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ATTY. DOMINGO Y. REYES, JR., A BREATH OF FRESH AIR AT PLM’S HELM

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As the 11th President of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) everyone already knows Atty. Domingo Y. Reyes, Jr.’s public profile where he received his Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Management, with Highest Academic Distinction, from Centro Escolar University, his Juris Doctor from Manuel L. Quezon University, and his Master of Laws from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

 

As such, Atty. Reyes has likewise an impressive professional background of being a special assistant to the Chancellor at De La Salle College of St. Benilde and special assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Academics. He is also a Correspondent Lawyer and Psychologist, and has worked as a Human Resource Manager in various private companies.

 

Upon knowing all of this, so what sets him apart from all the other past presidents of PLM?  And, why did I say that he is a “breath of fresh air” in this learning institution I have been a faculty member for 26 years to date?  Well, for starters Atty. Reyes is the first president in my 26 years of teaching that personally greeted me on my birthday — and this was not just your “token” greeting with a proforma message but a sincere birthday wishes to which when I replied he promptly answered back with such kindness.  This may be for some a “small gesture” but phenomenologically bears such profound meaning.

 

To greet someone (as in my case a part-time faculty member; and please take note of the word “part-time”) vis-à-vis Atty. Reyes’ schedule implies that he values everyone under his leadership; and that spending his valuable time to acknowledge my existence means that he genuinely cares for my welfare and being; and honestly that was touching.  I do not work “full time” at PLM thus working with him was not on a regular basis nor do I work in his inner MANCOM circle; so, it is perfectly understandable not to be greeted by him but to my surprise I received this warm greeting.  It felt like an experience with a shepherd who would leave his ninety-nine sheep and search for the lost one until he found it. Then, with joy in his heart, he would put it on his shoulders, take it home, and tell his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him, because he had found his lost sheep (cf. Luke 15:4-7; Matthew 18:10-14).

 

Honestly, the only chance I had to meet him was in the university lobby (which was so early in the morning) where he welcomes those with morning classes. Such an encounter was really heartwarming not just because he comes to school early everyday (and not just for Monday’s flag ceremony) but because you see him with that smile on his lips wishing you the very best for the day.  Atty. Reyes is likewise so cordial with the students wishing to have a “selfie” with him. I guess when you were a “classroom” teacher like him, the position does not negate the fatherly disposition he had during those “teaching days”.  His presence among the university students brings the Latin phrase “loco-parentis” its true embodiment — to which all the public photos you will see will testify to it.

 

Another notable thing you will notice with Atty. Reyes is his daily inspirational message matched with a picture of a flower and/or an orchid.  Being savvy in the use of his social media accounts (using his Facebook and LinkedIn pages) he would inspire and reach out to as many people each day by sharing vignettes of wisdom. These short but motivating daily insights is how he would impart food for thought each and every single day. I don’t know if he still has time to do classroom teaching but I find it to be an innovative way of still being actively engaged in the teaching-learning process. This just gets to prove that you can never stop a great classroom teacher from what he loves doing — imparting wisdom and knowledge.

 

As what I have said, these daily messages are matched with pictures of flowers (and I would love to know if these flowers have symbolical parallelism to the message for the day) but what I can appreciate is his love for “nature”; and you know that Atty. Reyes is indeed an environmentalist because amidst all the infrastructure developments at PLM, our university Garden was his priority — a sustainable development initiative made flesh.  His “Sonny Side Up Farm Garden” in Sitio Balite, Alfonso, Cavite is likewise a living testament to his kinship to nature and its marvels.  I can only surmise that the use of such pictures vis-à-vis his daily food for thought with Prayer is to remind us the quality of our thoughts gives shape to quality of life around us.  To quote Psychology Today, “What you take in from the environment through your belief filter becomes your self-concept. Your self-concept is made up of I am beliefs about who you are presently, and I can beliefs about who you are capable of being in the future. From these I am and I can statements you create stories and narratives about who you are, that you tell yourself and other people all day long”.

 

So, as PLM charts its journey towards its 60th Founding Anniversary in 2025, I see a bright and strong future ahead with Atty. Domingo Y. Reyes, Jr. at its helm.  Allow me to end this article with one of Atty. Reyes’ daily quotes … “LET NOT LIFE FRUSTRATIONS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS, FEELINGS OF ENTITLEMENT BE EXCUSES FOR ARROGANCE AND RUDENESS. OBSERVE CIVILITY, POLITENESS AND KINDNESS AT ALL TIMES DESPITE THE UNDERSIRABLE FEELINGS THAT WE ARE UNDERGOING. Lord, feelings of inadequacy, our low self-esteem, and the challenges we face daily and our feelings of entitlement make us to consciously and unconciously manifest rude and arrogant behaviors in our interactions with others which result to causing hurt, misunderstanding and even conflict. Father God, let not our insecurities get in the way of civility. Let not our life’s disappointments and frustrations be excuses for rudeness. And let not our feeling of entitlement result in arrogant behavior. We are sorry and as we ask for forgiveness, make us be mindful always of the language we use and the behavior we manifest so as not to cause us to commit acts rudeness to the people we meet and encounter regardless of our bad feelings, relationship and stature. Grant us the grace to observe civility, politeness and kindness at all times despite the undesirable feelings that we are undergoing”.

————————-oOo——————————

 

For any personal comments or suggestions, you may call or text at 09174805585 or email me at [email protected].

 

 

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