Alumni News

Highlights for January, 2020

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Alumni

2ND SEMESTER, ACADEMIC YEAR 2019-2020

January 2020 is the start of the Second Semester of Academic Year 2019-2020. The schedule for General Registration and start of classes are as follows:

08 January - General Registration  for Student Number 2019

09 January - General Registration for Student Number 2018

10 January - General Registration for Student Number 2015 and older, transferees, and cross-registrants

13-15 January - Change/Add Matriculation

13 January - Start of classes/ Last day of late registration/ University Curriculum Committee meeting

24 January - Philippine Genome Center-Mindanao Satellite Facility holds "Brainstorming" with participants from industry and universities and resource persons from UP Manila and other institutions.   

27 January - University Council meeting 

30 January - Concert, "25 songs for 25 years" by Alagad ni Oble band and friends; to be held at the Administration Building, UP Mindanao, Mintsal, Davao City 

  

ANNIVERSARY CALENDAR

UP Mindanao will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2020. A series of public offerings will be delivered throughout the year, both academic and recreational.

"Alagad in Oble" rock band will hold a reunion concert on 30 January 2020 as an offering for the 25th anniversary of University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao.   The concert entitled "25 Songs for 25 Years" will be held at the Administration Building, UP Mindanao, Mintal, Davao City. The public is invited and admission is free of charge. Alagad ni Oble is composed of UP Mindanao alumni Roosevelt Itom (BS Biology), Ian Cayunda (BS Biology), Arthur Gonzales (BA Economics), Milos Dagohoy (BS Food Technology), and Wardy Puyod (BA Social Science).
The band was conceived during the members' student days in UP Mindanao and has continued to exist and perform seasonally alongside the professional growth of the band members.
The band has changed names throughout its history, having been named Lizard Chips, Ice Cold Buko Juice, and Alagad ni Oble, which has occasionally been shortened to Alagad. Singer and bassist Wardy Puyod has attended the Ryan Cayabyab Pop Music Songwriting Camp and has composed several songs, among which is the song “Bandila sa Mundo” in honor of the Philippine delegation to the ASEAN Games. The band has also recorded a rock version of the "UP Naming Mahal" which is among its widely heard songs.

The anniversary kick-off is on 20 February 2020 with a motorcade in downtown Davao City to the campus in Mintal, Davao City. Celebrations will be held in the Administration Building throughout the day till evening. 

Other anniversary offerings will be posted as details become available. Keep posted.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

15 January - Chancellor Digal initiates the process for the Search for Dean of College of Humanities & Social Sciences by announcing a Call for Nominations to the Search Committee on 15 January 2020. The Committee willbe composed of one representative each from the Senior Faculty, Junior Faculty, REPS, Administrative Staff, and Students. Nominations to the Committee should be submitted in a sealed envelope to the Office of the Chancellor on or before 24 January 2020.

10-12 January - UP Mindanao Ladies Football Team competes in the  5th Pinay in Action (PIA) Cup Women’s Football tournament, to be held at the Perdices Coliseum, Dumaguete City on 10-12 January 2020. Read the news item here: https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1090472

"G’day, Mate: ACIAR Filipino Alumni Stories," a storybook featuring the experiences of ACIAR scholars is now available for download in the link below. The storybook features the stories of Chancellor Larry Digal, University Researcher Marilou Montiflor, Assistant Professor Glory Dee Romo, Senior Lecturer Anne Shangrila Fuentes, and Adjunct Professor Luis Antonio Hualda. Download it here: http://bit.ly/37TyQSR

Senior Lecturer Anne Shangrila Fuentes of the Department of Social Sciences and Assistant Professor Glory Dee Romo of the School of Management are among the ACIAR scholars featured in this video. View the video here: http://bit.ly/382FRkv

"UP-Mindanao needs P12B," news item

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Alumni

Sun  Star Davao newspaper published a news article by reporter Ralph Lawrence Llemit on 12 December 2019 focusing on Davao City councilor Antoinette Principe-Castrodes's privilege speech to the Davao City council proposing a resolution to support UP Mindanao's expansion plan as presented in the recent UP Regional Alumni Institute (RAI). "University of the Philippines-Mindanao (UP-Min) will need P12-billion for its planned expansion and modernization. Councilor Antoinette Principe-Castrodes revealed during her privilege speech on Tuesday, December 10, that UP-Min needs upgrading and modernization - from infrastructure, facilities, and its teaching personnel," said the opening sentence of the article. 
 
