On February 15, UP Visayas (UPV) officials, faculty members, professors emeriti, students, staff, and alumni, including Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, gathered at the Grand Xing Imperial Hotel in Iloilo City to honor the 20th president of the University of the Philippines, Alfredo E. Pascual.
The tribute had for its theme “Pasidungog, Pagdayaw, Pasalamat”. The program featured performances and messages from the different sectors of the Miag-ao and Tacloban units.
Central to the event was the constituent unit’s expression of gratitude to President Pascual’s support of UP Visayas. According to its statement, “President Pascual cascaded his vision to UP Visayas as in all other constituent units of the University and implemented programs, seeing to it that the infrastructure needs and facilities in all campuses of UP Visayas are included in the improvements of the whole UP System. As an administrator with a heart, his humanitarian spirit was best exemplified in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda when he gave immediate prioritization focusing on the rehabilitation of the UP Visayas Tacloban campus and the development of the Santa Elena property. His immediate financial support enlivened the spirit of the students, faculty, and staff and gave hope to the victims to move on after the disaster. This is well treasured by all as a resounding positive move of a leader who stood up during a crisis and gave hope to those who were in dire need.”
Prof. Ma. Joji Tan of the UP High School faculty and the administrator of the Office of Continuing Education and Pahinungod, highlighted in her message the strength of the Pascual administration in terms of funding support of faculty productivity, publications, as well as conferences. “There was also a significant increase in Academic Program Improvement (API) Funds (i.e. Php 10M per year) during President Pascual’s term. UP Visayas was also able to send faculty members for graduate studies in universities here and abroad. Financial support was given to faculty members for them to attend international conferences and have the chance to interact with other scholars and scientists in foreign universities. UP Visayas was also able to host three international conferences.”
UP Visayas-Tacloban Dean Virgildo E. Sabalo emphasized in his message of gratitude to the President, “the Yolanda experience in which the Pascual administration was able to accommodate the UP Visayas-Tacloban students in their cross-registration in Diliman at the time. Also, the UP Tacloban Santa Elena Campus project.”
President Pascual responded: “I thank you for this wonderful tribute. I really felt it. It showcases the talents of UP Visayas from students, faculty, and staff. This is something that you offered me, the memory that I will treasure as I remember my sojourn in UP, particularly here in UP Visayas. This constituent unit of the University is the advocate of sustainable development, representing the country in the regions; each of the campuses in UP Visayas continues to stand at the forefront of higher education, pioneering programs responsive to the needs of the Visayan people and for the development of the region and the country.”
Cultural performances from the UP Visayas administration, faculty, students, staff and alumni were given during the program.
The program culminated with Chancellor Rommel A. Espinosa presenting to Pascual a sculpture of the sea goddess Luyung Baybay as UPV’s gift for the outgoing president’s invaluable support of the constituent university’s mandate to protect the sea and its marine life. (Stephanie S. Cabigao, UP MPRO)