By Ali G. Macabalang
GENERAL SANTOS CITY
Officials of Mindanao State University (MSU) satellite campus here have expressed profound elation over the influx of funds and citations in their trailblazing thrusts for academic and administrative modernization geared towards global competitiveness.
“We feel like no amount of words can suffice to describe our elation over the continuing inflow of fiscal supports as well as acknowledgements in our humble strides in bringing our institution to greater heights. I can only say, praise the Lord or Alhamdulillah,” Dr. Anshari P. Ali, MSU-GenSan chancellor, was quoted as saying Thursday, Jan. 14.
The chancellor’s words of thanks followed the announcement on Monday, Jan. 11 by South Cotabato 1st District Rep. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles that additional P37-million has been included in the 2021 General Appropriation Act (CAA) for facilities needed in the campus’ College of Medicine building now under construction.
Of the additional allocation, P20 million was earmarked for laboratory/infirmary building and P17- million for library building, both edifices forming parts of the College of Medicine structural complex, the lawmaker said.
Bañas-Nograles alongside Chancellor Ali, other MSU system officials and city elected leaders launched construction works for the four-level college of medicine building on Feb. 8, 2020. The Phase I of construction was completed last December, with workers pursuing the final phase for completion before August this year for the enrollment of maiden students of the college of medicine, campus audit section chief Lorraine Sarigala said.
The Phase I cost around P162-million, P46-million was contributed by the university and P117- million allocated by the national government through Rep. Nograles as well as Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Senator Sonny Angara committed P50-million (due for immediate release) for the Phase II, and P10-million for the e-library building, Sarigala said.
The MSU system’s Board of Regents through Resolution No. 507, series of 2020, approved the establishment of the new college here as an extension of the MSU-Marawi College of Medicine.
But Nograles and Sarangani Rep. Rogelio Pacquiao filed House Bill No. 7809 on Oct. 1 last year for the conversion of the College of Medicine extension program here into a “full-fledged and autonomous” unit. The House Committee on Higher Education approved and endorsed the bill for plenary deliberation this year.
Rep. Bañas-Nograles conducted a coordination meeting last Jan. 7 with key campus officials to synergize the works of concerned agencies in the implementation of various projects for 2021, one of which is the establishment of MSU-GenSan’s College of Medicine.
She tackled all enabling efforts with campus Vice Chancellors Dr. Mishell Lawas (academic affairs) and Sheila J. Loable (administrative and finance), and Director of Physical Plant Division Mohammad Alia’an Abdulatifh.
The influx of multi-sector supports transformed into cohesive thrust “brings the university closer to its goal of opening its very own College of Medicine that will serve the future doctors and medical practitioners of Southern Philippines,” Chancellor Ali averred.
Dr. Ali, an icon of humble beginning marked by his painstaking rise in academe from orphanage stage at young age, was installed by the MSU system’s Board of Regents and the Commission on Higher Education as the 6th chancellor of the satellite campus on Dec. 16, 2018, after a record-setting selection process done “without political influence,” Sarigala said.
He 57-year old Ali has since instituted campus reforms and innovations, exemplifying mixed principles of modern and Islamic leadership that earned him local, national and foreign accolades.
Foremost of the citations was Ali’s receipt of the prestigious 2019 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Club’s Outstanding Peace Educator Award, according to published narratives.
The UNESCO cited the chancellor’s innovative leadership feats as well as his authorship of book on “The Evolution of Islamic Law in the Philippines: History Texts and Analysis” published in 2009, alongside three internationally-acclaimed articles on Philippine Islamic Family Law, Secularism in the Application of Islamic Family Law, and Legal Impediments of the Application of Islamic Family Law in the Philippines now serving as reference materials.
The legislatures of Gen. Santos City and South Cotabato have followed suit in awarding citations to Dr. Ali, sparking national attention that led to influx of Congressional fiscal supports and technical assistance from line agencies and entities to include the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), and the Bangsamoro autonomous government.
Last month, the General Santos Chamber of Commerce and Industry accorded Dr. Ali a plaque citing his regime’s support to educating the city populace on measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 viral disease.
Record-setting feats, strides
Sarigala and other campus officials said they expect the GenSan campus, one of seven satellite units of the MSU system, to receive more acknowledgements because of its current leadership’s pursuit of unprecedented modes of upgrading academic and administrative operations.
They said the chancellor’s office was set to acquire soon a giant drone for use in 24/7 security and surveillance over the 15-hectare field campus complex, and five state-of-the-art electronic gadgets recognizing on human face in the daily accounting personnel punctuality.
Since there can be “no university without students,” the Ali administration carried out “long awaited” reforms in the campus dormitories, starting with the transformation of in-house toilets into “five-star like hotels’ standards,” officials of the campus physical plan division said.
In a recent interview with the Philippine Muslim Today, Dr. Ali said improving and maintaining comfort in toiletry is an imperative segment of Islamic governance, citing a narrative on Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.) encouraging building of good toilets before constructing mosques. AGM