U.P. CENTENNIAL CONVERSATIONS
Roland G. Simbulan
Professor & former Faculty Regent
University of the Philippines System
Jan. 8, 2008
During my current sabbatical leave, I have been writing a soul-searching book about the University of the Philippines (U.P.) and its governance, its relevance and role as an institution of excellence in Philippine society in the light of U.P.’s 2008 Centennial celebrations. In proceeding with this discourse, I have interviewed to share their views and experiences of U.P., some of the University’s leading intellectuals, former U.P. administrators and academic leaders, as well as alumni who have distinguished themselves outside the University. As the premier university in the country, U.P. continues to lead in excellence as when it was established 100 years ago. Its history however, remains controversial , because a former U.P. president describes it has having produced “excellent oppressors and liberators of the Filipino people.”
Let me share these U.P. Centennial Conversations, based on some of the interviews with the following:
1. Dr. Francisco Nemenzo, PhD, Professor Emeritus and former President of the University of the Philippines;
2. Dr. Marita V. Reyes,M.D., Professor in Biochemistry, and former Dean, U.P. College of Medicine and former Chancellor, U.P. Manila;
3. Dr. Edberto Villegas, DPA, retired Professor in Development Studies at U.P. Manila, and author of Studies in Philippine Political Economy;
4. Mr. Jose Ma. Sison, A.B. English alumnus, former faculty member, English Department, U.P. Diliman; founder of the Kabataang Makabayan and the re-established Communist Party of the Philippines, and currently Senior Political Consultant to the National Democratic Front Peace Negotiation Panel.
5. Prof. Oscar Evangelista, retired Professor of History, former Dean of Students, U.P. Diliman and former Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs, U.P. Diliman.
The soul-searching questions that I asked are the following:
1. WHAT MAKES A U.P. GRADUATE UNIQUE? OR, WHAT IS, ‘Tatak U.P.?”
2. WHAT IS IT IN U.P.’S CURRICULUM OR ATMOSPHERE THAT HAS AN ENDURING IMPACT ON ITS STUDENTS AND GRADUATES?
3. IN YOUR TIME, WHO AMONG YOUR PROFESSORS INFLUENCED YOU THE MOST, AND WHY?
4. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS CONCERNING SOCIAL ACTIVISM AND EXCELLENCE IN U.P.? DO THEY COMPLEMENT OR HINDER EACH OTHER IN ADVANCING THE GOALS OF THE UNIVERSITY?
5. WHERE HAS U.P. FAILED ITS PRINCIPAL SPONSORS, THE FILIPINO PEOPLE?
6. WHAT HAS U.P. REALLY CONTRIBUTED TO PHILIPPINE SOCIETY? AND WHAT WAS ITS HIGH POINT IN ITS 100 YEARS OF EXISTENCE?
7. IN THE NEXT 100 YEARS, WHAT MORE CAN U.P. DO TO MAKE IT TRULY A UNIVERSITY OF THE (FILIPINO) PEOPLE?
ROLAND SIMBULAN: WHAT MAKES A U.P. GRADUATE UNIQUE?
FRANCISCO NEMENZO: He is well educated, articulate, nd patriotic. Of course, these are ideal qualities which not every U.P. graduate possesses.
MARITA REYES: The U.P. graduate is unique because s/he is the product of unique processes and interactions in the university. First , s/he undergoes an admission process that is so rigorous that one can take pride in making it. Second, the mix of students is uniquely heterogenous, reflective of the whole range of social diversity in the country. Third, its faculty roster includes many real intellectuals. Fourth, the curricular programs are products of constant review and validation.
EDBERTO VILLEGAS: To the common Filipino, a U.P. graduate is supposed to be the creme de la creme of graduates of Philippine colleges and universities. Greater opportunities are supposed to be open to him in acquiring a job, rising in the Establishment political arena, applying for scholarship abroad and making a name in the arts. Though this is just an impression as there has been no systematic study conducted on the fates of U.P. graduates compared to other graduates in the Philippines, the dream of the ordinary Filipino family is to have a child study in U.P..Perhaps this may not be so now as it was in the past with the rise of tuition fee in U.P., and the University may turn out to be just like any other elitist school in the country. The low tuition fee of U.P. in the past and its being the premier state university may be a primary reason also for the desire of Filipino families to have at least a child study in U.P..
