THREE-TIME UST rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., has thrown his support behind Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan’s bid for the presidency and vice presidency in the upcoming elections.

De la Rosa was among the 168 signatories in the statement of support for Robredo and Pangilinan by current and former heads of schools, colleges and universities as of March 21, 2022.

De la Rosa, a professor of ecclesiastical history, served three terms as UST rector from 1990 to 1994, 1994 to 1998, and 2008 to 2012. He served as chairman of the Commission on Higher Education from 2004 to 2005.

In the statement, the signatories called Robredo the “education president” who would address the challenges that the education sector faces such as the performance of learners, learning standards and closures amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the demands of the fourth industrial revolution, and disinformation and historical revisionism.

“Her brand of leadership shines through best in times of crisis—one that can find solutions that are context-based, data-driven, and equity-oriented,” the statement read.

The group also condemned historical revisionism about Martial Law that presented the Marcos dictatorship as the “golden years” of the Philippines despite human rights abuses, mass media censorship and underinvestment in education.

“We take this stand consistent with our responsibility to ensure that academic institutions serve as safe spaces for discussion and truth-telling while reminding our fellow educational leaders how our schools and universities served as bastions of truth during the years of the [Marcos] dictatorship,” the statement read.

The signatories urged Robredo and Pangilinan to lead the education sector out of the learning crisis and work hand-in-hand with them to prioritize the following:

  • Increasing the education funding to six percent of the gross domestic product;
  • Paying attention to early childhood care and development;
  • Pursuing technology-mediated teaching and learning-related reforms to improve the quality of learning in schools;
  • Heavily investing in improving teacher quality;
  • Waging a nationwide campaign to enhance the value of technical vocational education and training in the public mind;
  • Aligning the qualifications that learners acquire from the formal, nonformal, and informal sources with the learning outcomes and further developing and implementing the Philippine Credit Transfer System;
  • Rationalizing the role of public and private educational institutions and ensuring complementary and improving the efficiency of the entire education system;
  • Expanding the government’s subsidy programs to strengthen public-private partnerships in education;
  • Ramping up investments in research and development in its research universities
  • Ensuring coordination between the Department of Education, CHEd, and the Technical Educations and Skills Development Authority; and
  • Focusing on job creation to ensure that no graduate is left unemployed.

They also called on their students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni to properly discern their choices for the upcoming elections.

“If so moved, [they may help] in selecting a competent and conscientious government that our country truly deserves, in the interest of future generations of Filipinos.”

Hundreds of UST faculty members earlier endorsed Robredo’s bid for the presidency. Justin Benedict T. Lim


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