Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Science Policy for the University (1972)

U.P. President Salvador P. Lopez together with U.P. faculty dialogue with President Ferdinand E. Marcos during the period of the First Quarter Storm (source:

 By Salvador P. Lopez
(Editor’s note: These are the remarks of Dr. Salvador P. Lopez at the dedication ceremonies of the UP Natural Science Research Center on November 13, 1972 where he explains not only his science policy but also UP’s role during turbulent times. The speech is uploaded with permission from the University of the Philippines System Information Office)
About 10 days ago, when Director Bienvenido T. Miranda came to invite me to the ceremonies marking the formal inauguration of the UP Natural Science Research Center, I was elated to accept. This building is, after all, the most important academic structure begun and completed during my administration. Since the day in February 1969, when President Marcos approved the release of funds for this building during a visit to the University, I have literally seen this Center rise, day after day, from the ground up. The fact is that between 1969 and 1971, I used to jog every morning at half past five around the old golf course behind this building. In addition, this building also happens to be visible from my bedroom window at the Executive House.
Then, there were worrisome moments before and after the construction started when Prof. Miranda, the members of the Executive Advisory Committee, and I had to resolve a dispute about the authorship of the architectural plans for the building, or to wait impatiently for the end of a strike which had interrupted the work of construction. There was a lobbying in Congress, in the Budget Commission, in the Reparations Commission, and with President Marcos himself in order to ensure the inclusion of an item in the budget and its subsequent release by the Budget Commission, as well as the inclusion of an allocation for scientific equipment in the schedule of Japanese reparations.
Through all this, the ever loyal and indefatigable moving spirit and lobbyist extraordinary for the Center was Prof. Miranda. Prof. Miranda’s enthusiasm was such potency that it communicated itself to me, and I am still “suffering” from the infection. I have been a willing, even a cooperative victim, for Prof. Miranda is the type of faculty “activist” I like to have on our campus – unassuming, motivated not by personal interest but by something bigger and more important than himself, namely, the desire to strengthen the University as a center for scientific research and an arm of national development.
From what I have just said, you may now concede that I do have a reason, perhaps even a right, to be here this morning. And yet as I stand here I realize that I am not really in my element; I feel more like a fish out of water. Aside from the fact that I happen to be the President of the University, what entitles anyone to be making a speech here today who is by avocation a writer, by vocation a diplomat, by accident a university president, and by coincidence an educator?
My discipline were literature and philosophy; I took my PhD in English (there was such a degree in my time), and my MA in Philosophy. As I could not hurdle the UP entrance test in Mathematics, I gave up the premedical course I had intended to pursue – at no great loss, I feel certain, to medical science and the medical profession. I did take the required courses in botany and zoology. (Now, ever since becoming an amateur orchidist under the tutelage of Dr. Jose Vera Santos and Dr. Helen L. Valmayor of Los Banos, I wish I had taken more botany.) But I avoided physics and chemistry like the plague, and when confronted by a choice between physiography and anthropology, I opted for anthropology, finding the study of man more fascinating than the study of the earth he inhabits.
Today, 40 years out of college and nearing the end of a varied career as a writer, journalist, diplomat and university administrator, I have had occasion to regret the inadequacy of my training in the natural sciences. It is true that once out of college, as a writer and journalist, I had to acquire such basic scientific knowledge as I could, on the run, avidly reading popular science books and periodicals, and the excellent articles on science in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
This I did, not simply because a good writer and journalist do need to have a smattering of the sciences, but because my studies in philosophy had in fact predisposed me to the scientific attitude and the scientific method. Philosophy is, after all, the oldest intellectual disciplines, and two of its branches, logic and metaphysics, lead straight to the threshold of the natural sciences. The respect for reason, which goes back to Socrates, gave birth in more modern times to the inductive logic of Francis Bacon, and thence to the brilliant development of the scientific method which has made modern science possible.
And yet we must accept as dangerously real what CP Snow calls the dichotomy of the two cultures – the “traditional culture” based on philosophy and the humanities, and the “scientific culture” based on the natural sciences. In his famous lecture titled “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution,” Snow says that “there seems to be no place where the cultures meet,” and that those belonging to the two cultures, namely, the illiterate scientist who think the “Divine Comedy” is a humorous play about the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, and the ignorant non-scientist who cannot describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics to save his life, “can’t talk to each other” – a situation, according to Snow, that is fraught with grave danger for humanity. Thus, the scientists who developed the atomic bomb had neither the inclination nor the wisdom to ponder the moral and political consequences of their discovery, while the politicians who ordered the bomb’s manufacture and use in warfare did not fully comprehend its awesome destructiveness. They were not on speaking terms with each other because, first of all, they were not on the same intellectual wave-length.
