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The Honorable Congressman of the Lone District of Aurora, Atty. Juan Edgardo M. Angara, served as one of the convocation speakers during the 88th VSU Anniversary Celebration held on August 11, 2012 at the VSU Gymnatorium.

 

The young solon thanked the VSU administration, through VSU President Jose L. Bacusmo, for inviting him and be part of the momentous occasion as the University celebrated its founding anniversary.

Cong. Angara bared that the education system of the country is still on the development stage. Based on the results of the survey conducted a year ago by the international organizations for ranking institutions, some of our universities, like the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University, used to be in the top 100, but now they are in the top 300. "But it doesn't mean that the quality of education of the country has gone down," he said.

Angara reiterated that there will be a 48% increase in the 2013 budget of state colleges and universities throughout the country as mentioned by Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III in his State of the Nation Address (SONA). The speaker lauded the University for giving out premium services in its research and extension activities with emphasis on science and technology and in agriculture.

However, he warned the VSU constituents about the crises in education all over the world. In US, there is a crisis of students' lounge which would explode anytime soon. In the European Union, there is that crisis of funding and declining budgets for public education. Cong. Angara also commented on the issue of amalgamation. The idea is being pushed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that through amalgamation there must just be one big university in every region and the other state colleges and universities will just become mere campuses of that one mother university.

The Congressman expressed that the idea will not succeed because of some political interventions. He is pessimistic that the congressmen and the governors will not give up the state colleges and universities in their localities and become a campus of Region 8 University. Nevertheless, Angara emphasized the need to adopt the strengths without tackling the weaknesses of the amalgamation system. He cited that one of the strengths of the amalgamation is that it encourages the university to maximize its resources, in which VSU has already been doing. The Congressman also shared his experiences when he visited some institutions in agricultural provinces. He was informed that only few, if not, there are no enrollees in agriculture despite the full scholarship offered by the institutions to the students.

The convocation speaker was amazed upon reading from the CAFS Gazette of VSU which reported that the enrollment for agriculture and food science has increased over the last year.

Angara also presented the status of coconut industry in the country, which he described as dead a decade ago, but now very much alive. He said that there are Bills filed in Congress by Congressman Florencio "Bembem" Noel of the An Waray Party List reviving the coconut industry. Dr. Bacusmo also informed the guest speaker that there is no regional center recognized by the Philippine Coconut Authority to study and support the coconut industry here in the Visayas. "Now is the perfect time to have one in the Visayas. And I told President Bacusmo that I will, if he gives me the supporting materials, file the Bill in Congress to have VSU declared as the center for coconut industry here in the Visayas," he stressed.

He also commended the administration of Dr. Bacusmo and the previous administrators of the University for maximizing the use of its land resources. He observed that agri-tourism would prosper in the University. He revealed that he submitted a House Bill that would promote agri-tourism in the country. The Bill would intensify farmers and caretakers to open their lands to agri-tourism activities by extending them tax credits and other meaningful support. He hopes that they will follow the example of VSU and other campuses all over the country.

Congressman Angara also congratulated VSU for not only maintaining, but in fact, increasing or strengthening its reputation as a research university. He added that one of the parameters in maintaining the quality of an institution is through the number of publications published in refereed journals here and abroad.

Lastly, the speaker emphasized the symbiotic relationship between the academe and the government policymakers.

As a token of gratitude for acceding to VSU's invitation as one of the guest speakers, a Plaque of Appreciation was accorded to Cong. Angara "for unselfishly sharing his precious time and insights with the faculty members, staff, students, and other guests of the University as the Anniversary Convocation Speaker during its 88th Founding Anniversary; and for his extensive support and genuine concern on VSU's institutional development programs being the chairperson of the Congressional Committee on Higher and Technical Education and as an active member of the VSU Board of Regents."

The City of Baybay, through Mayor Carmen L. Cari, also gave a gift to Cong. Angara.