All posts by David Pagulayan

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How clean is green?

Wilson Cordova, Laboratory Head for the Decision Sciences Department (DSI) was waiting for his change from the cashier in Animo Canteen when suddenly he noticed a cockroach inside the food warmer with two siopao inside.  A canteen staff saw him gazing at the food warmer and proceeded to dispose one siopao. Cordova, however, claims that the cockroach trampled on two, and not just one siopao. He expressed disappointment with the deed and the complacency of the staff.

A similar incident in the same canteen occurred under a different concessionaire. A third year student from the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) allegedly found maggots inside the soy sauce container.

Bartholomew* was eating his lunch and he reached for the soy sauce container to pour on his meal. But as he observed, particles of the toyo were moving. He poured some on a clean plate, and discovered that there were moving creatures.

Despite the new concessionaires and renovation, similar incidents have occured in the same area, which is now a source of concern for many students and faculty.

The incident is in direct violation of Presidential Decree No. 856, or Philippine Code of Sanitation, section 20. The section entitled Vermin Control states states (a) that “spaces where food and drinks are stored, prepared and served shall be so constructed and maintained as to exclude vermin.” Vermin  refers to animal species that are considered pests or nuances that often carry dangerous diseases. Those found violating this Code are subject to heavy penalties.

A possible explanation for Cordova’s experience would be that of missed periodic maintenance.

Cha Francisco, USG Vice President for Internal Affairs, who is part of the canteen inspection committee, shares that they have yet to inspect the Animo Canteen since its temporary transfer to the SPS building. She shares that inspection takes place every term.

Aina Marquez, Accounts Manager of Animo Canteen, explains that the latter undergoes monthly fumigation. She admits, however, that the most recent fumigation was done back in January when the canteen re-opened in the second floor of the SPS building.

Marquez mentions the canteen will undergo fumigation for the month of March.

Josemari Calleja, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Services, says that a working feedback mechanism between his office and the University Student Government (USG) has been in place since the start of the academic year.

Working with the School of Economics (SOE) and Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business (RVR-COB) college governments, Calleja is publicizing a feedback inbox, which he personally checks. Calleja’s office, together with the USG Treasurer’s Office, also releases canteen surveys during the third term to determine how services can be improved.

When asked how monitoring canteen sanitation takes place, the aforementioned said, “The Dining Services Committee, an independent, multi-sectoral committee does a formal evaluation of the canteen services and facilities every term. [Afterwards], a report is submitted to me and the canteen concessionaires.”

He states that the committee makes use of a questionnaire at par with local health standards to make objective assessments.

As Vice President for Internal Affairs, Francisco says that the  canteen inspection committee inspects the canteen area and its utensils. The committee also checks if the women are wearing hairnets and sees to it that the food preparation area is clean.

A function of concessionaire and not of place

With regard to Cordova’s experience, Marquez explains that because they are taking into consideration the safety of the students and customers, the staff responsible will be properly reprimanded.

Calleja says,  “t like any organization or business, issues arise.  We do our best to work together with the concessionaires and the customers, especially the students, to resolve these.”

According to Francisco, conversations with Calleja have been made and the latter’s office has already received several complaints, which might welcome bids from new conessionaires.

  “The last time I talked with Mr. Jay Calleja, he was already drafting for the bidding of new concessionaires. Ang dami raw niyang narinig na bad feedback so he is fixing the mechanics – ano yung criteria na kukunin and then by April tapos na nila and by May bidding na iyan [we are fixing the criteria and particular by April. By May, the bidding will probably start]” Francisco shares.

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The world-class desire

With students worldwide looking for an exemplary tertiary education, Universities are under pressure to achieve a “world class” title, which is something not self-proclaimed.

Jamil Salmi, World Bank’s tertiary education coordinator, says in his The Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities, “elite status is conferred by the outside world on the basis of international recognition. World-class universities are recognized in part for their superior outputs.”

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) is a publication made by the Centers for World-Class Universities and the Institute of Higher Education of Shanghai Jiao Tong University established last 2003. The Economist in 2005 commended ARWU for being the most used annual ranking for the world’s research universities.

