Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Report of the Faculty Regent*

August 3, 2009

Greetings!

There have been three BOR meetings since my last report to you: the May 29 meeting in UPV Iloilo, a June 3 special meeting held at Quezon Hall, the regular BOR meeting on June 25, also held at Quezon Hall and the July 31 meeting at UP Manila . My backlog in reporting to you was due mainly to the opening of the semester and the demands of being a faculty member in my department and in my college.

Staff Regent Buboy Cabrera took his oath last May 29, 2009 in Iloilo . In the July 31 meeting, Charisse Bañez, Student Regent elected last April 14, was finally confirmed. In that same meeting, the new UP Alumni Association President Alfredo Pascual took his oath as the new Alumni Regent.

Below are important highlights of the meetings related to the following concerns: Faculty and personnel welfare, proposals deferred for further study, the issue of the six economics students found guilty of misconduct; programming and reprogramming of UP System and CU funds; and the reiteration of concern over the two missing students.


A. Faculty and personnel welfare

1. New Salary Standardization Law

The University of the Philippines is included in the new salary increase for government employees effective July 1, 2009 based on the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Resolution No. 4, series of 2009, Executive Order 811 and National Budget Circular 521. President Roman announced in the July meeting that DBM has transmitted to the University the funds to implement the increase for the first year.

I proposed to the BOR in the July 31 meeting an increase in lecturers’ rates based on the formula used in the March 26, 2009 BOR approval of adjustments in the rates of UP lecturers. This is to ensure that the university upholds the principle of equity and that its lecturers also benefit from the recent salary increase of all government personnel. President Roman said this is being studied by the UP administration.

2. Faculty and personnel benefits

- The Board approved the grant of a P5, 000 merit incentive to UP personnel last June 25, 2009. This is the first of two annual benefits given by the university. Lecturers are included in this benefit on a pro-rated basis. The new provision approved by the board is the encouragement to provide a similar benefit to project-hired personnel if funds are available.

- The first rice subsidy worth P1,500 was approved last May 29 and the second one was approved last July 31. This grant is in compliance with the Collective Negotiation Agreements between UP and the All UP Workers Union and between UP and the All UP Academic Employees Union. Project and contractual employees of units which have savings are encouraged to grant the same rice subsidy to these personnel.

- Increase in Annual Awards for Faculty Grants: Professorial Chairs: From P30,000 to a minimum of P50,000 and Faculty Grants: From P15,000 to P25,000

3. Promotions

- The 2008 promotions have been approved and will be in effect from April 1, 2009

- Sagad faculty will receive a one-time grant of P5,000 and Sagad REPS and administrative staff will receive a one-time grant of P3,000. The Staff Regent and I have proposed that this grant be increased by P3, 000 for both faculty and staff. President Roman said the UP Administration will reexamine the possibility of giving this at the end of the year depending on the university’s savings.


B. Proposals from the UP Administration deferred for further study

1. Construction of the IE-ME building

The proposal of UPD to allow the construction of the IE-ME building in the current site of the College of Engineering was approved in the June 2009 meeting. Former UPD Chancellor sought a reconsideration of the Board’s decision in the July 31, 2009. The Board formed a Regents’ Committee to look into the two main issues surrounding this concern: why the IE-ME building cannot be built in the new Engineering complex where the buildings of the other departments of the college have been built or will be built in the future; the possibility that the P300 million allocation for the building will be lost if the project is not started before December 2009

2. UP Naming Rights Policy

The UP Administration presented to the BOR in the July 31 meeting new and additional proposals on the existing “Guidelines for Naming Buildings, Structures, Streets, Parks and Other places in the university approved by the UP President on 27 July 2004 and noted by the BOR at its 1185th meeting on 26 of August 2004.

The present policy regarding naming of buildings, structures, streets, parks and other places in the University after living persons or juridical persons shall be allowed only when it is made a condition in a donation in favor of the University and for meritorious considerations.

The additional/new proposed provision (among others) is:

Buildings: A proposal for naming a building (or significant and identifiable section of a building) in honor of a person or organization may consider when that person or organization:

- is a major benefactor who makes a direct and substantial contribution to the capital cost of constructing the building (at least 50% of project cost) or

- has given extraordinarily distinguished service to the University that merits recognition in the University’s history (on special recommendation by the President to, and subsequent approval by, the Board of Regents.

My main criticism is that the new proposal gives naming rights to UP buildings based solely on financial considerations, in effect institutionalizing another form of “UP for Sale ”. Traditionally UP buildings have been named after heroes, dead statesmen and women or deceased outstanding academic and administrative leaders of the University. Recognition of financial donations to the university has been in the form of commemorative plaques and the naming of professorial and faculty chairs. I believe this tradition and practice should remain.

