The Weekly Sillimanian & College of Mass Communication | December 7, 2023
As per the guidelines of Silliman University (SU), a member of Board of Trustees (BOT) must be an alumni who reflects the Christian lifestyle and embraces Via, Veritas, and Vita while demonstrating loyalty to the university’s mission.
The Weekly Sillimanian, in collaboration with Silliman University College of Mass Communication (CMC), strongly believes this requirement is crucial. It is a yardstick to measure how elected board members embody and uphold good values throughout their lives.
However, recent events have added a layer of complexity to this narrative.
Mayor Felipe “Ipe” Remollo, a significant figure in Dumaguete City and a Silliman alumnus, was nominated and elected for a spot on SU’s BOT. Even if he later stepped down voluntarily, this facts remain.
While Mayor Ipe may seem suitable due to his influence and background, a turn of events in 2021 has stirred controversy. His support for a 174-hectare reclamation project for a smart city, faced a backlash from locals, fishermen, students, scientists, and even SU itself. They worried about the potential harm to Dumaguete’s marine areas.
Despite Mayor Remollo’s voluntary withdrawal, a lingering question remains: Why did his nomination take precedence over the misalignment between his stance on reclamation and the tenets of the BOT as expressed in their statement of opposition against reclamation projects?
SU has, by and large, remained steadfast in its dedication to cultivating and establishing a healthier environment for all. In fact, numerous projects, events, and organizations have consistently initiated programs and policies that aim to uphold and consistently manifest its commitment to environmental protection. That is why it would be a profound contradiction if the highest-ranking member of the university were to appoint an individual who evidently disregards the university’s overarching ecological objectives.
Various organizations passionately dedicated to environmental preservation have already raised queries about the intricacies and procedures involved in the selection process for such important appointments as he cannot enter independently. We echo these questions.
The Weekly Sillimanian Issue Staff believes that the withdrawal of Mayor Ipe Remollo from the BOT recognizes the scrutiny he would be under if he continued as a member. We hope that this approach will continue the betterment of choosing leaders that may bring the university to greater heights in compliance with its values.
We hope that what happened should serve as a wake-up call for SU and its entire community, underscoring the importance of such a situation not being repeated.
In 2021, SU rejected the ideas of Remollo regarding the Reclamation. In 2023, SU nominated and elected Remollo into the BOT.
For SU to truly champion its students and uphold its mission, vision, goals, and decisions, these actions must be avoided. Such actions could set a negative precedent, suggesting that manuals and guidelines are merely symbolic rather than practical tools for guidance.
Editor’s note: This post is part of the Weekly Sillimanian and the College of Mass Communication collaboration. Students taking COM 33 – News Editing and Production under Asst. Prof. Irma Pal temporarily take over the operations for a week or one issue as their final requirement.