The University of the Philippines System

Continuing with the celebration of the University of the Philippines’ 100-year anniversary, an article about the UP System appeared in the Manila Bulletin (MB).

The article actually “used” to be available online, and I should have linked to that instead. But for some unknown reasons, MB doesn’t keep its articles online for quite a long period of time. I’m reposting the article here in its entirety. For any problem/issues with this act, please do leave a comment below and I’ll gladly drop this article. After all, I just deem it worth sharing:

The University of the Philippines (UP) was founded on June 18, 1908 as a result of the recommendation of Secretary of Public Instruction W. Morgan Schuster to the Philippine Commission, the upper house of the Philippine Assembly.

Act 1870 authorized the Governor General to establish UP in the ‘’city of Manila, or at any point he may deem most convenient” to give “advanced instruction in literature, philosophy, the sciences and arts, and to give professional and technical training” to every qualified student regardless of “age, sex, nationality, religious belief and political affiliation.”

UP opened its doors at Calle Isaac Peral (now United Nations Avenue) and Padre Faura in downtown Manila in 1909 with the School of Fine Arts; the College of Liberal Arts; the College of Medicine; the College of Veterinary Medicine; the College of Engineering; the College of Law; and the College of Agriculture in Los Baños, Laguna.

Its first president was American Murray Bartlett who vowed that the UP must be “for the Filipino” and that it must be “supported by the people’s money” with a charter framed by the people’s representatives and “its hope based on the confidence and sympathy of the people.”

In 1913, the UP Alumni Association was established, while the student council was organized in 1914 as a body where cases on student discipline were referred to.

In 1915, the UP had its first Filipino president in Ignacio Villamor. Under Villamor, new units were established such as the Conservatory of Music; the University High School; the College of Education; and the Junior College in Cebu City. In 1919, the College of Veterinary Science was transferred to the Los Baños campus.

UP’s third president and the last American to hold the post in 1921 was Guy Potter Benton. He saw the addition of more units: the School of Hygiene; the Department of Library Science; the Agricultural Extension Service; and the creation of the university Corps of Cadets.

The Philippine Collegian, the university’s longest running official student publication published its first issue in 1922.

Rafael Palma assumed UP presidency in 1923. Academic freedom became a hallmark in UP as Palma encouraged discussions on social and political issues confronting the country. Palma promoted the ideal of “freedom of the mind” and “the determined search for the truth in God, man and things.”

In 1935, UP’s famous statue, named the Oblation by Palma, was installed at the Manila campus. The statue was the creation of National Artist Guillermo Tolentino on his interpretation of the second stanza of Dr. Jose Rizal’s “Mi Ultimo Adios.”

Jorge Bocobo, succeeded Palma. An intense nationalist, Bocobo promoted patriotism and love of culture in the university. He also promoted values such as discipline, duty and sacrifice, values which he believed were essential for nation-building.


The Second World War saw the destruction of several buildings of the UP in Manila and Los Baños, Cebu and Iloilo. In 1947, the Philippine General Hospital formally became a part of UP through Executive Order No. 94. In 1948, under the stewardship of UP President Bienvenido Gonzales, much of the UP was transferred from its campus in Manila to bigger campus in Diliman, Quezon City.

The 50’s and the 60’s saw the transformation of UP. UP President Vicente Sinco preserved the university’s integrity from communist paranoia and partisan politics while UP President Carlos P. Romulo introduced Filipinism, student activism and faculty dissent.

1971 was the year when the Diliman Republic became the Diliman Commune. From January to February, the campus became a battleground between militant students protesting the deteriorating conditions of the country, and policemen. The students completely barricaded the campus and established full control of the facilities. There were several attempts by the police to assault the campus, but they were unsuccessful.

In the succeeding years, the UP has expanded much by establishing campuses and units in Baguio City; Miag-ao Iloilo; Tacloban City; San Fernando, Pampanga; Mintal, Davao; and the Open University based in Los Baños, Laguna.


UP now has seven constituent universities in 12 campuses all over the country; it has 258 undergraduate programs; and 438 graduate programs with students from almost every region in the country.

UP has produced 30 out of 31 National Scientists; 34 out of 57 National Artists; seven out of the 14 Presidents of the Republic; 12 Chief Justices of the Supreme Court; 15,000 doctors; 8,000 lawyers; 15, 000 engineers; 23, 000 teachers and hundreds of thousands of graduates in other academic fields.

On April 29, 2008, President Arroyo signed the new UP Charter or Republic Act 9500 to prepare UP for the challenges it will face as the country’s leading university in the coming years. Efforts for the enactment of a new UP Charter could go back to the term of UP President Edgardo Angara and further studied during the term of UP President Jose Abueva.

In UP Visayas-Cebu College, new units, such as the Department of Computer Science, and equipment, such personal computers and wireless devices and facilities, were added to equip students for the needs and challenges in one of the country’s aggressive commercial centers.

In UP Mindanao, the Department of Science and Technology extended a P18.2 million grant to the College of Science for the Biotechnology Program for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Indigenous Bioresources in Mindanao. The School of Management also received R7 million from the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) for a project on agribusiness supply chain management research program. Aside from this, the ACIAR has also earmarked R6 million for another project on vegetables in Southern Philippines.

In UP Los Baños, the Center for Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship (UPLB-CTTE) in July 2007. The center was designed to integrate programs, policies and activities towards the protection, promotion, and successful disposition of the university’s technologies through licensing technology business for public and private sectors. The center will also supervise the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Center for Technology Exchange and Training for Small and Medium Enterprises (ACTETSME), which promotes technology exchange between SME’s.

In UP Diliman, the North Science and Technology Park is being completed, the result of an agreement with Ayala Land Inc. to develop 38.6 hectares of UP property along Commonwealth Avenue. The park will be a venue for research and technology-based collaborative projects between the academe and industry. The park is also expected to provide UP with exposure to world-class companies, the latest technology and trends, and employment for students and graduates.

UP has also finalized its plans to establish a campus in Makati City. The university hopes to assist in the development of human resources in Makati and nearby areas by providing advanced degrees and continuing education programs for the country’s central business district. The UP Diliman College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering, and the School of Statistics will offer graduate programs; while the College of Law will offer continuing education programs.

As the presence in Makati will be hosted by the University of Makati (UMAK), UP has pledged assistance to UMAK’s faculty development and research programs.

Over the years, UP has extended assistance to intelligent but less privileged students through the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP). Initiated by UP President Jose Abueva, the STFAP has been a very important aid program to students.

In 2006, the university instituted new STFAP rates which included the costs of inflation over an almost two-decade period considering that the last adjustment in tuition and other fees was in 1989. The adjustment was necessary to enable UP to answer to the contemporary needs of its faculty, maintain its facilities, and ensure the quality of education it offers.

One Comment

Melanie Indiongco August 18, 2009 Reply

Is UP Vet. Med Hospital still operating? I just passed by Carlos P. Garcia st. this afternoon and the gate to the Hospital was closed,, or is there another access to the Hospital? thanks

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