By Ivan Kurt M. Monasterial
In this exclusive interview, we sat down with Ms. Maria Evelyn R. Dilig, a long-time member of the Office of International Linkages (OIL) at the University of the Philippines, under its mother unit, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Ms. Dilig shared her experiences and insights, shedding light on the history of OIL and the transformation it has undergone over the years. From its humble beginnings to its current state, Ms. Dilig provides a unique perspective on the office’s evolution and her role within it.
Ms. Dilig joined OIL on September 1, 1996, when the office was still in its nascent stage. At that time, OIL was a small unit, led by Dr. Josefina Natividad. The office comprised only a director and a staff of five, including Ms. Dilig. She was the key staff and one of the backbones of their small team as the office’s appointed Special Disbursement Officer last 15 June 2009, handling internal funds essential to daily office functions. She was later appointed as the Administrative Coordinator of OIL last 2011, and later on, promoted to Administrative Officer on 25 March 2013 until the present. In addition to this, Ms. Dilig also held a key role as the Active Human Resource Management Assistant (AHRMA) for 1 year last 2009 during a time when the office only had 3 members. Their office was located at the Mezzanine, First Floor, North Wing of the Quezon Hall, serving as a hub for their institutional linkage efforts.
During her appointment as AHRMA from June 2009 – 2010, she assisted the Director/AVPAA in various operations, including implementing the student exchange program, maintaining updated data on UP foreign students, monitoring memoranda of agreements, coordinating academic activities, and overseeing communications and document flow.
Before that, Ms. Dilig started as a clerk, assisting with administrative tasks and providing clerical support. She also held the vital role of Records Officer for the office. After a year, Ms. Dilig was promoted to Administrative Assistant II, expanding her responsibilities significantly. Some of her added duties included drafting letters, maintaining files, disseminating scholarship announcements, handling payment for utilities and bills, assisting with student orientations and conferences, and conducting property inventory when necessary. Although her primary focus was on administrative tasks, Ms. Dilig played a crucial role in supporting the program’s overall objectives.
During Ms. Dilig’s early years with OIL, the office primarily focused on establishing linkages with both foreign and local universities and institutions. The core program aimed to foster collaborations and academic exchanges in various forms, including faculty and student exchanges, short-term academic programs and visits, and the exchange of academic materials. Ms. Dilig played an instrumental role in assisting with the administrative aspects of implementing these initiatives.
With over two decades of service, Ms. Dilig now holds the position of Administrative Officer within OIL. As the office has evolved, so have her responsibilities. She continues to provide essential administrative support services to OIL and the team. With her experience and dedication, Ms. Dilig contributes to the office’s overall efficiency and effectiveness.
When asked about her aspirations for the future of OIL, Ms. Dilig expressed her desire to see the office maintain its commitment to providing economical, efficient, and effective administrative support services. She understands the value of a well-functioning administrative backbone in ensuring the success of OIL’s initiatives and the satisfaction of its stakeholders.
Ms. Dilig’s journey with the Office of International Linkages spans several transformative years. From its humble beginnings as a small unit with limited resources to its present-day form, OIL has grown into an integral part of the university’s international engagements. Through her administrative expertise and unwavering commitment, Ms. Dilig has played a vital role in the development and success of OIL. As the office continues to evolve, her dedication remains steadfast, ensuring a bright future for OIL and its endeavors.