"The councilor filed a resolution supporting UP-Min’s five-year development and expansion plan," the article continued. "'I am endorsing UP RAI’s resolution no.1 and, in the same manner, appealing to this august body to support the resolution requesting President Rodrigo Duterte to endorse to Congress for priority legislation (UP RAI’s) resolution no. 1 which calls for Congress to pass a special legislation to support UP Mindanao’s development plan,' Principe-Castrodes said."
 
The article quotes the councilor saying that the needed budget will be coming from the national budget; that UP Mindanao has produced 3,000 graduates who now occupy key positions in government, schools, business, and civil society organizations; that UP Mindanao will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2020 and that "she hopes that the university would become a 'more robust partner in the attainment of inclusive and sustainable development in Mindanao and the country”.
 
The article enumerated the other RAI resolutions: the resolution to expand UP-Min’s academic program offerings; a resolution to support the implementation of the Mindanao Sports Development Program and the completion of the Davao City-UP Sports Complex; a resolution for the establishment of the UP-Min botanical garden to support the agro-eco-cultural tourism in Davao Region; a resolution to strengthen he research, development and engagement of UP-Min on sustainable agri and biosystems; and a resolution to establish knowledge, innovation science and technology park in UP-Min campus to accelerate innovation and investment; a resolution for the establishment of a UP College of Medicine in Davao City in partnership with UP Manila to respond to the medical and health needs of the island region; and a resolution to respond to Mindanao’s graduate program needs through joint programs of UP campuses and support of the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Science and Technology.
 
[Update: The Office of the Sangguniang Panlungsod issued a "Certificate of Urgency," that stated, "I hereby certify the urgency and necessity of the passage of the following: 'A resolution supporting UP Mindanao's five-year development and expansion plan and urging President Rodrigo Duterte to endorse UP RAI's resolution no. 1 to Congress for priority legislation.' To be passed under Suspended Rules of the Regular Session of the 19th Council on 10 December 2019. For consideration. Hon. J. Melchor B. Quitain, Jr. Floor Leader"]
 
See the Sun Star article here: http://bit.ly/2smrHuV 

44th Regional Alumni Institute report

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Alumni

IMG 9637 - CopyPhilippine senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, Davao City congressman Isidro Ungab, and Department of Science and Technology secretary Fortunato de la Peña, representing President Rodrigo Duterte, led the legislative and executive branches of government in pledging their support to the University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao’s expansion plan encapsulated in eight resolutions presented  at the 44th UP Regional Alumni Institute (RAI) held on 22-23 November 2019 at the Grand Regal Hotel, Davao City.

The theme of the two-day event was “Attaining inclusive and sustainable development in Mindanao through investment in UP Mindanao’s programs.” Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio sent her warm welcome to the delegates through her representative Davao City planning officer Ivan Cortez. In his message, UP Alumni Association president and alumni regent Reynaldo Laserna recalled the alumni’s efforts towards the establishment of UP Mindanao. In turn, UP president Danilo Concepcion offered his vision for UP Mindanao: “Ano po ba ang balak natin sa Mindanao? Nahulí man ang Mindanao sa pagkakalikha nito―pang anim ata siya na campus na ating naitatag outside Diliman―ay sisiguruhin natin na ang UP Mindanao ay hahabol sa development at baka nga malampasan pa ng UP Mindanao ang ilang pang mga CU [constituent universities] na naunang itinatag sa kanya.” (What do we want for Mindanao? While UP Mindanao might have been created later―the sixth campus established outside Diliman―we will ensure that UP Mindanao will keep abreast with developments and perhaps exceed the other CUs that have been created earlier.)


UP Mindanao chancellor Larry Digal then presented the UP Mindanao’s strategic plan, which focuses on three strategic themes: Molding Learners into Leaders, Transforming Insights into Impacts, and Building a Campus into a Community. These themes are translated into big-ticket projects by the university in response to the needs of Mindanao such as expanded academic offerings and the creation of the College of Human Kinetics, the College of Medicine, and the College of Engineering; strengthening R&D in the two  streams of Mindanao arts and cultures and sustainable agri- and biosystems and the application of knowledge generated to public service and intellectual property utilization; and physical expansion of UP Mindanao’s campus into a “green university town” through the completion of the Davao City-UP Sports Complex and the establishment of a botanical garden, museums, and a science and technology park, just to name a few.

