The main matters taken up in the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees were threefold: first, the possibility of ADDU becoming a major center of theological reflection; second, the proposal of Mr. Tomas Lorenzo, President of Lapanday Properties Philippines Inc. (LPPI) that LPPI and ADDU partner in LPPI’s Ciudades real estate development project in Buhangin, North Davao; and third, university awards.
First, the thrust towards graduate-level theological instruction:
• The in-service upgrading of our theological faculty for issues related to the faith (ignorance and indifference, Sacred Scripture and doctrine, theoretical and practical atheism, Asian secularism, inculturation, inter-religious dialogue) and morality (RH, gender, sexuality, bio-ethics, stem-cell research, environment, poverty, the common good and social justice) is a concern that I have formally taken up with Loyola School of Theology (LST) through its President, Fr. Mario Francisco. Astride its mandate to be the Asian theologate for the region, LST has also been mandated by Fr. Provincial to address the formation of the theological faculties of the Jesuit schools in the Philippines. While a draft MoA between ADDU and LST had already been agreed upon between myself and Fr. Francisco, it did not prosper. The expected commencement of the formation program in theology last summer did not materialize. I am now advised that progress in this regard will have to wait for new leadership in LST.
• Meanwhile, I have been constrained to inform the Redemptorist-run St. Aloysius Theological and Mission Institute (SATMI) that ADDU will no longer renew the Memorandum of Agreement through which ADDU confers graduate-level degrees in Theology to graduates of SATMI today. I have invited SATMI either to migrate to the Ignatian Institute of Religious Education and Formation (IIREF) of Holy Cross College of Davao or to fully integrate its operations into that of the ADDU with appropriate structures of autonomy for the SATMI.
• Through a very cordial ongoing “conversation” between ADDU and SATMI, the option is towards the latter. In the second of two formal meetings with SATMI, I sat down with Very Rev. Fr. Cruzito Manding, CSsR, President of SATMI (and current Provincial of the Redemptorists in the Philippines), Fr. Carlos Ronquillo, CSsR, Director of SATMI, Fr. Joe Apisit, CSsR, Trustee (based in Thailand), and Sr. Miriam Alejandrino, OSB, Dean. To my initial set of “Talking Points”, they have responded with their own set of talking points. They are open to collaboration. Issues of autonomy shall have to be carefully worked out in view of the formative needs for Redemptorists in Asia. While the willingness towards a Redemptorist-Jesuit partnership is clear, there is also great possibility for a wider partnership among religious institutes in Mindanao.
• We have agreed that the Redemptorist Provincial Superior, Fr. Manding, will do the exploratory talking with other religious institutes in Mindanao, even as I shall talk with LST and St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. Before the March meeting of the Redemptorists’ Governing Council, we hope to have drafted a new formal MoA to govern our relationships.
• I believe this is a very significant development for our ADDU – as a Catholic University in the light of our vision and mission. Such a center would address the theological needs of not only future priests and religious but also of lay theologians, religious education and theology teachers, etc. specifically in Mindanao. It will also be able to benefit from developments in Islamic Studies through Al Qalam – which will itself have an Islamic theological component – as well as from developments in the roll-out of our anthropological studies, and their access to the various indigenous cultures of Mindanao. Finally, higher theological reflection will contribute to and benefit from the pursuit of social justice through research and outreach in the university. We may wish to take time to discuss this, for we are on the threshold of hosting what may be Mindanao’s most promising graduate Catholic theological center.
In this context, the Board passed a resolution welcoming this development and mandating me to pro-actively pursue it.
Concerning the Lapanday Proposal:
• Considering that the terms of reference (TOR) of the Lapanday Proposal had developed from and initially offered five hectares to eleven hectares, (including one hectare for a “community church”) and from an initially offered donation of PHP 25 million to PHP 50 million with an option to purchase three more hectares at a reduced rate, on the condition that the ADDU begin operating a school there by 2014, the Board showed appreciation for the offer and a general willingness to accept it.
• My position was it would be good to accept the proposal. A new campus for basic education in the north of Davao would solve the problem of traffic that plagues our administrators, teachers and students who live in the north of Davao but who must go daily to Matina. It would also increase the number of ADDU-trained high-school graduates going to our college.
• The SBG conducted a Feasibility Study on the project; its result was favorable to the project.
• Archt. Christopher Ong presented his concept of a roll out of the entire school – from Play School to Grade 12. It was well received.
• However, a vague provision no. 11 in the TOR of the proposal concerning the “estate association dues” ADDU would have to pay caused much apprehension on the Board and motivated it to mandate myself to clarify this provision – to see that it is either waived or converted to a voluntary contribution of a reasonable amount to administrative expenses of the project without implication that the ADDU would be part of the Homeowners’ or the Locators’ associations.
• Meanwhile, Fr. Provincial has also informed me that even if this concern can be met through a mutually satisfactory agreement, the project which “receives a donation with a condition” needs the permission of Fr. General in Rome.
• Therefore, I have written LPPI about the concern of the Board.
• Pending the response of LPPI, we shall then apply to Rome for permission for the project through Fr. Provincial.
Based on the recommendations of the ADDU Awards Committee headed by Mr. Benjie Lizada, the Board of Trustees resolved to request His Excellency, Most Rev. Romulo Valles, DD to be the commencement speaker. It also resolved to give the Msgr. Clovis Thibault Award to the Ateneo de Zamboanga University on the occasion of its Centennial Celebration. Finally, it resolved to give the Drs. Jess and Trining dela Paz Award to Kapwa Upliftment Foundation, Inc. for its development projects committed to the creation of a just and humane society living in harmony with its environment.