Let’s support PRMSU bill!

| By Danilo V. Rogayan Jr.

The Ramon Magsaysay Technological University (RMTU), the only state university in the province of Zambales, is now facing a momentous turning point and is gearing itself in the gargantuan change to happen. Over the years, RMTU has inflicted positive transformations not only in the province of Zambales but also in the entire region and in the country as higher education institution. As a university, it has provided instruction to young Zambaleños and has also undertaken research, extension and production to uplift the lives of the community people.

PRMSU bill In consonance, Dr. Cornelio C. Garcia, RMTU president, has started embedding changes in almost all aspects of the university since his assumption to office on March 21, 2013. One of the transformations he has started doing is the move to rename RMTU to Pres. Ramon Magsaysay State University (PRMSU). The said metamorphosis is being made possible with the support of Cong. Cheryl P. Deloso-Montalla, Representative of the Second District of Zambales. The lady solon has introduced House Bill No. 3490 which seeks to rename RMTU into PRMSU and broaden it as a premier institution of higher learning in the province of Zambales and in the entire Central Luzon.

House Bill No. 3490, otherwise known as “President Ramon Magsaysay State University Charter of 2013,” also seeks to amend Republic Act No. 8498 wherein RMTU was established as a state university in order to “primarily provide instructions, undertake research and extension, and provide advanced studies and progressive leadership in agriculture, forestry, engineering, technology, education, arts, sciences, humanities, and other fields as may be relevant to the development of the province” of Zambales.

Trailing back its history, RMTU is an amalgamation of three public education institutions in the province of Zambales which was established by virtue of Republic Act 8498, enacted on February 12, 1998. The RMTU Charter merged the former Ramon Magsaysay Polytechnic College (RMPC) established in 1910 in Iba, the Western Luzon Agricultural College (WLAC) founded in 1927 in San Marcelino and the Candelaria School of Fisheries (CSF) established  in Candelaria in 1965. The strengths of its parent-institutions served as springboard for accelerated institutional growth and development.

RMTU is mandated by law “to perform all kinds of academic activities within the commerce of man. However, the enabling law for the creation and operation of RMTU does not provide the necessary latitude for the state university to become abreast with other institutions of higher learning,” the PRMSU bill reads. The bill also asserts that with the rapid technological and scientific advancements at present, new ideas come to fore by the minute. Access to this information is beyond the current financial and technological capability of RMTU. Moreover, PRMSU bill avers that “only with a redesigned and redefined charter that RMTU can become at par with other public and private tertiary education institutions in the region and in the country.”

Henceforth, the proposed charter “will provide RMTU with the necessary elbow room to reformulate its academic offerings and instructions. Infusion of yearly allocation for the conduct of democratic and secular academic and vocational instructions is another feature of the bill that will hopefully allow RMTU to reach new and greater heights.”

As stakeholders, let us earnestly support the immediate passage of PRMSU bill if we want the university to become a premier university of science & technology, and eventually be transformed into a stronger and more comprehensive chartered state university!

Full text of the bill here. 

RMTU 2012: Solidifying its Strategic Vision for Sustainable Development and Climate Change Adaptation

(Speech delivered by Hon. Teofilo Q. Inocencio, DAR Regional Directorof Central Luzon during the 12th Commencement Exercises of the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University (RMTU) South Campuses)


Sa ating pinakamamahal na University President, Dr. Feliciano S. Rosete, Faculty at Staff ng Ramon Magsaysay Technological University, mga magulang, mga estudyante, lalo’t higit sa ating mga graduates, isang magandang umaga sa inyong lahat.

Kung sa nagdaang apat na taon, naging bida ang mga guro dahil sa mahalaga nilang papel sa paghubog ng kabihasnan at kalinangan sa inyo, ngayong umagang ito hayaan ninyong bigyan natin ng pugay ang mga graduates dahil sa kanilang matagumpay na pagharap sa mga hamon ng buhay bilang mag-aaral ng Unibersidad na ito.

Exactly 39 years ago today, I also dreamed of attaining a high degree of education with a bright future always in mind. It has always been my belief, as I still hold dear now, that education is a valuable means to transform one’s ideals and dreams into a reality not only for oneself but for the country as well. And today, I must proudly say that having served the government for more than three decades, that dream has now become a reality!

Indeed, your commencement program’s theme may be lofty in its vision, its dream of sustainable development but very realistic in the truest sense. For how can we achieve real growth and progress when our mother earth, the environment, is not truly cherished. The painful lessons of the past bringing death and destruction to the human population as a consequence of human neglect visible in forest destruction and denudation, water and pollution, etc. should move our hearts and minds together to consider proactive and lasting solutions in protecting and caring for the environment.

