By Sara Jamel Bangayan and Elizabeth Escaño
The University of the Philippines must uphold honor and excellence and exist to serve the people, newly-vested UP president Alfredo Pascual said Thursday.
“I do not profess to make UP great overnight. But I shall mark the path and launch UP towards greatness during my term,” the 20th UP president said during his investiture at the University Theatre.
Pascual said in his speech that UP is in need of an increase in budget. Thus, the government should allocate greater subsidy for the education sector, especially state universities and colleges.
“Government financial support for UP is never been an expense but an investment that will yield obvious dividends for our country and people,” he said.
UP faces a 200 million budget cut in 2012, which amounts to P5.54 billion budget from the current P5.75 billion.
Having a lot of experience in handling finance and education, Pascual said he is determined to make UP regain its previous glory under his administration.
Pascual worked as a development banker and educator at the Asian Development Bank for 19 years before becoming UP President.
“My administration is fully committed to this vision and I ask all of you to join me so that we may realize it. To achieve this vision, we will pursue two strategic tasks: academic excellence and operational excellence.”
To achieve academic excellence, he said UP needs to improve the general education of students by enabling students to earn a degree despite the economic conditions of their families, he added.
Pascual also encouraged more graduates to do research and vowed to raise the academic and research quality of faculties to conform to international standards. Improving the university’s international image can make UP uphold the academic excellence he envisions, he added.
Operational excellence, on the other hand, is needed to support academic excellence, he said.
His projects include a system-wide project that can connect the different UP units through Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Systems. The project, called “E-UP”, aims to unite the constituent universities of UP.
“We may have seven constituent universities and an autonomous college spread all over the country but we are one UP,” he added.
Pascual also laid out the Green UP project that aims for the campuses to be clean without spending much for utilities.
He also cited an effective human resource management, which includes more benefits for UP employees.
The alumni also have a role for the improvement of the university. Their expertise and networks are a big help to the system, aside from their donations, he said.
He also said that the true essence of UP is “not meant to breed aristocrats but unselfish workers for the common good,” which he quoted from the first UP president, Murray Bartlett.