Fr. Rolando V. De La Rosa, O.P. has been named acting rector of UST, following a directive from the head of the Dominican Order based in Rome for a "new leadership team" tasked to create a consensus on how to proceed with developments in the University and the UST Hospital.

The Prior Provincial of the Philippine Dominican Province, Fr. Edmund Nantes, O.P., who is also UST vice chancellor, has resigned along with Rector Fr. Ernesto Arceo, O.P., and Vice Rector Fr. Juan Ponce, O.P.

The resignations have been accepted by the Master of the Order of Preachers, Fr. Carlos A. Aspiroz Costa, O.P., according to a circular issued last September 11.

Fr. Azpiroz, who serves as grand chancellor of the University, is in Manila for a canonical visitation.

"The Master believes that a new leadership team will be better able to create the consensus necessary for future developments at the University and Hospital, especially as UST begins preparations for its 400th anniversary in 2011," Secretary General Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P. said in the circular, which he also read before a meeting of deans, regents, and department heads.

The circular said Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, O.P. had been named vicar over the University and was asked to "remain in the office for the foreseeable future." Fr. Pedregosa is the master’s assistant for Asia-Pacific and had served as prior provincial of the Philippine Dominican Province.

Fr. De La Rosa, a two-term UST rector and former chairman of the Commission on Higher Education, was appointed acting rector by Fr. Azpiroz and will remain in office until a new rector is named by the Holy See.

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The September 11 circular indicated that the plan to spin off UST Hospital into a commercial operation has been stopped and would be reviewed. The country’s premiere university hospital, which separated from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery three years ago, was to embark on a P3-billion expansion program involving the construction of a 19-storey tower to house doctors’ clinics and other medical facilities.

But now, the goal of the redevelopment is to ensure that UST will continue to offer the "highest educational standards in the formation of future doctors and allied medical practitioners and the highest level of medical care and services in both its Clinical and Pay divisions."

"The redevelopment project for the UST Hospital will remain an important priority of UST. Further studies will need to be undertaken in order to find the most effective redevelopment plan," the circular stated. Kristine Jane R. Liu

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