New UP President to take the helm

| Written by Jo. Florendo B. Lontoc

Atty. Angelo A. Jimenez takes the helm as the University of the Philippines President on February 10, 2023, in UP Diliman, Quezon City.

The turnover ceremony, to be held at 9 AM at the iconic Quezon Hall Lobby, will have outgoing UP President Danilo L. Concepcion and Jimenez delivering their respective valedictory and acceptance speeches. The UP Symphony Orchestra Quartet and the UP ROTC Band will provide music.

On the eve of the turnover, at 6 PM at the UP Theater, a free-admission concert featuring the UP Symphony Orchestra and vocalists Kay Balajadia-Liggayu, Anya Evangelista, and Malvin Macasaet will be held to thank Concepcion and welcome Jimenez.

Two UP Presidents

Concepcion, a lawyer, is the 21st president of UP. He will be remembered as the UP president who “steered UP through the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling the University to contribute directly to the country’s success in overcoming the public health crisis” and “led efforts to transform UP into the University of the Future,” the program organizers said.

Under Concepcion’s administration, the University instituted innovations in all its academic offerings and developed cutting-edge frontier programs. His administration raised UP’s budget for research, secured additional faculty and staff items, increased economic and non-economic benefits for all UP employees, and provided support and learning assistance to faculty, students, and staff. Facilities and infrastructure were completed transforming the campuses. During his term, UP rose in world university rankings, such that it is now among the top 500 universities in the world and the top 100 in Asia.

Jimenez served in the UP Board of Regents, UP’s highest governing body, twice, first as Student Regent in 1992 and as Regent from 2016 to 2021. From 1993 to 2007, he served the government by handling national interest cases at the Office of the Secretary of Labor. He served with distinction in major global hotspots where OFWs have been endangered. As Labor Attaché from 1997 to 2005, Jimenez developed overseas labor markets and delivered a broad array of critical government services. Jimenez served as Deputy Administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration from 2005 to 2007. He garnered two Presidential citations for his performance in crises in Iraq and Lebanon., Jimenez is a published writer and an internationally recognized resource person on labor and migration.

In his vision paper, Jimenez speaks of a UP that is a “global university,” and a research university focused on graduate and post-graduate programs and academic linkages. He sees UP continuing as a public service university helping government and industry while being a bastion of academic freedom. Jimenez advocates an Open Data Policy and digital transformation in learning and management. He also envisions UP helping raise the quality of undergraduate education in state universities and colleges.

Singkaban at balanghai

The programs for the turnover are titled “Singkaban at Balanghai: Pasasalamat at Pagsalubong.” Singkaban, the folk bamboo welcome arch, and balanghai, the Philippine ancient sea vessel—featured in the program visuals and numbers—hark to the origins of Concepcion and Jimenez. Singkaban art flourished in Bulacan, the home province of the outgoing president. Archaeological remains of the balanghai were discovered in Butuan, the home province of the incoming.

According to renowned multimedia visual artist and UP College of Fine Arts professor Toym Imao, who conceptualized the design: “Both singkaban and balanghai are fitting visual metaphors for a portal that welcomes and sends off our leaders in the UP community—our barangay.” Eight singkaban arches in the shape of the prow of the balanghai will represent the UP constituent universities.

The selection of the UP president undergoes a process involving a search committee, nomination, consultations, and election by the 11-member UP Board of Regents. A UP president serves a single six-year term as the Chief Academic Officer, Head of the University Faculty, and Chief Executive Officer. They are also co-chairs of the UP BOR.