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Presidency U.P. Diliman September 24, 2010 Introduction Good afternoon, magandang hapon, naimbag na adlaw, maayong hapon kaninyong tanan, maayo gid nga hapon ug maupay nga hapon! As an adopted member of the Bagobo Tribe with the rank of Bae, let me greet all of you, “Mappiyon mapon kaninyo langon tu UP!” I was a nineteen-old graduate student on a research fellowship when I first entered U.P. That was fifty years ago. I have not left since then. I started as a project research assistant and am now a full professor. In between I was Secretary to the Commission on Audit, Vice-President for Finance and Administration of the University and Treasurer of the Philippines. I have never stopped teaching. Ang pinakamahalagang bagay na natutunan ko sa UP ay ang pagmamahal at pagsisilbi sa bayan. Bale wala ang malawak na karunungan kung hindi ito ginagamit para sa kapwa Pilipino, para sa bayan. Vision Statement My vision is that of a University of the Philippines which is at the cutting age of innovation, invention and change, whether it be in science and technology, the social sciences, culture, literature and the arts. I see it pushing forward the frontiers of knowledge, and using this knowledge in the service of all Filipinos and of the country. The pursuit of academic excellence The UP is the leading institution of higher learning in the country. It attracts the best and brightest students, boasts of a competent faculty and leads in all fields of learning. The university’s performance in licensure examinations, as well as the quality of our graduates in different academic fields is well established. Nonetheless, the Charter’s mandate about UP being a graduate as well as research university requires serious strategizing. All of our CU’s offer graduate studies, most often in similar fields. The uneven content and substance of these offerings require constant assessment in terms of relevance and rigor. Our journey towards establishing ourselves as a research university. Again, research outputs among CU’S are uneven. Strengthening the research capacities of the universities calls for a thoroughgoing review of our academic programs, as well as massive mobilization of human, material and financial resources.
Serving the country and contributing to national development The university has a long tradition of community service, provision of expertise and significant contributions to national development. It has provided a large number of the country’s political leaders, great thinkers, scientists, artists, critics and dissenters as well. All our CU’s render assistance to communities, local governments and national institutions. Many of these patriotic contributions are unheralded, unnoticed, uncounted, and if I may say, underpaid or even unpaid. Periodic assessments of these contributions can be made and different experiences shared so the wheel need not be reinvented and successful innovations can be replicated. The UP Charter mandates the university to “regularly study the state of the nation in relation to its quest for national development…and give advice and recommendations to Congress and the President of the Philippines." My vision is that of a UP which will conduct a comprehensive review on an annual, biennial basis which will involve all the constituent universities. Responding to changing demands I envision an agile UP responding to changing demands and expectations. For example, it can contribute significantly to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. The target date is 2015. Thus far the targets on poverty, health-particularly infant and maternal mortality-education, nutrition and dreaded diseases are at risk. Beyond MDGs, we have the threats of climate change, a looming fiscal crisis, intractable problems of governance, an economy plagued by unemployment and inequality, and urgent issues of justice and peace. The University, with its 258 undergraduate and 438 graduate programs, 3,648 faculty members, 10,394 administrative and research personnel, and more than 50,000 of the brightest young people in the country is the richest resource which can be utilized to help solved our multiple crises. During the first forum last Monday, I specifically mentioned U.P. Los Baños and its enormous capacity for contributing to national development. Let’s look at UP Diliman this time. Any president can name any national problem and you can be sure there is a college or unit which has the professional capacity to respond with analyses and recommendations. Are we looking for answers to persistent poverty? We have no less than 7 colleges and units in the Management and Economics cluster who can help search for the answers. Corruption and other governance problems? NCPAG, College of Social Science and Philosophy, the Department of Political Science can help in understanding the terrible blight. The deteriorating state of education? Our own College of Education which can lead the search for answers. The other CU’s are just as capable of responding to escalating demands for UP excellence.
Financial autonomy for the university We know that sustainability of financial resources from government cannot be assured. The budget for UP from the general fund this year is Ph7,230,872,000. The proposed general fund budget for 2011 is Ph5,525,844,000. This is because there is no more provision for capital outlay. The immediate need of UP is for more funds for MOOE maintenance, operating and other expenditures. We may have more buildings but if we don’t have funds to repair, maintain and keep our facilities in working condition, the university will deteriorate and our faculty and staff can’t deliver services effectively. The challenge is for UP to tap more sources of financing. In addition to the proposals in the National Expenditure Program, legislators can still provide for additional allocations as long as they identify the sources of financing. These include unremitted dividends of government corporations to the government, fees like the Motor Vehicles User Charge which is not included in the budget, proceeds from privatization and unprogrammed funds. Properties and resources of the UP can be pooled and developed. New products and projects can be developed for alumni to tap. Perhaps this is where my experience in financing public institutions, as well as civil society organizations can be of much use. Democratizing Access The biggest economic and social challenge faced by the country is persistent poverty. Even as the economy grows, poverty grows as well. The poorest regions, the poorest provinces and the poorest municipalities are in the Visayas and Mindanao. It is a known fact that a significant number of the poorest Filipinos are from indigenous people and Muslim communities. The university can make UP education available to the IPS, Muslims and the very poor. The Charter itself is against discrimination. Closing Statement Academic excellence is a primary pursuit which has to be balanced with service to the country and responsiveness to its changing demands and expectations. However, it can only be attained with sustainable financial, material and human resources. Most important of all, the UP must not be a university only for those who can afford to pay increased tuition fees and the limited number who can be accommodated through affirmative action. It has to continually strive to be a University of the Philippines for all Filipinos, especially for the disadvantaged and the excluded.
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