Update #2: Message of Chancellor Larry Digal to UP Mindanao constituents in the Virtual Kasadya 2020 held on 22 December 2020
To the faculty, staff, students, and friends, I’m happy to see all of you kahit sa Zoom lang. I think most of us agree that we cannot end this year without being together. Yes, we cannot hold the usual face-to-face Christmas party, but even just meeting via Zoom gives us a sense of normalcy and, definitely, a sense of unity that we all need in this difficult and challenging time. I’m sure each one of us has struggled and are still struggling, still adjusting, and trying our best to cope, to meet head-on, all the challenges that come our way. And despite all these challenges, and I hope you agree with me, there are still many blessings to thank for. For one, we should be thankful that we are all here, still able to do the things that we need to do as a University, as UP Mindanao, despite the huge blow from this pandemic. Kung na knockdown man ‘ta, bangon gihapon. When this pandemic hit our ground, our first priority was to protect and save lives, to install a system to protect us from the virus. Once that’s done, we thought of re-calibrating our plans. I was surprised, to be honest, that most units did not want to slow down. And wanted to continue with their plans. In fact, hesitating to give up their budget to comply with the national Budget Circular 580, which mandates a budget cut from all government agencies to come up with the required amount for the national program to fight this pandemic. This hesitation indicates that while all of us are disrupted by this virus, we want to continue to do good work for UP. Of course, we needed to reconfigure some of these plans. And you have seen, for example, that we developed the Mindanao Health Initiative program as one of our priorities for 2020 and onwards. For those of you who are not familiar with this, this program has three components. The College of Medicine, the Davao City-UP Hospital, and the Mindanao Center for Infectious Diseases. Let me share with you some highlights of what we have accomplished this year all because we refused to be tied down by this pandemic and all because of your unfazed attitude and courage in carrying out your work despite COVID-19.
Our enrollment is higher this year compared to last year. It is fast-growing, faster than the UP System average. Our undergraduate enrollment increased by thirty-three percent and our graduate enrollment by about twenty-three percent. Although our freshmen enrollment was lower compared to last year, only a little lower than our carrying capacity, which is the same for the other UP campuses. Yes, we struggled and wrestled with the challenges in migrating to our remote learning system, but we are in a much better position now starting next semester.
We continue to work on our new academic programs. Although we slowed down a bit, which is expected, as indicated in our strategic plan, the one we pushed for during the Alumni Institute assembly in 2019. We plan to establish 3 colleges. The College of Medicine, the College of Human Kinetics, and the College of Engineering. All these actually include the offering of 16 new programs, mostly by adoption from the other UP constituent universities. We have accomplished one already, the PhD by research program. And in our budget presentation last month to the UP System, our administration, the UP System, continues to support our expansion program.
We have made our message clear and consistent. We are not UP Mintal or UP Davao, we are UP Mindanao, with the potential to contribute significantly to Mindanao’s development and even beyond. This is one of the reasons why we were able to get twelve new faculty items. This is a big win for us as we continue to push for regularizing both faculty and non-faculty items and getting the items required for our new programs, not just with the UP System, but with the Department of Budget and Management, with the support of our alumni. We also performed well in research. Our publications are in high-quality journals. External research funds are increasing. We now have a Niche Center in the Regions, or NICER, on interdisciplinary diseases modeling, which will further push for the establishment of the Mindanao Center for Infectious Diseases. Especially with the network built by the Philippine Genome Center Mindanao, which has been in the forefront in assisting various groups, both public and private, in establishing their COVID-19 testing facilities. Our public service programs have been focused on addressing this pandemic. Not just with the trainings and technical assistance provided to these COVID-19 testing laboratories, but also in contributing to policy discussions with our work in modeling the spread of COVID-19 and in assisting Micro-, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to recover from this pandemic, for example.
We have made some strides in improving our processes and systems. We have improved our planning and monitoring system. We distributed a copy of the strategic plan that became one of the inputs in our campus master development plan, which we also distributed for comments. We also made some changes in our structure to improve performance.
Yes, there are a number of things that we have not done, but we have done well given the difficult situation that we are all in and this is a testament to your commitment to our work, our mandate to serve. So I would like to thank you for your commitment to serve UP Mindanao, your hard work, patience, commitment, and perseverance made a big difference in what we’ve done this year despite this pandemic. As we celebrate this holiday season, although not in the usual way, let us be thankful for the many blessings we receive. Personally, I feel that we are all blessed to be able to continue the good works that God has prepared us to do for UP Mindanao. Whether as faculty, as staff, as students, or administrators, and because of this, we’re able to continue to help others. Advance Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! Keep safe and let us all enjoy this time together.
UP Mindanao invites you to the Virtual Kasadya 2020 this 22 December 2020, 7:00 p.m.
Join us in our annual Christmas celebrations using the Zoom meeting details below:
URL: https://up-edu.zoom.us/j/86359054495 Meeting ID: 863 5905 4495 Passcode: upkasadya
You may also watch the event on Facebook: www.facebook.com/upmindanao
"Ni’ng taknáa, ipadáyon náto ang diláab sa pagláum, pinaági sa pag-serbísyo ug pag-higúgma!"
(This yuletide season, let us keep the spirit of hope burning through acts of service and compassion!)
Mga Unod (Features):
• Mga Mensahe sa Pasko (Messages) • Mga Dula (Games) • Hadumanan sa Kasadya (Kasadya Through the Years) • Mga Pasundayag (Performances) • Tigi sa TikTok Video (TikTok Video Contest)