Just recently, Pres. Noynoy Aquino signed into law the National Greening Program of the government that seeks to germinate and propagate various species of trees to the tune of 1.5 billion trees in six years time beginning 2011. This is a convergence initiative program involving the DENR, DAR and DA. The vision is to cover as much area as possible, from cliffs to the plains and the rivers or seas, where trees are not just planted and literally left on their own but are taken care of consistently and responsibly until they reach the stage of maturity capable enough to protect and save our mother earth. With this vision, hills and mountains, forests and the fields, riverbeds and shores will be at the forefront of protecting natural and human resources against calamities or nature’s harm. Under this dream, everybody – meaning all sectors of society are expected to pour in their contributions in any way possible. What is at stake after all is the Philippine population.

In the same token, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Laguna has developed rice varieties that can withstand worst flooding that may afflict the countryside. Initial test results have shown inspiring anecdotes and in the very near future these rice varieties will be made available for every farmer living in flood-prone areas especially in Region 3.

What this indicates is the fact that with the fast changing environment brought about by climate change, the Filipino people will not stop at developing ways and means to strike a balance between changing phenomenon and human adaptation. And within this perspective, the academic community where you belong has a particular role to integrate human values in the classroom setting aimed at fortifying our resoluteness to care and protect for our dear environment.

My dear parents and graduates, this sense of purpose starts with a clear vision. Allow me then to share my personal experience.

As the regional director of DAR in Region III for the past six years, and having held various positions before, climbing one step of the ladder to the next so to speak, transforming farmers’ lives into agents of change has become more than just a passion, more than just a vision. I must say that helping farmers attain competitive edge among other sectors in our society has evolved to be my vocation, a particular commitment to serve the underprivileged, oftentimes at the expense of my own biological family. Through the years, I must admit that the family I truly cherish now in my heart includes the farmers and their own families and communities.

At this point, I must confess that attaining this dream is not a walk-in-the-park. Before joining DAR in 1990, I first worked as a senior agriculturist at the Department of Agriculture.  This is where I trace my connectivity with the farmers. And for the past six years that I’ve served as regional director for DAR in Central Luzon, the region has consistently surpassed its land acquisition and distribution or LAD targets. 2005 was the most remarkable as Region III registered a 119% accomplishment in LAD given its 5000-hectare target for that year.

As you might have known by now, Agrarian Reform in the Philippines traces its roots with the enactment of RA 3844 in 1963 by then President Diosadado Macapagal. This law sought to institute land reforms in the Philippines including the abolition of tenancy. Nine years later or in 1972, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos decreed the emancipation of tenants from the bondage of the soil through PD 27. And 16 years later or in June 15, 1988, the return of democracy in the country paved the way for the passage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program or CARP by President Corazon Aquino through RA 6657. This law covers all agricultural lands regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produced. In 1995, RA 7905 was passed strengthening the implementation of CARP. Three years later or in 1998, the lifespan of CARP was extended for another ten years through RA 8532 by Pres. Fidel Ramos. And true enough, Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo passed into law RA 9700 in 2009 giving CARP another five years for its full and final implementation until 2014.

It might interest you if I may be allowed to state for the record the state of agrarian reform in Central Luzon from its newborn stage in 1963 to its full-blown implementation in the name CARP until last year. For thus purpose, we will only dwell on the physical component of CARP, meaning, the transfer of ownership of agricultural lands in the hands of its program beneficiaries through the Certificates of Land Ownership awards or CLOAs.

Your DAR in the central plains of Luzon is mandated by the Department to distribute around 450, 904 hectares of agricultural lands to its identified program beneficiaries until the expiration of CARP in 2014. Most of these lands are located in Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Pampanga which account for 73% of the 450, 904 hectares. And looking back now, I can humbly say that your DAR in Region III has effectively trimmed down the balance to just about 4% with 434, 101 hectares already distributed to the beneficiaries. The next question now is what are we supposed to do within the less than 3 years of CARP.

My dear graduates and parents, land distribution is not the only parameter where DAR’s performance is ultimately gauged. Developing the full potentials of farmers into highly productive and competitive sector is equally crucial. This is the reason why with the pioneering spirit of your humble servant, the Department crafted the Programang Unlad Nayon Lakas Ani Program or PUNLA to boost farmers’ productivity and income. As a result, the average production of 84 cavans per hectare in palay before has been significantly raised to 108 cavans. And the program’s intense use of certified seeds and organic fertilizer, among others, gradually developed into a national program of DAR.

