School president lashes back at critics, detractors-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
LA TRINIDAD -- Benguet State University president Ben Ladilad dismissed allegations of irregularities in his administration, saying his critics are sourgraping and are envious of his appointment.
Ladilad, in an exclusive interview with Sun.Star Baguio, said the recent petition of several BSU employees against him that was filed before the Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the Civil Service Commission is a personal attack by critics who include former BSU president Dr. Silvestre Aben and former faculty club president Prof. Gloria Lee.
He said Aben and Lee are still raising issues against his administration despite being on sabbatical leave for some time, adding the two went on sabbatical before this one but allegedly failed to fulfill their obligations to the university.
He said the decision not to appoint a vice president for finance was based on the review of the organizational structure of the university.
He said functions of the supposed vice president are only a repetition of functions by the chief of the university’s finance division.
Ladilad also denied allegations of delayed financial transactions, stressing all fiscal matters are above board and adhere to regulations of the Commission on Audit (COA).
He said COA would have been first to notice if there were, indeed, illegal transactions.
“The transactions pass by my office because I want to see the flow of financial transactions in the university and common to new administrations. In fact, all transactions are faster now,” he said.
The BSU president also clarified alleged irregularities on the monetization of his leave credits.
He said he started working in the university since he took office in December, which was earlier than his clearance from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), wherein he was regional director.
He said his clearance from DOST, issued only on March 6, was delayed because he had to wait for the DOST secretary to sign his clearance.
The BSU official also said that he applied for monetization of his accrued leaves because he had also been spending for travels and other expenses since he took office at BSU.
He said his travel expenses adhere to government regulations, which include using a government vehicle.
Ladilad added all his travels were official and the use of the discretionary fund is well itemized complete with receipts.
He emphasized that his constant travels to conferences and meetings in Manila are important in networking to gain more funds for the university, which currently has an annual budget of only more than P400 million a year.
He said this budget is not enough if the university wants to improve all its programs.
“I have to set aside all their comments although they are getting personal. They are doing it probably because they do not get what they want when I took over,” he said.
Ladilad said he earned enemies when he took over as president as he meticulously checks the background and performance of employees before assigning them to different positions. The same goes for approving job applicants maintaining the proper selection process is being observed.
At first, he chose people to work with him as special assistants to the president, but claimed he recently issued a memorandum ordering the termination of these designations after the appointment of a vice president for academic affairs and a director for business affairs.
“These people are just using these earlier appointments as a tool to prove that I am ineffective as president but to prove them wrong these positions were already terminated,” he said.
He also maintained that he is given the authority as president and chief executive officer of the university to engage in agreements with tenants within BSU property before presenting them to the Board of Regents (BOR).
“Before, in the past 11 years, they just allow people to use the grounds and property of BSU with many of these occupants undocumented,” he said.
Ladilad pointed out the university was able to document tenants and stall owners and negotiate lease rates with the installment of the director for Business Affairs. This, he said, resulted in increased revenues for BSU.
He claimed to have followed the rates approved by the BOR, which is P15 per square meter. He also emphasized these properties are directly awarded to tenants and are disallowed to sub-lease these properties.
“We let the tenants sign a MOA with us because it is the only way that they can be recognized that they are in the property of BSU. They should not only be the ones making money on the use of the school property as BSU should also have a share,” he said, but stressed negotiations are still ongoing.
Ladilad also revealed that he is opposing the Robinsons Graceland project, which he alleged is backed by Prof. Lee.
“Before we deal with these people, BSU should see the need for entering into agreements as our primary goal is in providing quality education while resource generation is just a second priority,” he said.
He said the construction of the mall inside the BSU property is strongly being opposed by the community and a prior consultation with the people is important before engaging in such projects.
“My hands are clean, whatever their allegations against me, they have to prove it. After all, it is just easy to bring in allegations and to charge people but to prove it, it’s another thing,” he said.
The BSU president added that he only would like to make BSU at par with other foreign universities, claiming they are the only university with a strong Agriculture program and the only one offering an Organic Agriculture course.
He bannered his recent travels have gained for the university some P20 million for the development of an Organic Agriculture from the Department of Agriculture, an additional P17 million for laboratory upgrading and additional P15 million for research and development improvements.
When he took over, the BSU president embarked on the creation of a position to address the need for resource generation and international relations to link the university to other universities in the Asean region.
Through the Asean 2015 goal, he said, the university will attain a certain standard almost at par with other universities and even beyond, especially now since BSU has a Level IV institutional accreditation. It is also one of the Top 10 state universities in the country and this could lead to achieving a Center for Excellence status for its colleges.
“We also really need to keep on improving our people. The end goal is for BSU to get an ISO-certification and with that we have to improve our programs in other colleges,” he said.
In a previous story entitled “Ladilad removal sought” published last September 8, petitioners claimed to have only questioned the appointments of Prof. Victor Singa, Dr. Jones Felicano and Dr. Felipe Comila as special assistants to the university president and not Dr. Marcos Buliyat and Dr. Percyveranda Lubrica as mentioned in the previous article.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 12, 2012.