Digal said that the establishment of UP Mindanao twenty-four years ago has given the University of the Philippines “the first-mover advantage.”  He added, “Today, various universities from the National Capital Region and Luzon are opening campuses here in Mindanao, perhaps lured by the promise of vast opportunities. Hence, UP has been afforded a twenty-five-year head start to establish itself in Mindanao, and we need to take advantage of this opportunity.” However, he notes that the university will be highly dependent on government to spur the university’s expansion to address Mindanao’s diverse needs.

Senator Zubiri stated, “I support your resolutions for a science and technology park, your botanical garden, the college of medicine, and your sustainable agri-biosystems research and development. I will provide additional funding from the Senate and let’s make our dreams happen.”

Congressman Ungab, in turn, said, “I can already foresee that you will achieve your goal with the combined support of able delegates from the legislature, the local and the national executive departments up to the chief executive. It may not be easy to implement your strategic plan for it takes measures of patience, tolerance, and understanding as you go along the five-year plan but it is timely, considering that the budget call for fiscal year 2021 is near approaching. Be in time for the budget call so that you can include in your budget proposals the implementation of programs and projects.” 

“Let us compete!” said Secretary de la Peña in his response after receiving the resolutions on behalf of President Duterte from Mr. Sebastian Angliongto, chairman of the UP Mindanao Foundation Inc. (UPMFI). “UP Mindanao should aim to be a comprehensive university. A comprehensive university is highly justified because UP Mindanao has only one campus. The new programs will determine what will be necessary to build and the research to undertake,” he said.

Other invited speakers to the RAI included UPAA director Robert Aranton who talked about the role of the alumni network in the expansion plan, Department of Agriculture undersecretary Rodolfo Vicerra on the initiatives under Secretary William Dar, former presidential adviser on the peace process Atty. Jesus Dureza who shared his insights from that assignment,  Department of Tourism undersecretary Arturo Boncato who spoke on tourism and its potential for growth in Mindanao, and National Economic Development Authority assistant secretary Merceditas Sombilla who proposed UP Mindanao’s strengthened participation in the Regional Development Councils.

The speakers were joined by panelists Mindanao Development Authority director Reyzaldy Tan who represented their chairperson Emmanuel Piñol, Davao City planning officer Ivan Cortez who represented Mayor Duterte-Carpio, former UP Los Baños chancellor Dr. Luis Rey Velasco, and UPMFI vice chairperson John Gaisano.

In his closing remarks, UP Regent Angelo Jimenez highlighted the strategic advantages presented by Mindanao’s location and suggested that UP Mindanao direct some attention to the many island nations in Oceania. "If you look at the larger picture, we achieve a strategic view and see that Mindanao is in the heart of Southeast Asia and Oceania with its diplomatic and commercial advantages, which why we need to have a strong presence in education," he said. 

Joining the 230 alumni and UP and UPAA officials who attended the RAI were distinguished guests such as Deputy Consul-General Duokun Tang of the People’s Republic of China consulate, DA undersecretary Evelyn Laviña, and Board of Investments governor Napoleon Concepcion.

The Regional Alumni Institute was organized by the UP Mindanao Foundation Inc. (UPMFI) and UP Mindanao in cooperation with the UP Alumni Association (UPAA) national and Davao City chapter.

Speech of Chancellor Larry N. Digal at the 44th RAI

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Alumni

Building UP in Mindanao,
Stone by Stone

PROF. LARRY N. DIGAL, PHD
Chancellor
University of the Philippines Mindanao

Maayong hapon sa atong tanan!
 
That video that you just saw just earlier, that is meant to stimulate your interest for what I’m going to talk about. But before that, let me greet Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, our Deputy Consul-General Tang of the Chinese government, MinDA director Rey Tan, Davao City Planning and Development Office engineer Ivan Cortez who’s also the representative of our mayor, University of the Philippines president, sir, Atty. Danilo Concepcion, my former boss ma’am Beng, former chancellor Rey Velasco of UPLB, UP Alumni Association president Regent Reynaldo Laserna, Regent Atty. Angelo Jimenez, my very hardworking partners in the UP Mindanao Foundation Inc, that’s a very long list of names headed by Atty. Dinah, sir Anggie, UP alumni, friends, guests, ladies and gentlemen, madayaw na adlaw! 
 
