“I am proud to be a PUP graduate.”
Yesterday, October 1, marked the 117th founding anniversary of my alma mater, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. It was also the school that bred other top media personalities, corporate executives and government functionaries.
It was during my stint there as a student when people started referring to PUP as the People’s University for the low tuition fees it offered, complemented by quality education.
PUP, for a time, was considered as the biggest university in the country in terms of student population with no less than 40,000 students tucked in its system.
Ironically, it was also during that time when it was considered another diploma mill, as it lived up to its reputation then as “a producer of blue-collared jobs.” It seemed PUP students then had already accepted the fact they could not compete with private schools, especially the Church-run universities. To land in the Top 20 in any Board Exam then was already a reason for celebration.
Those days are gone. After decades of pushing forward for the betterment of the institution – a joint collaboration of the students and university officials – PUP has now evolved as one of the top-tier universities in the country – with no less than the two most recent university presidents aggressively pushing for the changes: Dr. Emmanuel de Guzman and Dr. Manuel Muhi.
Actually, I had the privilege of working with both of them during my student days – de Guzman or Dekong in the student publication, The Catalyst; and Muhi or Bong, both with The Catalyst and the Student Council. I still recall an instance when I cannot think of a title for a poem I wrote for a friend, and it was Bong who came up with the title.
Anyway, Bong’s accomplishments since assuming the presidency just last year, before the pandemic hit us, have been so impressive.
In terms of Academics, PUP scored big in the Registered Electronic Engineer Licensure Examination 2021 and the Registered Master Electrician Licensure Examination 2021, landing Number 1 and Number 2 respectively (So, who says PUP graduates cannot top any Board Exam?).
It was also during this short period that Dr. Muhi was able to secure the accreditation of nine programs and courses across branches and campuses in the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines.
He then led the university in partnering with the Commission on Audit, along with other government and non-government agencies in offering Public Policy courses.
Of course, basic in providing quality education is the hiring of faculty members who are experts in their fields and won various awards from local and international award giving bodies, which Bong made sure of.
In terms of research, Dr. Muhi was able to effect the higher number of publications of university-initiated research in ISI-Scopus indexed journals, which is considered the number one abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed journals which contains more than 70 million items like scientific articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, lecture notes, and books.
Under Bong’s watch, PUP was able to receive grants for research projects from Commission on Higher Education, Department of Science and Technology and other government and non-government agencies.
And its effects on the PUP graduates?
Today, PUP alumni have been recognized by Jobstreet as most preferred graduates of employers and have landed reputable jobs in the fields of engineering, science, accountancy, business, broadcasting among others.
And yet, despite all these, PUP has not turned its back on its social responsibilities. At the height of the pandemic, PUP, under Bong’s tutelage, organized its own Community Pantries, produced local alcohols for distribution to adopted barangays, police stations and hospitals near the school; produced face-shields for PUP faculty members and employees who are frontliners during the onset of the pandemic.
Launched “Pamantasang Bayan: Education on Wheels” – an education-on-wheels program which aims to bring the quality of PUP education to out-of-school youths; and also, the “Salin Kaalaman: Lingap Komunidad” – a series of extension programs which aim to capacitate different sectors of society with various knowledge and skills helpful for their development.
All these accomplishments were achieved in less than two years. And to think its budgetary request has consistently been cut by half every year. For 2019, only P1,599,163,000 was granted out of its request of P3,539,261,000; in 2010, PUP was granted P1,808,762,000 out its original request of P3,933,456,000; in 2021, PUP got P1,950,650,000 even as it requested P4,045,143,000.
For 2022, PUP submitted a budgetary request of P2,993,230,000 but only P1,887,360,000 was reflected in the National Expenditure Program submitted by the Department of Budget and Management to Congress.
Imagine what more could PUP, under Dr. Muhi’s leadership, could accomplish if the university could secure the needed funding? But knowing Bong, I’m sure he could do better even if his budget would come in trickles. His accomplishments for the past two years speak for themselves. And we believe under his leadership, PUP would continue to grow for the betterment of everyone.
Happy 117th! Salut!
I still can’t move on from the vegetable smuggling Agriculture Secretary William Dar has blamed on the Port of Subic.
I had the privilege of meeting the Secretary about a couple of times and I believe he is a very upright man. He means business when he says he wants to resolve the controversial issues hounding his department. I personally witnessed what he did to those pork meat hoarders who were controlling the pork supply last year. He personally oversaw the shipment of pork from swine flu-free Mindanao to Luzon, cutting the hoarders’ supply route in the process.
So, when he declared the smuggled vegetables entered through the Port of Subic, I was feeling somewhat uneasy, thinking he was fed with wrong information.
First, the entry of the containers with smuggled vegetables, all six of them, were processed at ports outside of Subic, five in Cebu, the sixth yet to be ascertained.
Digging deeper into the Port of Subic’s performance against smuggling of agricultural products, I found out that except for controversy for which it was dragged into the issue of rice smuggling a decade ago, under a different president, different Customs commissioner, different SBMA administrator, different district collector, Subic has so far been doing good, if not great.
In fact, no less than Economic Intelligence of the Sub Task Group on Food Security clarified that the Port of Subic was an example of vigilance against vegetable smuggling. And this could be validated by the recent apprehension of carrot smuggling that was the result of multi government agency efforts to seize nineteen 40-foot container vans found to contain carrots from China, consigned to Zenphin Consumer Goods Trading and Franc Hanna Trading.
As I’ve said, I trust in Secretary Dar. And maybe the joint agency group he created to probe the matter will shed light on this.