State of the University Address
Serving as Chancellor of an institution such as the University of the Philippines Visayas for the past six years had been both a privilege and a joy for me. Leading it had also been a challenge as well as a test of courage and determination.
It was a joy to work with a great team of faculty and researchers who are experts in their respective fields as well as with the hardworking and skilled administrative personnel who facilitate the day-to-day operation of the university.
Yes, the challenges were great, but were not insurmountable given the valuable contributions of the members of the UPV management team composed of the vice-chancellors, deans, and heads of various academic and administrative units of the university.
We all worked and walked together following the path leading towards the vision for UPV of becoming a “world class university at the forefront of fisheries and aquatic sciences education, research and development” with UPV’s mission as the driving force for every step made.
Faculty, REPS and Staff
Faculty members attended international conferences and interacted with other scholars / scientists in foreign universities. There was no dearth of funds in terms of training and publications abroad and in the country primarily because we have been working this out with the UP System leadership.
Faculty and Research and Extension Personnel went into research and extension work. A publication support grant was also started in 2012 that pushed our faculty and REPS to publish in refereed journals. An enabling environment was provided for our faculty, staff and REPS that allowed them to do research, extension work and public service and impact lives of people in the region and throughout the country.
There was an avalanche of financial benefits from 2011 to 2016. Among the CUs, UPV was the first to grant the Service Recognition Pay (SRP) to the staff as soon as it was approved by the UP System. An Enhanced Hospitalization Programme was put in place and this provided an P80,000.00 hospitalization benefit for each of our personnel every year.
We have been doing fairly well in our Wellness Programs. Fun runs and zumba dances and wellness lectures are regularly hosted to keep our personnel conscious of their health and wellbeing.
Lectures, foras, conferences, and seminar workshops were organized by the different colleges and units to enhance knowledge of faculty, staff and students in various disciplines. Visiting scientists from both local universities and abroad as well as expert in the different fields of science were invited to be resource persons in these undertakings. National artists, literary writers, and culture and media specialists imparted relevant ideas and information to the various stakeholders of UP Visayas.
Curricular reviews, and institution of new course offerings and programs were done to improve the academic programs of the university in response to national and global developments.
We have opened a graduate extension program in Roxas City, bringing UPV closer to professionals who would like to pursue Masters degrees in Management. We were also able to partner with the UP National College of Public Administration for an off-campus program for our College of Management faculty to avail of the PhD Programs here in Iloilo City.
A Memorandum of Agreement was signed by the UP Visayas and the School of Urban and Regional Planning of UP Diliman for the eventual offering of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning here in UP Visayas.
Research and Publications and Awards
An increase in the number of grants and research fellowships including the creation of new windows for such were seen. A total budget of 14.5 million per year was segregated to fund the following research windows under the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE): Regular In-House Research, Leveraged, Mentored, and Creative Work windows which support the junior faculty and REPS of the University; Small budget, In-House Research (for undergraduate students); Thesis and Dissertation (for graduate students) windows to provide support fund for students’ research works; Public Service Initiative window for public services done by the faculty and students to provide public services with long-term benefits to an approved beneficiary; Research Dissemination Grants, which have allowed faculty and REPS of the University to present their papers in international conferences; and the Publication Support Grant, which was introduced in 2012 and providing authors with up to US$1,000 for publication in international journals. These support windows are fueling the enthusiasm of the faculty and Research and Extension Personnel (REPs) to increase and accelerate research and extension activities.
In these six years, we are proud to be able to produce scientists among our faculty and REPS.
We have elevated ouselves in the internationalization platform and followed the ASAEN integration agenda by first changing our academic calendar and supporting our faculty and REPS in academic and scholarly exchange between UPV and top universities abroad. Six International conferences were organized and more are being planned for the end of the year and next year.
The publication of the Epics of Panay, sang in the ancient Kinaray-a language was finallly published 25 years after its recording. The epic series of 13 titles were translated into the neareast Kinaray-a, Filipino and English and claimed by the UP Press to be one of the magnum opus or a large and important work ofliterature that they are publishing for UP. This puts forward UPVs mandate of nurturing the Visayan cultural heritage
When Typhoon Yolanda struck Tacloban and some areas of Panay Island, our Tacloban campus was greatly devastated. One of our staff perished and some family members of our personnel succumbed to the storm surge. Moreover, most of our personnel in Tacoban had no roofs over their heads hence, the UPV administration and alumni responded immediately. Displaced students were taken into the Iloilo City campus so that they can continue their studies. Cash for the rebuilding of their homes were provided by the UP System. Those employees affected in Iloilo and southern part of Antique also received assistance. UP Visayas also became a conduit for the aid coming from foreign organizations to communities affected in Northern Iloilo.
We have influenced communities and lives of the island people in Gigantes Island through our RISE (Bangon) Gigantes Project: Rehabilitation for Island Sustainability and Empowerment, a post-Yolanda rehabilitation program funded by Christian Aid. This was recognized as the 2016 Gawad Pangulo Award for Public Service
It was during my term when four BS Public Health students figured in an accident at the University Avenue in 2012. Two lives were lost and the other two had to stay in the hospitals for months. We made sure that those two would graduate and they did receive their diplomas this June 2017.
Before the order of full scholarship for college students by the Duterte administration, UP Visayas students were enjoying the enhanced ST System. This is a program that provide socialized tuition benefits and monthly stipends to our students whose families have an annual income less that P180,0000.00. We have built and allocated for the rise of additional dormitories, better classrooms and improved amenities to ensure student’s comfort while in campus.
We consistently top the licensure examinations such as that for fisheries technologists, and take the top spots most of the time with very high passing percentages. Our students also won in many competitions.
The upgrading of the GIS laboratory equipment and computers as well as fiber optic capabilities and additional 360 Mbps for Miagao campus and 144 Mbps bandwidths for both Iloilo City and Tacloban campuses, respectively have also been put in place, ensuring strong internet connections in the different UPV campuses.
A big capital outlay was allocated for many of our aging buildings and for the construction of new ones. The UPV Main Building or the old Iloilo City Capitol will be fully restored to its former glory starting this September by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in the amount of P60M through the facilitation of UPV alumna, Former Antique Gov. Sally Perez and endorsement of Sen. Loren Legarda.
The building will be converted into a museum and cultural hub that will host our prized UPV paintings by national artists and masters and world-renowned local artists.
A new and bigger campus for UPV Tacloban College will soon arise at the Sta. Elena after the recent ground breaking ceremonies.
Please allow me to show you our accomplishments in terms of infrastructures, the ongoing ones, and those that are underway:
As I am ending my term in two months, let me thank you for giving me the chance to serve you these last six years. Thank you for your cooperation and help. Please give your full support to the next Chancellor the way you have given it to me.
Let us continue to work with excellence and service to inspire our Iskolars ng Bayan to serve the country while keeping the ideals of UP. For the faculty, staff and REPS, let us continue to instill in the hearts of our students the value of diligence, loyalty commitment and true sense of nationalism so we can give our share of contribution to nation building. Let us always teach them to pay it forward. Mabuhay ang UP nating mahal!
Dr. Rommel A. Espinosa
Chancellor, UP Visayas
November 1, 2011 - October 31, 2017