Kokoy Romualdez

Benjamin ‘Kokoy’ T. Romualdez is a former Governor of the Province of Leyte, who also served as Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States of America, China, and even Saudi Arabia.

He was the youngest brother of former first lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos and the father of the current speaker of the House of Representatives, Congressman Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez.

While Governor Romualdez has been popular for establishing official diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China including the renegotiation of the bases agreement between our country and the United States, Kokoy has devoted about 10 years of his active public service to the growth and development of the Leyte province from its former poor economic state to becoming one of the progressive provinces in the Philippines today.

Not known to many people, Governor Romualdez worked on improving tertiary education in the whole Visayas region through his active involvement in the establishment of a world-renowned agricultural institution called the Visayas State College of Agriculture. ViSCA is the predecessor of what is today known as the Visayas State University.

Governor Romualdez has been the main lobbyist for the creation of a ViSCA charter, which was consequently approved by President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr. on May 24, 1974, through Presidential Decree 470. Since then, he has become one of the staunchest partners of VSU who facilitated the approval of a World Bank loan that built 90% of the current infrastructure that you see in the university today.

Kokoy’s overwhelming support to the then ViSCA was mainly nourished because he never interfered in the management and operations of the institution but was only there as a shining beacon who helped ViSCA to obtain additional national government funding including other foreign grants to lay the foundations for a strong university that we see today.


Among the iconic projects he worked on for ViSCA was the construction of 12 four-door apartment units that can house 48 families as a free housing incentive to the first set of faculty and staff who were recruited to teach and work in the college. He monitored the campus site development of the college by frequently visiting the first ViSCA President, Dr. Fernando A. Bernardo, whom he entrusted to build a world-class research-oriented institution that was equipped with modern facilities and equipment at that time.

Because of the massive growth and development of ViSCA, Governor Romualdez, who was very proud of this institution, had already discussed with Bernardo and Justice Tantuico the conversion of the college into a university as early as 1981. Unfortunately, this got derailed because the Marcos family was exiled in 1986 together with some members of the Romualdez clan including Kokoy.

With all his contributions to ViSCA, Benjamin T. Romualdez remains an iconic figure here in the university who helped nourish a small rural high school to become one of the best universities in the Philippines today.

And now that VSU will soon celebrate its centennial year in 2024, part of the future development plan is to establish a Learning Resource Center building that will become a one-stop shop for knowledge sharing, and cultural exchange, and provide unhampered access to students to various electronic information resources that can connect them to the rest of the world.

LRC_Perspective.jpg3D perspective design of the planned Learning Resource Center (LRC) rendered by Engr. Marcelo Abrera.

If this project materializes, a one-thousand-five-hundred-seater modern hall will soon be dedicated to Kokoy in honor of the many contributions that he made in propelling VSU to global and international status. 

This hall shall then be called the Benjamin T. Romualdez Auditorium, which will serve various purposes from hosting international knowledge exchange fora, cultural shows, and local information dissemination efforts to providing a state-of-the-art facility where our locally renowned agricultural scientists can talk about their innovations and discoveries to help build a more sustainable future for the Filipino people.

BTR_Auditorium_Side_of_LRC.jpgThe proposed Benjamin T. Romualdez Auditorium section of the Learning Resource Center (LRC) rendered by Engr. Marcelo Abrera.

The #ProudViscan community continues to be grateful to Benjamin 'Kokoy' T. Romualdez for his push to make way for the establishment of a world-class university in Baybay City, Leyte that we now proudly call the Visayas State University.

As we celebrate our centennial year in 2024, we recognize him and his contributions in building VSU including his aspiration for quality tertiary education in Eastern Visayas and beyond. 

VSU would not have been able to experience this massive growth without Kokoy and the many others who started the important groundwork in infrastructure development that we still use and take advantage of today.

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