The use of organic fertilizer alone is a clear example of caring for the environment. Hind po ba kayo nagtataka kung bakit sa mga nagdaang taon ay halos wala tayong nahuhuling palaka sa mga bukid? Dulot po yan ng sobrang paggamit ng kemikal sa ating mga palayan, pansinin ninyo ngayon, dumarami na ang mga palaka na pwedeng pakinabangan sa hapag-kainan.

On a more personal note, yours truly is a farmer by and large. Sa isang maliit na farm sa Concepcion, Tarlac kung saan ako ipinanganak at lmaki, puspusan ko pong ginamit ang teknolohiyang handog ng punla kung saan sa pagitan ng mga pananim na kalamansi ay matutunghayan ang iba’t ibang uri ng gulay para pakinabangan ng aking pamilya at kapitbahay. Hindi po madaling gawin ito lalo na sa dami ng aking trabaho at laki ng responsibilidad sa DAR at pamilya.

Maraming balakid at hadlang along the way. Minsan ay nanghihina ka rin at nawawalan ng lakas ng loob. natural lamang po yan. Sa mga pagkakataong ito, suporta ng pamilya ang nagsilbing inspirasyon para malampasan ko ang anumang unos o bagyo na dumaan sa buhay.

My dear graduates, pamilya rin ang inyong matibay na sandigan tungo sa minimithi ninyong mga pangarap sa buhay. Wika nga nila, “no mountain is too high for a brave and tested climber.” Bawat isa po sa atin ngayon ay maituturing na isang mountain climber. May mga matatayog tayong mga pangarap na nais marating at abutin. But remember, “Vision without action is merely a dream, action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” Ito po ay mga kataga ng isang nagngangalang Joel Barker. At ito rin po ang mga kataga na magsisilbing gabay sa ating pag-akyat sa bundok ng mga pangarap na masasabi kong buhay na buhay sa ating mga nagsisipagtapos ngayon.

Mga minamahal na graduates – our dreams, our visions become meaningless unless and until we put the right fuel in the engine of our own lives – correct attitude, a brave heart, and a real dedication and determination to put the flame of our vision afire.

Transformation, after all, begins with our own selves. We cannot change the world unless we change the ways that do not help us realize our dreams.

I would like to share with you the thoughts of Hannah Arendt. Ang sabi niya, “what really distinguishes this generation from earlier generations is its determination to act, its joy in action, the assurance of being able to change things by one’s own efforts.”

Tila po hindi nagkulang ng paalaala sa atin si Hannah Arendt. Kung tutuusin, ang init at alab ng damdamin na nagliliyab ngayon sa bawat puso ng ating mga nagsisipagtapos para sa inaasam na pagbabago sa buhay sa pamamagitan ng pagsisikap sa pag-aaral ang siyang daan at susi para sa magandang bukas na ating sinisikap na maabot.

This whole process, though, does not happen overnight. Pagod, panahon at pera ang katumbas ng pagbabagong ito. At kadalasan, sakripisyo ng bawat miyembro ng pamilya ang katumbas ng matayog na pangarap na ito. Hindi lingid sa ating kaalaman ang pangingibang-bayan ng mga magulang at mga kapatid o kaanak para matustusan ang pag-aaral ng kanilang mga anak. Hindi rin lingid sa ating kaalaman ang tiyaga at sakripisyo ng isang magsasaka para may maihain ito sa hapag-kainan. Wika nga ng isang kanta, “bawat butil ng palay ay butil ng pawis at dugo.”

Tama po. Pawis at dugo ang siya nating puhunan para sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap tungo sa isang magandang bukas. Ito ang daan na matuwid na nagsisilbing inspirasyon sa atin ng Pangulong Noynoy ngayon. Alam ko po na hindi madali para sa lahat. Pero sa tingin ko po, ito ay hindi imposible kung gugustuhin natin. The desire to transform one’s life towards a better future, towards sustainable development and towards a better society begins with a single step. Wala pong shortcut sa daan na ito!

My dear graduates, the real battle to change or transform the world begins in here and now. Kayo ang simula at sandigan ng pagbabago ng ating bansa. And the process begins now, hindi bukas o makalawa. Ito ang mensahe na tatanggapin nating mga diploma ngayong umagang ito. The end is just about to begin!

            Marami tayong mga inspirasyon para sa laban na ito – ang laban ng pagbabago sa sarili at ng bayan. Kailangan lang nating magmasid, mag-usisa at makialam. Tinitiyak ko po sa inyo na malayo ang ating mararating kung bukas ang ating kaisipan sa tunay na pagbabago na nais marating kakambal ang isang mahinahon na pag-akyat sa ating mga pangarap.