This graphically illustrated the polarization of the two cultures and the risks of narrow specialization which the general education program in the universities is supposed to correct. But, with the enormous expansion of the field of knowledge and the endless proliferation of artistic creation and scientific research, there is growing doubt regarding the efficacy of the general education program in preventing the production of “illiterate scientists” and “ignorant non-scientists.”
Furthermore, there is among scientists themselves a division that is also fraught with serious consequences. I refer to the polarization between the pure scientists and the applied scientists. They are normally disdainful of each other, the former considering the latter as mere technicians or at best engineers, and the latter returning the compliment by referring to the former as impractical theorists or idle dreamers.
In most countries, but especially those in the underdeveloped world, the accent is understandably on applied science, on invention, technology and engineering. And so, too, it is going to be in this country; the emphasis will be on practical results, the discovery of improved techniques, the invention of better machines, the creation of new jobs, the production of more wealth, in short, the instant conversion of science into technology. And whether we like it or not, the University of the Philippines will somehow reflect this bias.
This is what makes this Natural Science Research Center so important in the life of the University and the nation. It is our guarantee that we shall not completely succumb to the lure of applied science, but that we shall continue the search for knowledge wherever it may lead, whether or not at the moment it can serve any practical purpose. After all, even the discovery of penicillin was the “accidental” result of pure research, and the release of atomic energy would not have been possible without Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2 .
Let me now refer to more mundane matters and give you a brief projection of our science policy in the University. As a non-scientist President, who however believes in science as the great benefactor and liberator of mankind, I intend to devote increasingly substantial resources to the development of our science departments and the improvement of our scientific research facilities. Our faculty development program will give priority to advanced training in the scientific disciplines. Our natural science researchers will receive a fair share of available funds for research, whether coming from the University budget, from the National Science Development Board, or from other domestic, foreign or international sources.
A new science pavilion is being constructed across the street with funds donated by Dr. Rosendo R. Llamas. Should our researchers begin to feel cramped in these quarters, we shall consider building an annex in the area adjacent to it. Since the master plan for Diliman calls for the grouping of all student residence halls on the northern side of the campus, we intend eventually to convert the Sampaguita and Kamia dormitory buildings into additional office spaces, laboratories and lecture halls of the UP natural science complex.
It is not that we intend to discriminate against other disciplines and spoil our scientists. It is simply that we believe that UP can most conclusively prove its mettle as a university and its title to excellence by maintaining its zeal and capability for the pursuit of truth and knowledge for their own sake. This belief is founded on the certainty that basic research is truly basic in the sense that without it applied science is soon impoverished and must wither and die.
Finally, may I ask you to indulge me in the expression of a wistful thought not, I trust, a presumptuous hope. Assuming that the practice of naming certain academic buildings after deceased former Presidents of the University will continue, may I put in a bid for the UP NSRC building as the one which I would prefer to be named in memory of me when I am gone.
Let me close by thanking Prof. Miranda, the Chairman and Members of the Executive Advisory Committee for asking me to come to this inaugural ceremony. Prof. Miranda was candid enough to say that he wanted to hold the ceremony as soon as possible this month, while I am still around as President. Like so many people in and out of the University, he is fearful I would not be here for long.
My “courtesy resignation” is, of course, on file, and it may be accepted anytime. This, then, may be an appropriate occasion to say that the only thing that keeps me in the University is a sense of obligation and responsibility. This University is one of the most valuable institutions of the Republic and it has been placed in my care. Fate has decreed that I should be at the helm during the most turbulent and perilous period of its history confronted in the last four years by student power, and now confronted, for nobody knows how long, with State power. I see my duty clearly: for as long as I am able, I shall endeavor to preserve the University, to keep it going, to keep it intact through these years of crisis to better times.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Diliman" by Mighty Man - Official Music Video