The publication uses six objective indicators to rank universities. These indicators include the number of alumni and the number of staff winning Nobel Prize and Field medals, as well as the number of highly cited researches produced, and the per capita performance with respect to the size an institution.

The ARWU has been widely cited and used as a baseline standard for identifying strenghts and weaknesses; DLSU would be wise to consider this as a starting point in becoming a world-class research university.

The aforementioned characteristics are shared by many of the top universities in the world. With its thrust of becoming a world-class research university, this begs the question of how much progress has DLSU made.

Venturing into the World-Class Path

“We have set our minds to become a [world-class] learner-centered research university and that is very clear for us,” DLSU President and Chancellor Br. Jun Erguiza FSC shares. He, however, notes that at the moment, while the University is making significant progress, the University has yet to meet the expected standards.

College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Vice Dean Dr. Feorillo Demeterio shares that the University has had problems in funding research production. He shares that CLA has in-depth need for external funding because few people or organizations fund research on social sciences and humanities.

Br. Jun shares that the University needs more funding to support research; he shares that tuition may not be sufficient.  “If we rely on your [students] tuition fees, we cannot be a research university,” Demeterio emphasizes. He furthers that DLSU needs external and government support to pour more funds into research, but since DLSU is a private university, the government is not obligated to assist.

In spite of this, certain organizations and accreditation bodies have recognized DLSU and its efforts.

As of late, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has issued the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Information and Technology, and Teacher Education as Centers of Excellence (COEs) while Computer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering as Centers of Development (CODs). COEs and CODs are institutions that have exhibited high levels of research and academic performance.

In 2010, the ASEAN University Network Quality Assurance (AUN QA) assessed five different departments in DLSU, namely the Literature, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Chemistry, and Psychology.

The Literature Department, in particular, received a relatively high rating of 4.45 – 5.0 in the 5.0 scale.

The AUN QA uses a more learning-centered standard rather than output-based indicators. The AUN incidcators encompass the areas of teaching  and learning strategy, academic staff quality, student quality, facilities and infrastructure, student and staff development, and stakeholder feedback and satisfaction.

Attracting faculty with research capabilities, getting students within the top 10% of the ladder and improving facilities, Br. Jun points out, are the initiatives that the University needs to carry to keep track of its goal.

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Attracting the best and the brightest

“We are not getting the best and the brightest. You need the best and the brightest to get your research,” laments Br. Jun.

 “Even if we have the best professors, if we are not able to get the best students, then quality wise, the production of quality graduates will be affected,” says College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Vice Dean Dr. Feorillo Demeterio III.

“We have to accept the fact that DLSU is competing with some other institutions in getting the best students,” he furthers.

Acknowledging this, Br Jun. says that the University wants to recruit the top ranking students of the DLSU College Assesment Test (DLSU-CAT).

“We are trying to attract those who rank in the top 100 or top 200 [out of the 20,000] who take the entrance exams [as not everyone who passes actually enrolls],” Br. Jun says.

He adds that one of the barriers to entry for most qualified students is the University’s perceived high tuition fee.

Director for Operations for the Office for Strategic Communications (StratCom), Johannes Leo D. Badillo says, “In [getting] Star Scholars, we invited the top students, the top 100, and we interviewed them for the program, the feedback was very positive. They were highly interested in our various scholarship programs.”

Badillo points out that the students were not only from the private schools. Some are from public schools such as Philippine Science High School and Manila Science High School. “The turnout is good and there has been positive feedback from the students,” he says.

Class-Based Society

College of Education (CED) Vice Dean, Paolo Nino Valdez believes that the quality of education in the country is largely affected by social class perception. It manifests in the misconcepted image of the University as merely an elite school. “It is a reality that education is a class-based society,” he says.

In an informal survey conducted by The LaSallian for public high school students in its September 2011 Issue, many respondents viewed the University as “elitist and unapproachable,” and shared that they might have a difficult time adjusting to the environment.

Manuel Vidal, a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry (BSBCHEM) Star Scholar currently on his second year, shares that ,“Initially I thought that DLSU was just an institution where the main focus is sports.”

