Contributing to Democratic Governance in the University of the Philippines
END OF TERM REPORT
December 17, 2010
JUDY M. TAGUIWALO
It has been a memorable two years as Faculty Regent, the first to be elected under the 2008 UP Charter. My end of term report summarizes the efforts I have undertaken to ensure accountability, transparency and representation as Faculty Regent and the major issues that I hope the BOR would resolve or would continue to be vigilant about in the future.
My report covers the following:
· Reports to the BOR, Updates on BOR meetings and Sectoral Regents’ Common Initiatives
· The Office of the Faculty Regent: Role and Selection Process
· Unresolved BOR Issues
· Vigilance on the Operationalization of Board Decisions Related to the Selection Process for Deans/Directors and Chancellors
· Commercialization of UP Properties and Transparency in the Financial Situation of the University
Reports to the BOR, Updates on BOR Meetings and Sectoral Regents’ Common Initiatives
I submitted to the BOR three reports for 2009: for the September 25, October 21 and December 18 meetings. In that same year, I shared with the faculty six updates on what transpired in the BOR – (On the January 28, 2009 BOR meeting, a March 4, 2009 update on the January 28 and February 27 BOR meeting, a March 27 update on the March 26 BOR meeting, my April 2009 report entitled “A Month of Commencement Exercises”, and the August 3 report covering updates on the May 29, June 3, June 25 and July 31 BOR meetings)
I started 2010 with a report on my one-year stint as Faculty Regent. I made several reports to the Faculty ( January 31 report entitled “What happened during the January 29, 2010 BOR meeting”, March 1 report on the February 25 BOR meeting as well as updates on the September and November BOR meetings) and also shared with them my reports to the BOR meetings on July 29, September 24, October 28.
I have also come out with a statement explaining why I voted for Alfredo Pascual in the December 3 selection of the next UP President.
My office together with the Office of the Student Regent and the Office of the Staff Regent conducted several Sectoral Regents’ Fora in line with the provision in the 2008 UP Charter , Purpose of the University “(h) Provide democratic governance in the University based on collegiality, representation, accountability, transparency and active participation of its constituents, and promote the holding of fora for students, faculty, research, extension and professional staff (REPS), staff, and alumni to discuss non-academic issues affecting the University “. The first three fora were all held in UP Diliman on the process of formulating the UP Budget (September 4, 2009), on the issue of the Back COLA (October 15, 2009) and on democratic governance in the university (March 22, 2010).
In 2010, to involve the UP constituents in the selection process for the UP President, three Sectoral Regents Fora entitled “The Search for the Next UP President: Criteria, Process and Experience” were held in UP Los Baños (July 15, 2010), UP Manila (July 23, 2010), UP Diliman (August 11, 2010), and UP Baguio (August 20, 2010). In these fora, we invited as resource persons several former UP Regents who participated in the 2004 UP President Selection Process. Only then Student Regent Marco de los Reyes agreed to be our guest and shared his insights on the 2004 Selection Process.
The three Sectoral Regents also organized a system-wide, multi-sectoral conference on September 2-3, 2010 in UP Diliman on “The Current State of the University of the Philippines and the Challenges to the New UP President under the Aquino Administration”
The Office of the Faculty Regent: Role and Selection Process
There are two important aspects regarding the Office of the Faculty Regent that I believe have to be further clarified: the role of the Faculty Regent and the process of her/his selection.
While each of the Regents, including the Faculty Regent, has to contribute to the policy-determining role of the BOR, the Faculty Regent has two particular roles as representative of the faculty: 1) Bring to the attention of the BOR concerns and issues related to the implementation of existing university policies related to, among others, the selection of academic leaders and appointments of the faculty for either policy amendment or review or for clarification from the University administrators; and 2) To set up a system of regular consultations and reporting to the faculty, both tenured and untenured, who are the principal constituents of the Faculty Regent and to whom he/she is accountable to.
I have strongly objected to the marginalization of the Office of the Faculty Regent in the formulation of the 2010 Selection Process drafted by the UP President and the Chancellors which was not deliberated upon by the BOR on the justification that it has already been approved by the various University Councils. This assertion has not been proven by the minutes of the University Council meetings held in July 2010. In Diliman, the motion to have the proposed process was not voted upon. In UP Baguio and UP Mindanao , the minutes revealed that the Chancellors merely shared the draft proposal for information.
