Archive | June 2014

Salute to a Brave Centralian – Lt. Roger Flores

Roger Flores 2

Inquirer News 1

Inquirer News 2

We learned from Roger’s former professor, Engr. Lizette Ivy Catadman-Pascual that the military officer who perished is the brave Centralian 1st Lt. Roger Flores.

Let us also salute the six soldiers who gave their lives together with Lt. Flores. Pray for comfort and peace for their families.


Tributes

JM ALABE MEJORADA:

“sa Force Reconnaissance Company ako na assign, jm and we are station here in Sulu. God bless, bro. halong man.”

“I will always remember the trust and confidence that you are giving to us. AFP needs that. Salamat, jm.”

I never knew that this would be the last words I would be hearing from you in our chat in FB pre, and even in those words I can always hear the idealism that you have carried since our college days sa engineering. Some might have scoffed at your idealistic nature and you may have made a few enemies during our time but what always struck me most was how you lived up to your ideals and morals even if it meant standing against the crowd.

Centralian, former Koalisyon, PMAer, Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines awardee, studied in prestigious US military schools, Special Forces officer of Marines Force Recon, you had a bright future ahead of you bro, and i always joked that someday not only you’d be a general, but a leader of the AFP and will lead the change that will rid the system of its perceived corruption.

But now, the Abu Sayyaf has taken you away from all of us. I am still shocked because I wanted you to become a leader someday, one that will help change the system and revolutionize our armed forces. I knew in our conversations that you are capable of doing that. But sadly, your time has come and though we do not know why, maybe God needs more soldiers up there.

thank you gid for the sacrifice pre! Up to your dying breath you lived your ideals, that is sacrificing everything for our motherland. You are a HERO in my book even then, more so now that you have become a martyr to the democracy we all enjoy now. Anyone who has shed their blood for the country will forever be remembered as a hero to the nation no matter what he has done in his life.

Kasubo gid… your potential was limitless pre. I am shocked gid even now. grieving for the loss of one hero who could have been a great leader someday. Thank you gid for the ultimate sacrifice. Maybe it is so, that one either dies a hero, or lives long enough to become the villain. maybe that held true in your case, I do not know, but all I know is that your potential was limitless.

SEMPER FI, Soldier! rest in peace, Lieutenant Roger Flores!!! 😩 😩 😩
(Philippine Marines-Force Recon, K.I.A., Patikul, Sulu, Mindanao. 19 June 2014)

JOHN MARK GABAWA:

We will miss you brother. It’s hard to believe that you’re gone. Let me share a little something about you that I came to know last 2009 only:

Roger Flores was born a fighter. He was not as fortunate in terms of finances than most. He have to fight his way up in life to survive, get an Engineering Degree and find his way to PMA.

Upon Roger’s graduation not all of his batch mates knew that he was a PMA topnotcher (including me). We met that same year and he never said anything about his achievement, typical Roger always humble and mysterious. We just had a simple chat of hi-hello-how-are-you, after that we parted ways.

Months after that, friends started talking about him as his life was featured in a TV if I’m not mistaken by WISH KO LANG (I’m not sure). It was a shocking revelation to most, yet he endured all the trials life can throw his way.

He never complained and fought fair and square. His dream was always to become a soldier and fight for what he believe is right and his ideals. KUDOS brother! Not all can do what you have done and not all can endure what you endured! KUDOS!

God Bless your family brother. May God give them comfort and may He touch the hearts of the AFP higher ups to give what is due to you and your family. I think you don’t deserve that death but God has a plan and God has already called you home. Rest in peace brother. God bless your family.

TZIETEL GERALDINE ALQUISADA:

I met him when I was congressman and he was senator of CPU Republic. He encouraged me to apply for Ayala Young Leaders as he had been part of it. Every time we meet he never failed to encourage me to excel in extra-curricular activities.

Kasubo man nga sa kataas sang handum kag sa katadlong sang dalan nadula kana. Rest assured you have left a good example for us.

Your body may have died but your ideals live in our hearts!

CHRISTINE CAYABYAB:

Gone too soon…

It’s very strange how someone with so much potential … So much deserving to reach his dreams is taken away from this cruel world.

May God envelope his family in His comforting embrace, let them know that Roger is with Him… because he was a faithful Christian.

I could only claim to be his personal acquaintance, he calls me manang… We only spoke a few times but in those conversations I know how mature he was.

He wants to be better, without compromising what is right. Integrity despite challenging circumstances, Dignity despite being less privileged, and Humble despite his accomplishments.

Rest in Peace.

