Embedded below are the questions and answers of ten of the eleven nominees to the 2010 Search for a New U.P.President held at the 3rd and last of the fora held throughout the U.P. System. This particular forum was held on October 14, 2010 at Science Hall at the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Philippine General Hospital (PGH). The answers are presented in the order of the original presentations given by the nominees. Only U.P. School of Economics Professor Benjamin E. Diokno was not able to attend this particular forum.
Readers who are interested in reading selective coverage of the opening statements of the nominees in this particular forum should click on this link at the Diliman Diary: http://diliman-diary.blogspot.com/2010/10/into-homestretch-last-and-3rd-of-search.html
Here are the questions posed to the nominees and their corresponding answers. While each nominee was asked to answer two common questions, the remaining questions were chosen at random from a fishbowl containing slips of pape, by each nominee and were thus specific to each nominee:
1. Cabral, Esperanza I.
In response to the question as to what kind of health care coverage she contemplated for U.P. constituents, Dr. Esperanza I. Cabral said that "everybody in the university should be enrolled in the national health program, even students."
Asked, what are your thoughts of a return service agreement for all U.P. graduates? Dr. Cabral said of the U.P. budget, PhP 3.9 billion was for students. Since the whole U.P. System had a population of 52,000 students, then each student gets PhP 78,000 a year in subsidies. "We can ask for a kapalit," Dr. Cabral said, using the conditional cash transfers program of the government as an example where recipients were required to meet certain performance parameters or undertake certain activities in return for cash.
Asked, given the violent frat culture what will you do to address violence in frats? Dr. Cabral said the violence in fraternities "is isolated." However, she said the there should be a system for monitoring certain activities based on the principles for which U.P. stands: "non-violence and participative democracy." Dr. Cabral's answer was met with loud applause by the audience.
In response to the question, "U.P. is a complex institution with so many problems. Why do you want to be U.P. President?" Dr. Cabral said that, "I thank the people who nominated me, but I do not seek any position per se."
2. Pangalangan, Raul C.
In response to the question as to what kind of health care coverage he contemplated for U.P. constituents, Former U.P. College of Law Dean Raul C. Pangalangan agreed that there should be universal health care and that health care should be "actuarialized." he also said that the U.P. Provident Fund was doing well, and that further steps could be undertaken to strengthen it.
Asked how will the U.P. President work within the framework of the 2008 U.P. Charter (R.A. 9500) giving the Board of Regents (BOR) new powers to design a new salary scheme for U.P. employees, Dean Pangalangan said that with its expanded powers, U.P. is "now a corporate entity, but it is still bound by salary categories." The challenge, he said, is to use the power to raise money, which boils down to figuring out how to maximize ways to raise funds. As a former Dean of the U.P. College of Law, he said he had managed to increase bonuses several times for the staff, since he was able to also correspondingly raise funds to finance these bonuses.
Given a question as to how the U.P. Open University may develop and implement plans to reach beyond the autonomous campuses, Dean Pangalangan said U.P. should "experiment with ways to tap technologies without losing the face to face benefits of interaction between faculty and students. He said that even in other countries, there was always still a face to face component that enriched the learning process.
In response to the question, "U.P. is a complex institution with so many problems. Why do you want to be U.P. President?" Dean Pangalangan said, "the univesity is where I studied, and served all my adult life. I want to contribute to the growth of U.P. I care about certain types of gratifications. I have served as a full professor and as a Dean and now I want to leave a legacy behind for U.P."
3. Pascual, Alfredo E.
In response to the question as to what kind of health care coverage he contemplated for U.P. constituents, Alumni Regent (on leave) Alfredo E. Pascual said U.P. needed to study Philhealth coverage of REPS, teachers, and staff without burdening them unduly with more premiums. He said for certain items or major expenses that are not covered, U.P. can provide a supplemental program. He also said that U.P. was lucky, because through the U.P. College of Medicine and PGH, there was a tremendous in-house expertise and facilities that could be tapped as a resource for all U.P. employees.
Asked what kind of initiatives he would undertake to improve the system for faculty promotion and tenure and to develop a career path for the REPS, Regent Pascual said "this requires study." However, he cited the principle that it is the faculty who should decide who qualifies for tenure or not while the BOR ensures that there no abuses. In the case of REPS, they should be promoted based on qualifications. He said that he did not agree with the practice that thee should be no possibility of breaking the glass ceiling in the case of REPS who were qualified to become faculty.
Asked about how U.P. can pioneer in telemedecine with an emphasis on delivery to health care providers, Regent Pascual said that the application of information and communications technology should be utilized to improve the delivery of the health care services and it is at this point that regent Pascual said that he was talking to a major telecommunications company to ensure that the bulk bandwidth was available to U.P. to ensure that it could carry out other projects which would include telemedicine as well.
In response to the question, "U.P. is a complex institution with so many problems. Why do you want to be U.P. President?" Regent Pascual said that as an Iskolar ng Bayan, he wanted to to fulfill his "delayed return service to U.P." Regent Pascual said that he was a NISD scholar "but they threw me out" of possible service to NISD. He said that he liked the idea of the opportunity of solving complex challenges "which I will not shrink from. I hope to contribute my expertise to my beloved U.P.," he said.