While some of my proposals (provisions for filing and hearing of protests and the proclamation to be made by the Board of Regents rather than the President of the University) have been incorporated in the 2010 Faculty Regent Selection Process, major suggestions were not incorporated including: the clarification of the role of the Faculty Regent, the removal of the “no campaigning rule” , the requirement that officers of the Union have to go on leave once they accept the nomination; and most importantly, the proposal that the Faculty Regent Selection process should not be in the hands of the UP Administration. I believe these proposals continue to be relevant in the formulation of the 2012 Faculty Regent Selection process.
I strongly urge the incoming UP Administration and the Board of Regents to ensure that the Faculty Regent Selection for 2012 would be formulated by the Office of the Faculty Regent and a committee composed of elected representatives from the various University Councils and approved by the UCs. This committee can also oversee the selection process. This would make the Faculty Regent Selection a process assisted by the UP Administration but independent from the latter which is similar to the processes for the selection of the Student Regent and the Staff Regent.
Unresolved BOR Issues
I am ending my term as a member of the Board of Regents with several still unresolved issues. I hope that the following will be favourably acted upon soon:
1) the non-implementation of the May 27, 2010 BOR decision granting the appeal for tenure of Professor Sarah Raymundo;
2) my standing motion for reconsideration of the removal of Dr. Jose Gonzales as PGH Director;
3) the appeal for tenure of Prof. Roberto Basadre of UP Cebu whose recommendation for tenure by academic units of the college was not approved by the Dean because of the planned reorganization of UP Cebu ;
4) the legality of the BOR decision approving the Daniel Mercado Hospital contract for the Faculty Medical Arts building at PGH;
5) the large class policy involving ALL general education courses in UP Los Baños which was not approved by the University Council of UP Los Baños. I had this placed in the agenda of the BOR in the June 2010 meeting and the Board agreed to form a Regents’ Committee to look into this after the UP Administration’s assessment of the new general education program (the Revitalized General Education Program). The assessment of the RGEP has been completed, I hope that the BOR will now implement the decision to form the Regents’ Committee to look into the large class policy of UPLB;
6) the University’s implementation of the Magna Carta of Women. The UP President constituted a committee to make recommendations for this matter. The gender audit of the University was done by a team formed by this Committee and its report has been submitted to the Chair of the committee last Dec. 14, 2010;
7) A review of the recommendation by the UP Administration that the “computation of the sick leave benefits of those faculty extended beyond age 65 be based on the salary of actual retirement date instead of the salary at age 65.” The Staff Regent asked for a deferment of approval so that information on the possibility of extending this to administrative staff and REPS could be explored. I also asked for deferment until the information on the names and number of faculty who would benefit from this policy and the financial implication of such extension be provided to the Board. My request for deferment is also based on the fact that the UP Administration has objected (on account of lack of money) to extending to faculty members who have reached the ceiling of their ranks as Assistant Professor (Assistant Prof 7) or Associate Professor (Associate Professor 7) to cross ranks outside of the regular call for promotion if they have fulfilled the requirements for crossing ranks. This policy of crossing ranks outside of the call for promotion currently applies only to faculty members who are about to retire.
8) Additional health insurance for UP constituents in addition to Philhealth coverage which is inadequate. The study of this was included when the BOR approved the P200, 000 hospitalization assistance fund for UP personnel.
9) The continuing expectation of UP Mindanao constituents on the Board action on the findings of the COA related to the investiture expenses of the UP Mindanao Chancellor.
10) Clarification requested by a former UPD faculty whose appointment was not renewed after she successfully filed a sexual harassment complaint against the director of her institute
11) The issue of outsourcing to a private entity (e.g. Kampo Uno) the teaching of CWTS, a curricular requirement for graduation.
12) Public dissemination of the criteria for Professor Emeritus selection used by the various constituent universities. The Board has been provided a copy of the criteria used by UP Diliman but has still to receive copies of criteria used by other CUs particularly UP Los Banos and UP Manila
13) Accreditation of UP Manila academic programs by PAASCU, a private accreditation company which provides external assessment of private higher education institutions in the country.