ADOLFO TAC-AN NACION:

You were like a son to me and my family, Lt! Your name became a household echo to our ears as you were a close mistah to my son. A bunkmate, Coy mate (Foxtrot) to 1Lt Abner Trust B Nacion PAF of the 15th Strike Wing, PAF who went missing for a year when he and his PIC (pilot in command) Maj Jonathan Ybanez PAF crashed off Palawan island on 23 June 2013 and your mistah was recovered last 6 June 2014.

Life to both of you was so short, swift and secret. Your dreams and goals never ushered you to your distant future with glory and glitters but instead they have perished with you along the way. However, your ideals, visions and values as officers and gentlemen in the Armed Forces of the Philippines left us behind a legacy of steadfast spirit amidst pains and challenges to move on and traverse this life with the same gallantry of selfless devotion to duty and honor whichyou have shown.

Lt, like our son Abner, your ‘bok’, we will miss you so much. Your profession was more than a choice for it was a calling which our Almighty God had assigned to you in which case you hearkened unto; more than an option to serve for you offered it as a living sacrifice to God and country. You lived a life that was full and meaningful. And you died not in vain for our Filipino people are worth dying for. Therefore, there is nothing that we could ask for more from you for your life was measured not in terms of quantity but by quality.

My big snappy salute!


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President Robles Answers Open Letter from Concerned Alumnus

Centralians, here’s the reply of President Robles to the Open Letter to CPU President Robles from Concerned Alumnus.

June 10, 2014

Dear Dr. Ruiz,

Thank you for your email. I have not received any email from you for the last 12 months at least. It is your right to release your email with or without my reply. It appears that information coming from the Philippines are either incomplete or distorted.

On the Diesto case, CPU has been banking with Allied Bank/PNB long before I became president. Nelson is blaming the university for the loss of 2000 pesos in his ATM account and even accusing the university of conniving with the bank. The security of his ATM card is his responsibility. According to the bank’s record and the CCTV recording, a woman was standing in front of the ATM machine at the time the withdrawal was made. The university can’t be responsible for the security of the ATM card of all employees. The person who withdrew the amount knew the pin number of Nelson’s ATM card. The suspension would have been canceled if he apologized to the university. Please read his so called apology and you will know why it is not an apology.

Regarding transparency issues. All transactions are audited internally and also by an external auditor. The internal auditor and accountant visits university projects to make sure that everything is in order. The business office has complete financial records on donations, grants, etc and all disbursements are properly recorded and follow strictly the university guidelines. The BOT receive regular reports on the activities of the administration.

Some people think that I stole money from the university to build my house. They are forgetting that my wife and I worked in the U.S for more than 35 years and we sold our house in Wisconsin before the housing market fell.

The research projects funded by DOST and DA are progressing as expected and have supported the research work of three faculty members and several 4th year students. There developments that will greatly enhance native chicken production. Several LGUs and even DSWD are developing livelihood projects for their constituents with the support of our native chicken project. We are helping the poor not bribing them. For the first time in the history of CPU we harvested 758 sacks of rice in Zarraga farm even though some areas were affected by typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Thanks to the dedication of some of our faculty especially in the College of Agriculture. Our research projects are geared towards commercialization and technology transfer to the farmers. There will be more discoveries to make because of the original research grant and the continuing support of DOST, DA and CPU.

Alumni donations made it possible for CPU to provide fishing boats and accessories to 25 beneficiaries. One alumna donated 25 fishing boats. Alumni from Agriculture and students from Business and Accountancy donated more than 20 fishing boats to another village.

The research and publication (International journal) entry of the dean of CARES was the 2013 national winner of the CHED REPUBLICA Award. Qualifiers were from UP, Dilliman, UP, Los Banos, UST, Ateneo de Manila, Ateneo de Davao, De LaSalle and USC.

Thanks for your interest in the developments at CPU. To God be the Glory!

Ted

Teodoro C. Robles, PhD
President
Central Philippine University

Open Letter to CPU President Robles from Concerned Alumnus

We picked up from The Good Old Days at CPU Facebook Page the letter that Dr. Lester Edwin J. Ruiz wrote to CPU President Teodoro Robles.

Please read the full text of the letter below:

June 9, 2014

Dear President Robles,

I trust this email to you, only my third in the past five or six years, finds you well and in good health.

Allow me to comment directly on the brief exchange between Ms. St. Denis and yourself regarding the CPU “chicken project” in Leon. I thought myself that Ms. St. Denis’ question on Facebook was pretty clear, she seemed to be asking about the transparency that a university—any university that is genuinely concerned about all its constituencies—should exercise towards its constituencies, including its alumni/ae. Many of us are familiar with the university’s obligation to be accountable to the Philippine government. Some of us work with national and international donor agencies, as well as government-recognized accrediting agencies. So we know that a certain kind of accountability is required in order to receive project funding.