Mindanao, “the land of promise.” A land rich in natural resources. The food basket of the country. A land diverse in cultures. Home to the Lumad or indigenous peoples, the Muslims who established sultanates in Maguindanao and Sulu, and the various Christian settlers who have trickled slowly into these frontier lands, lured by the promise of prosperity. But over the years, Mindanao has been beset with various challenges―high poverty incidences, low productivity in some areas, armed conflict and violence, just to name a few.
 
So how does one bring this promise into fulfillment? It is perhaps this same question that weighed heavily in the minds of UP alumni. Since the establishment of the UP Alumni Association–Davao Chapter on December 1949, the alumni have voiced their desire to bring UP’s brand of honor and excellence to Mindanao. Forty years later, they scored a major victory when a resolution for the establishment of UP in Mindanao emanated from the 12th UP Alumni Institute Assembly hosted by the UPAA Davao. On the 20th of February 1995, after many years of lobbying by alumni and the efforts of Mindanawon lawmakers, then president Fidel V. Ramos signed into law Republic Act 7889 or “An Act Creating the University of the Philippines in Mindanao.”
To this day, UP Mindanao is still the only UP constituent university established by law. And what did RA 7889 mandate UP Mindanao to do?
 
• First, offer academic programs on science, technology, agriculture, and medical education;
• Second, provide a special scholarship program and other affirmative action programs to assist poor but deserving Muslims and other members of cultural communities to qualify for admission to the University”; and
• Third, network and collaborate with other state college and universities in such areas which shall contribute to the development of Mindanao.
 
In a way, the creation of UP Mindanao is prescient. Twenty-five years ago, the alumni who pushed for the creation of UP Mindanao perhaps had an inkling at the very big role that Mindanao will come to play in the politics and economy of the nation today. Perhaps the greatest gift the UP Alumni has given the University of the Philippines through the establishment of UP Mindanao is giving it “the first-mover advantage.” Today, various universities from the National Capital Region and Luzon are opening campuses here in Mindanao, perhaps lured by the promise of vast opportunities: Mapúa University opened the Malayan Colleges Mindanao, Enderun Colleges, Lyceum of the Philippines, University of Asia and Pacific, University of Santo Tomas, and De La Salle University, just to name a few. The landscape of education in Mindanao today is vastly different from what it was twenty-five years ago. Hence, UP has been afforded a twenty-five-year head start to establish itself in Mindanao, and we need to take advantage of this opportunity.
 
But unlike profit-driven, private institutions with the financial resources to set up shop in our shores quickly and more efficiently, mission-driven, public institutions such as UP Mindanao will be highly dependent on the support of the government for its growth and development.
 
We rely on government for infrastructure and facilities, for example. At present, of the 204-hectare plot of land in Mintal, Davao City, allotted for the UP Mindanao campus, only about 20% has been developed. This is a far cry from twenty or so years ago when the university rented office spaces in the downtown area. And yet we are confronted by this stark reality: 80% of the total land area that is supposed to be used to provide quality education and relevant research and public service to the people of Mindanao remains idle or is being inhabited by illegal settlers.
 
Due to our limited infrastructure, we have limits on the number of students we can accommodate. Our carrying capacity for students for the current academic year until 2022-2023 is only about 1,600 students.
 
On top of that, UP Mindanao is a fairly small constituent university. At present, UP Mindanao is home to only 89 teaching staff and 77 non-teaching staff. If you think about it, the entire population of UP Mindanao is less than the population of some colleges in one of our bigger sibling universities in the UP System, like UP Diliman or Los Baños.
 
But no matter how small UP Mindanao may be, small in terms of human resource as well as financial resource, respond to the challenges of Mindanao we must. When it first opened its doors in 1996, the university welcomed its first 167 students. Since then, the university has graduated more than 3,000 students across various degree programs given by its three degree-granting units: the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Science and Mathematics, and the School of Management. These graduates are now serving as public officials and civil servants, writers and communicators, lawyers, doctors, educators, entrepreneurs, and professionals, making a mark in government, industry, and civil societies. First supporting an initial 8 research projects in 1996, UP Mindanao has since funded close to 100 and endorsed for external funding more than 250 research projects, and these researches have contributed to the body of knowledge and, slowly, we are working on ensuring this knowledge will create impacts in our communities.
But what is really expected of us? In many instances, I have been personally asked “What has UP Mindanao done for Mindanao?” in a tone that challenges the university to account for its very existence. Are we expected to serve an entire island with smaller islands that account for 97,530 square kilometers of land area with a population of over 25 million?
 
If yes, then the big question becomes HOW? How do we do that?
 