Uulitin ko po, graduation is a meaningful step towards the realization of our dreams, towards a better future, towards a brighter tomorrow!

Once again, congratulations my dear graduates! Pasalamatan natin ang ating mga magulang, ang unibersidad na ito, ang mga guro at lalo’t higit ang Poong Maykapal kung hindi dahil sa kanila ay wala tayo ngayon sa makasaysayang araw na ito!

Sa inyo pong lahat, maraming salamat at magandang umaga!

Rogayan wins bronze in PRA nat’l essay writing tilt

SAN MARCELINO, Zambales – A senior student of Ramon Magsaysay Technological University – San Marcelino Campus has made another significant mark in the university’s history as he won 3rd place in the first ever National Essay Writing Contest sponsored by the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) announced last January 19, 2011 in its official website, pra.gov.ph.

Danilo V. Rogayan Jr., Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSEd) student, proved his writing proficiency as he bested hundreds of entries submitted by other students from the different colleges and universities in the country.

Themed, “Dear Foreign Retiree: Why You Should Retire in My Town,” the said essay writing tilt is held in conjunction with PRA’s nationwide awareness campaign to promote local towns and cities suitable as second homes and retirement destinations for foreign retirees.

Rogayan’s essay entitled “Castillejos… A Haven to Retire, A Home to Reside,” discussed interesting things about his hometown, Castillejos, Zambales, as best retirement destination.

“Looking for an exquisite place where you can live harmoniously through the rest of your life? A haven where you can revisit history and commune with the marvels of nature? A sanctuary where you can get away the commotion of the urban life? A home where you can retire and enjoy the bliss of life with your loved ones?,” commenced Rogayan in his 2000-word essay. “You are surely looking for one of the sprawling towns dotting the mystic province of Zambales. This town that would appease your craving is none other than the Town of Castillejos.”

He likewise exponded in his essay about his town’s “abounding natural treasures, rich cultural heritage, jovial festivities and zestful events, reminiscent historical landmarks and amazing tourist destinations.”

“Retire here in our town for there is no place like Castillejos!,” ended the 20-year old Ramonian in his essay.

Rogayan’s essay was adjudged based on its content, originality, and relevance (40 %); grammar and spelling (20 %); logic and organization, coherence and unity (30 %); and style and presentation (10%).

Meanwhile, James E. Robison, BSEd II, and Michael S. Macabulos, BSEd I, were National Finalists of the said competition.

Other Winners

The 1st PRA essay tilt is divided into two categories: High School Category, and College Category.

In College Category, Justin Colin M. Macalintal of Colegio San Agustin in Biñan, Laguna grabbed the first place with his essay entitled, “Cebu: An Ideal Retirement Destination.”

Placing second was Julienne Clare O. Gregorio of St. Paul University in Quezon City with her masterpiece entitled, “Quezon City, Philippines: A Captivating Urban Haven” while Rogayan landed on third.

Honorable mentions in the College Category include Rose Ann T. Bulandos of Technological University of the Philippines in Dasmariñas, Cavite (“Dasmarinas City: Your Next Home”); Vanessa L. Munda of De La Salle – Lipa in Lipa, Batangas (“An Aromatic Experience”); Alfonso G. Manalastas of Father Saturnino Urios University in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte (“Orange Tricycles”).

Percival Adonis J. Carino III of St. Mary’s College of Tagum in Tagum City, Davao del Norte (“Palm City…Savoring the True Tropical Glory”); and Marwin D. Sarandin of Romblon State University in Odlongan, Romblon (“Romblon: An Island Paradise Unleashing the Reasons Behind Why You Should Retire Here in Romblon”).

In High School Category, Shania Winona Tracey E. Canda of Notre Dame of Dadiangas University in Lagao, General Santos City landed on the highest place with her essay entitled, “A Home.”

Grabbing the second and third places were Richard L. Milante of Shang Kai Shek College in Manila and Adrian Justin DC. Del Rosario of Santa Rosa Science and Technology High School in Santa Rosa, Laguna, respectively, with their essays entitled the same with the contest theme.

Honorable mentions were Jashwin S. Daryanani OF O. B. Montessori Center in Sta. Ana, Manila (“Laoag… A Beauty in Contrast”); Sebastian Fournier of Jose Maria College in Buhangin, Davao City (“Dear Foreign Retiree: Why You Should Retire In My Town”); Ahmad Ghazie Umug of Manila Science High School in Manila (“Mi Ciudad de Zamboanga, an Abode of Peace and Tranquility”).

