Pascual: UP needs P3B to replace retiring PhDs

Jee Y. Geronimo

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Pascual: UP needs P3B to replace retiring PhDs
UP President Alfredo Pascual says improving the compensation of faculty members will make them less vulnerable to higher-paying universities or more lucrative jobs abroad

MANILA, Philippines – One of the priorities – if not the priority – of the University of the Philippines (UP) under its proposed P12.61 billion ($287.08 million*) budget for 2015 is to strengthen and incentivize its faculty.

In fact, the premier state university will need P3 billion ($68.3 million) to replenish the retiring doctorate degree (PhD) holders in its faculty, UP President Alfredo Pascual said on Thursday, September 11, at the budget hearing of UP and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) at the Senate.

Pascual revealed that at least 400 or 40% of faculty members who are PhD holders will be retiring within the next 10 years.

The P3 billion is needed to support the graduate studies of faculty members, whether in the Philippines or abroad.

“We have requested a much higher MOOE [maintenance and other operating expenses]. This is to improve the compensation of the faculty so we don’t lose them. We’re actually losing our faculty members,” Pascual said.

As it is, he said UP is already losing its faculty members to universities like Ateneo and La Salle, and to industries and more lucrative jobs abroad.

Compared to their P2.11 billion ($48.05 million) MOOE for 2014, UP is seeking a much higher MOOE of P7.12 billion ($162.04 million) for 2015.

“If we cannot increase the salary by way of adjustment in the basic pay – our faculty members are subject to the salary standardization law – we can do it by way of performance-based payments,” the UP president explained.

For example, UP’s International Publication Award (IPA) grants as much as P80,000 ($1,821.91) for scholarly articles, and P110,000 ($2,505.13) for scholarly book publications.

Pascual said increasing the IPA will not only let faculty members earn more, it can also “raise the profile of UP and the country.”

“When we fund faculty members for research, of course they spend most of the money for actual expenses but they are able to keep a part as a honorarium,” he said.

PCARI needed

CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan – a member of the UP Board of Regents – said it is for this reason that the controversial Philippine-California Advance Research Institute (PCARI) project must push through.

“The PCARI project was envisioned to really help in this area: we would be producing more masters and PhDs, and the researchers – many of them coming from UP – will get additional compensation,” she explained.

The PCARI is a government-funded 5-year project under CHED that taps into the expertise of foreign universities – the University of California (UC), Berkeley and the UC San Francisco – to develop high-end research capabilities of Filipino scientists and researchers.

The project was no longer included in CHED’s proposed 2015 budget since it is still awaiting evaluation by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – a requirement for the research project to push through.

Aside from Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr, Licuanan on Thursday also asked the Senate to mediate between CHED and DOST in order to get the ball rolling.

Senator Nancy Binay – one of only 3 senators present during the budget hearing – asked CHED for a copy of the DOST’s position on the issue.

The Senate finance committee led by Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III approved UP’s proposed 2015 budget on Thursday. –

*US$1 : P43.93

Mature man reading textbook image via Shutterstock

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.