Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Remarks of U.P. President Alfredo Pascual at the 118th meeting of the UP Diliman University Council Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Remarks of UP President Alfredo Pascual at the 118th meeting of the UP Diliman University Council
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

18 July 2011, Abelardo Hall

(This statement was prepared by the UP System Information Office following President Pascual’s extemporaneous remarks.)

There seems to be a controversy over the proposal of the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) to have me appointed as Professor 12, as may be gleaned from the column article of Prof. Solita Monsod published in Business World last 14 July titled “Tempest over academic rank.”

Such a controversy is an unnecessary distraction at this time when we are trying to achieve academic excellence and administrative efficiency in the face of inadequate budget funding from the government.

I therefore thought it wise to talk to you directly, the faculty of UP Diliman, and clear the air on this issue. Instead of just writing a statement to be read before the council, I have decided to speak to you today. I have noted that some people are second guessing my intentions and I hope that through this conversation we can clarify matters.

Let me say upfront, here and now, that I have not sought to be appointed as professor. I don’t need the title to effectively discharge my mandate as UP President and execute my plans and programs for the university.

Let me also say that if offered to me, I will NOT accept an appointment as Professor 12 in UP, now or in the future. You must note that by the time I finish my term as President in February 2017, I will be over the faculty retirement age of 65. A professor appointment given to me while I am President will therefore be of no use for me.

Does it mean I will no longer consider teaching in UP? The answer is no. I will be happy to serve as guest lecturer at NCPAG – to whom I am thankful for the invitation to join its faculty – or any other unit of the university where my experience and expertise, particularly in development, project finance and public-private partnership (PPP), will add value.

As you may very well know, my first job was an instructor of Chemistry after getting my Bachelor of Science degree in the same discipline here at UP Diliman. Aside from UP Diliman, I also taught at the Ateneo de Manila University part-time for four years and at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) full-time for nine years.

I welcome any opportunity to share knowledge with our students. But let me repeat that I do not need to be appointed professor to do so. I know I am considered by some of you as an outsider. Given that, I know I need to allow time for you to get to know me better. I need to earn your trust and merit it.

As early as now, there is something you have to know about me: I am not in the habit of replying to poison-pen letters, and I think many of you know what I am referring to. Coming from a discipline which strictly requires evidence-based conclusions, I decided not to dignify the black propaganda against me in an open letter written by a certain Mari Batalla La Granja dated 12 May, the contents of which have even reached those  outside our university. I stand by my career record in reputable local and international institutions, such as ADB and AIM, where I occupied positions of trust and respect.

Suffice it to say that the La Granja letter contains logical fallacies we tell our students to avoid like non-sequitur, hasty generalizations and ad hominem attacks. This poison-pen letter is full of lies, half-truths, and innuendoes. I challenge those behind the poison-pen letter to come out with evidence and prove their allegations.

For many of you who uphold honor and excellence by, among others, relying on verified information instead of mere speculation, I am confident that you will keep communication lines open, in the same way that you may have ignored altogether the contents of the poison-pen letter.

In my speech during the turnover ceremonies last 10 February, I stressed, “The Office of the President will keep its communication lines open to the UP community. I would love to hear your views, comments and suggestions.”

All of you are more than welcome to approach me or any member of my executive team. In the spirit of collegiality, transparency and democratic governance, we should continue consultations and I hope that my speaking to you today is the start of more productive interactions and the end to unnecessary distractions.

Let me end by saying that there is something we could learn from our student leaders who, since the start of my term as President, have sought an audience with me from time to time. As you all know, there were speculations last month about alleged tuition increases as a result of alleged re-bracketing in the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP). But as a result of open lines of communication with student leaders and campus journalists, we were able to clarify matters and explain the necessity to implement new requirements as regards application for Bracket B classification.

Again, the communication lines are open and I hope that you, our dear faculty, will maximize this opportunity being provided by the new administration. Thank you for your attention.


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