Thus, “tatak U.P.” in the past may be this perception of Filipinos regarding its graduates but which may disappear in the future when U.P. slowly becomes like one of the elitist schools, which value commercialization of education more than quality education. U.P. quality of education may also decline in proportion to the rise of its cost of education as what happened in La Salle University.
To say that “tatak U.P.” refers to the activist image of the U.P. graduates is not correct since the almost one-hundred years history of its administrations has shown the conformist character of U.P. to the parameters of dissent set by the government administrations. Activism arose in U.P. in the 1930s and the 1960s in spite of the leanings and policies of the administration.
“Tatak U.P.” to me refers to the snobbish intellectuals of U.P., who purport to know the true conditions of the Filipino people, without integrating with the masses. It refers to the liberal tradition promoted by U.P. colonialism among the intellectuals they cultivated in U.P., who can be deluded through the philosophies purveyed by Western universities, particularly U.S. dominated by the cultural hegemony of the bourgeoisie, that they are fighting for the good of Philippine society while staying in their intellectual pedestals and enjoying a comfortable life apart from the masses like some of our U.P. graduates who become politicians. Indeed in relation to the conditions of the enlightened masses, these individuals are really pathetic.
JOSE MA. SISON: The U.P. graduate is unique by being part of the cream of the educated elite. He or she is among the brightest and most competent in his or her profession. He or she is supposed to be often at least patriotic and liberal-minded in a conservative or progressive way or sometimes a revolutionary activist along the line of the national democratic revolution, especially since the militant mass actions of the 1960s. Tatak U.P. na pinakamatingkad ay matalino, mahusay, makabayan at progresibo.(Translation: The most outstanding mark of the U.P. is: Intelligent, competent, patriotic and progressive.)
OSCAR EVANGELISTA: A U.P. graduate is self-assured, stands out (medyo mayabang)because s/he has something to be proud of . The following text message which I got is quite apt: ‘ U.P. made you in such a way that when the world is sitting, you would be standing, and when the world is standing, you would stand out, and when the world stands out, you would be outstanding, and when the world is outstanding, you would be the stand out’.
ROLAND SIMBULAN: WHAT IS IT IN U.P. CURRICULUM OR ATMOSPHERE THAT HAS AN ENDURING IMPACT ON ITS STUDENTS AND GRADUATES?
FRANCISCO NEMENZO: Not so much the curriculum, but the whole atmosphere. Despite the unfortunate presence of classroom terrors, U.P. Professors in general encourage their students to think for themselves and appreciate new ideas, even if these run counter to their own beliefs. The numerous public lectures, symposia, etc. expose the students to divergent points of view so theyan form their own opinions. This stands in bold contrast to other schools where teachers impose their opinions and try to turn the students into clones of themselves or replicas of the schools’ self-image.
MARITA REYES: The curriculum’s emphasis on critical thinking, creativity, self-expression and love of country.
EDBERTO VILLEGAS: I would admit that the liberal tradition and atmosphere has the most impact on its students and graduates. Many students and graduates of U.P. develop a sense of liberation of the mind when they study in U.P. particularly those coming from sectarian schools in the Philippines. However, liberalism above all promotes individualism, which has a very thin line dividing it from self-centeredness and thus selfishness. But a liberation of the mind from superstitions and dogmatism can also lead , though this was not intended by the leading liberal theoreticians , to socialist collectivism. What U.P. liberalism encouraged, however, in U.P. is the isolated individual who may struggle to change society, but who is uneasy with organizational discipline. But efforts of such liberal individuals, though sincere, will be futile amidst the organized machinery of the state-supported capitalism. Such individuals who refuse to join organized and disciplined action to transform societies will be used as mere decorations by the protectors of an oppressive system to propagandize that in their society there is freedom of expression, but bereft of what they consider dangerous collective actions to overhaul the system. With the adoption of the RGEP (Revitalized General Education Program) in 2000 by U.P., the multiplication of such individualist students, who may become intellectuals, will be more possible since RGEP leaves it to the students to choose their GE (General Education) subjects based on their inclinations (the choice of students has been turned into a marketplace befitting the culture of consumerism of capitalism). The University has shirked its duty, which at least the Sinco and Lopez administration assumed, to mold graduates with social consciousness to work for the welfare of Philippine society through required GE subjects.
