Sunday, September 26, 2010

The nominees for U.P. President answer questions during the 2nd forum for Nominees at U.P. Diliman on September 24, 2010

By Chanda Shahani

The eleven nominees for U.P. President answered questions from their various audiences who were made up of a live audience at the NISMED Auditorium at U.P. Diliman and questions were also sent in via live video streaming from the various constituent campuses in the U.P. System on September 24, 2010

The Diliman Diary covered this event remotely from out of U.P. Baguio. This article incorporates the comprehensive list of questions asked of the nominees on that day and other critical information which we have reproduced from the Facebook page of U.P. Faculty Regent Judy Taguiwalo. The comprehensive list of questions can be accessed from this link:

To read about our coverage of the presentations of the nominees on September 24, 2010, please click on this link:

Here are the responses of specific nominees regarding specific questions asked of them:

Is the U.P. education deteriorating?

U.P. Diliman Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco said that “it is not declining, but it must be improved upon. Students must be able to discuss the truth and must be trained in how to separate the garbage from the real information.”

Former Budget Secretary and School of Economics Benjamin Diokno said, “there is a decline or a failure in basic education.” He said that U.P. continues to attract the best and brightest; but U.P. needs to discern where it wants to be ten years from now.

Former Vice president for Academic Affairs and U.P. Diliman History Professor Ma. Serena Diokno asked, “Relative to what? I ask myself, in my heart of hearts, are we happy where we are. I look at comparable universities and we are still the best; but not in all areas.” She said U.P. must be rigorous regular curricula reviews as well in order to stay relevant. She ended her statement by stating that U.P. should ask itself what is its overall capacity to offer the best in a subject area and if U.P. cannot be the best in that subject area, then it should not offer it.

Former U.P. Diliman Department of English and Comparative Literature Chair Consolacion Alaras said with the “best staff and a shared vision, together with a moral sacred University of the Philippines, then we can influence government leaders and everything else will follow.”

Dr. Patrick Alain T. Azanza, President of Winsource Solutions, Inc., and a senior lecturer at the U.P. Diliman College of Education said that “U.P. cannot be in denial. The truth is the reality hurts. He said he intended to address U.P.’s deterioration as U.P. President by transforming it into an ICT global research university by modernizing its facilities and raising funds.

U.P. School of Labor and Industrial Relations Professor Virginia Teodosio said 80,000 people take the U.P. College Admissions Test but only ten percent pass it. This means that U.P. still gets the best students. However in an era when the youth are accustomed to a malling environment, U.P. still needs to develop critical minds.

Former College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan said that “in U.P. we are not supposed to watch others. However, it is true that those who are supposed to be behind are catching up. He said that U.P. should take strategic advantage of being a research university. He added that the new generation needed more mentoring and attention than previous generations, so adjustments would have to be made to accommodate that reality.

Former Health Secretary and U.P. College of Medicine Pharmacology Professor Esperanza Cabral said that U.P. was declining “because of the way we teach students which is not appropriate. We must understand how we can convert our talent in the faculty to teaching,” she said.

Alumni Regent (on leave) and former Asian Institute of Management Professor Alfredo Pascual said that quality had many dimensions but that U.P. should undertake a close examination to determine if it is teaching its students the right thing. He said that he placed a lot of value on students being able to think critically and to be able to think in ambiguity.

U.P. Diliman Chancellor Sergio Cao said that U.P. had a combination of good faculty, good programs and good students. However, he admitted that the quality of U.P. education was declining.

On the issue of illegal occupancy of U.P. properties

Professor Benjamin Diokno said that “there has to be respect for the integrity of the university.” He said that the riot caused on EDSA by informal settlers who were being evicted by the police on the strength of a court order was an example of how the issue could get out of hand. However, he said U.P. could approach the problem by providing alternative housing to informal settlers on U.P. various properties throughout the country in coordination with Vice President Jejomar Binay who is the chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

The BOR should defer to the university on academic decisions. What do you think about the case of Dr. Jose Gonzales of PGH?

U.P. Diliman School of Labor and Industrial Relations Professor Virginia Teodosio, whom this question was given to said that “the BOR cannot withdraw the appointment of Dr. Gonzales. The BOR should have properly studied this issue beforehand.”

“Kung saan ang tama, dapat doon tayo,” she said.