When asked if the University is projecting an image that it is a place for the rich, Badillo replied, “I do not think so. [In our] communication with the parents, we say that Lasallian education is an investment. To have good education, you have to invest. That is why we convey to them [that in spite of the costs] that it is a good investment.”

Marketing a University

Badillo shares that the University has made efforts to reach out to the different regions in the country.

“We work hand in hand with the Admissions Office as with ITEO in terms of marketing to different schools in the country. Right now, there are 15 student testing centers around country and we plan to increase to 10 more this academic year.”

He explains that the University is aiming to have a total of 25 testing centers around the country; DLSU wants to increase the number of testing centers for both public and private schools.

Badillo shares that the University is planning to expand its Vaugirard Scholarship program. “We are only on its second year, but we are planning to expand. And there are more students who are taking the exam so it is a good sign.”

The Vaugirard scholarship initiative is a program that offers 50 full scholarships annually to public school students.

“The reason why we are having more scholarship programs is to get the best and the brightest, not just in the public schools, but also in private schools,” he adds.

Despite Vidal’s initial perception of the University, he shares that the school’s illustrious scholarship program offered him benefits that far outweighed those from other universities. As an aspiring doctor, he is impressed with some perks such as accelerated medical studies and career placement opportunities.

“If you give those from the public school scholars the opportunities, the support, they will be motivated to shoot up,” says Br. Jun

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Guilty of Non-brotherhood

Kin, colleague, student, friend – the words I hear which paint the canvas of a man called “brother”.  It manifests a relationship that runs thicker than blood, and it shows how deep that relationship becomes in real life. And yet, however much of a powerful phenomenon this relationship is and has become, it is stained with violence and misplaced debauchery; it is besmirched with the actions of malefactors who incite trouble through their wickedness. What I mean by all these is the idea of fraternity now confusing everyone, taking a turn for the worse with all the gang wars and death by hazing (or some other activity relating to the affiliates, since hazing is technically not allowed as mandated by law).

            Whatever happened to collective action and mutual interest? I think these qualities in fraternities are still prevalent; the brotherhood still functions as a support system which one can avail of and somehow contribute to later. Not only that, but fraternities of universities have been aiding their school with infrastructural and academic assistance. What is more is that recognized fraternities have given social services not only to those within campus, but also to the less fortunate outside the walls of their school. Fraternities have existed for that very reason, and that is to provide individuals of equal interests a certain support system that can aid their journey in pursuit of those interests. They have organized in almost all specific fields, from the hard and soft sciences, to culture and the arts.

Because certain splinter groups of these fraternities have greatly deviated from the principles that govern the brotherhood in good will, this very issue makes me feel uneasy. These are students most likely barely off their teens (or in their teens) wasting their good age for certain things unnecessary for human development. It is a very secretive issue that only swells up into the public eye whenever bombshell events like death (or the likes of) slide in the scene. It pains me to see young individuals in their prime unable to maximize their youth (and probably even existence) on more productive and self-sustaining activities.

This is also why I think the University is blessed to have institutions that try to disallow these kinds of things from happening – not that fraternal organizations are malicious in any way, but it provides a safety net from negative externalities emanating from fraternity issues. The University is lucky to be able to shelter students from extensive knowledge of fraternities, especially with the kind of culture Lasallians have. Had La Salle not institutionalized the non-fraternity contracts, my fear for today’s new wave of students would be on fraternities without good value judgment. The following statement might be very assumptive, but rest assured, it is a fear that many of this generation’s youth are able to relate to.

I believe that today’s generation of enrollees (along with their parents) to the University have two dominant perspectives on what fraternities are. First, there are those who fear even the word fraternity because of all this malevolence going around. The word fraternity is in itself a word frowned upon when it comes to universities and membership. Hence, the parent concerned will do everything to indoctrinate his or her child with whatever so-called “evils” are associated with fraternities.

The second – and this is what I fear the most – is that there are those who see fraternal association and membership as a status quo. It is the kind of mentality that is built up through both peer pressure and insecurity that is found within the student concerned. Thus, it is something that some individuals see as an opportunity to expand their networks and gain certain security with. And it is usually with this second perception that individuals rush in to what they don’t completely understand.

