BAYBAY CITY, Leyte — The big man of VSU had stepped down after a good eight years of shared stewardship. Lots have been accomplished in his administration and with no doubt, students surely missed the times when he sings during his speeches. Yes, those times when we still had the chance to freely sing along with him, all out of tune. It was hard for him leaving, but it was harder for us being left behind. But what soothed us were not handkerchiefs to wipe out tears but the last words he uttered, where he said that there is no need to bid our goodbyes for he will still be here. Instead, we must welcome him back to where he truly belongs.
So the question lies, “How is the Big Man of VSU doing after his presidency?”
In an exclusive interview with Sir Joe, he said that we may not see him very often, but he still is with us within the vicinity of our beloved university. He is back to his job as a coordinator in strategic research and extension just like the old good times and is now leading the regional consortium for R&D in Eastern Visayas.
“It's nice to be home and I'm happy to be back. My heart is really in research and extension. Research is what makes Visayas State University (VSU) stand out among all other SUCs,” he said proudly.
“That is my concern. There are no regrets but only memories. This is like a déjà vu. I'm still holding the same office and I can say, same staff.” he added with a laugh at the last two words of his statement. I suppose nothing much has changed when he returned back to his research work.When he was still the president, he admits that he took the position as a job. It's not something he has to crave for and hold on. In fact, it's work for the love of the university because what he is right now, he owes it to the institution who gave him the opportunity to be someone someday.
When asked about the things he truly missed when he was still the president, he answered, ”Each one would like to have influence on what's going on in the campus. Then you see something, you want to influence and then you've realized that you are not in the position anymore. You only have with you your prayers.”
Though he doesn't have the power anymore, he has high hopes and confidence with the current administration. And yes, he also does have his visions with the university.
“Dr. Tulin is a good president. I know he is good. Also, he listens. He is a good replacement -- someone who continues my work,” he said. “There are aspects that the university moved forward and there are aspects that regressed. But I would describe that this is a learning course. Because when you are new, you have hesitations to command. You don't know whom or whose attention to call. Later, I think, the flow will just be smooth,” he added.
He remembered how hard it was to sustain the university. “To sustain the university is harder than to build the university. I always remind people that we are just stewards. You take care of something that you don't own. We might have disagreements in some issues, but the bottom line is we have a university to take care of,” he explained.
He added the expression he got from the Southern State which goes, “There is no time to kill. Time continues its course. You cannot kill time. You cannot waste time. But you are wasting yourselves.” Indeed, VSU has grown so much with him being on the ground during his term.
Not only that: Sir Joe kept his fire burning always. His achievements did not end with his eight years of shared stewardship. His term ended, but his journey continues. On December 19, 2016, he was hailed by the Philippines' Civil Service Commission (CSC) as one of the 2016 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Awardees held at the Malacanang Palace for being the catalyst in the transformation of VSU as a premier educational institution in the field of instruction, research and extension, and technology transfer.
In his words, his life after his presidency is more relaxed and less stressful. He even got compliments that he's younger right now which made his eyes wrinkle as he displayed a laugh about the idea.
Well, he's home and nothing could ever make the Big Man of VSU happier than going back to where his heart truly belongs.