NOTES FROM FR. JOEL: President Duterte Designates Prof. Jose David Lapuz CHED Chair

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 June) — I first saw him on TV during the Duterte Miting de Avance when the Presidential Candidate bowed to him as his former teacher at the Lyceum and attempted to make mano. (On June 13) at Davao’s Royal Mandaya Hotel, it was a pleasure to encounter Prof. Jose David Lapuz personally. The Presidential Candidate was, of course, no longer just a candidate. In fact, last Wednesday, June 8, at 2:30 a.m. in a room filled with people in the Panacan Malacañan of the South, President Duterte had publicly designated Professor Lapuz, long-time professor of political science and of the life and works of Jose Rizal at the Lyceum of the Philippines, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair. To the professor’s self-deprecating query, “Are you really nominating me CHED chair?”, the President replied emphatically, “Yes!”

A quick perusal of the World Heritage Encyclopedia entry on Prof. Lapuz shows the appointment was not just of an old professor, but of a highly-qualified educator whose academic journey led him from “the University of the Philippines to his post graduate studies in International Politics and Foreign Policy at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He started teaching at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in 1970” and is now considered eminent as a professor in Lyceum, UST and of Polytechnic University of the Philippines. [docsil/Jose-David Lapuz]. Under President Arroyo he was a presidential consultant for matters related to international relations, global politics, comparative foreign policy, moral and humanitarian issues in international affairs, and the changing nature of world politics.” Under President Arroyo he was also a board member and commissioner of the National Historical Society. He is an exponent of peace and international dialogue.

Professor Lapuz has lectured in universities on every continent of the globe. He has many plans to provide CHED credible leadership in the service of the nation under the administration of President Duterte. But he understands that this leadership is provided only in collegiality with the higher education community in the Philippines.   He strongly affirms academic freedom, and believes that the specific contribution he can make to higher education in the Philippines is in the promotion of academic freedom as provided to HEIs by the Constitution and the Commission on Higher Education Act (RA 7722).

He understands that a national consensus has to be achieved on issues of quality assurance and that the contentious CMO 46, s. 2012 on Outcomes- and Typology-Based Quality Assurance may need rethinking and revision.

He believes that in providing the country the “complete, adequate and integrated system of quality education relevant to the needs of the people and society” there should be complementarity between public and private schools.

He is willing to consider a public higher education system where State Universities and Colleges do not charge tuition, making higher education more accessible to all Filipinos; he is willing to consider private higher education as essential for higher education quality, innovation and specialization.

He believes that higher education, appreciated not only for instruction but also for research and service of the community, is an important partner in generating and guiding meaningful national change.

He agrees that special attention even on the higher educational level must be given Muslim Mindanao in close partnership with the DepEd and Tesda. He is willing to explore support for Islamic Universities such as in Indonesia where HEI academic freedom is respected and promoted.

I look forward to working with him towards a stronger higher educational system in the Philippines under President Duterte. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ is president of the Ateneo de Davao University. He is also Vice President of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and chair of its Advocacy Committee, and President of the CEAP in Region 11. MindaNews was granted permission to reprint this piece, first published in Fr. Tabora’s blog, on June 13, 2016)