The Board decided to defer making a decision on this and on a related proposal of the Asian Studies to name the new Asian Center facilities donated by Toyota Motor Philippines to the University: entire 1 hectare property to be named GT-Toyota Asian cultural Center, The museum-library research institute building to be named GT-Toyota Hall of Wisdom and the auditorium be named GT-Toyota Asian Auditorium. (GT stands for George Ty)

3.UP Manila – PGH Faculty Medical Arts Building

The University and the Mercado General Hospital signed last June 18, 2009 a contract for the lease, conversion and development of a certain area of the PGH Dispensary Building situated at the PGH to be called the UP Manila-PGH Faculty Medical Arts Building .

When presented for approval in the June 25, 2009 meeting, the decision was deferred due to the following:

- The contract does not only provide clinic space for UP doctors to allow them to practice their profession instead of going to private hospitals (a provision not objected to by the Board) but also allows the Mercado General Hospital to put up a pharmacy, x-ray facilities and laboratories. These facilities are already found in PGH.

- The rental rate is P1,000,000 per month (net of all taxes) subject to a yearly increase or escalation at the rate of 10% per annum commencing on the 6th year of the term of the lease. ( I do not have the figures on the floor area being leased so as to compare the rental per square meter in this contract to the current per square meter rates of commercial buildings across PGH).

- The period of lease is 25 years exclusive of a rent-free period of 18 months from date of signing of contract within which the lessee must perform, comply with and complete all the works for the conversion, rehabilitation and development of FAB

- The contract may be renewed for a maximum period of five years.

The BOR has also formed a Regents’ Committee to examine further the concerns raised by the All UP Workers Union of UP Manila-PGH and concerns raised by the BOR Chair, the Faculty Regent and the Staff Regent.

4. UP Manila Campus Development Master Plan and UP Diliman’s Comprehensive Land Use, Zoning and Master Plans

Decisions on the two above proposals presented to the July 31, 2009 BOR meeting were deferred to enable the board to further study them.

5. Expanding the search for a new Director of UPPEP

The term of the Director of the UP Pampanga Extension Program ended last May 31, 2009. Two names were nominated: the current Director, a UPPEP professor and a professor from UP Diliman. The latter did not accept the nomination.

The BOR decided to expand the search for a director as there were strong reservations about the two nominees. The current director has already served three terms and her selection would mean a fourth term or a total of 12 continuous years as academic and administrative leader of UP Pampanga. The other nominee has very limited support from the faculty of the unit.


C. The UPD University Council and the BOR on the 6 Economics Students accused of cheating during an examination and found guilty of “other forms of misconduct”


The UPD UC on April 2008 approved the graduation of several School of Economics students accused of cheating during an examination. As their case was still being heard by the Student Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), the UC decided, on the principle of “presumption of innocence” voted to allow them to graduate “without prejudice to the final determination of the disciplinary cases and without prejudice to the appropriate corrective measures to be undertaken by the University should the decision be against them.”

On April 2009, the UC once again discussed the case as six of the students were found by the SDT guilty of misconduct and imposed a penalty 45 days suspension. The students did not appeal the decision. The UC deliberated on how this penalty would be served and after over two hours of discussion voted 126 for, 73 against and 13 abstain, that the graduation be withdrawn so that the students could enroll for residency and serve their suspension.

In the June 3, 2009 special BOR meeting to discuss the decision of the UPD UC, the BOR by a vote of 5 for, 3 against and 1 abstain approved the motion to confirm the graduation of the six students…without need of serving the penalty of 45 days suspension imposed by the SDT because the same is deemed to be served.”

In the June 25 regular BOR meeting, I submitted a motion for reconsideration of this decision and also requested for the Board to provide an explanation of this decision. The Chair broke the 4-4 vote in favor of denying the reconsideration.

In the July 31, 2009 meeting the Board rejected two resolutions passed by the University Council in its July 20, 2009 meeting. One resolution protested the June 3 decision of the BOR and requested for reconsideration . The other resolution was for withdrawing the honors of students found guilty of misconduct. In response to the UC's reiteration of the need for transparency regarding the bases for the BOR decisions, the Chair instructed the Office of the Secretary of the University to release to the UPD UC the record of the deliberations of the BOR meetings (June 3, June 25 and July 31) related to this case.


D. Programming and Reprogramming of Funds of the System and CUs


· May 29, 2009:

- Open U: P9, 525,636.25

- UP System: P55, 486,855.22

· June 25, 2009

- UP Visayas: (Programming of Income): P1, 289, 746.21

- UP Manila : (Reprogramming of unexpended balances: P40, 876,409.57

- UP Diliman: (Reprogramming of Unexpended Obligations under the GAA): P35, 216,137.85

· July 31, 2009

- UP System (Reprogramming of unexpended balances): P20, 655,073.38

- UP Diliman (Programming of income): P13, 771, 429, 21


E. Reiteration of UP’s concern over missing UP Students


As the June 25, 2009 meeting was just a day before the third anniversary of the abduction of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, who disappeared on June 26, 2006, I shared with the board the UPD University Council resolution dated July 26, 2006.

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* The 2009-2010 Faculty Regent is Dr. Judy Taguiwalo. She is presently a professor from the College of Social Work and Community Development and a former National President of the All U.P. Academic Employees Union

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