By Nacho Domingo
In a single round of secret ballot voting by 11 members of the University of the Philippines (UP) Board of Regents (BOR), UP College of Law Dean Danilo Concepcion was selected the next UP President on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Student Regent (SR) Raoul Manuel revealed Concepcion received the highest number of votes; however, the university’s highest decision-making body has not permitted him to disclose the exact voter turnout.
In a statement released by the Office of the Student Regent (OSR) after the selection, Manuel said Concepcion was chosen the 21st UP President because the dean gave the most positive comments towards the Student Agenda.
The Student Agenda was drafted by student leaders from each campus within the UP system to call for affordable education and pro-masses perspective for the next UP president.
“Binoto namin siya sa eleksyon kanina dahil sa kanyang magagandang pronouncements like yung pag-aaral sa posibilidad ng libreng edukasyon sa loob ng UP at pagbibigay ng incentives pati items sa faculty at staff,” Manuel said.
Besides these, Manuel claimed Concepcion also committed to back the campaign against hikes in tuition and other school fees through a proposed moratorium on these increases.
He also recognized the students’ protests against the proposed General Education (GE) reform and committed to implementing system-wide support for national minorities for a just and peaceful country.
Despite Concepcion’s pronouncements, Manuel did not ignore the UP Law dean’s stand on President Alfredo Pascual’s controversial eUP Project.
In a UP forum held on Oct. 13 to present the presidential nominees, Concepcion stated how he believed that the eUP system is instrumental to the modernization of the University, which will put it at par with those from overseas.
“Noong ako po ay lumibot at nagtanong sa ating mga kasama sa unibersidad, wala naman po akong napakinggan na kumokontra doon sa purposes noong eUP,” Concepcion said during the forum.
“Kailangan po natin na magmodernize ang ating mga sistema upang tayo ay maging world class,” he added.
Upon the presentation of the Student Agenda to Concepcion, the president-select said he would be open to holding its implementation in UP constituent units.
Manuel sees this as a challenge to double the efforts of the student movement against neoliberal attacks on education.
“Despite those unities, umaasa tayo na kailangan pa din lumakas ang kilusan ng kabataan at estudyante sa loob ng UP,” he said.
“Sa huli’t huli ito pa rin ang ating maasahan para maipaglaban ang ating mga karapatan.”
Concepcion was one of six candidates considered during the election, the others being Caesar Saloma, Benito Pacheco, Rowena Christina Guevara, Gisela Concepcion, and J. Prospero De Vera III. The UP Law dean will be replacing UP President Alfredo Pascual on February 2017 where he will begin his 6-year term.
Atty. Concepcion earned his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering at De La Salle – Araneta University where he graduated summa cum laude in 1978. He graduated cum laude from the UP College of Law in 1983 before finishing as a bar topnotcher during the same year.