by: Maverick Russel Flores

MANILA – With Chancellor Michael Tan seated at the helm of UP Diliman, five faculty members took their place as his Vice Chancellors in leading the state university’s flagship campus.

Two months after his own term started, Tan oversaw the affirmations of Dr. Benito M. Pacheco, Dr. Fidel R. Nemenzo, Dr. Neil Martial R. Santillan, Dr. Nestor T. Castro and Dr. Virginia C. Yap to their respective positions on May 2.

Of the five appointees, two already served as vice chancellors during Dr. Caesar Saloma’s term as head of the UP Diliman administration. One of them is Prof. Virginia C. Yap, who retained her position as the Vice Chancellor for Administration. A graduate of BS Business Administration in Siliman University, Yap finished her MA in Economics at UP Diliman, and took units in PhD in Public Administration from the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG).

After teaching at Ateneo de Manila University and Siliman University, and working on projects under institutions such as the Philippine Business School for Social Progress and USAID, Yap served as the deputy director of the UP Diliman Extension in Pampanga from 2003 to 2006, before taking her post as the acting director of the Supply and Property Management Office at UP Diliman.

After serving as the former Vice Chancellor for Research and Development of the former chancellor, Dr. Benito M. Pacheco remained in Tan’s administration as the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Also a professor and former director of the Institute of Civil Engineering, Pacheco has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, and received his doctorate at the University of Tokyo. The UP Alumni Engineers also chose him as one of the 100 Outstanding Alumni Engineers of the Century in 2010, the same year he was awarded the Most Outstanding Civil Engineer of the Year award by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

His vacated position was filled in by Dr. Fidel R. Nemenzo, the former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the College of Science. Nemenzo earned his BS in Mathematics at UP Diliman, while he got his Master’s degree in Sophia University in Tokyo. At the same university, he became the first Filipino to earn a doctorate in Number Theory and Elliptic Curves, the area in which he focused his research and published works.

Aside from increasing UP Diliman’s scope of research and improving the support given to researchers, Nemenzo also aims to develop collaborative research.

“Maganda na imbis isa, o dalawang tao lang ang nagreresearch, maghanap ng ibang projects kung saan may iba’t ibang disiplina ang pumapasok, para makapaghanap ng multi-disciplinary solutions to problems (It’s better that instead of only one or two people researching, we find other projects wherein various disciplines are involved, in order to find multi-disciplinary solutions to problems),” Nemenzo said.

Nemenzo also looks for ways to communicate UP research and its relevance to ordinary people, the media, and the lawmakers handling the nation’s budget.

Prior to their newly designated positions, Nemenzo has previously worked with Chancellor Tan, along with 20 different faculties in different disciplines, for the revision of the university’s Science, Technology and Society (STS) program. They now collaborate in strengthening UP’s General Education (GE) program.

Another new appointee who once worked closely with Tan is Dr. Nestor Castro, now Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs. During his two-year stint as the former Chair of the UP Department of Anthropology, the department was hailed a Center of Excellence by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). It was also in this department, in 1989, when he started working with Tan, who was already a regular faculty member at the time.

“I have worked with him in several research projects.  We were co-researchers in the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality 3 Study (YAFS 3), undertaken by the UP Population Institute and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, Inc. (DRDF),” said Castro, who also worked with Tan in the same organizations, such as theCollege of Social Sciences and Philosophy’s (CSSP) Executive Board and Social Sciences and Philosophy Research Foundation (SSPRF).

With his new position, Castro aims to engage all stakeholders of the UP community—from the faculty and students to the barangay residents and local government units—in addressing community issues, as well as conceiving special projects.

“We should not forget that the UP Campus is a University Community and therefore all community activities should be geared towards developing a healthy academic life,” Castro said.

Working with him as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs is another CSSP colleague, Dr. Neil Martial R. Santillan. As a professor at the UP Department of History, Santillan handles classes such as the required social science subject Kasaysayan 1 (Philippine History) and Social Science 3 (Gender and Sexuality). He was Associate Dean for Administration and External Affairs at CSSP when Chancellor Tan served as the dean of the college.

The Board of Regents notified the five new officials of their ad interim appointments on April 30, according to the UP Diliman website. Their respective terms took effect a day after. — with reports from Leandro Anton Castro


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