The answer in one word is EXPANSION. UP Mindanao will have to expand in terms of its academic program offerings, its research, development, and engagement, its human resources, and its infrastructure and facilities. And this will require resources to accomplish. 
 
Since I assumed the chancellorship of UP Mindanao in March of this year, the whole university has been busy crafting a new strategic plan that will take the university in a bold and uncharted territory. We took a look at our mandates, our original mandates in RA 7889 and the UP Charter of 2008 or RA 9500, took a look at our strengths and our weaknesses, and listened to the wisdom of various scholars and the collective voice of our various stakeholders. We also looked at the Philippine Development Plan or AmBisyon Natin 2040, the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework, and the various plans of government agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Science and Technology, just to name a few, as well as the various development plans of the regions within Mindanao. We also took a look at the Strategic Plan of the UP System, which functions as the north star for all of its constituent universities. And this exercise has revealed four guiding principles that will shape how we will be operating moving forward:
 
First, honor and excellence. UP Mindanao shall continue the tradition of honor and excellence established by the University of the Philippines as its sixth constituent university.
Second, One UP. UP Mindanao belongs to a greater UP System, with other constituent universities in various parts of the country, guided by the same mandates and working towards common goals. UP Mindanao does not stand alone. As a member of this system, we can therefore tap into the collective intellectual resources of the entire system for the benefit of the people of Mindanao.
Third, Mindanao focus. As the entire UP System is mandated to contribute to national development, UP Mindanao is mandated to contribute to the development of Mindanao in particular. This is our reason for being.
And last but not the least, international outlook. While we are focusing our attention on Mindanao and its needs, we have to acknowledge that we operate in a highly globalized world. It should therefore be part of our positioning to adopt an international outlook, in line with UP’s mandate to become a regional and global university. UP Mindanao therefore aims to bring the best of the world to Mindanao and the best of Mindanao to the rest of the world.

Guided by these four principles, we came up with three strategic themes in the next five years.
 
First, we will mold learners into leaders.
 
And we will do this by providing a distinctive learning and student experience, improving the services that the university offers in various stages of a student’s life—from their recruitment into the university until they graduate and become alumni. We will also focus on increasing the number of students from underprivileged backgrounds as well as students from Lumad or Moro indigenous communities.
We will also set the standards for higher education in Mindanao, working hard to improve the quality of our existing programs by establishing more centers of excellence and subjecting these to the quality standards of the ASEAN Universities Network Quality Assurance framework.
And in line with UP’s mandate as a graduate university, we will be establishing more graduate academic degree programs to fill the gaps in the higher education landscape of Mindanao. We will do this by adopting existing programs from other UP constituent universities, inviting more offshore programs from other UP CUs to be offered in UP Mindanao (for example, Medicine from UP Manila), or forging joint or dual degrees with foreign universities (we are currently eyeing a partnership with universities from Australia and Taiwan).
 
Second, we will transform insights into impacts.
 
We will strengthen the research-development-engagement continuum by establishing CARIM or the Center for the Advancement of Research, development, and engagement in Mindanao, which will become a hub for RDE in Mindanao that will forge strong networks with both local and international research institutions. 
 
And we will further strengthen the two streams of our Mindanao Studies Research Initiatives: the Mindanao Arts and Cultures stream and the Sustainable Agri- and Biosystems stream. We will also serve the public to achieve sustainable development goals by creating value and offering key services from the knowledge generated through research.
 
And lastly, we will build a campus into a community.
 
We will invest in the development of the people who are tasked to carry out our mission, our faculty and staff. We will need more plantilla items for the regularization of our existing contractual teaching and non-teaching staff and for new people to support our expansion plans.  Here we need the support of the Department of Budget and Management.

We will also engage our partners for change such as the alumni, government, industry, communities, and other stakeholders to achieve greater impact.
We will also transform our campus into “a green university town” and aspire to become a model for operational excellence not only in Mindanao but the entire country and, perhaps, the world.
 
The UP Mindanao campus is strategically located in the Mintal-Tugbok Urban Center designated in the Davao City Comprehensive Land Use Plan as a center for higher level education and biotechnology R&D in Mindanao and in proximity to the planned Regional Government Complex where 55 government offices will be relocating. It is also near the Calinan Urban Center, the center for agri-based industrial activities; the Baguio District, which is a conservation and watershed zone; the Marilog-Paquibato Zone, which is known for its community-based agro-forestry and upland agriculture development; and various tourist sites and ancestral domains of Lumad or indigenous groups.
 
