3 candidates for WMSU president to prioritize research if chosen

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 23 July) — Three of eight candidates for president of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) identified research as one of their priority programs if elected to the post.

Only five of the eight hopefuls agreed to be interviewed. The fourth candidate who consented to the interviews done separately via telephone in light of the pandemic mentioned science and technology as his top priority. The fifth aspirant said he would prioritize capacity-building for the faculty.

Dr. Rizalina Salapuddin, a Tausug and a former practicing nurse, said: “Research has its wider scope in nature. As far as my expertise is concern, it is all about research on education. Things are changing, trends and issues are anticipated that research is needed for a hypothetical solution depending how facts are met and understood.”

But Salapuddin emphasized that her priority program would be “an awareness of societal issues as our country is beset with many problems like peace and order situation, economic crisis…”

“One of the priority programs that I will be pushing is instilling to our students the Culture of Peace,” she added.

Students of WMSU. Photo from the WMSU Fcebook page

Dr. Roberto Sala, an engineer, told MindaNews: “Right now I am doing my research prototype at home… Yes I am one of the candidates. I am a graduate of Doctor of Engineering major in Mechanical Engineering, the first and only in our city, a pioneering graduate at MSU-IIT (Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology) in 2011.”

“If given the chance to become the president of WMSU, my priority programs are the research for development and extension, and other programs to follow because I do believe this is what we need in our country…like other countries who are already advanced in their technologies and improved economy because of their research….more especially in the field of engineering and technology,” Sala said.

“I have about 24 researches, some were already published in the international journals, some were already utilized by the industries and research prototypes are in progress for commercialization and some need for funding,” he said.

Asked about his current research, Sala said: “This is one of the concerns of our city mayor, the water security… I am doing the research prototype on recycling the gray water discharge from any establishments or residences in order to save water….Some are on the sides of industries, for aquaculture, and some on generation of energy like sea current along Basilan Strait,” he said.

Dr. Joselito Madroñal, another candidate, also mentioned research as a priority in addition to improving instruction and forging build-operate-transfer schemes with the private sector for needed infrastructures in the university.

Madroñal said he is thinking of a research related to the COVID-19 pandemic or any research that could be proposed to the World Bank or United States Agency for International Development.

Another good research will be on peace and order especially for us here in conflict-affected areas during the pandemic. We do have internal fund but this is not enough. Opportunities, and consequently, capacity to conduct research, are elusive,” he said.

“We are poor in performance in passing in licensure exams, that’s why I am eyeing the preboard scheme, taking Silliman University model,” Madroñal, WMSU vice president for administration and finance, said in relation to his plan to improve instruction.

“I would like to push the BOT scheme, or Build-Operate-Transfer scheme, where WMSU will allow the private sector to conduct business within the university, but build the infrastructure that the private party would use for the business, but after a certain period, building ownership is to be transferred to WMSU in due time,” he said.

“That is putting up a building at no cost to the university, and ownership is ending up with the university,” he said.

“For instance, WMSU can collapse the fence of the university fronting (Zamboanga) Grandstand, and a private business can decide one big canteen for all like SM. But the construction will be shouldered by the private bidder. It all depends on the agreement, but WMSU doesn’t spend on construction,” he stressed.

Scientist Dr. Jonathan Nayga is set to focus on science and technology for the students, without meaning to set aside the arts, social sciences and other areas of learning.

Of the eight candidates, Nayga is the only one with an academic rank of Professor VI.

“I want the WMSU to be known for science and technology because I want the faculty, students and alumni to become researchers, that they become innovative, and all focused on science and technology in terms of production for the Filipino people,” he said, adding, “Repair and improvement first of existing infrastructure, purchase of equipment and more books for the students’ use.”

“This is not only about producing, but undertaking all learning processes that are work-related with other programs that can be used by the professors and are at the same time helpful to the community. It could be about production of farmers, the movement of products, product positioning and product commercialization,” he said.

“I believe my experience (at the Asian Institute of Management, and at the United Kingdom) and my passion to collaborate would help,” he added.

“WMSU has been envisioned as a university of choice, but is not well-known as an academic institution with its own distinctive trademark. We need to send more professors or more alumni abroad, whether in science, technology, agriculture and other fields, for as long as develop the sincere passion to collaborate, we can advance through products of WMSU and in the name of WMSU,” Nayga, an accredited evaluator of centers of excellence, said.

“There are strategic approaches to development. We need to impart something better and more. We need to enhance instructional development. We need to modernize instructional development. We need to enhance the management capability of faculty and academic executives as beyond teaching, we have the social responsibility to mold and develop citizens,” he emphasized.

While he may have a substantial background in agriculture as the Country Coordinator of the AustralAsia Dairy Goat Network, Nayga’s focus would not be on the College of Agriculture.

“The other colleges will also have a significant contribution because a state university, is an educational institution of the Filipino people,” Nayga, who has worked in special projects in twelve regions, said.

Dr. Adrian Semorlan, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, spoke of his priority programs on capacity-building for the faculty.

“I would go for optimization of the Faculty Development Program through faculty trainings and workshops, faculty scholarships whether they be diploma, masters and doctoral programs, benchmarking and educational visits as well team building,” Semorlan said.

“Added to that is to strengthen industry partnership that it may lead to curriculum development and students’ apprenticeship or internship, or OJT (on-the-job training),” he said.

“Strengthen collaboration with different institutions, whether local, national and international, on peace development activities in the region for curricular enhancement on peace education and extension programs. Then I would initiate a Visiting Professorship Program in which renowned faculty again, whether local, national or international, will be invited to further knowledge on interdisciplinary approach. Next is to develop and implement Board Programs Retention Policy and Sustainability, and promote Case Study Teaching Method (Harvard Teaching Method Strategy).”

Dr. Edgarlo Rosales, one of the candidates, simply refused to be interviewed.

MindaNews tried to reach Dr. Marilou Elago through her husband, city councilor Juan Climaco Elago who sent a text message saying “it appears that most of the candidates had prior agreement not to discuss issues for fear it will be viewed as self-serving.”

Dr. Ma. Carla Ochotorena called MindaNews to relay her refusal. She, however, promised to be interviewed after the board of regents has announced its decision regardless of who would be chosen.

“Win or lose, I promise I’ll be open for an interview,” Ochotorena said.

“There are issues at present against me and I would prefer that the board (of Regents) simply be the judge,” she said.

The board is expected to announce its choice for president in the next few days. (Frencie Carreon/MindaNews)