And yet the reality of everything is that this latter assumption gets everyone so worked up from both parties – the fraternal associates and fraternity avoiders.

For students who get themselves involved in any kind of trouble with other fraternities, certain consequences do take a heavy toll on both the individual and his family. For instance, students have been reported to commit suicide rather than face opposition because of their own fault or worse, because of some dirty misunderstanding. It is not just a waste of good youth but also a grave loss to a family that does not only lose a huge investment in their child, but also the life of the child himself. Mischievous deviants of certain fraternities find it somehow amusing to arbitrarily hurt opposing or even neutral fraternities, however sick that may be.

It adds unnecessary baggage for everyone – friends, family, even the student – to carry all these burdens of academic life as well as fraternal tension. The individual is given more things to think about and the main purpose of why a fraternity is built is lost in all of these things.

It is because of this dialectic tension that arises from people concerning fraternities, as well as the concrete manifestations of those perspectives, that it becomes important to mitigate and prevent those exact things from happening. And again, I say the University is blessed because it has institutions that protect students from these unnecessary burdens. It is a non-pervasive issue because many are sworn to secrecy in the University; but my deep concern is that I just hope students have this active mindset, knowing fully what they are getting themselves into, and maximizing such membership not for the wrong reasons.

And again, it is not to say that fraternities are built because of ill will. But like a lot of things, we tend to forget the purpose for engaging in things like collective action, and turn out twisting its very core function. What makes it even more depressing is that we create institutions that hinder us from this kind of activity that is supposed to be meant for human development.

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On the Looking Glass for 2012

Filipinos headed into 2012 with hope.

According to a recent Social Weather Stations survey, 95% of Filipinos looked at the new year with optism. By looking at many of the pressing issues that plagued the country last year, The LaSallian takes a look at developments that the may sustain many hopes this.

 

Crazy Climate

Filipinos are slowly reaping the effects of poor efforts on environmental concerns as evidenced by the number of natural disasters last year.

According to Benjamin Diokno from the Business Mirror, data from the Center for Research and Epidemiology Disasters (CRED) in Brussels shows that the Philippines had 24 calamities; the country had the most calamities worldwide last year. China was only second to the Philippines with 16.

Many of the typhoons last year destroyed may industries, properties and lives in the different regions of the country.

Case in point, Typhoon Juaning last July was less felt in the NCR, but the ares of Albay, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur were completely flooded. Damages in agriculture and infrastructure amounted to more than $60,000,000.

In September, two typhoons, one of which was Typhoon Pedring, also made land fall. Some 100,000 residents of the Albay Province were displaced from their flood-prone homes. The other typhoon, Typhoon Quiel brushed parts of Northern Luzon, but managed to flood Isabela flooding due to the leftover runoff water from Pedring.

Most recently, last December, Sendong claimed around a thousand lives in massive floods that devastated Mindanao. Entire communities were wiped out, and critics blame illegal loggers and the lack of government pre-emptive disaster risk management despite a warning to the Local Government about the brewing storm.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) forecasted the number of cyclones and typhoons visiting the country early this year. PAGASA administrator Nathaniel Servando explains that though such typhoons do not usually visit the country during the early months of the year, the La Nina phenomenon has increased the probability.

 

Neverthless, certain politicians and government officials have already initiated efforts to help mitigate the effects of these calamities. In an article from PhilStar.com, Sen Aquino Pimentel III shares that the government will hold a disaster preparedness summit in Mindanao to discuss measures to strengthen the area’s risk reduction readiness.

“There is an urgent need to organize a meeting involving the government and private sectors in Mindanao to come up with a unified and well-coordinated disaster preparedness plan to prevent further loss of lives and destruction of property,” Pimentel explains.

The summit will focus on the region’s vulnerable areas.

In the same article, Pimentel suggests strengthening coordination between the Local Government Units (LGUs) and the national government to make these efforts successful. He highlights the need to strengthen the funding of these projects.

 

In terms of healthcare

Certain diseases are seen to grow more widespread this year.