In building a “green university town,” our goal is for the UP Mindanao campus to become an agri-eco-cultural tourism spot and a mecca for international sporting events. And in the next five years, we want to develop most of the remaining 80% of the campus by building more academic and R&D facilities and completing three big-ticket infrastructure projects:
 
• First is the completion of the Davao City-UP Sports Complex, which is a joint project with the City Government of Davao and aims to provide facilities to host international events and will complement the university’s Mindanao Sports Development Program, with the support of the Philippine Sports Commission and the Department of Education, to train the next generation of coaches, sports teachers, and athletes from Mindanao;
• Second is the establishment of a Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology Park, which will be undertaken by the university with the support of key government agencies such as Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Trade and Industry and aims to strengthen the relationship among academe, government, and industry in bringing to market knowledge products from research;
• And third is a world-class Botanical Garden and various cultural gardens, which will be undertaken by the university with the support of the Department of Tourism and the National Commission for Culture and Arts and other agencies and aims to showcase Mindanao’s bio- and cultural diversity.
That is our game plan: to mold learners into leaders, to transform insights into impacts, and to build a campus into a community.
 
As we anticipate the celebration of our 25th founding anniversary in February 2020, the entire UP Mindanao community is looking back on its past and at the same time planning for the future, planning for expansion to better provide quality and accessible higher education and responsive research and public service to more Filipinos, particularly Mindanawons.
 
To bring home this message, I would like to call to mind one of highlights of the celebration of our 20th Founding Anniversary in 2015. The UPAA-Davao Chapter organized the “Isang Libong Alumni Para Kay Oble,” an event that brought together alumni from various UP campuses to build the UP Mindanao Oblation Plaza. Stones changed hands from one alumnus or alumna to another until they reached the gabion of the plaza. This gesture perhaps best illustrates the power of collective action to achieve a common goal.
 
As with the Oblation Plaza, we will continue to build this university, stone by stone, no matter how long it will take. Every stone is significant. And so I ask all of us in this assembly: what stone do we wish to contribute to build this university? That is the challenge for all of us.
 
The road to transform this island from a land of promise to land of fulfillment may be long and arduous, but the University of the Philippines Mindanao, with your support, can contribute significantly to achieving this.
 
Daghang salamat!

# # # #

Speech of UP President Atty. Danilo L. Concepcion at the 44th RAI

Written by Rene Estremera. Posted in Alumni

Speech of UP President Atty. Danilo L. Concepcion at the 44th Regional Alumni Institute

Senator Zubiri, the representative of Mayor Sara, Vice-Consul of the Peoples Republic of China, Regent Laserna, who is also the incumbent president of the UP Alumni Association, Regent Angelo Jimenez, who was also my former student, former chancellor Rey Velasco of UPLB who is also here, former chancellor Sylvia Concepcion, BOI governor Napoleon Concepcion, who is also an alumnus, Chancellor Larry Digal and officials of UP Mindanao, officials of the UP Alumni Association and UP Alumni Association in Mindanao, UP Mindanao Foundation president and Regional Alumni Institute chair Atty. Marie Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes, UP Mindanao vice-chair Mr. John Gaisano Jr, UP Mindanao Foundation chairman of the board Mr. Sebastian Angliongto, higit sa lahat ang aking, pong, butihing kabiyak Atty. Gaby Concepcion, nag-absent, po, siya sa Unang Hirit just to be with us, sa ating mga kasama sa university, mga alumni, mga kaibigan, magandang hapon, po, sa inyong lahat.

Ako ay lubusang nagagalak na tayo ay nagtitipon-tipon. Tayong lahat ay nagmamahal at nagmamalasakit sa UP, nagmamahal and nagmamalasakit sa Mindanao. Kung ang UP ay para sa bayan, bakit wala ang UP dito sa Mindanao kung saan may matinding kahirapan? Ito ang tanong ng ating mga alumni sa Mindanao noong dekada nobenta. Ito rin ang simula ng kanilang pagpagpapamalas ng pagmamahal at pag mamalasakit sa Mindanao. Mahalaga para sa kanila ang kahalagahan ng isang UP campus dito para maibsan kung hindi man tunay na mabawi ang kahirapan sa rehiyon. Tulung-tulong na nagkampanya ang ating mga alumni at mga mambabatas noon para isulong ang pagtatatag ng UP campus sa Mindanao. Bukod dito, nangalap din sila ng pondo para maitayo ang UP Mindanao Foundation na unang naglalayon na hikayatin ang UP faculty mula sa iba’t-ibang mga kampus na magturo dito sa UP Mindanao; nagbibigay na rin ng tulong pinansiyal sa ating mga mahihirap nga magaaral. Para sa lahat na bumubuo ng UP Mindanao Foundation kasama ang UP Alumni Association Davao Chapter na nag organisa ng ating pagpupulong o pagtitipon ngayon, tanggapin, po, ninyo ang aking taos-pusong pasasalamat.

