InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS
Philippine business leader Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of the PLDT group of companies, on Wednesday announced a P5 million contribution to the University of the Philippines, via the Alpha Sigma Fraternity, "as an expression of my commitment to the future of UP."
Speaking at the Makati Shangrila Hotel on the 50th anniversary of UP’s Alpha Sigma fraternity, Pangilinan said his donation, pledged to the Alpha Sigma Fraternity, symbolizes a commitment to helping the State University. He called the institution one of the Philippines’ best investments in terms of "value for money".
Alpha Sigma alumnus Mike Defensor said the fraternity will ensure that the money will benefit "the entire University of the Philippines."
Until September, Pangilinan was most identified with San Beda College, his alma mater, and the Ateneo de Manila University, from which he resigned as board chairman last year. Pangilinan signaled a “complete disengagement” from Ateneo after citing “irreconcilable differences” with the Jesuit university, particularly over debates revolving around mining and reproductive health.
Pangilinan stressed that even prior to his announcement on Wednesday, his group of companies – counting the PLDT group, Meralco, and Philex Mining – already had existing relationships with different units of UP.
“There's a quality about a UP education which has encouraged our businesses to engage Peyups across many touchpoints,” he said.
For example: “The PLDT-Smart Foundation organized a think tank called the Center for National Policy and Strategy or CNAPS with UP economics professors. We’re working closely with your College of Engineering for Meralco’s requirements for engineering skills and staff, and for a study of electric vehicles in this country, especially the building of an indigenous manufacturing capability. We’re coordinating with your National Institute of Geosciences in thinking through the complex issues of mining in this country. Just two weeks ago, we met with your college of medicine to help us craft a national health plan – to provide strategic context to our expanding hospital group.”
Pangilinan’s “gift”, announced in his address to the Alpha Sigma Fraternity, was not explicitly qualified as intended for any specific program, but was directed to the fraternity, which earlier in the evening honored the business leader as its first-ever "honorary brod".
He prefaced his "gift" with a nod to the State University’s perennially underachieving men’s basketball program.
“There are many things about the people and spirit of UP which impress me,” he said. “Every time I watch your men’s basketball team, I say to myself: Mukhang mababait naman sila.”
He continued: “And with every heartbreaking game, I remind myself - Napagod siguro kaka-rally.
“Outside the basketball court, I like the never say die attitude of the community: Natatalo na, ang yayabang pa.
“Hindi na nga sumampa sa finals, lamang pa sila sa alaskahan. Ano bang meron sa fishball sa Diliman na ang saya-saya niyo matapos kayo ma-eliminate?”
“Imagine if UP actually won, or wins again. Freshman pa si Benjie Paras noong nag-champion ang UP. Kakatapos lang ng EDSA. Hanggang ngayon bumebenta pa rin ang T-shirt: ‘UAAP Men’s Basketball Champions: 1986.’
“Labhan niyo na yan!
“The last time the Maroons won the UAAP championship was when Alpha Sigma was just about to turn 25 years. Now that you’re on your 50th, I’d like to take this occasion to make a humble contribution to Alpha Sigma,” Pangilinan said. “Let this gift be an expression of my commitment to the future of UP.”
Defensor said the fraternity was effectively accepting the donation on behalf of the larger UP community, and pledged that it will benefit the entire institution.
Pangilinan's speech acknowledged that the sports program would be at least one of the logical beneficiaries of the gift. He stressed, however: "Just remember that championships are not bought, they are earned."
Pangilinan said that beyond sports, he was aware of UP’s limitations, even as he appreciated how much it does for its students and the country as a whole.
”Whenever I visit UP, I think of what little government support you receive. I’ve seen some of the facilities and laboratories of your science and engineering programs— they’re good, but far from the best. I know how brilliant your professors are, but have some idea how much they’re paid. And I appreciate how limited the subsidy is for Iskolars ng Bayan,” he said. “But pity is not what I feel when considering your professors or students. Instead, I wonder: How could an institution, funded so parsimoniously, graduate consistently impressive and committed people? UP has its battles with budgets, but I truly believe this – and this is a businessman talking – value for money, no university gives a greater return on the nation’s investment for its children than the State University.”
InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS