UP outgoing president, Alfredo Pascual, gave markers of his administration’s accomplishment and expressed his thanks to the UP community, his executive staff in particular, at the 5th President’s Toast on February 9, 2017, the eve of handing over the UP presidency to his successor.
The event, which opened the Institute of Biology, UP Diliman to the UP community–saw student protesters, as well as chancellors giving thanks on behalf of their constituent universities through their gift of a Toym Imao sculpture. Representatives of UP sectors delivered testimonials to the outgoing UP president.
Pascual cited the administration’s two-pronged strategic plan aimed at academic and operational excellences to achieve a “one UP”. Enabling the administration’s successful implementation of this plan was its campaign for state funding, which saw the UP budget increase almost three-fold, from P5.4 billion in 2011 to P15.1 billion in 2016, mostly in the form of allocations for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and capital outlay, which amounted to P9 billion in a span of five years, according to the outgoing President.
Pascual’s presentation began with achievements in pursuing academic excellence.
These included enhancing access to UP by poorer segments of society through the online UPCAT application and the free online UPCAT review. Those passing the UPCAT were given better motivation to enroll and chances of staying in UP through a liberalized loan system and a streamlined Socialized Tuition System, including increased stipends, scholarships, and compensation for student assistants.
The roster of faculty was strengthened through increased incentives for the Balik-PhD program, sufficient grants to travel and pursue postgraduate courses abroad, multi-campus offering of doctoral programs, establishment of the One UP Professorial Chairs, and merit promotions.
Research activity flourished through huge investments in research and facilities. The banner projects included buildings and equipment for the Philippine Genome Center and the National Institutes of Health. Several research projects that had great impact nationally such as Project NOAH/DREAM-LIDAR resulted from the Enhanced Interdisciplinary Research Program.
Internationalization was jump-started with the shift in the academic calendar, international linkage programs such as MOVE UP and COOPERATE programs, and cross-border partnerships. These resulted in an influx of international professors, experts, and students, and active participation in an international network of universities. Programs were also benchmarked internationally, and open education was strengthened.
In terms of public service, Pascual reported on UP’s first integrated approach to disaster response and to voter information, technical assistance to other higher educational institutions, and the launch of a Resilience Institute and a public service television, TVUP. UP’s expansion in several industrial zones and growth areas also concretized its efforts at reaching target publics actively involved in economic development.
A major leap in operational excellence, meant to facilitate academic excellence, was the rolling out of eUP, an integrated operations and information system for all of UP. This included providing greater internet bandwidth and future-proofing of the fiber optic network.
The Pascual administration was also the first to create system-wide guidelines for environment-friendly operations, building and landscaping design, and land use.
Pascual expressed gratitude to each member of his executive staff through citations.
The program was also a chance for various UP sectors to deliver testimonials to the outgoing president. The event organizer, the UP outgoing vice president for Public Affairs, Dr. Edna Estifania Co, spoke of Pascual’s “deep concern” to improve the lot of employees, faculty, and students. Atty. Reynaldo Laserna, alumni representative, mentioned Pascual’s name along the “great” UP Alumni Association presidents who eventually became presidents of the University. Regent Alexis Mejia, staff representative, enumerated the various staff benefits received during Pascual’s term. Kevin Mark Gomez, student representative, spoke of the international exchange program of the administration which made possible his studies abroad. Dr. Agnes Rola, faculty representative, said the administration “leveled UP to become a socially-relevant university.”
UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, representing the chancellors, gave brief testimonials he solicited from each chancellor. UP outgoing Vice President for Academic Affairs Gisela Concepcion, representing UP System officials, made the Gawad Pangulo choral competition an example of administration programs that cut across the system and sectors and generated goodwill and creativity. Commission on Higher Education Chair and UP Board of Regents Chair Patricia Licuanan thanked UP for helping CHED perform its role to lead the higher education sector.
Tenor Ramon Acoymo of the UP College of Music delivered a spiel and rendered his versions of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Moonriver” in honor of Pascual.
Delivering a final word, Pascual repeated his trademark “Padayon UP” which harks on his vision of a great university: UP able to lead the country to prosperity in the globalized world.
Pascual earlier said his acceptance of the nomination to the UP presidency was motivated by his love for his alma mater, responsible for his career advancement and the development of the youth, which now includes his grandchildren. (Jo. Florendo B. Lontoc, UP MPRO)
For more photos of the event, please click through the album here.