The University of the Philippines (UP) Board of Regents (BOR) has approved Thursday, April 27 the elevation of UP Visayas Tacloban College into an autonomous unit under the UP Office of the President.

UP’s newly elevated autonomous institution will now be formally known as UP Tacloban College. Student Regent Siegfred Severino explained that this recent development did not make UP Tacloban a constituent university (CU) like UP Diliman and seven other CUs all over the country.

“Making it an autonomous college under the Office of the President will be the first step in elevating it into a full-fledged CU,” Severino explained.

Faculty Regent Carl Marc Ramota also congratulated UP Tacloban in a statement released Thursday.

UP Tacloban has been working towards becoming an autonomous unit for some time already. In 2020, UP Tacloban Dean Patricia Arinto sought the help of its alumni in achieving this goal.

“As we work towards making UP Tacloban the next autonomous unit and constituent university of the UP System, it is necessary for the College to establish itself firmly as an academic pacesetter and a leading advocate and catalyst of sustainable development by strengthening its curricula, adopting innovative teaching methods, conducting interdisciplinary research, and engaging with the surrounding communities through public service, and doing so with excellence and equity,” Arinto said.

Prior to the BOR meeting, Severino issued a statement expressing his support for the elevation of UP Tacloban as an autonomous unit of the UP System.

“This has been a long-fought campaign of the UP Tacloban community and we believe that this will allow the administration to improve basic student services and development of the Eastern Visayas Region,” he said.

Through the years, several legislators have filed proposals to elevate the status of UP Tacloban. In 2019, Representatives Yedda Marie Romualdez and Martin Romualdez filed House Bill No. 1584, while this year, Senator Imee Marcos filed Senate Bill No. 1748.

Both bills sought to grant autonomy to UP Tacloban to “strengthen [its] capability to create and apply new knowledge through teaching, research, and extension and to develop minds that will not only invent new products and technologies but [also] innovate and improve existing ones as well as shape leaders with the moral character to ensure a just and sustainable future.”

In its 833rd meeting, the BOR established UP Tacloban as an answer to the

urgent need for quality education in Eastern Visayas. It was recognized as a regional unit of the UP System on May 23, 1973 and inaugurated on July 2, 1973 under the administration of former UP President Salvador P. Lopez.

Its main objective is to provide quality education in the Eastern Visayas region and to produce graduates who possess essential attributes for becoming productive and responsible members of the community. It also aims to undertake and encourage scientific research in public affairs and to offer technical assistance to the community towards the further improvement of the quality of life in the region.

At present, UP Tacloban has seven undergraduate programs and one graduate program offered by four divisions.

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