CRC: Our Future’s Past


It’s true what they say: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

After decades of steady growth in scope and ambition,  the Center for Research and Communication (CRC) was granted university status in 1995, and UA&P emerged to take over the reins of its progenitor’s academic endeavors. CRC, soon after, became a separate body unto its own, keeping on with the pursuits that gave design to its inception. The rest, as they say, is history. The two had become all but separate entities, embarking on their own sets of trails to blaze.


The thing about history is that it has a stubborn tendency of repeating itself.

When UA&P President Dr. Jose Maria Mariano addressed last year’s General Assembly, he outlined steps that defined a vision for the future—steps which, ironically enough, are deeply entrenched in the past. The announcement of CRC’s return to the homestead came with bold new aspirations, and a defining chapter in the University’s history has come full circle.

History is now

“Following agreements recently forged by the governing bodies of the Center for Research and Communication and our University,” Dr. Mariano said, “we can now jointly pursue our university research and communications agenda, and, by CRC’s vigorous collaboration with research institutes that pursue a parallel research agenda, it shall be known as the Asian counterpart of similar endeavors in the Americas and in Europe.”

“CRC shall represent a focus for the UA&P hallmark of ‘Research and Communication,’ and ensure that the edge their forty-three year experience can give our research—data-gathering and incisive analysis of concrete professional issues and current social needs—will remain strong,” he said. Dr. Mariano was referring to one of the University’s three hallmarks: the commitment to  high-level, interdisciplinary research for the good of society and to communicate the results of such research through various media and to varied audiences.

“At the same time,” he added,  ”we shall expand the scope that the CRC has hitherto been known for and shall pursue team effort and a multidisciplinary approach. We shall so that, while deploying the most technical expertise in solving a problem, the results never fail to cast light on the human condition.”

On that note, Dr. Mariano echoed the mission taken up by UA&P from CRC: the fullest development of everything that is human in the individual. That mission holds true now as it did then.

Then

In 1967, two brilliant Harvard graduates set out to fulfill a lifelong dream that, to this day, has remained part of the very fabric of the University. Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao and Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas, soon after their return from their doctoral studies, established CRC as a private, not-for-profit think-tank that catered to private sector businesses by analyzing developments in the business economic environment and translating their implications on business strategy.

 The venture started out small and inconspicuous, but gradually expanded as the team was joined by other economists. Together, they discovered a greater role in the grand scheme of Philippine society, and a need that this new endeavor was suited to fulfill. Traditional economics training in the country at that time was simply too focused on economic analysis for the purpose of government policy-formulation while largely ignoring the concerns of businessmen. CRC, wanting to engage future economists with the tangible concerns and viewpoints of business, drew up a training curriculum that became the blueprint for the Center’s first foray into the world of academe: the Master of Science in Industrial Economics (IEP).

The IEP program was, of course, just the beginning. Through the years, the Center diversified its academic interests especially in the fields of Education, Humanities, and Communications until it culminated in 1995 as UA&P.

Now

At its core, much has remained the same. CRC continues to function as UA&P’s central research office that is engaged in pursuing research and communication projects in line with the university research agenda.

As the University Credo states, “Research at UA&P aims, above all, at a synthesis of humanistic, professional, scientific, and technical knowledge, inspired by a Christian view of man.” It also provides some essential services of university-wide application to support and encourage the development of the other academic units’ research agenda.

Another key difference that distinguishes CRC’s work from that of other similar research institutions is the focal point of its thrust. The Center gives priority to areas of research that maximize the contribution to the common good of Philippine society, of those officials of government, business and civil society who will make use of the findings of research to design their respective policies and programs of action. To this end, CRC professionals conduct a number of continuing research on the roots of and solutions to Philippine poverty, socio-economic costs and benefits of exporting Filipino manpower abroad, the multiplier effects of the tourism sector, and similar topics related to the integral human development of Filipinos.

CRC also aims to help form responsible citizenry that can judge policies on the basis of their wisdom rather than populist appeal. Remaining a non-stock, non-profit public policy research institution, the Center undertakes research with the purpose of making current issues understood by decision-makers in business, government, and civil society who can translate progressive ideas into action. #

First published in UNIVERSITAS February 2011. Text by Mr. Carlo Cabrera.