P. students if he became U.P. President.
      • During the open forum, Azanza also criticized the existence of interlocking directorates between the U.P. Foundation and the U.P. Administration where massive amounts of funding were being raised but where it remained unclear where the funds were being employed during the time that U.P. has just experienced a massive series of budget cuts.
      • He also said that  U.P.'s administration was not taking full advantage of market rates with respect to negotiating with business entitites and that it should. For example, the rental rate that the Shell gas station is paying in Philcoa is PhP 150.00 per square meter when U.P. could be earning a lot more from this.

         (U.P. Diliman School of Labor and Industrial
        Relations Professor Virginia Teodosio)

        Teodosio, Virginia

        During her presentation, Professor Teodosio said that as a consultant in Mindanao, she was able to manage one million hectares representing 14 provinces,and that some of her constituent beneficiaries were Moslem rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. She said that she hoped to bring the same kind of practical experience in economically empowering U.P. in a period of great financial crisis.

        "Look at Japan, Taiwan and South Korea," she said. It was possible to make the farmers propserous. These same countries also had programs for attracting Ph.Ds who had graduated abroad back to their countries because the government had allocated funding for them. If she becomes U.p. President, she will do the same, she said.

        (Former U.P. Diliman Department of English and Comparative 
        Literature Professor Consolacion R. Alaras)

        Alaras, Consolacion R.

        If she becomes U.P. President, former U.P. Diliman Department of English and Comparative Literature Professor Consolacion R. Alaras vowed to "restore the scared prophetic vision of Rizal and the Katipunan," to the Philippines beginning with U.P. itself.

        She said that the University of the Philippines Department of English and Comparative Literature is the source of her studies on Pamathalaan or Sacred Prophetic Politics and Its Impact on Education, Governance, Development, and Diplomacy. In her Pamathalaan studies, Rizal embodies the spirit and ideals of Pamathalaan or A Moral Sacred Nation; so during her term as chairperson of the UP Department of English and Comparative Literature, she initiated the move to name our College of Arts and Letters after Dr. Jose Rizal.

        The Pamathalaan then of Dr. Jose Rizal becomes the basis for her acceptance of the nomination for UP Presidency, she said.

        "God Willing, my participation in this 2010 Search for the UP Presidency as a nominee can be the grace to realize my Vision for the University of the Philippines as the Mirror of a Moral Sacred Nation."

        "What then is the University of the Philippines as the Mirror of a Moral Sacred Nation?" she asked.

        "This means that the University of the Philippines System led by the UP Board of Regents will be one in providing our leaders and citizens here and abroad the transforming and unifying experience of the Philippines as a Moral Sacred Nation or a Pamathalaan Pilgrimage Country . After all, this Rizal Pamathalaan Vision once accepted and owned by the University of the Philippines Board of Regents will provide the crucial shared vision for all sectors of Philippine Society. In this way, the sectoral members of the University of the Philippines can undertake The National and Global Collaborative Research on Rizal Pamathalaan Training - with the Commission on Higher Education, the Office of the President, the Senate, the Congress, and the University of the Philippines Alumni Association"

        "Above all, this means that the University of the Philippines can be All to All, in striving to recover the moral sacred foundations of the Philippine Republic under the Aquino Administration."

        (Alumni Regent (on leave) Alfredo E. Pascual)

        Pascual, Alfredo E.

        Alumni Regent (on leave) Alfredo E. Pascual said that "U.P.'s eminent position has been ended," and criticized efforts by the administration of outgoing U.P. President Emerlinda R. Roman to hide this fact, which is plain for all to see, by refusing to participate in international surveys. "We must acknowledge our position relative to the rest of the world," he said.
        If he becomes U.P. President, Pascual said that he would:

        • Strengthen U.P. research capabilities because every great university must have highly recognized research capabilities.
        • Stress rseaerch in the sciences and creative output in the arts.
        • No qualified students should be constrained from studying at U.P. due to financial reasons because U.P. should provide flexible finacial payment terms for studying at U.P.
        • Critical thinking among students needs to be developed so that the students are trained to deal with ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity.
        • In another apparent swipe at the Roman administration, he said that "U.P. needs great university leadership that is made up of democratic governance, transparency and accountability."
        • In the management of funds and other resources entrusted to the university, responsible stewardship and ethical conduct should additionally characterize good governance," said Pascual, who was a former Asian Institute of Management Professor for nine years.
        Here is the schedule of the next fora:

        U.P. Diliman                  
        NISMED Auditorium
        1:30 – 5:30 PM
        Friday, 24 September
        U.P. Manila
        Science Hall
        1:30 – 5:30 PM
        Thursday, 14 October


        (Photos by: Chanda Shahani)

        (Chanda Shahani is the Editor of the Diliman Diary)

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