4. Diokno Ma. Serena I.
In response to the question as to what kind of health care coverage she contemplated for U.P. constituents, U.P. Diliman History Professor Ma. Serena I. Diokno revealed that she had a colleague from her department who had incurred up to PhP 1 million in costs to replace a heart valve. This colleague was only able to accomplish this through a social network, but there was still the post-surgery rehabilitation that needed to be done. She said on a practical basis, it was possible for U.P. constituents to avail of private insurance on an informal basis and using their numbers as leverage to command discounts from insurance companies.
Asked what proportion of graduate students there should be to undergraduate students, Professor Diokno, a former Vice President of Academic Affairs of the U.P. System said "not all universities are graduate universities." "The fundamental requirement is not the ratio, but the output of the faculty," she stressed, adding that even a so-called second-tier university such as the University of West Indies at Mona now required its faculty to have one published output per faculty per year, implying that some kind of similar mechanism can be worked out for U.P.
In response to the question, "U.P. is a complex institution with so many problems. Why do you want to be U.P. President?" Dr. Diokno said that "service was a sacrifice and an administrative position was less important than my being a member of the faculty, and I will always be proud of it." Admitting that she was worried about the future of the university, Dr. Diokno reminded her audience that her late father Senator Jose W. Diokno was always asked by his family why he continued to lead such a hard life in fighting former President Ferdinand E. Marcos at great personal cost, and the reply which was her own as well was, "in life you have to beklieve in a cause bigger than yourself."
5. Cao, Sergio S.
In response to the question as to what kind of health care coverage he contemplated for U.P. constituents, U.P. Diliman Chancellor Sergio S. Cao, a former Vice-President for Finance of the U.P. System said that while U.P. can't pay pensions, the 2008 U.P. Charter allowsthe granting of benefits to U.P. employees.
He said that he would work for PhP 200,000 in financial assistance for hospital expenses to be approved by the BOR if he became U.P. President.
Asked how U.P. could maintain a good pool of faculty in order to have a good graduate university, Chancellor Cao said that the answer was to strengthen programs which essentially hinged on figuring out how to entice the faculty to join. He said this could be done by improving salaries and benefit, and providing an environment where the faculty can grow, and where there are mentors. For example, he said there are faculty from the College of Engineering who would be willing to stay in U.P. for as long as there was a good laboratory and good infrastructure.
Asked why the U.P. Pahinungod was devolved, Chancellor Cao said that for example it was devolved into the Gurong Pahinungod in the College of education and that every college had some kind of way to handle the devolution. He said the original concept of the Pahinungod was to address the premise that "U.P. had lost its soul," and therefore this outreach program was one way to recapture this lost essence. Chancellor Cao said that the new thrust was to let the colleges handle this "because each college knows what it is. Kailangan manatili sa kolehiyo ito," he said.
In response to the question, "U.P. is a complex institution with so many problems. Why do you want to be U.P. President?" Chancellor Cao used the words, "kakayahan at karanasan." He said that as U.P. Diliman Chancellor he had many programs that he would like to implement throughout the entire U.P. System. "I am willing to seve. Ang gustong-gusto ay delikado." He said that the process for nominating an individual to the U.P. Presidency did not stress that an individual "want to serve" but that he be "willing to serve." In view of the many nominations for him to serve as U.P. President, Chancellor Cao said that he was "willing to serve" as U.P. President.
6. Teodosio, Virginia A.
In response to the question as to what kind of health care coverage she contemplated for U.P. constituents, U.P. Diliman School of Labour and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) Professor Virginia A. Teodosio said one way of addressing this problem was for U.P. employees to organize themselves into a cooperative "where we can be donor and manager at the same time." She called for an actuarial study on the matter, and said that in SOLAIR for example, all employees and faculty were covdered by MAXICARE.
On the issue of how to address the lack of faculty and staff items in U.P. Mindanao, Professor Teodosio said that one way of addressing this is to increase the budget and find ways for U.P. Mindanao to develop alternative sources of income.
Asked what strategies she had for U.P. becoming a research university, she said that in 6 years many senior faculty are retiring. Therefore, U.P. needed to raise money by using its social capital and to engage in collective-style businesses.
In response to the question, "U.P. is a complex institution with so many problems. Why do you want to be U.P. President?"Professor Teodosio said that she was on the verge of "becoming the varegiver of my 82 year old Mom," but that the call of service motivated her to throw her hat into the ring. "I want to utilize my experience n social entrepreneurship in helping U.P., she said. I want to help my generation and the next generation to have heart."
7. Briones, Leonor M.
In response to the question as to what kind of health care coverage she contemplated for U.P. constituents, National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) Professor Leonor M. Briones said that the problem was that dreaded diseases tended not to be covered in existing coverages. She said that Philhealth, for example, had a large idle fund. She said that if she became U.P. President, she could help address this issue by getting back the PhP 1.179 billion taken out of U.P.'s Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) which was not granted by the DBM as well as the Php 300 million still owed to it by the national government under the U.P. Charter.