This is the first video from the band's new EP.
"Diliman" and other Mighty Man songs are available for free download at

Song written by: Martin Salvano
Directed by: Yano Escueta
DOP: Alma Dela Pena

For bookings, please contact Ron at 0927-2617012


by M. Salvano

Sa Diliman doon lamang natagpuan
Paniniwalang nagbalik
Paniniwalang naranasan
Ang katotohanan na madalang

Kanino pa magtatanong
Kung ito lamang ang naayon?
Pansinin ang pagsisikap ng iba na tulad mong
Hindi alam ang gagawin
Hindi alam ang totoo

Huli na ang lahat
Ng pagmasid sa paraan na inakalang pabaya
Para bang iniiwasan ang lahat ng kasalanan
Na alam nating aminado ka naman

Paalam sa iyo Diliman

Nakahagip na ng liwanag sa wakas
Patalikod kong pasalamat sa lahat

Saturday, August 6, 2011

U.P. President asks for help in raising P47 million for U.P.'s laboratory school (UPIS) school building overhaul project

U.P. President Pascual briefs invitees to a merienda at Executive House where he briefed them about plans to raise funds for overhauling the existing K-6 structures of UPIS inside U.P. Diliman

Schematic diagram for the complete overhaul of the Narra Dormitory which will make way for the high school of UPIS

By Chanda Shahani 

University of the Philippines (U.P.) President Alfredo E. Pascual asked today for support from University of the Philippines Integrated School (UPIS) alumni, legislators and other interested parties for donor funds totalling PhP 47 million which will allow the overhaul and rebuilding of the existing U.P. Elementary School (K-6) inside the U.P. Diliman campus as part of an overall package which includes the transfer of the high school from Katipunan Road to the former Narra Residence Hall.

"The dream of coming up with a U.P. Integrated School is about to be realized," Pascual said at a merienda he hosted at Executive House at U.P. Diliman this afternoon for UPIS alumni and other interested parties. He said that in the late 1990s there were plans to transfer the high school of  UPIS from its location along Katipunan Avenue to the main academic zone of U.P. Diliman so that it would be closer to the U.P. College of education and the elementary school of UPIS.

UPIS is a laboratory school of the College of Education at U.P. Diliman with several prominent personalities having gone to school there or its predecessor school in Manila which was the U.P. Elementary School and the U.P. High School. The Diliman Diary has extensively covered the issue of the commercialization of the UPIS site along Katipunan Avenue, and our several articles on the subject may be accessed by typing in "UPIS" in this blog's search engine.

AyalaLand, Inc. won the rights to lease the UPIS property through open competitive bidding at terms which were much better than what U.P. received from AyalaLand, Inc. which leased U.P.-owned property along Commonwealth Avenue which is now the site of U.P.-Ayala Technohub, said U.P. Vice-President for Development Elvira A. Zamora, a professor administration at U.P. Diliman, who was also present at the briefing given by President Pascual.

President Pascual explained that as part of the overall package, AyalaLand, Inc. agreed to put up front PhP 180 million, which will be enough to put up the high school of UPIS where the former Narra Residence Hall now stands (please see the second picture for the schematic diagram of this). AyalaLand, Inc. also is giving some PhP 40 million for the grade school, which is not enough for U.P., since it plans to come up with an almost new structure which would require an additional PhP 47 million, bringing up the cost to overhaul the existing grade school to PhP 87 million.

The site of the former UPIS will be a town center that will be utilized for mixed use. It will be also a place for technology and business integrators which will cater to the private sector, especially techno entrepreneurs. “This will allow us to kill a number of birds with one stone,” Pascual said. There will also be an entertainment and town center, which will benefit the university community, he said.

In terms of the high school there is no problem because PhP 180 million has been raised with about 40 million also being raised that can be realigned for the elementary school but more needs to be added to this.

Former College of Architecture Dean Christopher Espina, who now heads the Campus Planning Office assured members of the audience that the new structures would be built in accordance to the national Building Code, and would take into account any possible minor earthquake faults within the area. He explained that the major fault line is the Marikina Valley Fault Line which does not cut through U.P. campus.
Espina said that the buildings would be well-landscaped, shaded and would incorporate as much green technology as possible, and would incorporate cistern tanks that would collect "grey rainwater" in order to help lessen U.P.'s carbon footprint.

