Appoint Atty. Leo B. Malagar as UP Cebu Chancellor

Appoint Atty. Leo B. Malagar as UP Cebu Chancellor

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Why this petition matters

The University of the Philippine Cebu needs a leader, a chancellor, who has the personal characteristics and professional qualities Atty. Leo B. Malagar possesses. Leo, or Dodong Leo as he is known, is one of the brightest stars UP Cebu has produced. 

Leo is an exemplar of the truism that an excellent education can help an industrious person achieve economic and social progress and help lift the quality of life of those around him, if not the greater community he belongs to. What is remarkable is that Dodong Leo’s keeps himself firmly rooted in his family’s humble economic background. This is where he sees the sheer honesty and industry of his working-class parents who encouraged and supported him in acquiring the best education that his parents were unable to get for themselves. This very upbringing has provided Dodong Leo a wider perspective of society and politics, which eventually made him pursue a political science degree in UP Cebu. Along with excellence and integrity, Dodong Leo nurtured a big heart for the people he identifies with. 

Dodong Leo is a hardworking, highly disciplined, and highly intelligent person. He was consistently at the top of his class from elementary to post-graduate school, securing highly competitive generous scholarships that allow him to be the best lawyer, scholar, corporate executive, and public servant that he is now. 

While a college student in UP Cebu, he showed the same industry, discipline, and brilliance while striking a perfect balance between his academics and extra-curricular activities. He was also a student worker, working as student assistant in UP Cebu’s administrative offices, to augment his family’s limited financial resources to support his education, while he held top positions in various student organizations. He was a responsible and highly looked-up to student leader. He was as associate editor, and then managing editor, of the college students’ publication, Tug-Ani; councilor and was elected chair of the UP Visayas University Student Council (UPV-USC); chairperson of the UP Cebu College Student Council; and was a very active member of the Freedom from Debt Coalition in Cebu.  

Dodong Leo graduated with an Outstanding Student award from UP Cebu and nationally, as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines in 1991. The faculty, the students, and staff in UP Cebu loved Dodong Leo that they were very delighted when he joined the faculty of UP Cebu right after his graduation from college (1991-1993).

No one is surprised when Dodong Leo got admitted into the prestigious UP College of Law in 1993. Here he continued to excel in his academic and extra-curricular life, becoming a champion debater recognized in the country and abroad. A powerful and articulate speaker, Dodong Leo has a calm voice and relaxed composure that while he commands respect, he does not exude intimidating or condescending authority especially to those working under him. 

Folks who know Dodong Leo personally and professionally were very proud when he became a member of the Board of Regents representing the entire student body of the University of the Philippines. As a student leader, Dodong Leo always spoke with clarity and directness with the conscious aim of facilitating understanding and avoiding often pointless highfalutin intellectual arguments.

Dodong Leo’s global perspective in life is reflected in his post-graduate academic pursuits. He attended the University College London Faculty of Laws for his Master of Laws in Corporate and Commercial Laws. His academic and professional experience has made him an expert in the intersecting fields of law in business and industrial relations, workers’ welfare, innovation management, industrial and information technology, telecommunications, as well as laws in international intellectual property and international economics.

Dodong Leo is always the scholar/practitioner, balancing academic/teaching, private practice in addition to public service. For example, he is a faculty lecturer in De La Salle University, Head/AVP of Smart Communications, and Assistant Director of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (until 2019). He is Deputy National Statistician of the Civil Registration and Central Support Office, which is part of his duties as the Philippine Statistics Authority Assistant Secretary. 

At the presentation of the nominees’ agenda as prospective chancellor of UP Cebu, Dodong Leo identified the core of his mission: to make the invisible – the marginalized groups in our society such as the women, children, the poor, indigenous peoples, the landless – visible. He plans to realize this by strengthening the University’s role as a leader in the community in providing excellent education and outreach programs. Relevance in society through community service, as Dodong Leo points out, is a great and historic UP tradition as the standard bearing national university. However, he emphasizes that this must be done out of compassion and genuine concern for the welfare of others, including within the University.

Dodong Leo’s Proposed Plans and Programs do not prescribe reinventing the wheel, but it gives a very premium on the UP ideal of having a student population that reflects the social stratification in our society: More students from the low-income, working class who cannot afford quality education with adequate support through public-private efforts. Another crucial element is on democratic governance, which he proposed to address by conducting regular town hall meets between and among UP Cebu stakeholders using all possible venues that ensure accessibility and meaningful participation. Last, but not least, Dodong Leo reinforces UP Cebu’s leadership in research and innovation, with a specific niche in the local, regional, national, and global scientific community. 

In this time of greater connectivity, thanks to technology, but ever-widening economic inequality worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters, UP Cebu needs a well-rounded professional with established networks, just like Atty. Leo B. Malagar who has an extensive experience in optimizing and leveraging the strengths of UP Cebu in strengthening existing and making new partnerships with local, national, and global entities, be it private, public, and non-government institutions.

Dodong Leo not only has the technical knowledge and skills to steer the proverbial ship to its destination, but also and most importantly, the ability to provide a safe space for faculty, students, and administrative staff to speak out and be heard. This is key to nurturing a healthy environment built on trust, cooperation, and mutual benefit. UP Cebu is in dire need of this kind of leadership with the moral compass to take on the challenges that it shall inherit from its predecessors. Dodong Leo’s inherent calmness, accessible and compassionate demeanor, professional discipline and mathematical objectivity make him the best person for the job of a UP Cebu Chancellor.

It is, therefore, with great pride and honor that we, who consider ourselves members of the UP Cebu community, ask the Honorable Members of the Board of Regents to appoint Atty Leo B. Malagar as the Chancellor of UP Cebu.

UP Cebu Prof. Weena Jade Gera (UP Cebu Vice-Chancellor) nominated Atty Malagar, which was then strongly endorsed by UP Cebu Professor Emeritus Felisa Etemadi.

Here are the links to Atty. Leo B. Malagar's CV and Vision Paper

This petition is created to gather support from members of the UP Cebu alumni, and current and past faculty members and administrative staff whose names and contact information appear below. Thank you and Mabuhay ang UP!

479 have signed. Let’s get to 500!