By Ali G. Macabalang
GEN. SANTOS CITY
The Mindanao State University (MSU) system satellite campus is bracing up to open its own College of Medicine by next school year, possibly in time with the projected completion of construction works for the corresponding P162.9-million building in 2021.
The prospect will flesh out a 44-year dream among constituents in Central Mindanao (Region XII), including this city, for an institution where their children can study medicine to become physicians, MSU-GenSan campus officials said.
Anshari P. Ali, Ph.D., incumbent sixth satellite campus chancellor, said he learned of this community dream since the first day of his 15-year stint in the MSU-GenSan unit as College of Law professor and later as assistant dean.
In his formal installation as chancellor on April 28, 2019, Dr. Ali in his investiture speech vowed to link up his campus with national agencies and international education institutions, upgrade organizational operations, and expand their academic activities to include establishing a College of Medicine.
MSU-GenSan presently maintains colleges of law, agriculture, business administration and accountancy, education, engineering, fisheries, natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences and humanities, and a graduate school alongside a senior high school study.
In the first quarter of his chancellorship, Dr. Ali proposed to the MSU system’s Board of Regents (BoR) the creation of College of Medicine even as an “extension” unit of the Marawi City-based main campus’ medical college. But the proposal drew opposition from higher MSU officials purportedly undermining the satellite campus capability, inside sources said.
“Chancellor Ali had persisted on pushing for the creation of a College of Medicine…This prompted the MSU system leadership, particularly University President Habib Macaayong, to approve the proposal but with a challenge for the MSU-GenSan campus to administer the proposed college independently,” a subordinate official disclosed.
In an interview here with the Philippine Muslim Today last week, Dr. Ali said he readily accepted the challenge, with a mental “burden” though as to sourcing out the funds to construct the proposed College of Medicine building and in sustaining its operations.
Fortunately, he said, his administration’s persistent lobbies had gained the attention of key elected officials in Central Mindanao, notably those of Gen. Santos City government and Rep. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles.
Rep. Bañas-Nograles had reportedly filed a bill seeking to open an “independent” College of Medicine at the MSU-GenSan campus here, and providing appropriate funds for the purpose.
The lady lawmaker alongside city elected officials and other key personalities graced the ground-breaking rites here last Feb. 5. Even MSU System President Macaayong attended the event in apparent awe of Dr. Ali’s success in meeting the former’s challenge, it was learned.
Construction works worth P162-million for the four-level building have since reached “40-percent” completion under Phase 1, Lorraine D. Sarigala, MSU satellite campus internal audit unit chief, said.
Of the total project cost, the MSU-GenSan leadership allotted P46-million out of savings, with the remaining P117-million being committed by the national government, it was learned.
Sarigala said Chancellor Ali was “so eager” about opening the opening classes for studies of medicine that he had earlier assigned some rooms in the College of Law building for medical study classes last August. But severe impacts of social movement-restraining COVID-19 pandemic preventive protocols had compelled him to move his plan in the next academic school semester, she added.
Dr. Ali said was profoundly elated that elected officials in Central Mindanao are equally eager about the opening of College Medicine with corresponding modern edifice that could also serve as first ever regional medical training in the region.
Central Mindanao has no regional medical center in the real sense because the Cotabato Regional Medical Center is located in Cotabato City, which now forms part of the Bangsamoro autonomous government.
Ali said the regional autonomous government, through its Education Ministry, has formally forged partnership with his administration in pursuit of academic and research endeavors of mutual impacts. (AGM)