JOSE MA. SISON: The official ideology of the U.P. is a conservative and pro-imperialist type of bourgeois liberalism. Even as this is the case, the U.P. is still relatively the most progressive university in the semi-colonial and semi-feudal Philippine society. At any rate, there is a constant struggle of progressive and reactionary ideas in the university. These conflicting ideas are reflected in the curriculum, especially in courses of study that allow debate on social issues.
Since my time in the U.P., the Marxists have advocated the national democratic revolution under the leadership of the working class in alliance with the peasantry and the urban petty bourgeoisie. They propagated on the campus the alliance of Marxism-Leninism and the progressive type of nationalism and liberalism in order to make a further new democratic advance against the persistence and growth of reactionary ideas which are pro-imperialist and pro-exploiting classes and are opposed to a patriotic, scientific and pro-people kind of education and culture.
OSCAR EVANGELISTA: The liberal atmosphere that allows students to think critically, the general education courses that helps mould one’s thinking, a campus life that complements academic rigors.
ROLAND SIMBULAN: IN YOUR TIME, WHO AMONG YOUR PROFESSORS INFLUENCED YOU THE MOST, AND WHY?
FRANCISCO NEMENZO: Professor Ricardo Pascual taught me to be skeptical, to disbelieve and rigorously to examine in what I read or hear. O.D. Corpuz who aroused my love for political philosophy. Guadalupe Fores Ganzon for giving an example of a good teacher and inspired me to pursue an academic career. J.D. Constantino (now Sister Teresa of the Carmelites) who tried hard to bring me back to the religion of my youth but never lost faith in me when she failed. There were also unforgettably bad teachers who taught me what to avoid in dealing with my students; in a sense, they too influenced me.
MARITA REYES: In my Pre-Med years – Ms. Rica Panganiban and Ms. Navarro in Math; Dr. Barcelona and Prof. Susana Cruz in Chemistry, Prof. Mendoza in Philosophy and Dr. Clemente in Zoology. They were experts in their subject matter, knew how to motivate and challenge their students,were approachable, and gave me the impression that they were interested in me as a student. At the College of Medicine – the professors that I remember most and were models were – Dr. Manuel Macapinlac and Drs Samson in the Department of Biochemistry ; Drs. Paulo Campos and Lourdes Manahan in Internal Medicine; Drs. Gloria T. Aragon and Rosario Isidro-Gutierrez in Obstetrics-Gynecology and, of course, Dr. Baltazar Reyes in Psychiatry! I remembered most their mastery of the subject matter, and their professional dignity!
EDBERTO VILLEGAS: The professors who influenced me most were primarily liberal-minded teachers. They are Cesar Majul, who handled a course in Marxism in the late 60s, concentrating on the writings of the young Marx. Majul’s specialization was Political Theory, and he had a PhD in Philosophy, thus his approach was a philosophical analysis of the thoughts of Marx and Engels. His interest was in research and constant theoretical debates, and we would engage him ( my classmates and I who was the president of the UP Philosophical Association at that time) in theoretical discussions both in the classrooms and soiree in private houses. Because of another philosophy class I took under Majul, I was motivated to write a philosophical treatise for the Philippine Clegian, of which I was literary editor at one time. Majul was well pleased with my article, attributing my arguments in it to his influence on me.
Another who influenced me, particularly on cultural nationalism, was Teodoro Agoncillo, which subject on Philippine Culture I enrolled in. Because of him, I wrote an article on Filipino cultural nationalism also for the Philippine Collegian. Agoncillo taught with humour, passion and grit, often causing his class to break out in an outburst of laughter.
