BARMM acquires new state university

By Ali G. Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – The infant Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has acquired a new state university, courtesy of the upgrading of the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) in legislative and bureaucratic processes initiated by then Maguindanao 2st District Rep. Sandra Ampatuan-Sema.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Prospero de Vera came here on July 22 to lead BARMM officials alongside academic dignitaries and stakeholders in the symbolic inauguration of the CCSPC now as Cotabato State University (CSU).

In its online post, the CHED acknowledged former Rep. Sema’s role as the CSU founder, for introducing the bill that evolved to R.A. 10585 titled “An Act Converting The Cotabato City State Polytechnic College In Cotabato City Into A State University To Be Known As The Cotabato State University And Appropriating Funds Therefor.”

Chairman De Vera formally installed CCSPC President Sema Dilna as the pioneer president of the CSU, and hailed the school upgrading as a great leap in the quest for higher education development in this city and BARMM.

The CSU founder, a wife to former City Mayor Muslimin Sema, addressed the inaugural rites with utmost elation.

“I cannot express the happiness in my heart being a mother, an educator, a Bangsamoro (for) seeing our dreams come true. Without education, we will not be where we are now. This is the time for the Bangsamoro. Now, the Cotabato State University will be a partner of the Bangsamoro government in championing the minds of our dear students,” the former lady lawmaker said.

Sema filed her bill in May 2012, and had since exerted persuasions until the Senate and the House to pass R.A. 10585 February 6, 2013.

“But the CCSPC could not comply with (national) requirements in five years. I pushed the amendment in 2018, and finally CHED approved it this year,” she told The Philippine Muslim Today news via Messenger chat.

BARMM’s Minister of Basic, Higher and Technical Education Mohagher Iqbal attended the event, and aired elation.

“Gaining the university status is not only a matter of prestige for the ones who made this possible. Rather, it is more of a dream unleashed for decades. More importantly, it opens a window of hope for the larger part of the BARMM populace in the Central Mindanao who have been deprived of higher education caused by lack of financial resources, armed conflict and other similar reasons,” Iqbal said in his speech.

De Vera told Minister Iqbal the CHED and CSU would need sustained assistance by BARMM, particularly MBHTE.

“We need MBHTE’s assistance so we can extend our services to Bangsamoro students especially in CSU. CHED provides technical assistance to the BARMM government through higher education in the context of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL),” De Vera said.

CSU pioneer president Dilna said he “humbly accepted the duties, responsibilities and accountabilities, as well as the challenges inherent to my decisions with your (CHED and MBHTE) support.” He expressed gratitude for the honor.

The unveiling ceremony was witnessed by incumbent Maguindanao 1st District Rep. Ronnie Sinsuat, lawyer Ryan Estevez, OIC-Executive Director of the Unified Student Financial Assistance System (UniFAST), Commissioner Ronald Adamat, CHEDRO XII Director Nelia Alibin and CHEDRO VII/HECBOL Director Maximo Aljibe; and other BARMM officials. (AGM)


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