Leptospirosis cases increased to alarming triple digit numbers in 2011 due to the contamination of community water sources and the immersion and exposure of the body to flood water.

The Deparment of Health (DOH) issued a report last November 14, 2011 explaining that Leptospirosis cases have balooned to 201 percent from last July’s 74 percent, excluding the 94 cases of illness and 2 deaths from Leptospirosis Sendong caused. There are at least 2596 cases from January 1 to October 22, causing 196 deaths. In Pangasinan alone, cases went up by 400%.

Dengue cases also go in tandem with heavy rains and flooding, but the DOH confirms that the number of dengue cases of 2011 from July to August is 52 percent lower than that of the previous year. The numbers were 26 percent lower than last year’s figures from January to September.

According to an article from Tempo.com, towards the end of the year, the DOH also stepped up its efforts in preventing and containing leptospirosis cases in the country.

The battle against HIV-AIDS is also still ongoing as DOH warns of the continued rise of HIV cases in the Philippines, despite its decline world wide.

Philippine figures show that for 2011 the average number of AIDS cases is at 195. September had the highest number having 253 cases, an all time high for aids cases in the country. In 2009, the average was only at 70; it jumped to 122 in 2010.

 

Looking at the economy

As the year came to a close, the country’s GDP grew by a meager 0.3 percent in the third quarter of the year. The figure is significantly lower than the second quarter growth, which is at 1.9 percent; the second quarter of 2010 was the country’s all time high at 3.8 percent. Though the 0.3 percent growth is not the lowest by far, it lowers projections for the fourth quarter, and possibly for 2012.

The World Bank issued its Philippine Quarterly Update last December 20; the update projected a 3.7 percent growth target, lower than the 4.5 percent growth in 2011. This is due to low public spending and a weaker global economy.

Though economic shocks came from the bad economic climate, the World Bank explains that the country is well positioned to weather shocks caused by the global slow down because of those remittances.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) also lowered its growth targets of the Philippines from 4.7% to 3.7% for 2011. The bank finds that growth in early 2011 was hampered by weak exports and government spending. They find though that private consumption and investments stand firm and growth is seen to pick up by 2012.

The World Bank and ADB agree that much of the Philippine’s low GDP come from the Euro-zone’s economic turmoils, and believe that the Philippines is in good fiscal condition.

 

In terms of agrarian reform

In November 22, 2011, the Supreme court ordered the immediate distribution of Hacienda Luisita land to more than 6,000 farmer beneficiaries.  Early this December,  Hacienda Luisita farmers requested the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to reverse a land conversion order DAR gave to the estate’s owners 15 years ago.

Luisita Farmers believe that the order is one of the bigger impediments to the success of redistribution initiatives.

“It is clear that HLI (Hacienda Luisita Inc.) had no intention of developing or converting the 500 hectares subject of the DAR conversion order. For instead of developing the [land] pursuant to their undertaking in the application for conversion, it merely caused them to be transferred to other family-owned corporations of the Cojuangcos—Lipco, Centennary and LRC,” explains the farmers’ petition to the DAR said in an article from inquirer.net.

Even with extensive efforts such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program – Extension Reform (CARPER) and the Stock Distribution Option (SDO), the government has yet to institutionalize a reform to create a real solution to the problem.

 

Pursuing justice

In line with its thrust to eradicate corruption, the Aquino administration stepped up its efforts in pursuing alleged corrupt officials from the previous regime late last year.

 

Multiple cases were filed against former President and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo and her husband. An electoral sabotage case was filed against previous COMELEC poll chief Benjamin Abalos. Consequently, the Aquino administration is pursing an impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona in Congress for his alleged inclination towards Arroyo.

Although several proposals have been made to the Supreme Court (SC) to halt the impeachment trial, former election lawyer Romulo Macalintal believes that they do not have enough jurisdiction. “For sure, the SC will not stop the Senate from performing its constitutionally mandated task to hear and decide impeachment cases,” he explains in an article from Inquirer.net.