Vigilance on the Operationalization of Board Decisions Related to the Selection Process for Deans/Directors and Chancellors
1) The BOR has to ensure that the Selection Process for Deans/Directors and Chancellors shall be consistent with the standing guidelines that “(t) he process shall start at least three months before the end of term of the incumbent. On average, the search should only take a month. To allow for a smooth transition, the next dean must be known a month before the end of term of the incumbent.” (Proposed Policies and Guidelines on the Selection of Deans pp. 7-8 U.P. GAZETTE Vol. XXXVI, No. 3). Such policy allows time for active participation of stakeholders in the nomination process and time for a smooth transition. There were however many cases when the search process for Deans actually started a month or so before the end of the term of the incumbent Dean. No explanation was ever given to the Board for the violation of this policy.
2) The term of office of the Deans/Chancellors: The policy on the term of office of Deans, Directors and Chancellors has evolved from the maximum of two terms with no provision for an additional term (September 22, 2005 BOR meeting) to one with a provision that “only in highly exceptional cases as determined by the Board of Regents”, (they) “shall be allowed an additional term or terms.” In my two years as a Faculty Regent, the concrete meaning of the highly exceptional case was never clarified.
3) The recommendations by the Chancellors and the endorsements of the President for particular nominees should be received by the members of the BOR together with the regular documents for BOR meetings. This has not always been the case. It is difficult for the Regents to examine the recommendations and consult with their constituents prior to BOR approval if the papers are submitted only during the actual meeting.
Commercialization of UP Properties and Transparency in the Financial Accounts of the University
My two years as a member of the BOR have also been marked by many proposals to lease UP properties in order to generate additional revenue for the university. The Ayala Techno Hub contract was approved on October 27, 2006 but the BOR has still to receive a report on the progress of the implementation. The UP PGH FMAB proposal was approved without the three-fourths vote of the BOR specified in the 2008 UP Charter for contracts worth more than P50 million pesos. (2008 UP Charter, SEC. 23. Safeguards on Assets Disposition, e). The Department of Justice has come out with an opinion regarding this matter and the COA report on the 2009 UP Audit also mentions this contract. The need for revisiting this contract is therefore imperative.
There are standing proposals still to be approved by the Board: commercial solar energy project in UP Los Baños, the UPIS property in UP Diliman, the development of UP properties in Quezon-Laguna and in Los Banos and the UP Visayas Miag-ao LoveNature Park .
The 2008 UP Charter is explicit about the potential, framework and process of generating revenues from land grants and other real properties of the University. In particular, Section 22 Land Grants and Other Real Properties of the University (f) states that “Any plan to generate revenues and other sources from land grants and other real properties entrusted to the national university shall be consistent with the academic mission and orientation of the national university as well as protect it from undue influence and control of commercial interest: Provided, That such programs, projects or mechanisms shall be approved by the Board subject to a transparent and democratic process of consultation with the constituents of the national university: Provided, further, That funds generated from such programs, projects or mechanism shall not be meant to replace, in part or in whole, the annual appropriations provided by the national government to the national university .” I hope that the Board of Regents and the UP Administration continue to be guided by this provision as it find ways to ensure the financial sustainability of the university without compromising the institution’s public character and academic mission.
As the University embarks on various means to generate additional revenues, the practice of transparency in its financial transactions takes on crucial significance. While the BOR is provided by the UP Administration with the annual financial report of the system and the UP budget proposed to the national government is approved by the BOR, there has been limited time for the BOR to familiarize itself with the financial status of the University. In fact the news that UP has savings equivalent to P11.9 billion was news for me as a member of the BOR as well as to many UP faculty and personnel. There is a similar demand for the Chancellors of the various constituent universities to be more transparent with the income and expenditures of each unit.
I am attaching the Financial Statement of the Office of the Faculty Regent in 2009 until December 6, 2010 as provided by the Director of the Budget Office. The expenses of my office are mainly for transportation, per diem for the drivers, food expenses for meetings and consultations, communication expenses and office supplies.
In conclusion, I would like to underscore the fact that even prior to my position as Faculty Regent I have advocated for democratic governance at all levels of the University through transparency, consultation, representation and accountability and the principle of democratic access to a UP education by maintaining the status of the University of the Philippines as a public and public service institution of higher learning that aims to provide affordable quality education for Filipinos. I believe I have been faithful to these principles in the past two years as the UP Faculty Regent. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the university where I originally learned the values of nationalism and service to the people.