Prof. J. Prospero E. de Vera, DPA
“The new perspective of [my office] is a redefinition of what `public’ means,” said Dr. J. Prospero “Popoy” De Vera, the UP Vice-President for Public Affairs. “We have to examine how we relate to the internal and external publics of the University: from the UP community, other universities, our national leaders and the rest of the world.”
De Vera has spent the past three decades in the policy arena while working in the legislative branch in the Philippine government and in the United States of America. He has served as executive assistant, chief-of-staff, senior consultant and senior adviser to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr.; Senate Presidents Protempore Sotero Laurel, Leticia Ramos-Shahani and Juan Flavier; Senators Gregorio Honasan and Ramon Magsaysay, Jr,; and Rep. Consuelo Puyat-Reyes from the 8th to the 14th Congress.
De Vera is internationally recognized as a political analyst and opinion maker, having been quoted extensively not only by major dailies in the country like Inq.Net The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, Business World, Business Mirror, Philippine Star, ABS-CBN Online, Sun Star, Graphic, Newsbreak and all major television stations. His views have also been quoted by the international networks like Time, Fortune, Reuters, Associated Press, El Figaro, Al Jazeera, Bangkok Post, Arab News, Financial Times, China Daily, Khaleej Times, Vietnam Express, Gulf Times and Voice of America News.
Aside from his political savvy, De Vera is also recognized for his expertise in policy making. He served as Executive Director of the Congressional Commission on Agricultural Modernization (AGRICOM) that later produced the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA). President Ramos and President Macapagal-Arroyo made de Vera a member or adviser of the Philippine delegations to the 1994 UN International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, the 1995 UN World Summit on Social Development held in Copenhagen, the 1996 UN World Food Summit in Rome and the 2002 UN Special Session on Children in New York. He left the Philippines in 1990 as a Fulbright-Hays Visiting Scholar at the University of Southern California and CSU-Sacramento.While in the US, de Vera worked in the California State Assembly and was the first Filipino recipient of the California State Legislature Resolution commending his work at the State capitol.
De Vera is also currently the Director of the UP NCPAG Center for Policy and Executive Development and a Professor of Public Administration at UP Diliman.
He was a Senior Fulbright Visiting Professor/Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in 2000 and 2001. He finished both his B.A. History and Doctor of Public Administration degrees at UP Diliman.
“The administration of UP President Alfredo Pascual has captured the imagination of a lot of people, especially the alumni. The fact that he came from outside the UP academic community is exciting because there are expectations that he will bring in not only his financial expertise but an objective perspective to look at UP from a distance and institute new ways of looking at things” said de Vera.
De Vera plans to execute what UP President Pascual said in his vision statement, which is primarily to strengthen alumni relations, to improve the information systems of the University and to expand UP’s network to its different publics.
In strengthening alumni relations, his first order of business is to make the UP Alumni Association (UPAA) and the UP Office of Alumni Relations (OAR) work closely together in a seamless partnership. This is in line with his objective of touching base with alumni here and abroad and to make them actively participate in the University not only through financial support, but by tapping the alumni’s expertise and services for UP’s projects.
As for the information aspect under the UP Office of the Vice-President for Public Affairs, de Vera wants to reassess the current information system and create a communication plan to effectively project what UP to its various publics. In line with UP President Pascual’s definition of UP as a great university, part of the work that de Vera will do is to make sure that all publics will understand the branding of UP. This will be done by ensuring that information about UP’s faculty, research, development projects, and its contribution to national development, national issues and are well disseminated, making the university visible and recognized in the country and beyond.
To do this, de Vera first wants to improve the UP Newsletter and the UP Forum, two publications under the UP System Information Office (UP SIO). Changes in the publications include making the UP Newsletter bilingual to further ensure that it will be accessible to UP’s internal public, among others. A new UP website with improved design, content and functionality will also be launched under the new administration.
De Vera also plans to strengthen media relations and networking, as well as build up the information offices in the various constituent universities. He also added that there is a need to maximize new media in accomplishing these goals.
‘The reason why I accepted to become Vice-President for Public Affairs is because I agree with President Pascual’s vision, especially in the way UP relates with its different publics,” said de Vera. “This is what I envision as well for the University.”