PRESIDENT Macapagal-Arroyo has appointed Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. chair of the Commission on Higher Education.

De la Rosa, O.P., the rector of Colegio de San Juan de Letran Calamba, Laguna and a columnist for the Manila Bulletin, said his administration would focus on improving the accessibility of the county’s higher education and proper appropriation of funds.

“One of the main problems of higher education in the country is its accessibility to Filipinos, in addition to streamlining the bureaucracy to make it more efficient,” he told the Varsitarian. “Another thing to address is how to facilitate the flow of funds from the government to its main beneficiaries.”

Fr. De la Rosa, who took his oath as Ched chairman last Oct. 15, replaced Bro. Rolando Dizon, who resigned due to health reasons. Dizon said De la Rosa was President Macapagal’s personal choice to replace him.

Fr. De la Rosa said he has no concrete plans for the Commission yet, but indicated he would continue Bro. Dizon’s existing programs.

“As of now, I only plan to continue the programs laid down by Bro. Dizon,” Fr. De la Rosa said. “When I talked to him, he assured me that the system is already in place, and I just have to continue the good things he had done.”

The former Varsitarian Witness editor attributed the appointment to his experience as a rector of Dominican schools and his work in education. He was appointed last Oct. 8.

He said the appointment would be an opportunity for growth, above all.

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“I am expecting a lot of challenges and difficulties, but I also consider the appointment as another opportunity for further growth professionally as an individual, and perhaps also as a religious,” he explained. “And I know well, what I can do for Ched, and that is to be a witness to what public service is about: to work for the people without expecting returns.”

Fr. De la Rosa took his doctorate degrees in Higher Religious Studies and in Sacred Theology in Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Beligium in 1988, graduating magna cum laude. He also took his master’s degree in Higher Religious Studies graduating summa cum laude in 1984 and his bachelor (1980) and licentiate (1984) degrees in Sacred Theology at UST. He was UST rector from 1990 to 1998.

Meanwhile, Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Cancio Garcia, another Thomasian, was appointed Supreme Court (SC) associate justice last Oct. 6, replacing former Associate Justice Jose Vitug, who retired last July.

Garcia earned his master’s degree in public administration from the University in 1967.

Garcia has already served some 30 years in the government. He was secretary for legal affairs and legal assistant in the Marcos and Aquino administrations.

He took his oath last Oct. 15. With reports from The Manila Bulletin

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