CMC College Sec Arao to be Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs

By Alexandra Gabrielle Francisco

“Raising tuition shall not be the default solution.”

University of the Philippines President Alfredo Pascual swore on Thursday that UP students shall enjoy affordable tuition.

In the turnover ceremonies held at Quezon Hall, Pascual, whose term officially started Thursday, said he would find alternative means for raising university revenue other than tuition fee increases, which he had promised in his vision statement.

“UP must admit only the best high school graduates in the Philippines. But as the national university, UP must adopt an inclusive policy,” said Pascual.

The 62-year-old retired international development banker called for reviewing course curricula to account for the globalization trend and to respond to the need for UP students to take on leadership roles in the future.

Pascual reiterated many of the promises he made in his vision paper, including the strengthening of the General Education (GE) Program.

Critics have noted that the Revitalized GE Program (RGEP) has provided a means for some students to avoid taking courses vital for the university’s nationalist orientation and brand of academic excellence, such as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

The GE program should develop broader cross-disciplinary perspectives and a “strong bias for serving the country,” said Pascual.

Instead of tuition fee increases, Pascual pushed for private sector partnerships, distinguishing this from commercialization of education, which “should not be tolerated.”

Pascual promised that the university shall not enter into partnerships where it would be disadvantaged.

These revenues shall not replace government funding, said Pascual.

USC bets to Pascual: Keep your promises

Meanwhile, candidates for University Student Council chairperson said students should be vigilant to ensure that Pascual keeps his promises and upholds UP’s public character.

Kristine Borja, USC chairperson candidate under the Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral Para Sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (ALYANSA), said Pascual should remain “pro-student” and “pro-people.”

“Review yung budget na natatanggap ng UP. Review the tuition fee increase. As the biggest stakeholders, tayo pa rin ang nagbabayad ng tuition fee,” said Borja.

Marck Bryan David, chairperson bet of Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan (KAISA), said Pascual’s pro-PPP stand in his vision statement was “questionable.”

“Recent increases in the MRT (Metro Rail Transit) and LRT (Light Rail Transit), it is brought about by the PPP. And this should be avoided by the new UP president,” said David.

Jemimah Grace Garcia, chairperson candidate of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP), said Pascual should uphold the UP agenda, concerns compiled by STAND-UP from different sectors in the UP community.

Garcia, who was a journalism graduate before she entered law school, said Pascual swore he would implement a tuition moratorium and review laboratory fees.

“Hindi ito usapin ng kung ano lang ang gusto ni President Pascual,” Garcia said. “Pero sa dulo, it is still within our grasp to make sure that our rights are protected.”

Other goals

Pascual said the new administration shall also save on electric bills by turning UP into a “green zone.”

The former alumni regent also promised to increase incentives for research and development and make research products more accessible to the public.

The university must produce technology-based products to produce job-creating industries, said the new UP president.

Alumni relations shall also be improved, fostering a culture of “giving back” to the university, said Pascual.

Pascual’s “cabinet”

Pascual’s new “cabinet” also started their terms Thursday.

Gisela Concepcion, a professor at the Marine Science Institute, is now Vice President for Academic Affairs, while Maragtas Amante, former dean of the School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR), is now Vice President for Administration.

The new Vice President for Legal Affairs is Danilo Concepcion, fomer UP Law Center Head and the vice president for Public Affairs is Prospero de Vera III from the National College of Public Administration (NCPAG).

Taking office as vice president for planning and finance is former dean Lisa Bersales of the School of Statistics, while Elvira Zamora, the first woman dean of the College of Business Administration, is the new vice president for development.

Pascual said he tried to maintain the “gender balance” in his cabinet. He replaces outgoing President Emerlinda Roman, the university’s first female president who has held the post since 2005.

Meanwhile, CMC College Secretary Danilo Arao now holds two new positions as director of the System Information Office and Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs.

Arao will be college secretary until the end of February.

The process of selecting his successor has not yet been decided as of press time.


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