Friday, May 27, 2011

Opening Remarks at the Launching of the UP Commemoration of the Birth Centennial of Former UP President Salvador P. Lopez UP Vargas Museum, May 27, 2011

By Dr. Judy M. Taguiwalo

Tonight,  we are launching the university’s commemoration of the birth centennial of Salvador Ponce Lopez, the 11th President of the University of the Philippines. One hundred years after his birth, over 35 years after the end of his term as UP President and 18 years after his death, we pay tribute to him and to the continuing relevance of his institutional innovations in our enduring quest for a university whose excellence is in the service of the Filipino people.

UP  previously honoured President Lopez  with a Testimonial Program on November 22, 1990 under then UP President Jose V. Abueva and with the Necrological Services on October 20, 1993 under then UP President Emil Javier. The testimonials and eulogies on his life and work given in these  occasions have been preserved in official publications of the university.

Lopez’s accomplishments as writer, journalist, diplomat are varied and outstanding. The University’s commemoration of his birth centennial takes these into account. But the main focus of our celebration will be on Lopez’s contribution to the strengthening of the University as the premier institution of higher learning in the country at a period of intense social awakening and social conflicts.  The SP Lopez  presidency is so well characterized as  “a presidency responsive not only of the demands of its constituents but also to the aspirations of the Filipino people, most of all, their assertion of freedom. Thus, though encompassing ‘the most turbulent years in the history of the university  his administration would nonetheless emerge as one of the most democratic and relevant presidency.”

The centennial commemoration of SP Lopez birth by the university acknowledges the democratic thrust of his presidency  by the fact that the commemoration would involve faculty, students, administrative staff and REPS who are all represented in the centennial committee created by UP’s 20th President, the Honorable Alfredo E. Pascual.

On a personal note,  I was an undergraduate student when SP Lopez became UP President and my undergraduate diploma bears his signature. I was in the midst of some of the major historic events that confronted SP when he became President.  Barely  into his first month in office ,  SP  was faced with a general strike on February 4, 1969 when students, faculty and staff presented him with 77 demands.  The First Quarter Storm of 1970 occurred during the first anniversary of his Presidency  and he did not hesitate to lead the UP faculty in a march to Malacanang to protest the violence inflicted on the students. At the historic  Diliman Commune in February 2 to 9, 1971 he stood with the UP community in defending the university from military incursions.

Now reading his writings and writings on him, I realize once again how committed he was to protecting the integrity of the university; how well  he understood the wellspring of student activism;  how hard he worked for ensuring democratic governance of the university  and how desirous he was of linking the university’s academic mandate with service to the people.

Let us honor SP Lopez by being faithful to his vision of a university in the service of the Filipino people.

Pagtulungan natin na ang ating pagpaparangal  kay SP ay hindi  lamang sa salita kundi higit pa sa gawa.  Sa pagtitiyak na demokratiko ang pamamalakad sa unibersidad;  na ang demokratikong akses sa ating pamantasan ay mapapalakas sa halip na mapapahina;  na ang integridad ng UP bilang isang sistema ng constituent universities na may pagkalinga sa isa’t isa ay mapapaunladi ; na katuwang ang UP sa pambansang proyekto ng tunay na kaunlaran para sa nakararami –sa  ganitong katulad na mga  hakbangin  lamang natin matitiyak ang patuloy na katuturan ng buhay at paglilingkod ni SP Lopez.

Maraming salamat sa inyong pagdalo sa gabing ito para sama-sama nating batiin ng maligayang 100 kaarawan, ang mahal na yumaong Pangulo Salvador P. Lopez.

(Dr. Judy Taguiwalo, Ph. D., is the Former Faculty Regent, University of the Philippines and is the Chair, Committee for the Commemoration of the Birth Centennial of Former UP President Salvador P. Lopez. For more information on the life, times and career of former President Lopez, please call the committee's office phone/fax at: (632) 929-8438)

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