PUP Welcomes New PresidentEmeteria Leonila Abayan-Perez, PUP Campus Observer, Volume 1, Issue 6, March 2012
March 14 and March 20, 2012---these are two of the most memorable dates in the history of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. The former was when the PUP Board of Regents announced that the University’s new president was Dr. Emanuel C. De Guzman, who had taken his oath of office at the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Office right after his selection on the same day. The latter was when the PUP community joyously welcomed its new prexy by attending the Eucharistic Mass at the Interfaith Chapel followed by the turn-over ceremony and socials at the Office of the President.
When he was interviewed by this writer the day after the big celebration, here were the questions asked and his corresponding answers as the new leader of our Sintang Paaralan:
1. When you were still a child, did you dream of becoming the president of any institution?
- “No, I wanted to be a lawyer, but I realized it was not what I really wanted because it was not the kind of profession I assumed it to be.”
2. What factor or factors made you aspire for the PUP presidency?
-“It is the injustice that I see in our system. I am a witness to the unfair treatment of our employees and faculty members. Some are not getting the right ranks and positions that they deserve.”
3. What were the obstacles that you encountered on your journey to the presidency?
- “I could not convince people that I could win. They would always say that I was too young and inexperienced although I was a chairperson of a department before and the director of two offices. Another one was the death threat that I received. I was summoned to leave PUP because my life was at stake, but I managed to stay.”
4. Can you explain briefly the selection process that you had to go through before reaching your position now?
-“First was the observance of rules. When I read the newspaper announcement, I analyzed if I was qualified for the position. One of the requirements was the fiveyear managerial experience. The first argument was, I was not qualified, but combining my experience as director and chairperson, I qualified for the position. Next of course was the series of interviews and so on until the final interview by the PUP Board of Regents.”
5. You were the editor-in-chief of The Catalyst for more than a year, was your experience as EIC a big factor why you wanted to lead the university?
-“No, not really. I just thought before that being the EIC would add up to my qualifications.”
6. What are the top three problems that you see now in PUP?
-“First is the lack of disciplinal integrity in the academe. Second is the culture of patronage or the “Bata-Bata System” where dealings are very personal. Last is the lack of budget.”
7. I have heard some people saying that you are a leftist. How will you use it to your advantage and for the benefit of PUP? How can you prove to the PUPians that it will be your asset as a president, not a liability?
-“I was born during the martial law when it was a moral obligation to be an activist. I must say that I was seduced by the ideas of the leftists. But I used my being an activist to a good point. I used my talent in writing at that time to fight for what I believed in. Until this day, I don’t despise my being an activist; in fact, I wear it as a badge of honor. I think it will be my asset now that I’m president because I know how to deal with our activists in the University. I know how they think and how they act.”
8. In your eight-point agenda, you have mentioned that you will assess institutional processes and that includes a review of the overall structure and policies on faculty and personnel recruitment. What is your first step in making this plan a reality?
-“I have already initiated a standards-and-evaluation committee that will do a critical-rational review of the qualifications of faculty and employees.”
9. Now that you are president, what will be your slogan that will be carried by the whole University?
-“Clearing the Path to Transforming PUP into an Epistemic Community.”
10. What is your message to the PUP community?
-“As a young and neophyte president, I hope the community will bear with me while I learn the ropes. Expect that I will deliver what I promise in my mission and vision for the University. You will be consulted in all my activities, plans, and projects. My way of governance is democratic-transformative and transparent-participatory. Everyone will be informed and consulted on what is happening around the campus.”
After having heard the views of the second youngest president in the history of PUP, this writer believes that the University community can look forward to a bolder, brighter, and better University. As John W. Gardner said, “A prime function of a leader is to keep hope alive.” There might be changes in the new administration, but we should all be hopeful that the changes are for the benefit of the many and not only of a few.