Asked ano ang maging pagkakaiba ng Presidency ninyo sa Roman Presidency, Professor Briones replied that she wold focus on financials, especially the raising of funds through public and private means. She said that she would also make sure that U.P. exploited its idle assets. She said that unlike Roman, who has a doctorate in business administration, she came from NCPAG which was a school of public administration with an emphasis, she said "sa pagsisilbi."
In response to the question, "U.P. is a complex institution with so many problems. Why do you want to be U.P. President?" Professor Briones said that she she at first refused the pleas of two of her young students to run for the U.P. Presidency. "Are you kidding?" she told them asking them to go away. However, the two students persisted, and she eventually gave in, despite the fact that she realized that at least half of U.P. Presidents had "their hearts broken by their jobs" because she listened to the impassioned pleas of her students that "you need to run, you need to help the university."
8. Alaras, Consolacion R.
In response to the question as to what kind of health care coverage she contemplated for U.P. constituents, Former Department of English and Comparative Literature Consolacion R. Alaras said it was important to ensure the health benefits of faculty, staff and fresearchers. "I believe in justness and equity and the spirit of damayan," Professor Alaras said, adding that "all of us must have health coverage, or none at all."
Asked how she would cope as U.P. President with a corresponding lack of funds without tuition fee increases, Professor Alaras said "the basic point is that the government puts out the fund." However, in such situations, she said "Rizal is my model," adding that U.P. should shoulder what it can do well, such as for example, in education, governance and diplomacy. "Dreams can become realities," she said.
Asked what steps are you going to undertake to strengthen democratic governance in U.P., with an emphasis on the recent unilateral ouster of Dr. Jose Gonzales as PGH Director, Professor Alaras cracked, "parang ayoko yung tanong na yan ah," eliciting laughter from the audience, many of whom are U.P. College of Medicine faculty, nurses, staff and other personnel from PGH. Alaras said that she was in favour of instituting multisectoral assemblies to democratize consultation. Referring to Dr. Gonzales' removal by a reversal of the vote within the BOR through a manipulation of the board composition by the outgoing Roman administration, she criticized the U.P. administration by saying, "On the one hand you will use something to justify a decision and invoke an issue to get what you want or you will abandon an issue again just to get what you want." "The basic principle is that once Dr. Gonzales was approved as PGH Director," he should have remained as such. Professor Alaras' remarks were met with warm applause from the audience.
In response to the question, "U.P. is a complex institution with so many problems. Why do you want to be U.P. President?" Professor Alaras said that U.P. was a metaphor for the Philippine nation and that whatever will happen in U.P. will influence the Philippine nation" and that she as running to positively influence not only U.P., but the rest of the country.
9. Azanza, Patrick Alain T.
In response to the question as to what kind of health care coverage he contemplated for U.P. constituents, U.P. College of Education Senior Lecturer Dr. Patrick Alain T. Azanza said that if Quezon City had a yellow card, then "U.P. should have a maroon card," a statement that was met with applause from the audience. Azanza also used the question to make statement about University-related foundations raising funds without the public knowing what is happening in those foundations.
Asked how he would improve U.P. faculty compensation, Dr. Azanza said he would stress increasding incentives in return for increasing intellectual outputs. However, he said that it was also important to tap the idle resources of U.P.
Dr. Azanza, responding to the query, how will you attract U.P. faculty to stay, said that a former Dean of the U.P. College of Law received an eviction notice for overstaying in faculty housing. He disagreed with this, saying that "we have to make sure that we retain the best, but the best has its price." He said, "my mission is to run for the U.P. Presidency," utilizing his skills in human resource development in "compensating the faculty properly."
In response to the question, "U.P. is a complex institution with so many problems. Why do you want to be U.P. President?" Dr. Azanza said that "the sectors asked me to run. Ang nomination ko ay isang dalisay na pagkakataon para magsilbi sa bayan."
10. Velasco, Luis Rey
In response to the question as to what kind of health care coverage he contemplated for U.P. constituents, U.P. Los Baños Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco said he preferred to stress "a preventive approach," because "kuminsan nagsisitabaan ang faculty."
Asked the question, "Shouldn't U.P. be producing graduates primarily for the public sector?" Chancellor Velasco said that U.P.'s responsibility was "for all parts of the Philippines." He said that "the private sector is the economic engine for growth of the country, and we need to have one country where we all work together."
Asked what his plans were for PGH employees, because PGH should in fact be part of SSL3 despite this premise being challenged by the Department of Budget and Management, Chancellor Velasco said that he believed in merit incentives for performance. He said that as Chancellor of UPLB he made sure that outstanding REPS and staff were given PhP 100 thousand in one-shot awards and that he would be pepared to do that in the case of the rest of the U.P. System, including PGH.
In response to the question, "U.P. is a complex institution with so many problems. Why do you want to be U.P. President?" Chancellor Velasco said that his elementary school and high school were in Diliman and his undergraduate years were spent in UPLB. He said that he wanted to serve "para makabawi sa tulong na binigay sa akin," referring not only to his parents but to U.P. itself.