"(Rep. Mangudadatu) is now working on its endorsement for second reading and hopefully we can have it approved later this year," he said.
Rep. Mangudadatu served as governor of Sultan Kudarat for three terms. His son, Suharto, who served as representative, is now governor of the province.
Garcia said Gov. Mangudadatu, 2nd district Rep. Arnulfo Go, several provincial board members and mayors have expressed support for the immediate passage of HB 1362, which was refiled by Rep. Mangudadatu on July 25 last year.
It was referred on August 7 to the House committees on higher and technical education and the appropriations. A counterpart measure was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Panfilo Lacson.
HB 1362, which was originally introduced by Gov. Mangudadatu while still a member of the 13th Congress, seeks the conversion of SKPSC based in Tacurong City and its campuses in the municipalities of Lutayan, Palimbang and Kalamansig into a state university that would be known as the Sultan Kudarat State University.
Rep Mangudadatu said Sultan Kudarat needed to have one institution of higher learning "to establish an effective and efficient university that will serve as an instrument towards the rapid development of manpower resources not only in the province but in the whole region".
He said the proposed integration "will provide better services in professional and technical training in the arts, sciences, humanities, technology and in the conduct of scientific research and technological studies in the province."
The proposed university "will provide instruction and professional training in agriculture, fisheries, science and technology, education and other related fields". He said that the institution "will also focus on undertaking research and extension services and provide progressive leadership in its areas of specialization".
A scholarship program for promising students from poor families or communities in the area will also be offered.
Garcia said Rep. Mangudadatu's main consideration when he refiled the measure was to provide an opportunity to poor students in the province to enter college and pursue affordable postgraduate courses.
"This will really attract a lot of our poor young people to consider going to college and get a good education in various disciplines," he said.
Aside from its emerging agriculture, fisheries and related science curricular and research programs, SKPSC has developed into a center of learning for undergraduate and postgraduate education program in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)