by Ali G. Macabalang
Officials, constituents and alumni of the Mindanao State University (MSU) system will celebrate on Sept. 1, this year its 60th founding anniversary with various activities.
One of the commemorative highlights is a maiden program meant to award some of several thousands of alumni of the premiere university now scattered in different parts of the country and even abroad, according to Violy Hunt, an alumna serving the MSU system.
Hunt’s information, which elated me at first over a month ago, came as a reaction to my past online post encouraging the MSU leadership to replicate the University of the Philippines’ decades-old annual event of awarding UP alumni known for exemplary feats in their chosen callings, notably in public and private entities outside their Alma Mater.
Among the UP alumni awardees was Engr. Don Mustapha Loong, now a member of the Bangsamoro parliament who received his award in pompous rites when he was Public Works and Highways secretary of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
I felt dismayed to learn last week from an online chat with Ms. Hunt that the MSU’s maiden awarding program would be covering alumni who have served the 60-year old university administration for at least 40 years.
“Why only those serving the university administration are to be awarded?” I asked Ms. Hunt. She did not reply.
I bluntly told her that many aspiring MSU alumni have opted to serve in public and private institutions because the university administration, especially the Marawi main campus’ rank and file personnel organization has for years been brimming with non-alumni individuals, some of them with questionable academic credentials.
MSU was established on Sept. 1, 1961 through RA 1387, authored by the late Senator Domocao Alonto as one of the government’s answers to the so-called “Mindanao Problem.” The MSU original mission focused on instruction, research, and extension that led to the branching out of the system with eight autonomous campuses in Mindanao.
The university system now covers MSU-Main in Marawi City, MSU-IIT in Iligan City, MSU-TCTO in Tawi-Tawi, MSU-Naawan in Misamis Oriental, MSU-Maguindanao, MSU-General Santos, MSU-Sulu in Jolo, and MSU Buug in Zambo Sibugay.
I know the evolution of the MSU not only as alumnus but as one of seven siblings reared in the Marawi campus since 1961 by our father, Macabalang Ganda-Alonto, a seasoned defense and law enforcement person chosen by the late senator, his cousin, as pioneer member of the campus security service system.
The first two administrations of the MSU system led by Dr. Antonio Isidro and Dr. Mauyag Tamano as presidents had given priority employment to alumni in the university bureaucracy. The third administration led by late former Lanao del Sur Governor Sultan Ali Dimaporo, who was perceived as President Marcos’ top political ally in Mindanao, saw the start of the influx into the university offices of non-alumni such as relatives and followers.
In recent years, highly qualified alumni have found themselves bumped off in employment and promotion processes by non-alumni individuals handpicked by ruling officials.
In such a flimsy trend, the essence of inspiring MSU alumni to strive for exemplary professional practice is lost. And this is particularly true to alumni who have been successful in their respective professions outside the MSU circle and excluded in the upcoming maiden university awarding program.
The trend is double injury. Alumni are bumped off from the university system’s recruitment process and now not entitled to recognition by the Alma Mater. (AGM)