Chancellor Corro’s PAEP Tribute Speech

It’s been 4 years since President Alfredo Pascual, UP’s 20th President administered my investiture as the 9th Dean of UP Cebu. But unknown to many of you, that was not my first official function with PAEP.

In 2011, when a groundbreaking was had for the first infrastructure for UP Cebu, under PAEP’s administration, the SRP Academic Bldg, I was already there to assist PAEP in the groundbreaking. I was there then as UP Cebu Alumni Association president. Little did I know, that it was not just the start of a new building, but a start of my relationship with UP and my association with then new President, Alfredo Pascual, in contributing to the foundation of another era in UP Cebu, that, in its becoming a constituent university.

Have you heard of the pamahiin, kung ano ‘yong unang ginawa mo sa taon, yon ang palaging mangyayari sa buong taon. Isn’t it, we do not want to spend at the start of the year, otherwise, we fear that for the whole year, we will be spending money? So having that groundbreaking bodes well for us in UP Cebu, for construction do abound now in UP Cebu and which will still continue to be finished, even after PAEP’s term. In fact, in the SRP Campus, the eLib building stands as one iconic building in the SRP area. We have 4 simultaneous ongoing constructions, including the guest house in Diliman, while we will also have 3 new constructions to commence, within this first quarter, or maybe 4, should we get luckier with the granting of the Execution Pending Appeal from the court for our High School Building. And this is not to mention yet, that another 2 new buildings will be bidded out this year. And this does not include yet the upgrading of the football field into a professional level And finally, we will have an Oblation with a much better physique and 6 pack-abs, since it will also be replaced, together with a better designed Oblation Park.

During the start of my term in 2013, we all know UP Cebu saw a drastic and sudden increase in its budget, particularly in its MOOE, which, thanks to PAEP, he increased almost 4-fold.

When I was interviewing people in the CDMO, since I want to understand how they managed all their construction pressures in the prior years, they told me it was easy, because for so long a time, there were no new infras in UP Cebu. It started happening only upon the assumption of President Pascual. And when they came, it was like an avalanche, which might be an exaggeration, but true.

Fear and uncertainties from UP Cebu’s constituents abound then when President Pascual took UP’s helm in 2011, due to varying reasons which a lot of you have an idea why. In the same manner, 8 days from now, with a new President taking over, and just like in anything new, we have trepidations on what is to come. The new President is my brother in the law profession, as we say in the legal community. But he is a fraternity brother of Pres. Pascual. So let us hope we get a good endorsement from PAEP to President Concepcion.

Just like in any job application, we secure endorsements from those whom we know, do believe in us. And I say, President Pascual, not only did he keep his faith in us in UP Cebu, but more than that, he pushed us to achieve, and lead us, to where he knows we should go.

I would like to paraphrase a passage in Kahlil Gibran’s poem about “Children” in his book the Prophet: President Pascual is the bow that UP used, from which we, his constituents in UP Cebu, as living arrows, were sent forth to accomplish our dreams and aspirations. He is the bow that was bent with might, so that we in UP Cebu will go swift and far, as manifested by UP’s Cebu’s elevation to a full constituent university.

If only I can picture it out and share with you on how President Pascual, relentlessly defended us to the rest of the members of the Board of Regents on why we should be granted our constituent university status. That, Mr. President, we sincerely appreciate.

The elevation to becoming a full constituent university is just actually a consequence of all that we had become. We know we would not have become a CU, if we did not have all those achievements to boast of, for the past years. And all these we accomplished by virtue of the enabling environment that President Pascual had provided us.

In the past 5 years, figures will attest to the trajectory increase in UP Cebu’s accomplishments in its research and publications, including in the field of creative works. We saw how our collaborations increased with international universities, and here locally, with different government agencies. We became recipients of several fundings, and laboratories and research offices were set up within UP Cebu. All these happened, under the watch and active representation of Pres. Pascual before our co-government institutions. He is our best ambassador of goodwill.

Other HEI’s here in Cebu, now regard us as a threat in terms of faculty recruitment, when they see how UP, under the helm of PAEP, had been sending our faculty to other countries with full support to pursue their advanced graduate studies.

Even for students, they not only are given the opportunity to receive stipends if deserving, on top of discounts they receive under the ST Program. But President Pascual likewise opened up the doors for the students to widen their horizons and increase their cultural quotient, through MOVE-UP and COOPERATE Programs, where they get to study in international universities with substantial support from UP.

Actually, PAEP has a strong camaraderie with a lot of the young workforce, foremost of which are his young staff in the Office of the President, and even the AVP for Student Affairs. PAEP, easily blends with them, except for his “salt and pepper” or I might say his grey hair which easily gives him away when he is in the younger group.
And of course, the very high step salary grades increases under his administration’s call for merit promotion which many of us were recipients of. There is also the One UP Professorial Chair and Faculty Grant. I am sure, there are many of us here who were not able to keep track anymore on what is the title of the funds they had received. But, they just keep on receiving the financial incentives that kept coming one after another under PAEP’s term, which everyone enjoyed, including those who continue to rally and to question these financial incentives. These are the same people who question the eUP, despite all the benefits they are reaping. But just like the world wide web or the internet being the great equalizer, it is the eUP which became our equalizer vis-à-vis the bigger CUs in the UP System.

If you come to think of it, it is through these One UP concept, and the processes instituted by President Pascual for operational efficiency, which elevated UP Cebu into equal footing with the bigger CUs like UP Diliman, UPLB and UP Manila, or we do not need to go far, like UP Visayas. If you do not know or realize it, UP Cebu’s vote in the PAC is as good as the vote from UP Diliman.

Through President Pascual’s leadership, he made our journey lighter and pleasurable due to his foresight and innovativeness, coupled with the patience and generosity which he demonstrates. I would like to say, his patience abounds, considering all the eccentricities of his officials, including us, his chancellors. But in his own way, he was able to orchestrate us all. This just really shows his statesmanship. I don’t know, Mr. President, sino ang mas mahirap dalhin, us your Chancellors or your Vice-Presidents? Do you know that at the start of my term, I had to suffer from being transferred from one end to the other end of the conference table in the President’s Advisory Council meeting, just so to diffuse the constant friendly bickerings and arguments between 2 of his officials both seated next to him, which he patiently allows. And one of those officials is responsible for why we will now soon have our Guest House in UP Diliman, which is about to be finished around this March. It’s like a villa in a beach resort concept, to reflect UP Cebu’s character.

Just like his salt and pepper or white hair which gives him away in a crowd of young people, it is only his blushings which gave him away as to the state of his mind in the heat of his officials’ arguments.

In the light of genuine public service, PAEP is willing to withstand criticisms in order to achieve honor and excellence for which UP stands for. Pursuant to PAEP’s tagline “We must succeed not because we have a reputation to keep, but because we have a country to serve.” President Alfredo Pascual, you best articulate for us UP Cebu’s tagline: You nurtured us to create, inspired us to innovate, and for all the sacrifices you had devoted and withstood for UP, truly, you are destined to serve.

Mr. President, it is indeed a privilege and an honor working in UP, under your administration. In behalf of the UP Cebu’s constituents, truly and sincerely, maraming salamat sa lahat ng tulong na inyong inabot para sa UP Cebu. Just like the Oblation, thank you for having offered your services sa UP Na Ating Mahal!