Photo from UP Website
MANILA, Philippines – "Sa susunod na 6 taon na ating pagsasamahan, malasakit ang magbibigay bigkis at buhay sa lahat ng ating layunin, sa lahat ng ating mga kilos, sa lahat ng ating mga galaw."
(In the next 6 years that we'll be together, concern for each other will provide the bond and life in all of our goals, all of our actions.)
These were the words of Danilo Concepcion, the new president of the University of the Philippines (UP), as he took over the leadership of the country's premier state university on Friday, February 10.
During his speech that lasted around 10 minutes, Concepcion talked about how public service is a way to show concern.
"Dito sa UP, palagian nating pinagyayabang bilang isang akademikong institusyon na tayo ay sentro ng dangal at husay. Ito po ang diwang ikinikintal natin sa isipan ng ating mga mag-aaral. Ito rin ang adhikain na nais nating maging mukha ng UP sa pambansang kamalayan," he said.
"Ngunit marapat siguro nating isaalang-alang na mas titingkad ang taglay nitong bisa kung ang dangal at husay ay kakambal ng pagmamalasakit."
(Here in UP, we always boast as an academic institution that we are the center of dignity and excellence. This is the spirit that we impress in the minds of our students. This is also the face of UP we want in the national consciousness. But we must consider that this would be more effective if dignity and excellence go together with concern for each other.)
Concern, he said, adds meaning and purpose to what the UP community does. (READ: UP in the time of Duterte: 'Observe, speak up for the truth')
"Walang saysay o kabuluhan kung [ang mga mag-aaral, mga kawani, at mga kaguruan] ay walang malasakit sa kapakanan ng ating pamantasan…. Walang kabuluhan at saysay din kung ang mga mag-aaral na ating hinubog at tinuruan ay walang malasakit sa bayan," he added.
(There is no meaning and purpose if our students, employees, and teachers have no concern for our university…. There is no meaning and purpose, too, if the students we shaped have no concern for the country.)
WATCH: Pascual and Concepcion during turnover ceremony pic.twitter.com/Cvc4SYjvr9 — Jee Y. Geronimo (@jeegeronimo) February 10, 2017
WATCH: Pascual and Concepcion during turnover ceremony pic.twitter.com/k0W6oyKAGx — Jee Y. Geronimo (@jeegeronimo) February 10, 2017
On Friday, Concepcion honored his predecessor Alfredo Pascual, for setting the bar high as UP president. He said it will be hard to follow Pascual's footsteps, but he accepts the challenge as the new president.
"Sa aking pagtanggap sa katungkulan bilang presidente ng unibersidad, tinanggap ko rin po nang kusang loob lahat ng hamon sa kanya (When I accepted the position of university president, I also willingly accepted all the challenges)," he said.
He enumerated some of the challenges UP is facing today, such as problems in the procurement system, contractualization, internationalization, college admission, free tuition, and higher salaries for teaching and non-teaching staff.
"Napakahaba ng listahan ng suliranin at hamon na ating bubunuin. Mahaba man o marami, walang problemang 'di malulutas kung tayong lahat ay magkakaisa ng layon at magsasama-sama sa pagkilos," he added.
(We have a long list of problems and challenges we face. The list may be long, but there is no problem we can't solve if we will all have one goal and if we will act together.)
Concepcion is the 21st president of UP. Prior to assuming the post, Concepcion was dean of the UP College of Law and executive director of the UP Bonifacio Global City campus. – Rappler.com
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.