Last January 13, 2017 (Friday), the Office of the Vice-Rector hosted a seminar on privacy and protocol for all administrative and academic officials of the University, at the Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P. Building.

In his welcome address, the Rector of the University, the Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., PhD, underscored that UST’s age carries with it the responsibility of “gaining headway and set the highest standards in terms of academic achievement, moral formation, intellectual and cultural advancement, research productivity, internationalization, community development, and systems enhancement. The things that we do and the manner by which we do them speak of the level of professionalism from the support staff to the institution’s top administrators.”

The Rector, whose message was read by the Vice-Rector, Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., PhD, said that “we actually take pride in the UST way of doing things because for us, genuine professionalism means achieving the highest level of professionalism and elegance.”

On this note, the seminar touched on two vital and timely points: data privacy due to the implementation of the 2012 Data Privacy Act and the increasing dependence on technology, as well as protocol, due to the adoption of internationalization as a strategic directional area, which has thrust the University into the international academic scene and established linkages with foreign counterparts at an unprecedented pace within the last three years.

Privacy
Presenting “The Salient Provisions of the Data Privacy Act,” the Privacy Commissioner and Chairman of the National Privacy Commission, the Hon. Raymund E. Liboro, UST Junior High School Batch 1983 alumnus, talked about the “five commandments” of data privacy act. Among the points raised by Chairman Liboro were the need to appoint a data protection officer within the University, to assess possible data privacy risks, implement protection strategies, and prepare for different forms of breaches.

Liboro assured the University of the NPC’s commitment to help the country become proactive and conscious with regard to data privacy concerns, in order to avoid breaches and violations.

Following Liboro’s presentation, the NPC’s Privacy Policy Office Director, Hon. Atty. Jamael A. Jacob, presented the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Data Privacy Act and Its Implication to University Operations and emphasized three general principles when a person or institution is processing data of intended subjects: (1) transparency); (2) legitimate purppose; and (3) proportionality.

Protocol
Office of Public Affairs director Giovanna V. Fontanilla talked to the administrators about “Protocol in an Administrative Setting: Insights and Initiatives.”

Fontanilla walked the administrators through the entire process of receiving guests and hosting events—from planning to implementation to post-event evaluation—using as backdrops the visits of high-profile personalities: Pope Francis and Queen Sofia, as well as foreign dignitaries.

An expected output following the seminar is the UST Protocol guidebook, which will be crafted based on sound protocol practices, localized and contextualized to the University context, as lived through the experiences of the different units. In crafting the guidebook, Fontanilla introduced the “PR (press release / public relations) conversations” initiative, in which the public affairs team will sit down with the different units before and/or after events in order to assess experiences with regard to receiving guests.

Likewise, “Protocol Fundamentals and Global Best Practices related to Social Engagements” were presented by Amb. (Ret.) Laura Q. del Rosario, who was the Chairperson of the Senior Officials Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2015 in the Philippines.

Ambassador del Rosario went into details of seating arrangements, handshakes, introductions, table setting, and dressing up, among others, using her sterling years of service in diplomacy as a background.

“Protocol is inflexible because it must be predictable; regardless of who the sitting official is, he will be able to anticipate what will happen because it is predictable,” Ambassador del Rosario emphasized, stating that this is the case with members of the diplomatic corps.

Frontliners
In his closing message, Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., PhD, the Vice-Rector of the University, enjoined administrators to take to heart the inputs from the speakers, as administrators “are the frontliners of the institution.”

Protection of personal data, the Vice-Rector said, is a matter that should not be taken lightly and that “we at the individual and institutional levels have a responsibility to safeguard these data.”