Prof. Arenas of the Sociology Department was the one who broke my moral rigidity, which I carried over to U.P. as a raw high school graduate from La Salle. From her, I learned that no religion can claim to have moral superiority over others, because there were varied religious practices and beliefs as well as customs from one culture to another.
In the English department, since I was taking a degree on English and Josurnalsim (there was no Mass Com program yet at that time in the 60s), the most memorable professors I have had were Prof. Dadufalza, who whetted my appetite for Russian literature, and Prof. Dolores Feria, who shared with me an avid passion for German classical philosophy, a rarity in U.P. even among philosophy professors. My interest in Hegelian philosophy was deepened under one of Prof. Feria’s subjects in literature. Another striking professor of mine was Prof. Rex Drillon of the Political Science Department, a fervent liberal, who exploded all our beliefs in heaven and the after-life combined with his humorous antics in class ridiculing the Bible.
JOSE MA. SISON: Prof. Teodoro Agoncillo was never my teacher in the classroom. But I was deeply influenced by his works, like Revolt of the Masses and the textbook Brief History of the Filipino People. He was a nationalist in the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist sense and was for the national sovereignty of the Filipino people and for the realization of democracy by their own sovereign will and revolutionary efforts. I became close to him after he became an adviser of the Student Cultural Association of the U.P.(SCAUP). He wrote the introduction to my STRUGGLE FOR NATIONAL DEMOCRACY in 1966.
Prof. Leopoldo yabes was my classroom teacher in graduate school. He was also nationalist and progressive liberal in his orientation and he encouraged me to further read and write papers on Marxist workers when he noticed my interest in these. Dean Jose Lansang was not teaching in the U.P. but he was a U.P. alumnus and lived on the Diliman campus. I used to visit him on weekends and we exchanged ideas on a wide range of philosophical and political subjects. I was fond of exchanging views and developing friendship with professors who were much older than me.
I learned much by debating with professors who had conservative and religo-sectarian ideas. In the Philippine Collegian, I debated with the head of the English Department and demanded that a subject on world ideas should not be overloaded with the writings of Cardinal Newman and other Catholic writers and should include the writings of Marx, Engels, Stalin, Lenin and Mao. I also learned much by debating with Dean Ricardo Pascual who was a logical positivist. I joined his study group of professors and graduate students and I enjoyed most my debates with him by testing and sharpening my understanding of Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.
We in the SCAUP had our own study sessions at two levels: the national democratic level and the Marxist-Leninist level. The participants were SCAUP members who were young faculty members and graduate and undergraduate students. The SCAUP was instrumental in raising the level of debate and struggle in the U.P. from one between bourgeois liberalism and religio-sectarianism to a higher one between the Right and the Left, with the Left taking into account comprehensivelyproblems of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism and proposing the class leadership of the working class in the national democratic revolution.
OSCAR EVANGELISTA: Professor Josefina Constantino, my excellent Englist 2 teacher who recommended me to become a student assistant in the Registrar’s Office during summers and semestral vacations, thus ensuring financial support for my studies. Professor Teodoro Agoncillo for sending me to the States on an AID-NEC training grant. The division in the Department of History later on drove me out and brought me to student affairs.
ROLAND SIMBULAN: WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS CONCERNING SOCIAL ACTIVISM AND EXCELLENCE IN THE U.P.? DO THEY COMPLEMENT OR HINDER EACH OTHER IN ADVANCING THE GOALS OF THE UNIVERSITY?
FRANCISCO NEMENZO: Since my student days, I have been an activist, but I detest sloganeering, intolerance for opposing views, etc.. Intelligent activism complements academic excellence.
MARITA REYES: I think that social activism is a must in a university and is a necessary component of academic excellence! Social activism gives relevance to the university. It must, however, be dynamic, creative and be more positive.
EDBERTO VILLEGAS: As I mentioned earlier, activism in U.P. flourished in the 1930s and more strongly in the late 60s to the 70s in spite of the conformism and reformism, the latter during the time of U.P. Presidents Sinco and Lopez, of its administration with regards to the policy directions set by the Philippine government.
