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‘Compassion’ to define next UP presidency

Danilo Concepcion (second from right), delivers a message after accepting the scepter of the University of the Philippines from his predecessor, Alfredo Pascual (second from left), during the turnover ceremony of the UP presidency at the Diliman campus in Quezon City. Looking on are Lillian delas Llagas (leftmost) and Robert Lara (rightmost), the outgoing and incoming secretary to the UP Board of Regents. Philstar.com/Janvic Mateo
MANILA, Philippines - A compassionate university in the service of the nation.
 
This is the vision of Danilo Concepcion, the newly-installed president of the University of the Philippines (UP) System, as he formally began his six-year term as head of the country’s national university on Friday.
 
During the turnover ceremony at the university’s flagship campus in Diliman, Quezon City, Concepcion said UP’s long tradition of exemplifying honor and excellence will be more effective if it is complemented by compassion.
 
“A university will not be complete without the students, the staff and the faculty. They are the ones who bring life to our institution. But these three sectors will not be able to shape the university if there is no cause that will unite them,” Concepcion said in Filipino.
 
“Compassion should be the cause that everyone would adhere to: compassion for one another, compassion for our profession, compassion for the university, and compassion for our nation and society,” he added.
 
The 21st president of the university since its founding in 1908, Concepcion vowed to address various issues facing the university, including problems in the procurement process, contractualization, healthcare and dilapidating facilities.
 
He also noted challenges in improving the academic standards of the university in light of internationalization, the need to increase the benefits of the teachers and workers, and the issues hounding the university’s admissions process.
 
Concepcion called on the UP community to work with him in addressing these issues.
 
“We have a long list of problems and challenges that we have to face. But even if (the list) is long, I am confident that no problem in unsolvable if all of us will unite and work together,” said the new UP president.
 
“In the next six years, compassion will be the uniting force that will give life to all of our objectives, actions and engagements,” he added.
 
Concepcion expressed gratitude to his predecessor, Alfredo Pascual, for his contributions to the university.
 
During the turnover, the new UP president also introduced members of his administration, which included former health undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa as executive vice president, former Commission on Higher Education (CHED) commissioner Cynthia Bautista as vice president for academic affairs, and author and STAR columnist Jose “Butch” Dalisay Jr. as vice president for public affairs.
 
Three officials from the Pascual administration were reappointed: Joselito Florendo as vice president for planning and finance, Elvira Zamora as vice president for development and Hector Danny Uy as vice president for legal affairs.
 
Other officials include Nestor Yunque as vice president for administration and Robert Lara as secretary if the UP Board of Regents, the highest policy-making body of the university.
 
As president, Concepcion will co-chair the 11-member Board, along with CHED chair Patricia Licuanan.
 
He will also be the head of the eight constituent units of the university: Diliman, Manila, Baguio, Los Baños, Baguio, Visayas (Iloilo and Tacloban campuses), Cebu, Mindanao and the UP Open University.
 
Concepcion, the topnotcher in 1983 bar examinations, received the majority of the votes cast during the special session of the Board of Regents last November 15.
 
A summa cum laude graduate of agricultural engineering from the De La Salle University Araneta, Concepcion graduated cum laude from the UP College of Law in 1983.
 
He finished Master of Laws at the University of London Queen Mary College as a British government scholar in 1986.
 
The 58-year old Concepcion previously served as dean of the UP College of Law, executive director of the UP Bonifacio Global City, and vice president for legal affairs of the university.
 
He also served as president of De La Salle University-Araneta (2002 to 2002), head of the UP Law Center (2002 to 2006), and associate commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission (1996 to 2000).
 
Concepcion was also the president of Kabataang Barangay (1976 to 1978), youth sector representative of the Interim Batasang Pambansa (1978 to 1984), and chief of staff of the chief presidential legal counsel (1996).
 
In his vision statement, Concepcion said UP should ensure that the services that it delivers to its various stakeholders should endeavor to change mindsets and methods that constrain UP from realizing its true potential.
 
“By promoting a consultative culture and administration, we would be able to create that culture of critical dialogue in order to address pertinent matters that concern the welfare of our students, the academic community, and administrative staff,” he said.
 
Concepcion said UP should strengthen its knowledge processes to realize its purpose of serving the nation, citing an urgent need to improve current metrics for researches, academic grants and promotions, as well as strengthen collaboration with foreign universities.
 
He also proposed a review of the university’s admissions process to respond to the needs of all deserving students.
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