Tunay na malayo na ang narating ng UP Mindanao. Itong nakaraang buwan lamang ay pinasinayaan natin ang Philippine Genome Center Mindanao Satellite Facility. Sa tulong ng DOST at Monde Nissin may bagong equipment ang UP Mindanao Fermentation and Purification Laboratory na nagkakahalaga ng 12 milyong piso. Umani ng mga parangal ang mga propesor at magaaral ng UP Mindanao sa ika-siyam na health research and development expo.
Nagtamo ng 100% passing ang ating BS Food Technology nang pumasa lahat ng ating mga graduates na kumuha ng chemical technician licensure exam.
Marami pa, po, ang nasa aking listahan ng mga nagawa at naabot ng UP Mindanao; mula sa mga international conference at seminar, workshops ng mga departamento, mga libro at paglalathala ng ating mga faculty, mga infrastructure projects gaya ng Davao City-UP Sports Complex, hanggang sa mga pampublikong serbisyo ng ating mga magaaral, faculty, at mga kawani.

Sa katunayan, kabilang ang UP Mindanao sa Mindanao Earthquake Response Team na kasalukuyan ay nasa Makilala, North Cotabato, at nagbibigay ng serbisyong medical at psychological sa mga biktima ng nagdaang lindol. Katatapos lang din ang mga ginawang geological at structural assessments ng ating mga expert sa mga gusali sa Makilala, sa Cotabato.

Tunay na malayo na ang narating ng UP Mindanao. Ngunit malayo pa ang ating tatahakin. Kasunod, po, ay ibabahagi ni Chancellor Larry ang kanyang mga adhikain para sa UP Mindanao at ang mahalaga nitong papel sa kaunlaran ng rehiyon at maging sa buong bansa na rin. Sapagkat may obligasyon ang UP na paglingkuran ang buong sambayanan. Walang saysay ang husay at dangal kung hindi ito i-aalay sa sambayanan, lalo na sa ating mga hikahos na kababayan. Ang mandatong ito ang nagbibigay inspirasyon sa mga taga-UP na patuloy pang magpa-dalubhasa hindi para sa salapi at sa tagumpay bagkus para sa paglilingkod sa iba. Ako, po, ay lubusang nagagalak na makalipas ang mahigit na dalawang dekada, buhay na buhay pa rin sa UP ang pagmamahal natin sa ating pamantasan at ang ating pagmamalasakit sa Mindanao. Nawa’y panatiliin, po, nating nag-aalab ang pagmamahal nating ito sapagkat ang UP ay Universidad ng Pilipinas para sa Pilipinas.

Kaya lang, natalo, po, tayo sa nakaraang basketbol game. Alam ninyo, pag lumalaban tayo sa basketbol, sa championship, lahat, po, ng state universities and colleges sa Pilipinas ay kakampi natin. At lahat ng unibersidad sa Maynila, maliban doon sa ating kalaban, ay kakampi din natin. Pero dahil hindi tayo ang lumaban doon sa championship, hindi na, po, naging exciting ang championship. Exciting lang ang championship pag tayo ang lumalaban. Kaya lang, dahil matatalino ang mga estudyante natin, exempted lagi tayo sa finals.

Hindi man tayo number one sa basketbol, number one naman tayo sa ranking. Tayo nga lamang ang unibersidad sa Pililpinas na pumasok sa ranking. Bago ako pumasok ng panungkulan bilang pangulo ng ating unibersidad tayo ay nasa top 1,000. A year after, tayo’y nasa top 800. A year after, tayo ay nasa top 600.  At ngayon tayo ay nasa top 500 na sa buong mundo. Hindi kasama roon ang iba pang mga eskwelahan. Sabi nga nila, manalo o matalo, UP pa rin tayo. Sila, others lang. Sa southeast Asia, dati tayo ay kulelat din. Dati rati siguro ang ranking nating diyan kung hindi pang labing dalawa ay pang sampu. Pero ngayong sa buong southeast Asia tayo ay number four na. Number one ang National University of Singapore. Parang UP-Ateneo yan, lampaso tayo niyan. Number two ang Namyang University sa Singapore, at number three ang Universiti of Malaya. Natanggal natin sa pwesto ang Chulalongkorn University, ang Baylor sa Indonesia, at marami pang unibersidad sa Singapore at Thailand.

