GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/04 September) — The municipal government of Malungon in Sarangani province has started the preparatory works for the establishment of an extension campus of the Mindanao State University (MSU) in the area.
Malungon Mayor Reynaldo Constantino said Wednesday they expect the initial development works for the new MSU campus to begin soon in a five-hectare property worth P5 million in Barangay Malandag that was acquired by the local government.
He said the acquisition of the university site was completed last week by the municipal government with the signing of a deed of conditional sale for the property.
Constantino was earlier issued an authority by the municipal council through Resolution No. 11-2013-007 “to transact and enter into contract of agreement for the establishment of Mindanao State University (MSU) Malandag campus in a parcel of land containing an area of 50,000 square meters.”
As agreed with the landowner, the local government initially released a down payment of P3 million while the remaining balance of P2 million will be paid before yearend.
“We’re now gearing for the construction of the initial buildings and other facilities for the university campus,” Constantino said.
MSU officials agreed to establish an extension campus in Malungon two years ago following negotiations with Sarangani provincial officials led by then Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez.
University officials earlier said they consider the opening of the extension campus in Barangay Malandag, which is the biggest village in Malungon and presently being pushed to become the province’s eighth municipality, as strategic to their operations.
Constantino said the development of the MSU Malandag campus is being assisted by the provincial government, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and foreign-backed mining firm Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI)
He said SMI, through its education and community development program in the area, provided financial assistance to the municipal government for the acquisition of the university site.
The mayor said they have so far raised around P10 million for the initial development works of the university campus.
He said SMI contributed some P2 million while the provincial government committed P1 million.
Constantino said the provincial government has allotted an additional P7 million that was drawn from its incentive from DILG for being a recipient of the prestigious “Seal of Housekeeping” award during the term of former Gov. Dominguez.
The mayor said they have prioritized the opening of schools, colleges and universities in the area as part of their efforts to improve the lives of their constituents, especially those settled in the upland areas.
Around 60 percent of Malungon’s population are composed of B’laan and Tagakaolo residents who are mostly settled in the upland areas.
“We want them (upland residents) to also avail of the same opportunities as with those living in the lowlands,” he said in a statement.
Constantino added that the project will stand as the legacy of local and provincial officials who had worked to ensure the provision of quality education to the area’s poor students.
He specifically cited students belonging to the town’s Blaan and Tagakaolo tribes, who were eager to learn and study but were unable to do so due to poverty and the distance of their communities to the schools. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)