But, the question, Mr. President, is less about accountability to government, and much more about the transparency and accountability towards alumni/ae—and to the internal constituencies of the university (i.e., faculty, administration, students). I believe we deserve the courtesy of a substantive response.

I myself welcome your invitation to seek the truth. Your offer to make the university’s internal records available to anyone who is seeking the truth is encouraging. Your invitation to alumni/ae to visit and to see for themselves what is going on is re-assuring. Where documentary evidence is concerned, we all know that alumni/ae for the longest time have already asked for these records, not only with regard to the “chicken” project, but also in other areas of university life, for example, student scholarships, infrastructure projects, and others. Sadly, none to my knowledge have been forthcoming. This is an old refrain that sometimes sounds like a broken record. But, you know as well as I that this constant request for information is part of the structure and process of transparency, accountability, and good governance. What I have seen thus far have been largely public relations reports: what I call “narrative evidence” (or “stories” from administration). The question, however, is about “documentary evidence,” maybe even “statutory evidence,” that describes the structure, process, and criteria by which the university undertakes, implements, and demonstrates its conformity not only to the legal requirements of government, but also the desirable expectations of good governance, including what mechanisms of independent accounting, audit, budget, and control are used and their results.

If the only reports we as alumni/ae deserve are the ones the university has released thus far, then so be it. But please, do not invite us to seek the truth, and not provide us with what is needed to arrive at that truth, including the free exchange of information and ideas, the right and obligation to ask difficult questions—without censure or insult, and the unqualified welcome of alumni/ae who request such information (some even visit CPU and you).

Facebook, for me, is not, in the first instance, a source of data or information. It is a “weather station” that indicates how the (social, political, institutional) winds are blowing, reflecting the sentiments of part of the university’s constituencies. I may or may not believe what I read on Facebook. But I take seriously what it reflects, namely, a deep concern by some alumni/ae regarding the way the university is being run. I work with 270 seminaries, divinity schools, and graduate schools of theology in the US and Canada; and probably tens of hundreds more in other parts of the world. So, I have a little bit of understanding of the challenges universities face with regard to its constituencies. In fact, whether you believe it or not, I can appreciate the challenges you face, including the frustration that comes with what feels is endless, unwarranted, even uninformed, criticism. At the same time, Mr. President, these alumni/ae are only exercising their care and concern for their Alma Mater. I believe they deserve a much deeper and broader response than what I have seen thus far.

I myself wrote you several emails in the past few years but never got a response from you. Maybe, these emails did not reach you; or maybe, you chose to ignore them. I really don’t know. And frankly speaking, there is a sense in which it does not matter if you respond or not. Truth be told, I don’t hold it against you; nor did I expect a response. But the other alumni/ae, such as those on FB are expecting their questions to be addressed directly and explicitly by you or by your duly appointed representatives. And while you may think that you have done that, the fact that they have kept asking—in all kinds of fora, including Facebook—means, their questions have yet to be fully answered. This probably means, your alumni/ae office needs to review how effective it is engaging its constituencies.

So why do I write now, and why publicly? There are several reasons. First, because I hope that should you wish to respond, as you did in the case of Ms. St. Denis, you would do so publicly. Second, because I am one of those who has been asking the university for transparency and accountability—not just from the office of the president, but from the entire university; and not just in the case of the “chicken” project, or the Nelson Diesto suspension, or student scholarships, but in all areas of the university’s life and work. More important, this insistence on transparency and accountability is not just for their own sake, but for the sake of institutional vitality and educational effectiveness. The mission of CPU demands a commitment to quality assurance and improvement, or in my language, to transformation: the “creation of the fundamentally new that is also fundamentally better.” And in this, all constituencies have a part to play, and therefore, need to be in the conversation.

Mine is not a new concern; it has been a longstanding one. And it feels that there has been uneven movement in the area of transparency, accountability and transformation in relation to alumni/ae. Let me be very clear, Mr. President. I am not blaming or accusing you for not doing your job. A university president’s performance review is the proper venue and obligation of the Board of Trustees—not of alumni/ae on Facebook. What I am saying, however, is that these important exchanges, even criticism, is part of our “life together” as Centralians, as members of civil society, and as sisters and brothers in the commonwealth of God—and in these public spaces, the winds are blowing, and they will continue to blow, perhaps even harder, until they are met with candor and compassion, understanding and grace—which is part of the exercise of true leadership and Christian discipleship.

Thank you for your service to CPU. I hope for better days.

Yours sincerely,

Lester Edwin J. Ruiz, PhD
HS Class 1971
2012-2013 Visiting Associate Professor
College of Theology
Central Philippine University

CLICK to read the CPU President’s response