Climate Change Scientist, Leader & Evangelist

alum CRUZWe must look at Rex Victor Cruz under quite a different light, because even as he is an alumnus of UP Los Baños, he is currently Chancellor, and as such he is leading the University in the present and into the future.

What happened to his Vision for the University as "One Goal, One Destiny, One University" after his assumption to the post of Chancellor on 01 November 2011? Where is the University now?

What the Chancellor of the University has been doing should be of concern to all Alumni because his activities, his approaches, and his accomplishments determine the present and the future of not only the graduates but also that of Philippine agriculture. After all, much of the manpower of public and private institutions comes from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. This is a reality that has been ignored for the last 100 years by the University itself.

Happily, Nestlé Philippines has just intimated to us the value of erudition in agriculture, by launching its Nescafé Coffee University of the Philippines Scholarship (Nescafé Cups) (ANN, 29 May 2013, sunstar.com.ph). Business Executive Manager Christophe Stern for Nescafé and Chancellor Rex Victor Cruz for UPLB signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on the 8th of May 2013. Nescafé plans to have trained 90,000 coffee farmers by the year 2020 so that it can source from the Philippines 75% of its coffee by then, compared to 30% today. Stern hoped that Nescafé Cups "will help generate interest in agriculture among the youth, especially coffee farming."

We have to pay more scholarly attention to agriculture! And to the youth!

Last year, Rex submitted a report to the Alumni titled "One Year of UPLB: One Goal, One Destiny, One University" subtitled "Preliminary Accomplishment Report 2011-2012" published in the yearbook of the 94th UPLB Loyalty Day And Alumni Homecoming (10 October 2012), where he said:

UPLB remains to be one of the premier tertiary educational and research universities in the country. The external review Team of UPLB in 2009, however, found that it had lost considerable ground to our peer institutions in the Asian Region in the past years. Hence, we pursued programs and initiatives to regain its premier position as a recognized educational institution in the Region.

UP Los Baños is no longer #1 in Asia.

We are now at various stages of implementing our strategic plans to address the challenges of improving the levels of our productivity outputs, attracting the best students to our undergraduate degrees, and increasing our graduate enrolment.

Enrollment at the College of Agriculture of UP Los Baños has been dwindling over the years.

Foremost among our initiatives is to enhance our ability to provide an enabling environment for teaching through facilities that would put us in the ranks of world-class research universities. We are now closely working with the UP System for the implementation of eUP towards better operational efficiency and excellence in the outputs from our core functions of teaching, research, and public service.

For UP Los Baños, higher efficiency along with excellence is a mountain to climb higher than Mt Makiling.

Rex knows about Mt Makiling much because he is a BS Forestry graduate of the UP College of Forestry (now the UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources), and CFNR is based on the slopes of this storied mountain, the laboratory of student forest rangers and foresters.

In April 2001, he received the Mancono Award as the Most Outstanding Alumnus of the CFNR. The Mancono is the highest award given to a forestry professional in the Philippines.

Rex obtained his PhD in Watershed Management from the University of Arizona, USA in 1990.

He was a member of the Working Group II of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as Coordinating Lead Author of the 4th Assessment Report (zoominfo.com). Now then, I know Rex Victor Cruz can rightfully share honor for his IPCC work, as the IPCC did share award, with former US Vice President Al Gore, the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2007.

He is a member of the UPLB Interdisciplinary Committee on Climate Change and was responsible for leading the vulnerability and adaptation assessment for the forestry sector as a contribution to the preparation of the Philippine Second National Communication to be submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Previously he had several other projects on climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessment in several parts of the Philippines. He has also completed a wide array of research and development projects in watershed and forest management (zoominfo.com).

Before he became Chancellor, he was Dean of the CFNR and the Director of the CFNR Environmental Forestry Programme.

He was proclaimed the new and 8th Chancellor of UPLB by the UP Board of Regents on 29 September 2011; he assumed office on 01 November 2011; his term ends 31 October 2014.

Rex was a member of the 2012 National Selection Committee for the Galing Pook Awards, a pioneering program that "recognizes innovation and excellence in local governance" (galingpook.org). The Awards started in 1993 as a collaboration of the Local Government Academy (based on the campus of UP Los Baños) of the Department of Interior & Local Government, Ford Foundation and individual advocates of good governance from the academe, civil society, and government.

Even as Chancellor, he is Chair of the Board of REACH Ministries International (RMI), Philippines (reachmin.com). In the just-concluded (29 April-01 May 2013) Yutang Saad 2 (YS2), a family regional conference held in Samal, Davao Province, Rex spoke of "the major task ahead of us - Explosive Evangelism and Infiltrative Disciple Making - Before Christ's Second Coming." A Christian denomination, RMI is "dedicated to the disciple making ministry in Third-World countries" and has these commitments: (1) to the whole person, (2) to the poor, (3) to indigenous leadership, and (4) to disciple making.

I just checked with the dictionaries in The Free Dictionary, and I find that only one, my favorite American Heritage Dictionary, has a definition for infiltrative, adjective for the process of gaining entrance gradually, discreetly. So, "Infiltrative Disciple Making" is pioneering, original.

That tells me Rex is a risk-taker. No wonder, in his report to the Alumni that I cited above, Rex also said, "We are looking at nanotechnology and astrophysics as potential areas of expansion." For me, the astral phenomenon I'm interested in has something to do less with the Stars and more with Heaven. And so I think it is for Rex.

For all that, I say Rex Victor Cruz is a unique fusion of a climate change scientist, management change leader, and Christian change evangelist. With my own unique vision, I love it that in him, there cannot be a separation of Church and State University!

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