Sa susunod na taon ay susuportahan natin na ang lahat ng ating reporma matutupad upang umunlad ang ating unibersidad sa ating pag-asa, tataas pa tayo ng mataas pa sa ranking natin sa buong mundo.

Mindanao. Ano, po, ba ang balak natin sa Mindanao? Nahuli man ang Mindanao sa pagkakalikha nito -parang pang-apat ata siya o pang anim ata siya na campus na ating naitatag outside Diliman-ay sisiguruhin natin na ang UP Mindanao ay hahabol sa development at baka nga malampasan pa ng UP Mindanao ang ilang pang mga CU na naunang itinatag sa kanya. Dito sa Mindanao ay itatayo natin ang College of Human Kinetics.  Ang UP Mindanao ay pinaki-usapan ko na. Una kong pinaki-usapan nito si Chancellor Beng pero dahil natapos na yung term ni Chancellor Beng e di nalipat na yung aking paki-usap.  Sabi ko lang paki-usap pero actually utos iyon. Utos kay Chancellor Digal na buo-in na yung curriculum para sa Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics sa Mindanao at ilista na ang lahat ng pangangailangan upang ito ay atin nang maumpisahan.

Sa aking palagay kayang-kaya natin itong ipatupad next year. Next year dapat simulan na natin ito. Bakit kaya natin ito simulan next year? Kasi, po, ang president ng Pilipinas ay taga-Mindanao, ang chairman ng committee on appropriations sa House of Representatives ay taga-Mindanao, ang budget secretary ay hindi lang taga Mindanao, taga Davao pa. At ang ating magiting na senador sa congreso ay taga Mindanao. Si Senator Migz Zubiri ang akin, pong, number one na supporter sa Senado habang ang pinag-uusapan ay Mindanao, kasi parang siya lang ang UP graduate na taga-Mindanao. Si Koko nga pala who was also my student, kaklase ni misis.

At may balak din tayo, may plano tayo na makipag-tulungan sa Philippine Olympic Committee na pinamumunuan ng isang taga Mindanao, si secretary Butch Ramirez, na gawing national training center ng ating mga national athletes ang UP Mindanao sapagkat nandito na ang makabago at maganda na sports facilities. At nangako naman si representative Sid Ungab, who’s an alumnus of UPLB, na sinabi niya pagsisikapan namin sa three-year term namin ay  makumpleto lahat ng pasilidad sa sports sa UP Mindanao. Sa susunod na mga araw, pupunta din dito ang mga manlalaro natin mula sa UP Diliman. Sila ay magte-train dito sa Mindanao siguro mga isa o dalawang buwan. Sapagka’t  gagawin, po, natin itong National Sports Training Center.

Para ito ay matupad, kailangan natin ng additional facilities at unang una dito ay additional classrooms. Pangalawa, kailangan din natin ng dormitory facilities para sa ating mga atleta at ating magaaral. Nakita ko lang, po, ang suporta ng mga senador dahil humingi tayo ng pondo para magpagawa tayo ng Balay Atleta sa Diliman. Hindi, po, tayo nag dalawang salita. Binigay nila agad pero kailangan nating makita ito sa bi-cameral. Senator Migz, bantayan natin na hindi matanggal doon sa dagdag sa insertion yung 300 million para sa Balay Atleta. Hihingi din, po, tayo ng ganong halaga para sa Balay Atleta sa UP Mindanao.

Iyon, pong, iba pa nating mga balak, hahayaan ko nang si Chancellor Larry Digal ang mag-bulgar sa inyo. Marami pa, po, tayong balak sa Mindanao. At ako ay labis na nagagalak sapagkat ang mga dumalo pala sa tipon ngayong araw ay nagmula pa sa malalayong panig ng Mindanao. Ngayon ay bumabalik sa akin yung ating awit, “malayong lupain, amin mang marating, di rin magbabago ang damdamin.”

Magandang hapon, po, sa inyong lahat.    

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