GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/22 September) – Development works for the planned Philippine Science High School (PSHS) campus in nearby Koronadal City were seen to begin before yearend with the acquisition by the provincial government of South Cotabato of a 4.5-hectare lot for the school site.
Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. said the the local government is set to turn over next week the newly-acquired property in Barangay Paraiso in Koronadal City to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 12 to facilitate the construction of the PSHS extension unit.
He said the four-hectare lot was the provincial government’s counterpart to the project based on an earlier agreement with the DOST regional office.
The governor said DOST-Region 12 officials earlier approved the proposed campus site, which cost the local government P7.3 million.
“We’re now finalizing the memorandum of agreement with DOST for the transfer of the lot and the development of the site for the planned PSHS campus,” Pingoy said.
Pingoy said they expect the construction of the new PSHS campus to begin before the end of the year and to be completed before its planned opening by June 2012.
The DOST central office earlier approved the establishment of a PSHS campus in Koronadal City as part of its expansion program in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao.
Citing initial talks with DOST-Region 12 officials, Pingoy said Koronadal City was identified as ideal site for the proposed PSHS campus being the regional seat and center of Region 12.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The provincial government of South Cotabato committed a lot for the campus’ site while the DOST promised to shoulder the costs for the construction of the required school buildings.
Board member Jose Madanguit, chair of the provincial board’s committee on education, said the cost of the proposed site was reasonable considering that it only amounted to P1.6 million per hectare.
“It’s a reasonable investment since education is also one of our main priorities,” he said.
The province earlier institutionalized the Kabugwason Paglaum Scholarship Program, which offers free education to “poor but deserving” elementary, secondary and college students in the province.
It also helped establish an extension campus of the University of the Philippines Manila-School of Health Sciences in Koronadal City.
The PSHS, which operates as an attached agency of the DOST, is a specialized public high school system that focuses on high quality science-based education and training.
The PSHS system, which was initially patterned after the Bronx High School of Science in New York City, was established by the government “for the purpose of giving an education highly enriched in science and mathematics to exceptionally gifted Filipino children,” its website said.
After opening its main campus in Quezon City in the early 60s, the PSHS system has expanded with eight other campuses located in various parts of the country.
The PSHS has campuses in Davao City, Iloilo City, Palo in Leyte, Bayombong in Nueva Vizcaya, Goa in Camarines Sur, Baloi in Lanao del Norte, San Ildefonso in Ilocos Sur, Argao in Cebu and Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)