Dr. Zamora said that the timetable for the construction of the new high school building would be within the next two to three months with the completion being timed for the opening of classes in the first semester or June, 2012 and with a backup plan of opening the new facility in the second semester of 2012-2013.

President Pascual said that U.P. Diliman was able to justify the retention of UPIS because as a laboratory school, it was intrumental in fulfilling the mission of the university by allowing U.P. College of Education faculty and its students to test and refine learning theories and programs.

He said that the high school attached to U.P. Cebu College could be retained by reinventing it as a high school for the arts with a concentration in high technology and animation.

UPIS currently has a student population of 1100 for K to 10 and can easily modify its programs to accommodate K to 12 should this plan be finalized by national government authorities, according to Ronaldo M. Jose, the principal of UPIS.

According its website UPIS is the basic education unit of UP Diliman. Other universities of UP maintain their own basic education units. UP Los BaƱos has UP Rural High School. UP Visayas has two high schools - one in Cebu and another in Iloilo. Aside from being the oldest of all basic education units in the UP System, UPIS is the only one offering both primary and secondary education.

“Hello Narra, Goodbye Katipunan” - An invitation to all Alumni, Students, Parents and other interested individuals.

The UP High, Prep, Elementary and Integrated School Foundation, Inc. will be having an event "Hello Narra, Goodbye Katipunan" on Friday, August 26, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at the UP Integrated School Multipurpose Hall, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.

The dinner program will present the future UPIS K-12 developments including the forthcoming transfer from its present site in Katipunan to the old Narra dorm site inside the UP Campus. The event aims to rally the support of our alumni to nurture and sustain excellence of UPIS.

Those who are interested in donating to the Foundation, which is raising the PhP 47 million for UPIS may contact Dr. Marvie M. Abesamis at or cell phone number 0917 8102335

Photos by: Chanda Shahani

(Chanda Shahani is the editor of the Diliman Diary. An A.B. Comparative Literature graduate from U.P. Diliman, he also has a Master's degree in Entrepreneurship from the Asian Institute of Management and is a former business page reporter for the Philippine STAR).

Friday, August 5, 2011

U.P. President Pascual updates constituents on latest university developments

By Chanda Shahani

University of the Philippines President Alfredo E. Pascual talked today (August 5, 2011) about his vision for U.P.'s reinventing itself as a full-research university in light of massive budget cuts from the national government in 2012.

Speaking at the "Kapihan with UP President Alfredo Pascual," at 5:00 p.m. today at the Marine Science Institute at U.P. Diliman, with the overall topic, "Research for a better Philippines and ASEAN," Pascual said that he was at the House of Representatives yesterday when he received the bad news from Congressmen that not only would U.P.'s proposed budget be cut, but that it would be even smaller than in 2011.

He said that U.P.'s budget for 2012 would be cut by 800 million to PhP 5,149,619,000 from its figure of PhP 5,949,619,000 in 2011. U.P.'s budget, as well as the budgets of other state universities and colleges (SUCs) are currently lodged with the House Committee on Appropriations where they will undergo deliberations.

U.P.'s budget has been steadily shrinking over several years due to dwindling support from the national government and congress. For the Diliman Diary's analysis on U.P.'s budget cuts, please click here.

"We have ways of coping with this, but we will not sacrifice academic excellence," Pascual said, adding that "they cannot fault us if we contract our student body to retain excellence. I hope we will not reach that situation."

He said that in his original mission statement, he saw that U.P. had to strengthen its impact. In this regard, he said, research was a very important way for U.P. make itself a cut above the rest of the SUCs. However, U.P. had to strengthen its research capabilities, as development was uneven with some schools such as the Marine Science Institute (MSI) and other institutes in the sciences already well-experienced with research while others just remained as teaching schools, imparting existing knowledge without discovering new knowledge.

"Research and development (R&D) is primordial, he said, and acknowledged the ongoing online debate between former U.P. Visayas Chancellor Flor Lacanilao and former U.P. Diliman Chancellor Roger Posadas, both distinguished scientists, who have been debating what the national priority should be in terms of whether basic research will lead to technological progress (Lacanilao) or whether the selective acquisition of the chicken through the reengineering of existing technology as a way to jump start basic research (i.e., the egg) was the way to go (Posadas).

