Today, I’m writing something close to my heart because I care about Sorsogon, the place where I came from, that molded me as to what I am now and the place I always look back.
In a politically charged country like the Philippines, a school or a university must be left free from political subservience and political patronage, that is my belief. Let the school be as it is, let them craft their destiny and stature in the world of education. Reward its alumni, faculty, students and their parents for what the school has become through its performance and achievements. A government official’s role is to assist the school in pushing for its excellence so the school is able to serve its community better, equally amongst its residents irrelevant of their political preferences! And when that value has been achieved by the school, do not steal it from them!
And so, my opinion today is about wrestling the name of Sorsogon State College (SSC) to Salvador H. Escudero University (SHESU).
BASKETBALL COURT DEDICATION MENTALITY
The problem with the majority of our government officials is this basketball court dedication mentality embedded in their minds as if it is the culmination of whatever achievements they have during their tenure if there were any. If there is none, the easiest way is to force the population that they are remembered by putting their names into anything that they can get a hold of. A street, building, a date in the calendar, or a school.
SORSOGON NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
Take the case of the Sorsogon National High School. Each student, teacher, worker, alumni, and parents who sent their kids to this school contributed to its illustrious name. The mere mention of Sorsogon National High is the local equivalent when one mentions UP. But, out came the rabid Escudero followers and political beneficiaries who want the name changed to something like Escudero National High School.
What were these people thinking? If the Sorsogon National High School’s name is changed, Senator Teodoro De Vera of Bulusan, he being the first Sorsoganon elected in the upper house should be the name. If not, the late Congressman Vicente Peralta who stood in his oratorical best during his representation of Sorsogon in Congress should be the next in line before the Escuderos. See my point?
Thanks to the sanity of the followers of De Vera’s and the Peralta’s for not even pushing for any name change during their time because they understood the negative implications of patronage politics when it comes to education!
Listen, I am not against the Escuderos name. Nunca ever! Why not build a new school or a new university and name it Escudero? Name every street, every floor of the building as Escudero. No opposition whatsoever. Create your own and don’t steal a name that has been built for many years by the workers, students, faculty, alumni, and parents of the Sorsogon National High School! Do you follow?!
The name change did not prosper when the majority of SNHS’s alumni and faculties revolted to the idea. Many thanks to those who believe that Sorsogon National High School is already a name respectable as it is, valuable as it is.
But see, here’s what happened! Unsuccessful in naming the Sorsogon National High School, the rabid Escudero political beneficiaries and followers have now apparently set their eyes on Sorsogon State College!
SORSOGON STATE COLLEGE to SORSOGON STATE UNIVERSITY
Sorsogon State College was once called the Sorsogon College of Arts and Trade. It is one of the best trade schools in Bicol Region and the province. In Sorsogon, we call it simply as the Trade. In December 1993, R.A. 7666 authored by then Cong. Salvador H. Escudero III converted the school to Sorsogon State College. President Ramos approved the bill on December 31, 1993. It is important for me to point this out because singularly, that was an Escudero achievement. Well, it was also co-authored by the late Shahani. But, yes, it was an Escudero who pushed the Trade to an SSC. So, because of that act, the name of the school should now be changed to Escudero?!
From its original name as Trade to SSC, the school has made its name on its own. The school consistently produced top ten board top-notchers beating out schools like the University of the Philippines! Who pushed these students to be top notchers? The Escuderos?!
The consistency of the school’s performance gave credence to the fact that over the years, this school has the right to be conferred the name university. That’s been the trajectory of the school’s performance. Therefore it is just right to enhance the status of the College on becoming a University. Logically, the name could only be Sorsogon State University, nothing else.
Until I read this update from a certain Roland Anonuevo.
SALVADOR H. ESCUDERO STATE UNIVERSITY
According to the Facebook update of Roland Anonuevo, Senator Chiz Escudero called President Modesto Detera (the current President of SSC) to tell him that he will oppose the newly approved bill by the House of Representatives to change the name of the school to Escudero! Why? Accordingly, it is not good in the eyes of the world that he approve the bill when he is the current Senator, and her mother is a current Congresswoman of Sorsogon.
In the same update he said, last week, Majority Floor Leader Rudolfo Farinas approved the budget for the next year. Because there were no objections to the bill, it sailed through the 3rd reading.
According to 2nd District Congressman Ding Ramos, he has left Congress by then when Farinas put the bill for approval. It also said that Congresswoman Escudero could not object for delicadeza. And I am here sitting and reading his update and saying to myself, WOW.
Could we not infer that Congresswoman Escudero knew about the bill already? Granted she did not know about it. What’s wrong with blocking the bill? Is it not delicadeza? What about Congressman Ding Ramos alibi? In my opinion, that was a bit superficial, including what Senator Chiz Escudero alleged to have said that he is now opposing the name change.
So, shouldn’t I be happy that Senator Escudero will not be signing the bill to change the name SSC to SALVADOR H. ESCUDERO STATE UNIVERSITY?
This was the meat of what Roland Anonuevo told me in his wall.
POLITICAL NEUTRALITY AND INTEGRITY IN EDUCATION
But what happened to political neutrality? What happened to integrity in education? If SSC becomes SHESU, what happens to SHESU if, in the next year or so, the next government administrators are against the Escuderos?! Are we not putting SSC as yet another pawn in this whole political game? Why can’t we leave Sorsogon State University on its own consistently crafting its respectable place in education in the likes of the University of the Philippines?
We did not hear Marcos followers changing UP to the University of Marcos, didn’t we?! You will not hear DDS changing any university in Davao to the University of Duterte! Why are we mingling politics and education?! And why are the Escudero followers bent on changing anything Sorsogon to Escudero?! In the Philippines, they don’t go very well!
Why can’t these government officials create their own meaningful contributions so they can be remembered?
THE ALLEGED STORY BEHIND THE STORY
But apparently, there’s a story behind the story. This might be true, or this might not be true. It is up to you to believe me.
Chiz Escudero’s term is ending pretty soon. Chatters have it that he is eyeing another local level position. Either as Governor or Congressman. There is significant opposition in Sorsogon amongst its residents, alumni’s and faculties with the name change. It will not serve his future political plans to ignite opposition. Does this explains the mediocrity of his reasoning to not approve the bill? Not that I’m asking him to because I am not in favor of the name change!
Next, apparently, it is alleged that not all of the Board of Trustees were informed about the whole name change and the passage of the bill. Why were the stakeholders ignored?
Worse, it is also alleged that the term of the current president of Sorsogon State College, President Dr. Modesto Detera ends pretty soon! Is it February 2018?! Could this be the reason why the bill sailed through without any objections whatsoever because, it is also alleged that if Sorsogon State College officially becomes a Salvador H. Escudero University, Dr. Detera’s term will be automatically extended?!
So here are some of the links that were sent to me:
Read the comments on Facebook:
Read reactions especially from ex-Board Member Ronald Anonuevo who is now a local broadcaster, the brains behind the renaming of the school according to the news.
More reactions, this time implying threats!
More reactions when a reader sent me this link.
Escudero bucks proposal to rename Sorsogon College after late father