On the budgetary problems of U.P. Mindanao

Former College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan said that “we in U.P. must have the political will not to accept budget cuts. However, we have to maximize our links to the executive branch to ensure that U.P.’s budget is preserved.”

With the autonomy of UP Cebu from UPV, it will be under the office of the UP President. What are you going to do to support the growth of UP Cebu?

Former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said that there should be a sharing of resources within the university to ensure the growth of U.P. Cebu, but at the time U.P. Cebu should try to generate resources on its own.

What will be your governing style if you become U.P. President?

Professor Ma. Serena Diokno said that “as a historian, I have my own limitations. However, I value and enjoy working with multi-disciplinary teams, and that’s what I will do as U.p. President. In U.P. we should always have the sense of being able to talk to one another even if we disagree on specific issues.”

Professor Alaras said that she would convert the BOR into “a working board,” that would also deal with the Senate, Congress and the Executive branch of government. She said she would also take closely into consideration the concerns of the sectors in making decisions since “nobody has the monopoly of knowledge.” She said she wanted to see a united BOR if she became U.P. President.

Dr. Azanza said that if he became U.P. President he would be people-oriented and would consult the different sectors, such as the faculty, students, staff and alumni. He said the regents representing the sectors would have direct access to documents in his office to follow the principle of shared governance.

Former College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan said that “it is important to start at ground level and work from the Chancellors and the Deans.” He said he would undertake systemic changes in the U.P. System as U.P. President.

Dr. Cabral said that as U.P. President she would recognize that “everybody has their own responsibilities and correspondingly has their own authority,” implying that she would govern U.P. with a light touch.

Regent Pascual said that he was with the faculty of AIM for nine years and that the style of decision making there was collegial. At the Asian Development Bank the style there was on consensus building. As U.P. President, he said he would set a shared vision and set priorities while delegating much to the governance structure within the university.

Chancellor Cao said that while he believed in collective decision making, it would also be true that as U.P. President, “at the end of the day I am the decision maker. Alluding to his denial of tenure for U.P. Diliman Sociology Professor Sarah Raymundo as U.P. Diliman Chancellor, he said, “I am fair and just despite what the tarps hanging around campus say. At night, I sleep the sleep of the just.” Cao was referring to massive opposition in U.P. Diliman to his denial of tenure for Professor Raymundo, with many tarps hanging at the time calling his decision "flawed and unjust." For readers who are interested in our coverage of this case, we refer to our previous dispatches (please click on: and

(To return to the Diliman Diary, just click on:

(Chanda Shahani is the Editor of the Diliman Diary)


  1. Hi!

    I just wanna point out again that Prof. Leonor M. Briones is our sole nominee from the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) NOT Prof. Virginia Teodosio. Prof. Teodosio is a professor at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR). Thank you for correcting your previous posts.

    Further, we noticed that Prof. Briones' responses to the questions "Is UP education deteriorating?" and "What is your leadership style?" is not taken to account in this post. We hope that, in order not to mistaken that this blog is propaganda for other nominees, Diliman Diary will present an equal and fair coverage of the Search Process for the next UP President. Thank you.

    Prof. Leonor M. Briones for UP President
    Official Facebook Page

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hello there. We apologize for the mistake in not correctly identifying Professor Virginia Teodosio as belonging to U.P. Diliman's School of Labor and Industrial Relations. We mistakenly misidentified her as coming from U.P. Diliman's National College of Public Administration and Governance.

    Due to very spotty audio quality of the proceedings in U.P. Baguio, we were not able to take comprehensive notes of all the comments of all the candidates, and that includes Professor Briones, who is the sole nominee coming from U.P. Diliman's National College of Public Administration and Governance. By the way, although the Diliman Diary is made up of a small team of volunteer writers, there was only one writer who attended the Baguio proceedings, and the lack of manpower is reflected in the gaps in coverage.

    Any ommision of any nominee's remarks is strictly unintended and we encourage readers who may have attended these fora to send in their notes of the proceedings to: Attention: The Editor and we will update this dispatch in the interests of fair and balanced coverage - Ed.

  4. Thank you for your prompt responses to our requests. We'll look through our notes of the proceedings and send a copy to you. Once again, thank you for giving us a fair and balanced coverage of the UP Presidency Selection process.

  5. Hello there! Sure you're welcome! Feel free to write us about any concern anytime. We will wait for the copy of your notes. Thank you. - Ed.