Pascual tacitly admitted that both scientists were correct in their respective arguments, and referred to U.P.'s collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to reverse engineer a monorail system within U.P. campus, while at the same time stressing that it was important for faculty and graduate students to get published in  ISI-referenced journals which were important as gauges of academic excellence.

He stressed that it was important for U.P. to start develop a strong cross-disciplinary capability such that different disciplines could work closely together. "If we just address the problem of the Philippines, we can still be globally relevant, because there are so many developing country and tropical issues that other countries will want to tap our expertise in," he said.

Dr. Edgardo D. Gomez, a Professor Emeritus of U.P. Diliman's Marine Science Institute (MSI) said in the open forum that “their experience could serve as a useful model for other units in the university”; even as U.P. struggles to retain its relevance amidst budget cuts from the national government. He said that President Benigno S. Aquino III is asking MSI to come out with a national coral reef protection program.

Being published in internationally-refereed journals by professors, researchers and graduate students will become the new norm in U.P.

Raul Suarez, a Canada-based Philippine researcher said in PhilScience, a group in Yahoo! Groups, that “The “push” for publication in ISI-indexed journals is a relatively recent phenomenon in the Philippines. As many are aware, the UP now gives its faculty a cash incentive for each ISI-journal article published and such publications are now required for tenure and promotion. In certain graduate programs, the publication of at least one paper in an ISI-indexed journal is a requirement for graduation with a Ph.D. degree.”

Dr. Gomez said that other units can learn from the early experiences of MSI where they learned early on to develop a “psycho-sociological mindset” that made publishing in internationally refereed journals quite natural. “In our case, it's not required to be published. Our experience is that “you come up with the data, you analyze it, and then you publish it,” he said.

The consensus among the forum participants was that the more U.P. research is published in internationally refereed journals, the better known U.P. will become internationally, and the more successful U.P. will be in attracting  funding for its proposals.

The open forum with President Pascual also revealed the following important insights:
  •  U.P. can continue to remain relevant by simply focusing on the broad themes of the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) such as food security, nutrition, health, infectious diseases and climate change.
  • President Pascual said that an example of U.P. remaining relevant within the context of MDG was a proposal he received from Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz, the dean of the College of Forestry and Natural Resourcesat U.P. Los Banos for Mt. Makiling to become a laboratory and a regional center for climate change.
  • U.P. is now working on a comprehensive communications plan, Pascual said. "U.P. has to get to be known to the rest of the country, as it has so many gems. We should also popularize our research findings in a language that the common man can understand," he said.
  • Undergraduate programs result in student enrollment in U.P. where undergraduates constitute 80% of the student population and graduate students constitute 20% of the student population. Pascual said that in more progressive countries, the ratio is 50% to 50%. Pascual said that he would like to see the ratio of graduate students reach 30% by the time his term ends.
  • More research is the only way for U.P. to distinguish itself. He said that he was in favor of putting up a research hospital in U.P. Diliman with a capacity of 300 beds which would differentiate itself from the historic mandate of Philippine General Hospital (PGH). The proximity of the research hospital to the colleges such as the U.P. College of Engineering would enable the efficient interaction of the different disciplines in the testing of Philippine-made artificial heart valves or prosthetics, for example.
  • Pascual also said that the national government kept on asking U.P. to do research for it, but that U.P.'s overhead charge was only 5% to ten percent of the overall charges. He said that a more appropriate charge was 50%, which is what Harvard and other universities charge. He said that the funds collected from this would go to a pool of funds to support U.P.'s research projects.
  • While U.P. would still create "public goods" or the dissemination and creation of knowledge for the good of the community, U.P. also had to engage in commercialization. "Ultimately is the creation of new industries in the country from the creation of research output," Pascual said.
  • Some examples of successful commercialization was the PhP 100 million in revenues U.P. Los Banos dervied from its biofertilizer project and PhP 45 million which U.P. Manila will receive in partnership with Pascual Laboratories for its Lagundi project.
(Chanda Shahani is the editor of the Diliman Diary. An A.B. Comparative Literature graduate from U.P. Diliman, he also has a Master's degree in Entrepreneurship from the Asian Institute of Management and is a former business page reporter for the Philippine STAR).