The definition of academic excellence does not appear in the present obsolete U.P. Charter of 1908. However, many U.P. administrators define academic excellence at present as U.P. attaining world class status and competitiveness with the leading universities of the world. What does this mean? It means keeping up with the globalization of education as pushed by the World Bank and the so-called Transnational Alliance for World Education, organized by private capitalist companies selling educational products to schools. Researches and teachings in universities to them basically mean suiting the needs of the developed countries , which direction they call specialization of knowledge and an international division of labor. Thus, the U.P. Physics Department deplores the lack of basic research to answer the needs of the Filipino people, since what is currently emphasized in science education in the University is engineering education, which has a great bulk of funding from the U.P. budget and foreign donors, since the expertise that engineering develops would primarily service the factories of the big companies of the TNCs here and abroad. In short, what is given more importance is manufacturing and the assembly line at the expense of basic research in the sciences in the universities of the peripheries of capitalism, to which the Philippines belongs.
The situation is more dire in the cultural and social sciences, since with the introduction of RGEP in 2000 there has been a decline of enrollees in these fields, of course to the satisfaction of those who would make U.P. a mere conduit for the globalized business of capitalism. Moreover, the administration in their paradigm of excellence has added a new requirement before a faculty can obtain tenure and that is to be published in a refereed journal, preferably those recognized in the capitalist circle of intellectuals in the world. Leftist journals like the Monthly Review and New Left Review are not counted among acceptable international refereed journals. Thus, the answer to this question is that obviously, the standard of excellence and social activism in U.P. are at odds with the former hindering the latter. Student activism in the U.P. is only tolerated at the sufferance of the administration and sometimes obstructed like the cessation of the funding for the activist Philippine Collegian. In short, the goal of the U.P. administration of being a world class and competitive university in this so-called era of globalization and commercialization clashes with the goals of Filipino activists in promoting nationalism and a pro-masses and affordable quality education.
JOSE MA. SISON: I think that social activism and academic excellence can go together very well and complement each other, even as the two are distinguishable from ech other and involve contradictions in the realization of both among individuals and groups with differing interests and capabilities.
I knew many individuals who could combine social activism and academic excellence very well and still have time for other types of serious activity and fun. I could attend all the regular classroom sessions, the official colloquium, the study circle of Dean Pascual and SCAUP study sessions and I still had time for student organizing, writing articles for the Collegian, reading books and bantering sessions at the greenhouse, basement or Little Quiapo.
A student organization like the League of Filipino Students (LFS) can combine students with high academic marks, leaders of other campus organizations, journalists and writers and the general run of students whose marks are below 2.0 . It is fine to combine talents with mass strength along the line of struggle for national liberation and democracy.
U.P. students make their well-rounded education and advance the goals of the university by combining social activism and academic excellence. Those who become resolutely and militantly patriotic and progressive and who further become revolutionary are usually developed not by the official curricula but by extracurricular study and activities in opposition to the status quo and in connection with the burning social issue resulting from the oppressive and exploitative conditions of the people.
OSCAR EVANGELISTA: Social activism in the key to bringing to life the ability to think critically in the classroom atmosphere. It is what makes U.P. different from other universities because the students are free to join all kinds of activities. It is what the students get outside the classroom that completes his/her education.
ROLAND SIMBULAN: WHERE HAS U.P. FAILED ITS SPONSORS, THE FILIPINO PEOPLE?
FRANCISCO NEMENZO: U.P. has also produced a lot of scoundrels who are responsible for the mess we are in.
MARITA REYES: U.P. has failed to significantly contribute to the solution of national problems: public health, governance, social inequities….
EDBERTO VILLEGAS: This question is related to the previous question since the U.P. administration, in prioritizing the so-called globalization of education has given less importance and has even neglected the promotion of nationalism and the utilization of knowledge and inventions to advance the good of the Filipino masses. That is why a great bulk of its graduates, notably in the College of Medicine and the College of Nursing, probably also in the School of Engineering, go abroad to serve foreigners after they acquire knowledge at the expense of the taxes of the Filipino people, mostly from lower income groups, according to statistics.
