University of the Philippines Los Baños

The first ever system-wide REPS conference themed “Recognizing REPS’ Roles, Achievements and Concerns in UP” was held last 12-13 November 2013 at BIOTECH, UPLB. The two-day conference provided a venue for the REPS from various constituent units of the University of the Philippines to echo their concerns and address issues related to their roles, qualifications, tenure and promotion.

The conference was also a dialogue and exchange of ideas between the sector and the UP administration, represented by the Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Gisela P. Concepcion and Vice President for Administration Dr. Maragtas SV. Amante.

Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon, Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension delivered the opening remarks of the conference in behalf of UPLB Chancellor Rex Victor O. Cruz. “Bringing together the REPS of all UP units is a dream come true!” she exclaimed. She also encouraged everyone to participate and enjoy each other’s company while discussing their issues and concerns.

In her introduction, Vice President Concepcion pointed out the significance of the conference, as it will be a venue by which the administration will be able to hear the views of the REPS. She added that everyone’s right is important and every achievement should be recognized.

This was supported by Vice President Amante who, in behalf of UP President Alfredo E. Pascual, recognized the role of the 1,094 REPS in the whole UP system as a vital voice of the university. “Your successes, your concerns are also our concerns,” he emphasized. According to him, defining one’s duties and responsibilities is crucial in crafting the career path of REPS. “Improving the incentive system for tasks well-done through fair and democratic means is very important,” he added.

During the first day of the conference, Professor Emeritus Evelyn Mae T. Mendoza presented on “REPS― a Force and Partner of UP Towards Attaining World Class Research University Status” and focused her discussions on the role of the REPS, their challenges, opportunities and some recommendations for the improvement of their welfare. She encouraged the REPS to produce more publications which will make UP become comparable to its Asian neighbors, and to consider applying for the Scientific Career System. She further elaborated on career progression based on scientific productivity and an incentives and rewards system to attract and retain highly- qualified research and extension personnel in the government service.

In Day 2 of the conference, Director Reynaldo V. Ebora of BIOTECH discussed and shared on “UP REPS and Productivity: Realities, Opportunities and Challenges”. He posed a challenging question, “Kung hindi tayo kikilos, sino ang kikilos? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?” Dr. Ebora pointed out that REPS should stand up for their rights and ask for what they really deserve.

He proudly shared that BIOTECH’s most valuable asset is its staff. “They are the main reason why BIOTECH has many outputs,” he added. “But despite this positive outcome, there are still some challenges which we still need to look at such as job mismatch, the low ceiling of REPS salaries, low morale, inadequate laboratory facilities and infrastructure, unclear administrative policies and insufficient administrative support, and the need for more funding for research and extension” he said.

However, he mentioned that there are also many opportunities/incentives and rewards available for REPS such as the UP Scientific Productivity System, Intellectual property commercialization and royalty sharing, foreign and local graduate studies, research funding from various agencies and research collaboration with local and foreign partners. He ended up his presentation with a statement, “Nasa pagkakaisa ang lakas, nasa pagkilos ang tagumpay!

Workshops were held during the afternoons. The groups forwarded several recommendations during the presentations. The REPS were also able to engage with the officials present and raise some issues for immediate address.

The dialogue with the UP officials also resulted to the forming of an adhoc committee which will be tasked to finalize the draft REPS manual. The drafting of the UP System-wide REPS Manual was initiated by the sectors to serve as a standard compilation of information pertaining and related to the REPS.

All the REPS in the UP system were encouraged to work hand in hand to incorporate doable action programs and important items into the REPS manual.

The holding of the conference at UPLB was made possible by the close coordination of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension with the UP System Steering Committee and the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.