Aside from this, other factors might also endanger the success of the trial. In light of prosecution lawyers discussing impeachment matters in public, Sen Francisco Escudero believes that this may be grounds for the SC to reprimand or even cite the prosecution as contempt. Escudero explains that though there are no clear rules or provisions regarding discussing trial merits in public, prudence demands that trials be deliberated in the court.

 

The never ending Spratly Islands dispute

Many countries have claimed sovereignty over the Spratly Islands located in the South China Sea.

Early in 2011, the government accused China of harrasing a Philippine exploration vessel in an area near the Spratly Islands. The Philippines responded by increasing naval and aerial patrols around the Spratly Islands; they argue that China’s claim over the islands has no basis under international law. This was reinforced when China refused to allow a UN tribunal to decide on the territorial dispute.

The Philippines was even criticized for its alleged compromise of China’s sovereignty.

 

With the dispute reaching overseas, the United States has already stepped in hoping that their intervention would aid in the resolution of the issue.

Members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to draft a Code of Conduct for the dispute in the West Philippine Sea last November. Consequently, a zone of peace, freedom, friendship and cooperation (ZoPFFC) was proposed for the disputed islands.

Through the ZoPFFC, the ASEAN hopes to identify areas which are being disputed and those that are not. Palace Communications Group Secretary Ricky Carandang, however, shared in an article from PhilStar.com that some countries did not show sufficient interest in the proposal.

The Philippines, however, he shares, will continue to support the proposal.

Along with this, the Philippines plans to strengthen its military presence in the area through its recently acquired naval units and equipment such as its new Landing Craft Utility (LCU) and BRP Gregorio del Pilar from the United States.

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We are not getting the best and the brightest – Br. Jun

The late Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC envisioned DLSU as an outstanding research university in the Philippines, encouraging innovation and development within the Lasallian community.

In creating a world-class research university, many factors need to be considered; one of which is the quality of enrollees admitted by academic institutions.

 

Maximizing student performance

College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Vice Dean Dr. Feorillo Demeterio III explains that Br. Andrew’s goal entails a need to recruit the best and the brightest students, from both public and private schools. He also believes that DLSU should exert more effort to acquire the best and the brightest in the country and aboard.

“It is very crucial that [our] students are very intelligent and are focused on their quest for knowledge. We also have to bear in mind that established research universities abroad that have more graduate than undergraduate students,” he points out.

“We can still pursue [Br. Andrew’s goal]as long as [our] undergraduate students are mature and are committed to perform and to undertake research,” Demeterio furthers.

Dr. Brian Gozun, Dean of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVR-COB), affirms the important role students have in forming a research university.  “You might have bad facilities, but if your students are thinking creatively, if they are critical thinkers, if they think internationally, that becomes world class,” he says.

DLSU President Br. Jun Erguiza, explains that majority of DLSU’s student population comes from Metro Manila. The focused demographic, he believes, might hinder the University from using the student body in promoting research.

Br. Jun says, “We are not getting the best and the brightest. You need the best and the brightest to get your research [done].” He follows, “Student quality has not significantly declined, we just have not been able to raise student quality.”

“We also want students from the other sectors, from the lower class, from the public schools to increase…we want more [students outside of that bracket], students from outside Luzon and from different clusters. The more students who know more about [DLSU], [the higher the possibility that] we will be able to [get good students who can do research],” Gozun explains.

Demeterio shares similar sentiments with Br. Jun. “There are other more qualified students from the lower income brackets who cannot afford to be here,” he explains.

 

The Vaugirard initiative

One of the ways DLSU attracts prospective students is through scholarships.

One of the more ambitious scholarship programs geared towards achieving this goal is the Vaugirard Scholarship Program. The program is an initiative under the Student Financial Assistance (SFA) Office, which aims to provide 50 new scholarships annually to public schools graduates from different parts of the country. The initiative will be implemented next academic year.

Br. Jun says that only 12-13% of the student population recieves full scholarhip, and it takes about P1.5 million to support a student for 4 years.  “We want to increase that [number],” he follows.

He justifies, saying “Even in our top 200 [DLSU-CAT passers], we are unable to get many of them. They go to the States, enroll in other universities, or go to UP because it is free. That is why we have to offer scholarships.”

