Inauguration of UP Antique Extension Campus

August 25, 2023

Inauguration of UP Antique Extension Campus
25 August 2023 | Pandan, Antique

Mayad nga aga sa tanan!

When I assumed the role of Representative of the Lone District of Antique and Deputy Speaker in 2019, I made a solemn commitment to bring about substantial changes in our beloved province within my three-year term. I aspired for more opportunities and resources because my kasimanwas deserve better.

I must thank everyone for entrusting this daunting task to me. I believe, however, that together we have ushered in an unprecedented era of prosperity and progress. Antique has reached its golden age.

Knowing the pulse of my kasimanwas, I focused on job creation, assistance to farmers and fishermen, water supply for upland municipalities, free education and allowance for students, medicines, and improvement of hospital facilities and rural health units.

We see all these reflected on the happy faces of the people who can affirm that such positive changes transpired right at their doorsteps: programs for agricultural resilience, the natural environment, tourism, technology, and integrated Rural Sustainable Development, among others. Ang lahat ng mga pagsisikap na ito ay ginawa upang mapahusay ang kagalingan ng mga mamamayan ng Antique at makamit ang kalidad ng buhay na nararapat sa inyo, mga kasimanwa ko.

We paved the path for better roads, ports, and other key infrastructures. A vital support system for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) was established through effective collaboration with various government agencies to assure the successful execution of programs and initiatives in Antique.

As I find myself once again within the chambers of the Senate, my thoughts still invariably drift towards our beloved province of Antique. Pero sa pamumuno ni Cong. AA, ang aking katuwang na masigasig na tumutugon sa mga lokal na pangangailangan, ako ay nagtitiwala na ang kapakanan at kaunlaran ng Antique ay masusing pinangangalagaan.

Today is another realization of a dream—the dream of bringing the University of the Philippines (UP) closer to the students of Antique and the neighboring province of Aklan. I have allocated P50 million for this project with the intention of democratizing education so that many may partake in the much-coveted UP education.

The establishment of the UP in Antique will provide formal education and award bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as offer informal training opportunities to the local workforce. Our fisherfolk, farmers, health workers, MSMEs, and those who contribute to the thriving economy of the province will be given a chance to enhance their skills.

The establishment of this campus will also propel the preservation of our heritage and culture, as well as work with other institutions in the province to ensure that our rich biodiversity is protected.

This 900-square-meter three-story building has classrooms, offices, training spaces, and a conference room. These will catalyze engagements among constituent universities in the UP System, local academic institutions, and LGU partners, among others.

Not only were these structures built, but a number of initiatives were undertaken to achieve the objectives I had requested UP to ignite in Antique. UP Visayas, with the aim of supporting our fishermen and regional authorities, implemented several educational programs focusing on fisheries, economics, and finance. Through collaboration with experts from UP Visayas and the University of Antique, a total of 33 training modules were developed, which include fisheries, business, finance, cultural heritage, and food safety. These modules will serve as valuable resources and will be made accessible among our local communities in Antique and neighboring areas.

For instance, trainings were conducted for the development of business management skills of community-based fisherfolk organizations; for the transfer of post-harvest technology to fisherfolk; for the development of flexible learning materials for higher education institutions in Antique; for the development of a training module for sugar production from Nipa sap; for the upgrading of food safety awareness and competence of sanitary inspectors and food business operators in Antique; and for the development of IEC materials on fish-processing technologies.

The Cultural Mapping of Antique, which resulted in a registry of all the cultural and natural heritage of Antique, in collaboration with UP Visayas and the Department of Education, was realized in 2022. Ikinalulugod kong ipahayag na ang Cultural Mapping Bill na aking inakda ay malapit nang maipasa bilang isang batas, na magpapahusay sa pangangalaga ng mga kultural na pag-aari at mga pamana ng Pilipinas sa pamamagitan ng pag-aatas ng responsibilidad at pakikilahok ng mga lokal na pamahalaan at komunidad.

A P50 million budget has been allocated to UP Visayas for the Cultural Mapping of Panay and Guimaras in 2023, a project that would also involve other state universities in these provinces. In order to identify the policies and initiatives that would best meet the needs of the province in these areas, UP Visayas was also entrusted with funding for a study on literacy and nutrition for Antique.

UPV has also initiated engagements with Rare Philippines, an international conservation organization whose mission is to help communities adopt sustainable behaviors toward their natural environment and resources for joint projects and training.

I am grateful to the administrations of both Dr. Clement Camposano and the former Chancellor, Dr. Ricardo Babaran, for ensuring that this structure is now a reality, and for the enlivened programs and projects implemented in my home province. I acknowledge the leadership of both UP President Angelo Jimenez and former President Danilo Concepcion, who made sure that UP will have a campus in my home province. I am likewise thankful to all who have lent support for its completion.

My appreciation to the Bautista Family of Pandan for their generous donation of their property here in Nauring, Pandan, Antique. It is worth mentioning that the campus is conveniently situated on the national highway leading to Aklan province, and I am pleased with how all of these circumstances fell into place. This project has brought together people with kind hearts and great minds to make this one notable contribution to the field of education on the island of Panay.

With vision, commitment, and collaboration, we can indeed do more. It fills me with great pride to witness the successful realization of our endeavors, but we will not simply rest on our laurels. We will work harder to ensure that this UP Visayas Antique campus will set the highest standards of tertiary education in the province and the rest of the region.

Duro duro gid nga salamat! Palangga ko kamo! Kruhay!

Isang luntiang Pilipinas sa ating lahat!