The U.P. administration’s emphasis on individual advance, an outlook bred by liberalism, has contributed to this exodus of U.P. graduates to other lands. Since globalization with its commercialization is in the air as encouraged by the U.P. administration, the attitude of U.P. students and graduates is to each his own and damn the materially unambitious. This materialist consumerist value purveyed by the U.P. administration is defeating what the U.P. activists consider is the purpose of a state education and that is to transform society primarily for the welfare of its citizens and not for the welfare of other nations and its peoples. Thus, the U.P. has miserably failed its sponsor, the Filipino people, specially now with its continuing commercialization with the rise of tuition and other miscellaneous fees.
JOSE MA. SISON: The U.P. fails to serve the Filipino people by having an ideology that is contrary to their national and democratic rights and interests and by producing professionals who have a high opinion of themselves and are self-interested but who serve mainly the interests of foreign powers, multinational firms and banks, the reactionary government and the local exploiting classes. It is fine that since the sixties a considerable number of patriotic and progressive teachers and students have arisen to contest pro-imperialist and conservative ideas. They have developed mainly as a result of social activism along the line of the people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy.
The U.P. also fails to serve the Filipino people as it continues to favor the admission of students from the upper classes. Since my time in the U.P., the proportion of students coming from the public school system and the toiling masses has become reduced by the heavy inflow of students from the upper classes. There should be reforms to address this problem. Otherwise the U.P. will continue to fail its principal sponsors, the Filipino people who predominantly belong to the working class and peasantry.
More than 70 percent of the U.P. students should be the brightest from the exploited classes. The upper classes are overrepresented in the U.P.. They will continue to overrun the U.P. and push out those coming from the lower classes if there are less and less funds from the government and the tuition fees go higher and higher.
OSCAR EVANGELISTA: U.P. has not completely failed the Filipino People. Its task is to train the best minds, whether rich or poor. Unfortunately, the educational system has lately been giving more opportunities to ‘rich’ schools to the detriment of public high schools.
Financial constraint has been a continuous problem for U.P.. Given more financial support, it can accept more students, and provide incentives for financially poor but academically bright students from the provinces. I cite the example of the XDS program that was started in 1977, where students from the provinces were selected, given room and board, had academic and psycho-social assistance. In short, full support to free the students from worries. The program was cut short in 1981 to give way to the expanded grants-in-aid. A pity because follow up of the grantees showed a high performance rate of graduating and success in their careers. A program like that would have given a chance for provincial students to compete with his/her urban counterpart.
ROLAND SIMBULAN: WHAT HAS U.P. REALLY CONTRIBUTED TO PHILIPPINE SOCIETY? AND WHAT WAS ITS HIGH POINT IN ITS 100 YEARS OF EXISTENCE?
FRANCISCO NEMENZO: I can only recall that stage of U.P.’s long and complex history when I was a student, faculty member , and academic administrator. I think the “high point” was during martial law, when the U.P. community showed courage to defy the dictatorship and shamed the colleagues who took advantage of its financial enticements.
MARITA REYES: U.P. has raised the standards of Philippine education, has become the symbol of equity in learning opportunities and has given hope for the impoverished youth. U.P. has been the national resource in the health and legal professions, in the natural and physical sciences and engineering. U.P.’s high point in its first 100 years was in the 1950s -when it rose from the ruins of the World War II and led the way to the sciences and the professions.