Vaugirard is a location in France where St. John Baptist de La Salle founded his first novitiate.

 

A budding world-class research university

Becoming a world class university has always been the vision of DLSU, but the first fruits of the initiative have just taken effect.

Demeterio acknowledges that the University already has many of the necessary factors a world class university should have in check. “DLSU has very powerful infrastructure in terms of faculty member and in terms of research infrastructure. We offer formidable programs,” he explains.

Demeterio furthers that even with the aforementioned factors, DLSU’s [development] is still at its infancy. “The actual model of a research university that we are trying to follow is not yet in place; we are still in the process of conceptualizing how are we going to implement that European-Asian model of what a research university should be.”

He says that CLA is still in the stage of gradually introducing instructional models that encourage knowledge production from its professors, to aid the efforts of the University to reach its world-class goal.

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For Your Information: Employees Association

The De La Salle Univeristy Employees Association (DLSU-EA) is an independent union formed to represent certain employees in the University, and to protect their right to collective action. It was established during the 1980s, and has since been representing the aforementioned personnel in policy and decision making processes in the University.

“It is a union, so it is supposed to be focused on the rights of the workers,” explains Dr. Jesusa Marco, executive director of the Human Resources Development and Management Office (HRDMO).

The union members are co-academic personnel who are neither confidential nor supervisory staff. Out of the 356 non-teaching employees, only over a hundred of them are members of the DLSUEA. These members are part of the collective bargaining unit (CBU) that coordinates with the University to discuss regulations regarding working conditions, employee benefits and other entitlements.

Agreements between the University and the DLSUEA are legalized in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The CBA is a contract between two parties, in this case the University and the DLSUEA, which serves as the governing law that regulates working conditions and ensures mutual interest between the two parties.

The DLSUEA has nine officers – President, Vice President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Auditor, Public Relations Officer – with candidates for these positions coming from its current members. Elections are held every three years, and its members can only elect one candidate for each position, with the exception of the Sergeant-at-Arms.

 

Issues with the University

Given its constant interaction with the central administration, there are instances where the EA has come into disagreements with the University.

Cases ranged from salary increases and working conditions, to inclusion of certain entities and bodies to the CBA that went to higher courts for arbitration.

Last March 2005, the Eleventh Division of the Court of Appeals found the University guilty of unfair labor practice (ULP) against the DLSUEA – National Federation of Teachers and Employees Union (NAFTEU). The Univeristy previously filed a request for reversal of the ruling of the ULP in 2003 to DOLE, but was denied in 2004.

The ruling declared DLSU guilty since it refused to bargain collectively and it interfered with the DLSUEA’s right to self organization. DOLE denied the University’s motion for a reversal of ruling because such actions were unlawful. The decision read that “non-proclamation of the newly elected union officers cannot be used as an excuse to fulfill the duty to bargain collectively.”

In 1995, the DLSUEA called for grievance, following the administration’s alleged inaction regarding several complaints raised by the union.

In a letter written to the Director of the then Human Resources Development Office (HRDO), then DLSUEA President Baylon Banez enumerated six issues, which needed action. Some of the issues were meal allowances for employee drivers and revisions in the evaluation procedure for employees.

In response, Director of the HRDO, Cecilia Albatruso, saw no need to convene a grievance committee as “most issues have already been resolved.”

Banez felt that there was a “breach of contract” on the different issues, and tried to push through with their complaints.

In 2000, the University petitioned for further arbitration against then DLSUEA-NAFTEU to a higher court, after an unsuccessful CBA. Issues raised were the exclusion from the CBA of computer operators of the Computer Services Center and discipline officers of the Discipline Office. The validity of the University’s claim that they can no longer increase salary, and other legal statements regarding salaries and work compensation were also questioned.

In a four year dispute, from 2001 to 2004, a faction of the DLSUEA led by member Belen Aliazas filed a petition to conduct elections with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), alleging that the incumbent officers of the respondent had failed to call for a regular election since 1985.

