By Robert B. Roque, Jr.
Being one of the most respected scientists in the country spares no one like Renato Solidum, Jr. from the tough scrutiny of the Commission on Appointments. Unfortunately, that’s the price of being confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology.
Of course, he passed the test. But what was most admirable about his qualities that shone during his confirmation hearing was his patience in the face of the ridiculous questions posed by our elected congressmen.
Imagine being asked if holes constructed using rocket-grade metal could be punched into volcanoes so it could let off steam and magma to prevent big eruptions; whether or not a Filipino invented the fluorescent lamp and the karaoke machine; what Korean TV series he watched on Netflix; and producing astronaut food pills to help solve hunger in the country.
I wouldn’t dare dismiss our congressmen in the CA as total airheads. But they’ve pretty much made that statement for themselves.
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Congratulations are also due to Atty. Angelo Jimenez, named the 22nd president of the University of the Philippines. I understand how tedious a review he went through before the panel of his peers in the academe decided to elect him.
Politics in the academe can be nasty, perhaps even more so in the country’s premier state university. In fact, a faction that voted for him has already served him notice that they would be critical of his actions, noting that the only reason they supported him was to “prevent the selection” of former UP Los Baños Chancellor Fernando Sanchez Jr. as UP president.
UP’s faculty, studentry, and personnel are rabid over many issues, such as the accord to prohibit uncoordinated entry of military personnel in campus premises; the return of mandatory military training for students through the proposed National Citizens Service Training (NCST); and the commercialization of university properties, among others.
Not even assuming his post yet, Jimenez is already being bombarded left and right over his initial responses to these issues. What is certain is that not everyone in the UP community – brilliant as their minds are to understand – can be satisfied because their various interests cannot be served.
It takes guts to face these gargantuan tasks and lead amid the chatter of pompous opinions around him. Jimenez does have his own vision and prioritizes the pursuit of UP’s mandate on research, teaching, and extension. Subscribing to tradition, he also commits to defending academic freedom and the independence of the university.
Firing Line wishes Atty. Jimenez all the best in attaining his goals for UP. Remain steadfast, Sir Jijil!
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