Posted on August 15, 2017
STUDENT ASSEMBLY August 4, 2017
We are honored on this occasion by the presence of former SSC Chair and Regent Annareah Alcazar. Annareah is one of the most courageous Student Regents we have had, serving during one of the most crucial periods in the history of the RizalTech.
She was the Chair of SSC when the RizalTech would be choosing a new President. The RizalTech was already under the leadership of an OIC in the person of the former President whose term has already expired. The Board of Regents has scheduled the search process for the new President. The Search Committee has been constituted. The candidates have filed their applications.
On August 31, 2010 the candidates were presented in a public forum where they presented their vision and strategies for the University and to answer the questions in an open forum.
On September 6, 2010, the Board met to elect the new President. It was held in the office presently being occupied by the Legal Department. Two members of the Board questioned the process of election. The Chairperson of the Board insisted on the election. The two members decided not to participate in the election. The Board nevertheless proceeded with the election with only six members present and voting. The Board opined that since the whole membership is eleven, six would comprise the majority.
I was elected President with a unanimous vote of 6 by all remaining members. Annareah was there. I hope she can tell us what happened in the deliberations of the Board for the sake of history. But she was there. I knew she fought hard for the sake of this University.
I took my Oath of Office as President right after the election.
Ten days later, September 6, 2010, the Board in a Special Meeting once again met, this time in the CHED Chairman’s Conference Room. The Board this time voted to invalidate my election of September 6, and to retain the former President as Officer in Charge. Annareah was there. I knew that together with the Faculty Regent and Alumni Regent they fought hard against the invalidation of my election but there was just three of them.
Forty four days later, on November 4, 2010, the Board met again. This time they decided to finalize their choice of President. I was again elected unanimously with a vote of ten against zero for the other candidates. Annareah was there. I hope she can tell us her version of this very controversial period in our history as an institution.
Your theme for this Assembly is commendable. “Responsibility Over Legacy: A Courage to Transform.” When we were the student leaders ourselves we did not have that kind of theme, but we were here at the time when the very existence of this institution was in question. We were about to be wiped out from the face the earth, but we did not allow that. We fought to save the RizalTech from oblivion. I was the equivalent of the Chairman of the SSC during that time though we called our organization the Kabataang Barangay School Chapter, the only school-wide student organization allowed during Martial Law.
The RizalTech is not even remotely near dissolution right now but we face challenges every day and you must participate actively in addressing these challenges. Just yesterday I called a meeting to discuss how we can save on electricity because in just one month our bill shot up by more than PhP 700 thousand. It would be hard for us to sustain this and instead of using our money to pay for electricity we can spend it to buy books, computers, and equipment, and of course electric fans. I am asking your help in this matter. Maybe we can help in bringing our electric bill down.
Before I became President the RizalTech, in the words of a court judge, was one big dumpsite because it was very dirty. We decided to clean it up because we wanted to show that we can have a better school than what we had. A clean school is conducive to learning, but cleanliness costs money. We have to hire janitors. But we also must do something about this. Our students must learn to cooperate in the cleanliness drive of the University. We cannot act like spoiled brats who are entitled to throw garbage just about anywhere because janitors are going to pick them up anyway. No. We must be responsible young men and women.
Faculty members are told often to teach well. They are told often that our mission in this University is to give our students the opportunity to have a bright future, that when they graduate they will be equipped by how they were prepared by the RizalTech to face the challenges of life ahead. We tell them to set the example in the exercise of values. We tell them not to collect money from our students and not to do power tripping over them. We tell them to really let the students learn from them. However, we sometimes receive reports about faculty members who are not doing their duty to teach well. Some of them are incur more than the allowable absences. Some collect money from their students. Some are abusive and tell their students harsh words. Some are arrogant and do not care whether their students learn or not. This type of behavior is not acceptable. We must help each other. We want to put the University in order, and order starts in the classroom.
We must help each other. I am your President. I am a former student of the RizalTech like you. I have seen the worst of what this school can become. I tell you, you are now in the best years in the history of this institution. Even when the budget given to us for your tuition would not be enough and would cover only 60% of what we are supposed to collect, or a shortfall of 80 million, I told my people just to accept those who will not be covered, “Kesa naman matigil pagaaral, tanggapin na natin, abonohan na lang natin ang gastos, total me naitabi naman tayong pondo for this kind of situation.” It is in your nature to be rebellious. I, too, was a rebel once, but being a rebel must be for a cause.
When I was writing the bill that became the law that converted the RTC into a state university, I thought of various names for our school. RTUST, RUST, RSUST among others. Now I have entertained the idea of calling the RizalTech the RTHU or the Rizal Trying Hard University. It is because we try hard every single day to give you the best education we can possibly give. In this endeavor let us help each other.