Prof. Maragtas S.V. Amante, Ph.D.
The Vice-President for Administration is actually an industrial relations expert. UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) professor and former Dean Maragtas S.V. Amante was tapped to identify strategies and find solutions to issues and concerns facing the university’s human resources, compensation, benefits and labor-management relations, among others.
UP has around 14,000 position items, of which 4,000 are faculty, 1,200 are REPS and 8,760 are administrative items (including those of the Philippine General Hospital).
Amante is deeply immersed in the UP personnel situation. As an advocate of sound and productive employment relations, he helped organize the All-UP Workers Union and the All-UP Academic Employees Union and became an officer of these unions from 1988 to 1997 and 2003 to 2006, respectively. He was SOLAIR dean from 1999 to 2001.
It was not hard for President Alfredo Pascual to convince Amante to join his executive staff. Amante had read Pascual’s vision paper and regarded it as a standout. “One very luminous line in his paper said it all: ‘[A great university] should provide the environment which motivates faculty and staff toward excellent performance and high productivity.’ This is the key principle in sound and effective employment relations and human resource management—my fields of specialization,” Amante says.
He recognizes the significant achievements made by previous UP officials but “significant gaps and tensions exist,” so they need to be addressed. Among these is the perceived neglect of administrative staff in terms of benefits compared to the ones given to the faculty. It may be recalled that Pascual’s vision paper argued for equitable benefit packages for both faculty and administrative staff.
Amante also cites the problems of factionalism, turfing, and in-breeding in personnel decisions which dampen personnel motivation and productivity. Compounding these problems are news about budget cuts and unaddressed issues involving Commission on Audit reports. “Shirking, absenteeism, stress and bad health are some of the negative manifestations of these conflicts,” Amante says.
“The goal now is to restore trust, and restart dialogues with sincerity to produce results in better performance,” he adds. At the same time, he believes that “prerogatives—whether as a UP official, faculty or staff member, union leader or member—are all subordinate to the public interest and the laws of the land.”
He speaks of a plan to tap IT and the interface of OVPA with all concerned units and offices. “Records for personnel, administrative services, and utilities monitoring in the various campuses are still disconnected, a needless legacy of campus autonomy.” Amante envisions full connectivity in administrative support for UP campuses, with provisions for teleconferencing and video communications. He will work for paperless transactions and a digitalized information system to promote transparency, good governance and democratic governance.
“I have observed closely the operation of teamwork systems in Japanese and Korean national universities, supported by information sharing, formal and informal communications. Faculty and staff are paid well, with enough incentive and funds for them to concentrate on research and innovation,” Amante explains.
Aside from making it efficient, equitably and maximally compensated and properly motivated, Amante also envisions a “green” administration which involves achieving capacity to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of administrative services and gradually reducing reliance on traditional energy sources. “The OVPA will interface with the Office of the Vice-President for Development and the various CU offices and units to promote and achieve a system of green energy campuses.”
Before assuming his post at the Office of the Vice-President for Administration (OVPA), Amante was a professor at the College of Economics and Business Administration of Hanyang University Erica Campus in Ansan City, South Korea. He was doing research and teaching on strategic human resource management and organizational behavior. Prior to this, he applied for early retirement from UP where he had more than 20 years experience in teaching, research and consultancy work in the areas of industrial relations, economics of human resources, and compensation.
Amante’s research, publications and advocacy promote the interdisciplinary approach using the tools of the social sciences, law and management to promote decent work and identify innovative resolutions to issues in employment relations. His consultancy work benefits various stakeholders in industrial relations. The focus of his recent research is on business and labor issues in East Asia, as well as on Filipino seafarers.
While President Alfredo E. Pascual is an expert in finance and management, Amante will provide support in industrial relations and human resource development. Amante’s expertise is known locally and internationally. He had consultancy work with various companies, employers groups, and the International Labor Organization. From 2002 to 2007, Amante was a consultant and facilitator of the ASEAN Secretariat on the ASEAN Program on Industrial Relations.
Amante graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the UP School of Economics in 1983. He was among the first recipients of the COCOFED scholarship grant in Silliman University where he studied from 1975 to 1979. After graduation in 1983, he was recruited into the staff of the UP SOLAIR. In 1986, he was granted an Asia Foundation fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in policy economics from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. His interest in Japanese human resource development led him to pursue doctoral studies in Japan under the Mombusho (Japanese Ministry of Education) Fellowship Grant. He earned his Ph.D. degree in 1993 from Keio University in Tokyo. In 1994, he became research fellow at the Japan Institute of Labor.
From 2002 to 2004, he was a research fellow at the Seafarers’ International Research Centre (SIRC) in Cardiff University, UK. From December 2006 to May 2007, he was Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE) – JETRO, in Tokyo.
Aside from English and Tagalog, Amante speaks Kineray-a, Bisaya, Japanese and Korean. He is originally from Pandan, Antique. Amante is married with three children ages 15, 13 and 11.