Arianne R. Pequena of Philippine Science High School, Bicol Campus (“Relishing the Hourglass”) and Jannah Razel Barluado of University of the Immaculate Concepcion in Bajada, Davao City (“Dear Foreign Retiree: Why You Should Retire In My Town”).

What’s behind?

The PRA’s essay writing tilt specifically aims to gather information on the different towns and cities of the Philippines that can be uploaded in the PRA website which will be made available to foreign nationals and investors.

It also aims to promote awareness among youth about the various assets present in their towns and cities.

Moreover, it likewise seeks to develop the research thinking, and communication skills of the youth including the familiarity with correct grammar, spelling, and writing style and to publicize the winning entries, both locally and internationally, thru the different government and private websites.

For each of the High School and College categories, the following prizes will be received: Grand Prize Winner will receive Php50,000.00 and Plaque of Recognition; Second Prize Winner will receive Php30,000.00 and Plaque of Recognition; Third Prize Winner will receive Php20,000.00 and Plaque of Recognition while five Honorable Mention Awardees will receive Php5,000.00 each.

The schools and universities for the High School and College categories will receive the following: Grand Winner will receive Php15,000.00 and Plaque of Recognition; Second Prize Winner will receive Php10,000.00 and Plaque of Recognition; Third Prize Winner will receive Php5,000.00 and Plaque of Recognition.

All monetary prizes are subject to 20% withholding tax.

The top three winners, the five honorable mention awardees, and school representatives of the top three winners from each category shall be required to attend the awarding ceremonies which will be held at the PRA’s office at 29F Citibank Tower, 8741 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City.

The day of the awarding rites is yet to be announced by the authority.

Mr. Stephen Anthony and Ms. Marcia Agnes Kwiecinski, American Nationals; Ms. Chen Yao Jung, Taiwanese National; and Mr. Rene Muller, Swiss National, are the PRA retiree-members who assisted in selecting the top eight winners for each level.

NYC Commissioner reintroduces Rizal

By Danilo V. Rogayan Jr.

BAGUIO CITY – Commissioner-at-Large Percival Vilar Cendaña of the National Youth Commission (NYC) reintroduced Dr. Jose P. Rizal to the delegates of the 49th National Youth Leadership Institute (NRYLI) Conference during his plenary talk held at the Benitez Hall, Teachers Camp here, December 12.

Cendaña, who represented former partylist representative Riza Hontiveros-Barraquiel, discussed about finding new meaning in the life, works and heroism of the national hero.

He echoed a question, “Rizal, where na u?,” to provoke the participants’ consciousness in finding Rizal in each of them.

“Rizal was the first wandering Filipino. He is also an OFW, remitting his knowledge back to the country,” the speaker, who holds NYC Committees on Education and Gender and Development, said.

Likewise, he shared about the Rizal Monument in Rizal Park which was designated as kilometer zero of the nation and tagged it as the heart of the nation and symbol of the nation’s soul and national benchmark.

“Rizal found his heroism through self-discovery. Like him, leaders should also be aware of themselves,” the NYC commissioner stressed.

He also shared his stand in SUCs budget cut and said that there must be an overhaul in the educational system of the country.

“It is interesting to be part of bureaucracy. Governance is best when there is a connection between citizens and the society,” Cendaña said.

He also challenged the participants to be not complacent and to bring out the virtual world into real world.

“Liking a cause online is not yet countering complacency. Go beyond liking a cause,” he enthused.

When asked how he would describe Rizal, he quipped, “he is a problem-solver.”

Cendaña started out as a student leader in the University of the Philippines-Diliman where he holds the distinction of being the first openly gay Student Council Chairperson in the history of the country’s premiere state university and he is the youngest elected National Chair of their political party.

During his freshman year, he was elected President of UP Babaylan, an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students advocating for equal rights.

In 2006, he was appointed as Deputy Secretary-General of Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party and eventually became the Chief of Staff of the then Akbayan Representative Hontiveros.

He became the founding President of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), an organization of student councils of public and private colleges and universities nationwide advocating for reforms in the education system.

After his term, SCAP and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung published his first book entitled “Starting ‘em Young: A Practical Handbook for Student Leaders.”

In February 2011, President Aquino appointed him in his current position and is working as a volunteer educator for Babaylanes, Inc., an NGO working with young LGBTs.


Editor’s Note: This article was published in The Leader, the Official Publication of the National Rizal Youth Leadership Institute (NRYLI) Conference, Vol. 1 No. 1. December 10-14, 2011.