House votes ‘yes’ to conversion of Basilan State College into Basilan State U

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 Sep) – The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill that would convert the 36-year-old Basilan State College (BASSC) into a full state university, the first in the province that was once known as stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Students at the Basilan State College take a break during enrollment. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

“We are inching closer to the dream of many Basileños of having our own state university within our beloved province, which will offer more courses, take in more students and level up the academic performance of not only those in Basilan, but also those from nearby areas,” Basilan Representative and Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman said in a press statement.

The bill, which passed through three committees – Higher and Technical Education, Ways and Means, and Appropriations – received 196 “yes” votes, zero “no” and no abstention. Hataman hopes a member of the Senate will file a counterpart version, soon.

Hataman co-authored House Bill 7697 with Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan, and Reps. Joey Salceda and Eric Go Yap, chairs of the Ways and Means and Appropriations committees.

“The development of our province has been stunted by war and terrorism. Pero ngayon ay tuloy-tuloy na po ito (progress is continuing). This is but one of our key education initiatives in Basilan to equip our people with the necessary knowledge and skills to help us in nation-building,” Hataman said.

A coordinated effort among local government units, state security forces, religious groups, community members and families in the province through the Program Against Violent Extremism (PAVE) played a key role in transforming the province into what it has become now. PAVE was initiated by Hataman while he was governor of the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Hataman served as ARMM Governor from December 2011 to February 26, 2019.

Hataman said there is now a demand in the province for more skilled professionals “that can only be supplied by a full-fledged university,” he said.

Basilan State College offers undergraduate courses, two-year non-degree courses and post-graduate courses.

The Basilan State College. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

The undergraduate courses are Bachelor of Secondary Education major in English, Filipino, General Science, Mathematics and Social Studies; Bachelor of Arts major in English and Political Science; Bachelor of Elementary Education, BS Computer Science, BS Criminology, BS Hospitality Management, BS Nutrition and Dietetics, BS Social Work, BS Nursing, AB Islamic Studies, Bachelor in Public Administration, BS Agricultural Education, and Bachelor of Agricultural Technology.

Its post-graduate courses are Doctor of Education, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Public Administration, Master in Public Administration, Master of Arts in Teaching Education, and Master of Arts in Education.

The school’s two-year non-degree courses are Associate in Computer Science, AS in Computer Office Management, AC in Computer Technician, Trade Technical Education Curriculum, and Nursing Assistant.

Basilan State College has four extension campuses – in Lamitan, Maluso, Tipo-tipo and Sta. Clara.

Hataman is also pushing for the creation of a Basilan Science High School, a Basilan Sports Academy and a TESDA office in Isabela City. (MindaNews)