The Contract of Lease between the University of the Philippines Diliman and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao was finalized and signed by Most Rev Honesto F. Ongtioco, Bishop of Cubao and Dr. Caesar A. Saloma, Chancellor, UP Diliman on 17 May 2012. The contract was signed in the presence of President Alfredo E. Pascual of the UP System.
During the exchange of messages, Bishop Ongtioco thanked the University officials, led by President Pascual, for receiving him and his party warmly. He also thanked Chancellor Saloma for facilitating the contract finalization. Bishop Ongtioco was grateful for the easier terms provided in the contract and for the UP leadership’s appreciation of the church’s contribution to the student body and the UP community. The bishop observed that while the Church and the University are separate entities they can be united as one in the pursuit of a common direction.
Chancellor Saloma said that upon his assumption to office in March 2011, he noted that the contract of lease which expired in 2005 had not been renewed. Thus, he worked for a draft that would put things in proper order, i.e. satisfying the requirements of the Commission on Audit and reviewing the relations between UP Diliman and the Diocese. The review process sorted out activities pursuant to, among others, running a school, maintaining the roads around the Parish Church, and providing security to the throngs who are attracted to the Church on Sundays and other occasions. He said the process for negotiating the contract renewal helped his administration to come up with a “harmonized” program pertaining to other preparatory schools around the campus.
President Pascual said that the UP Chapel or the Church of the Holy Sacrifice was “memorable” because it was where he and his wife, Merchu, were wed, a significant part of their lives. While they were students, the chapel also provided spiritual refuge. In candor, he admitted that the lease contract for the parish and its pre-school was difficult to decide on. Even when he was UPAA President, he tried to mediate a solution that could be acceptable to everyone. Being a secular organization, UP cannot give special treatment to religious groups. A decision must be based on consistent and acceptable principles. After research-based information showed that the parish pre-school along with other similar schools were providing service to the community, the years of impasse was broken. The contract now assures that the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice can maintain its presence witout worrying about its renewal. It recognizes the impact of the program on parents’ ability to send their children to school. The University leadership, in partnership with theBisop of Cubao may endeavor towards quality and excellent service to the children of parishioners in the UP community.
UP Diliman officials who witnessed the contract signing were Dr. Ronald S. Banzon, Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Prof. Virginia C. Yap, Vice-Chancellor for Administration; Dr. Raquel B. Florendo, Director, Business Concessions Office, and Dr. Kristine DLR Villagonzalo, Director, Office of Extension Coordination.
The witnesses for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao were Rev. Fr. Henry Ferreras, Parish Priest of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice; and Dr. Nestor N. Pilar, PPC Lay Coordinator. Former parish priest Rev. Fr. Raymond Joseph L. Arre was unable to attend.