One of the events that caught my attention was the Kapekonomiya organized by UP SESC and UP ETC. The forum discusses and disseminates different views and opinions about the UP Land Use. One of the dilemmas of the UP community was about to be ignited. With all of these, there is only one bottom line question: Does UP really need to lease its idle land to private corporation?
It has been an issue since the making of UP Technohub in Commonwealth Avenue and now the issue has been born again with the UP Town center in Katipunan. What makes this in headline is the issue of the University of the Philippines entering in a private partnership with some of the private corporations such as Ayala. It is not only happening in the University of the Philippines- Diliman but it is also a wide trend in the whole UP system. Even before the building of UP Technohub and UP Town Center, UP was already engaging in the private partnership through cafeterias, eateries in campus, the centennial dormitory and other services for students. Thus, private sector participation is nothing new in UP. Their main reason for this private sector partnership is the focus of the state university’s core mission which is the pursuit of academic objectives and excellence.
I see no harm in entering in that partnership as long as we have enough lands for our own pursuit of academic excellence. In fact, only the “idle” lands will be leased to corporations. But, why is UP entering in that partnership? Simple answer for a simple question. We do not have enough budget to spend in relation to the yearly inflation. We have many expenses, namely, the building of new establishments, salary of the employees and the professors and many more and the budget given by the government is not enough. We need to be radical and practical. There will be no harm for us in leasing idle lands. The only dilemma for this is that we should be responsible for our actions and take whatever consequences that may happen so that we cannot be tagged as “Ayala University of the Philippines”.