University of the Philippines

UP’s first Manobo president to take oath on Mindanao campus

Herbie Gomez

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UP’s first Manobo president to take oath on Mindanao campus

FROM MINDANAO. Lawyer Angelo Jimenez, the 22nd president of the University of the Philippines, speaks about his Manobo roots and his growing up years in Butuan City in the Caraga region.

UP Media and Public Relations Office / Screengrab

The University of the Philippines' first Mindanao Lumad president hails from Butuan City in the Caraga region

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) will have a historic moment on Thursday, September 14, as it holds its president’s investiture in Mindanao for the very first time in 115 years.

UP Mindanao, the UP system’s sixth and only constituent university in Mindanao, will hold the special ceremony in Davao City, formally marking the start of lawyer Angelo Jimenez’s role as the 22nd president of the university.

Jimenez is the first UP president from Mindanao, specifically from Butuan City in Caraga, one of the poorest regions in the country.

UP’s first Manobo president to take oath on Mindanao campus

He is also the first Manobo, an indigenous people’s group, to serve as president of the country’s premier state university. His term of office will end in 2029.

Growing up in Butuan

Jimenez spent his elementary and high school years at Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) in Butuan. He subsequently went to UP, where he earned his degrees in sociology and law.

He later became a Lee Kuan Yew Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and obtained a Master’s in Public Management from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

Jimenez comes from a family of educators. His mother was a high school principal, while one of his grandmothers served as an elementary school principal.

In a video produced by the UP Media and Public Relations Office, Jimenez spoke about his childhood days in Butuan where, he said, “life was much, much simpler then.”

“My family has been there [in Butuan] for over a hundred years, and I am a native of the city itself. I am a Manobo, actually,” he said.

Jimenez went back to Butuan City in early February after he was named UP president to take a symbolic oath of office before children of a hinterland Lumad community in Sitio Mahayahay in Barangay Anticala. He recalled frequenting the place as a boy growing up in Butuan.

“I wanted, in my own little way, to remind UP where its ultimate loyalty belongs…. I couldn’t imagine a more marginalized community than our IPs in the mountains where there are ongoing conflicts,” Jimenez said.

UP teams up with BARMM

UP Vice President for Public Affairs Rolando Tolentino said Jimenez had stressed “that the hallmark of UP in the next six years will be service to the nation, and this is reflected in the activities that will be held prior to and following the University president’s investiture rites.”

The investiture ceremony will happen at the same time as two important events: the UP-Bangsamoro Development Program Summit and the 1st UP-SUC Summit on Excellence and Equity in Public Higher Education, which aim to address crucial national issues: the development of the Bangsamoro region and the future of public higher education in the country.

The UP-Bangsamoro Development Program Summit, scheduled on Wednesday, September 13, at Dusit Thani Residence Davao, aims to establish the UP-Bangsamoro Development Program, the first program of its kind in the country.

It involves collaboration between UP, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government, local governments, non-government organizations, and state universities and colleges in the region.

The program aims to bring UP and the Bangsamoro together to improve the Bangsamoro’s human capital and socio-economic conditions.

The summit will conclude with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between UP and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) led by BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim.

Collaboration among SUCs

On Friday, September 15, the 1st UP-State Universities and Colleges Summit on Excellence and Equity in Public Higher Education will take place at the Dusit Thani Grand Ballroom.

The summit will gather leaders from SUCs, officials from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and stakeholders from Congress and private higher education institutions. The summit’s goal is to encourage participation in interdisciplinary academic, research, and public service programs through collaborative projects.

It seeks to provide opportunities for SUCs to discuss strategies for overcoming challenges in university linkages, and share successful practices and innovative approaches in academic, research, and public service collaboration.

It also aims to identify opportunities for graduate education, student and faculty exchange, joint research, and sharing educational resources, and establish a framework for sustainable collaboration among UP, CHED, and other SUCs through a memorandum of understanding.

The summit is expected to conclude with the signing of the Mindanao Declaration on Excellence and Equity in Public Higher Education. –

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Herbie Gomez

Herbie Salvosa Gomez is coordinator of Rappler’s bureau in Mindanao, where he has practiced journalism for over three decades. He writes a column called “Pastilan,” after a familiar expression in Cagayan de Oro, tackling issues in the Southern Philippines.