EDBERTO VILLEGAS: As I have said, the liberation of the mind offered by liberalism which was intended originally by the bourgeois class to bring down the monarchical governments of Western Europe in the 18th to the 19th centuries can lead, though this was not intended by the liberals, to socialist revolutions as it did in Europe. This also happened in U.P. and as in Europe, the rise of Marxism in U.P. was fervidly opposed by the state and even by the U.P. administration, as seen in the CUFA (Committee on Un-Filipino Activities) investigation and the expulsion of Jose Ma. Sison, a leftist professor, in the early 1960s. Thus, U.P. did not contribute as a deliberate policy, to the emergence of the first quarter storm of the 70s. As a matter of fact, PUp students were more at the vanguard during the first quarter storm as its administration directly encouraged activism among its students and faculty. Social activism as it arose in U.P. was itself a dialectical reaction to the selfish liberalism and secondarily, to sectarianism of the UPSCA (UP Student Catholic Action) in the early 60s. On the other hand, what U.P. has more directly contributed to the momentous periods of Philippine society are mostly corrupt politicians and tyrants in the likes of Marcos, Enrile, Ramos (who took Business Ad at U.P.) and de Venecia. Thus, U.P. should not boast of producing activists since they are merely endured in sufferance by the U.P. administration and conformists, pseudo but safe socialist theoreticians and boot-lickers are instead given awards and honors.
JOSE MA. SISON: The U.P. has contributed a lot to Philippine society in various fields. U.P. graduates are outstanding in government and various professions. In the main, they have contributed to the maintenance of the reactionary government and to the provision of professional services to their private clients. Quite a number of U.P. graduates have also gone abroad because of scarce economic opportunities in the Philippines.
In terms of doing the best possible in the country and hoping for a new and better social system, I consider as high point in the 100 years of U.P. existence the involvement and participation of U.P. students, faculty members and graduates in the rise of the people’s revolutionary mass movement against the regime of the U.P. alumnus Ferdinand Marcos who became Philippine president and fascist dictator with the support of a retinue recruited mainly from the ranks of U.P. graduates. The U.P. will continue to supply personnel to both sides: revolution and counterrevolution.
OSCAR EVANGELISTA: Producing the “best” and the “worst” , depending on where one stands, and how one sees Philippine society.
ROLAND SIMBULAN: IN THE NEXT 100 YEARS, WHAT MORE CAN U.P. DO TO MAKE IT TRULY A UNIVERSITY OF THE (FILIPINO) PEOPLE?
MARITA REYES: U.P. should lead in innovations for environmental protection, for health promotion and poverty alleviation.
EDBERTO VILLEGAS: U.P. must craft a new Charter to replace its obsolete one to transform the University to a democratic institution with its constituents determining its direction and running its affairs. At all levels of policy-making, representatives of its different sectors, students, faculty, researchers, non-academic and alumni must be included to make sure that the path taken by U.P. shall serve the constituents it is committed to.
Commercialization of education must immediately cease and its present goal of a globalized education must be rescinded. It must give primary attention in its research and teaching to the needs of the Filipino masses, and its admission and cost of education should be revised in favor of the poor and deserving Filipino students. It must implement a policy to discourage the exodus of its graduates to foreign shores. It must actively encourage its students and faculty to be activists in the transformation of Philippine society. In this regard, it must work and campaign vehemently to increase by tenfold the budget it acquires from the state, support the arts and social sciences instead of phasing them out and expand the study of Philippine national culture. U.P. must initiate and expand basic research in the physical and natural sciences to confront the immediate problems of the Filipino people like poverty, disease and the degradation of their environment . If U.P. embarks on this direction for its next one hundred years of existence, then it can truly become a University by and for the Filipino people.
JOSE MA. SISON: In the next one hundred years, the U.P. should become a center of patriotic, scientific and people’s democratic education. It should be at the forefront of the people’s struggle to uphold and defend national sovereignty and democracy, realize economic development through national industrialization and land reform, achieve social justice, promote the national cultural heritage and use science for the benefit of the people and develop international solidarity among the peoples and countries of the world for world peace and development.
The enrolment of U.P. students should reflect the composition of the people. The overwhelming majority of the students should come from the working people, even to the extent of at least 90 percent. The students from the middle class can also be accommodated. The university faculty and facilities should be expanded and upgraded several times with the full support of a people’s democratic state.
OSCAR EVANGELISTA: Keep abreast with the best universities in the world academically speaking. It will be a hard task given the lack of financial support. We have to keep the best faculty members, improve our facilities, make the other campuses as attractive as Diliman.
Strengthen its nationalist orientation in the light of globalization. Keep attuned to the needs of the vast majority of the Filipino People.
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in Jan 22nd 2008