The group of Aliazas requested the University to keep custody of all union dues or agency fees, and all money considerations deducted from salaries of concerned co-academic personnel until such time that an election of union officials has been scheduled and subsequent elections has been held.

Even with the said issues, Marco asserts that the University has been developing a better relationship with the DLSUEA over the years.

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The process of joining the Brotherhood

From just a handful of Brothers in 1911, the Lasallian Brothers have successfully built a well-renowned institution and educated  leaders in the course of 100 years.

The De La Salle Brothers is distributed among the different Lasallian academic institutions around the country and around the world. Serving as faculty members or administrators, the Lasallian Brothers are responsible for managing and leading the said institutions.

Organizational Structure

The La Salle Brothers in the Philippines is part of the Lasallian East Asia District (LEAD), which includes La Salle institutions from countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. A district is led by the Brother Visitor, as elected by its member countries. The LEAD’s incumbent Brother Visitor is former De La Salle Philippines (DLSP) President Br. Dodo Fernandez FSC

Each country is a sector, and is led by a sector head. Br. Ricky Laguda FSC, former DLSU chancellor, is the Philippine Sector Head. He is also the head of all 17 Lasallian schools included in DLSP.

The entire international community of Lasallian Brothers is headed by Superior General Br. Alvaro Rodriguez Echeverria FSC. He is from Mexico, but currently resides in their headquarters in Rome.

Answering the Call

Given the responsibility that comes with being a Lasallian Brother, the process of joining the Brotherhood is tedious and specific.

Should an interested party express his intent to join the Brothers during his tertiary education years, he is first invited to familiarize himself with the community life of the Brothers. “Usually, he meets a Brother and then the young man is invited to spend a few days in the Brothers’ community, here at [DLSU or De La Salle Dasmarinas],” explains Br. Roly Dizon FSC.

If the interested party wants to continue the path of Brotherhood, he may choose to become an Aspirant and is then assigned to a Mentor, a full-fledged Brother, who will guide him through the process.

After he finishes his tertiary education, he undergoes the Postulancy program. “Here, he becomes a Postulant and tries to live the life of a Brother for one year,” explains De La Salle Canlubang (DLSC) Associate Vice Chancellor for Lasallian Mission Br. Richie Yap FSC. He continues, “As a Postulant, he will experience the daily routine of prayer, work, study, community living of the Brothers, guided by a Brother Director [in the community].”

Becoming a Novice is the last stage before becoming a Lasallian Brother. During this stage, he is granted only minimal contact with his family and other associates outside the Brotherhood.  After the first year in the Novitiate, the interested party is given the opportunity to take his Vows.

Before joining the Brothers, interested parties must also pass certain IQ, psychological, and medical exams.

Of roles and responsibilities

Br. Richie explains that they have tried to assign roughly 25 percent of the Brothers to teach full-time, 50 percent to mid-level administrative positions, and 25 percent to the top institutional level positions in the different La Salle institutions.

When it comes to taking local positions outside the Lasallian community, such as teaching posts in other universities and taking consultancy jobs, a Brother must first get permission from their local Superior. When it comes to government positions, on the other hand, the Brother must secure permission from the Brother Visitor and the Superior General in Rome, the approval of the local Church and the Vatican.

Several Lasallian Brothers have held major government positions in the past. Br. Armin Luistro FSC is presently the secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), Br. Roly was the former Chair of the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) and the late Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC was the former secretary of the then Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS)

“What we [Brothers] cannot accept are very political positions, [such as] we cannot run for office and be a mayor or a governor” Br. Roly adds.

The future begins here

There are currently more than 500 Lasallian Brothers all over the world. Many are less than 40 years of age. In the Philippines, Br. Roly reports that they already have 44 professed Brothers, 9 Novices, 9 Postulants and 54 Aspirants.

The number of Lasallian Brothers is increasing mostly in developing countries, says Br. Roly. “Surprisingly, there has been a resurgence in the interest of young men to join the Brothers in many countries,” shares Br. Richie.

The dangers of the dwindling number of Brothers are situated in developed countries where Br. Roly says, “understandably, as your country gets richer, [it] become more and more secular and materialistic – not a good climate for vocations.”