“The goal of education is to produce physically fit, financially independent, mentally stable, socially competent citizens who make peace with themselves and others.” -Mahatma Gandhi
EDUCATION is dear to everyone’s heart. They say you can’t succeed in life without proper education. Of course, time and again this aphorism has been debunked by those who have achieved much even if poorly educated or did not complete formal education. To name a few, Charles Chaplin, Thomas Alva Edison, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein and even our own Joseph Ejercito Estrada who became President including a host of successful local entrepreneurs and celebrities were able to “make it” sans those academic entitlements appended to their names. But they are more the exceptions rather than the rule. Knowledge acquired through education would enable one to “combat illegitimate intellectual authority as well as illegitimate political authority”, a twinning character of a corrupted leadership which undermines development of institutions that affect us. Legitimate education should be at the heart of a nation’s social, economic and political make up.
Yet education in this country, though highly touted as playing a great role in nation-building has not received sustained support both in terms of infrastructure and systemic development as to make it available to everyone. At best, there are “experiments” such as the K to 12 education format, a ground-breaking change to the country’s schooling system and likewise, efforts to raise educational standards through the enhanced Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) to ensure that academic programs meet international standards. Despite these and many systemic reforms, education continues to struggle with “deep inequalities” and concern for quality. Accordingly, addressing these problems will require a “continued commitment to increased funding and an efficient mechanism to ensure the money is spent in the most effective manner”. Rising to the challenge, District 2 Congressman Rufus B. Rodriguez, starting in his first term in 2007 up to 2016, has introduced numerous house bills, many of them are now national laws and implemented accordingly. For his local District, he authored and enacted the following legislations:
RA 09942 – An Act separating Agusan National High School – Puerto Annex in Barangay Puerto, Cagayan de Oro city from the Agusan National High School into an independent national high school to be known as Puerto National High School and appropriating funds therefor.
RA 09950 – An Act establishing a national high school in Barangay Tablon, Cagayan de Oro City to be known as the Tablon National High School and appropriating funds therefor.
RA 09943 – An Act converting Agusan National High School annex at Barangay Bugo into a separate, independent and distinct national high school to be known as the Bugo National High School and appropriating funds therefor.
RA 09981 – An Act converting the Agusan National High School annex in Balubal, Cagayan de Oro City to be known as the Balubal National High School and appropriating funds therefor.
RA 09636 – An Act establishing a national high school in Barangay Indahag, Cagayan de Oro city to be known as Indahag National High School and appropriating funds therefor.
RA 09519 – An Act converting the Mindanao Polytechnic State College in Cagayan de Oro City into a state university to be known as the Mindanao University of Science and Technology (MUST) and appropriating funds therefor. Through another Act which was likewise authored by Congressman Rufus, RA 10919, the same school was renamed University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP), receiving more funding and facilities to improve its system and competitiveness among the best colleges and universities in the country.
RA 09930 – An Act establishing a national high school in Barangay Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro city to be known as the Macasandig National High School and appropriating funds therefor.
RA 10267 – An Act renaming Gusa National High School in Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City into Gusa Regional Science High School and appropriating funds therefor.
District 2 Cagayan de Oro’s indefatigable representative did not sit on his laurels with his achievements as legislator in the field of education but followed through acquiring more funding for his educational programs such as the amount of Php1.2 Billion used to build and repair more than 600 classrooms and give scholarships and financial grants to 11,250 college students among many other recipients.
More than the number of classrooms, buildings and facilities needed to enhance education are initiatives to make the latter accessible to many. The above-cited laws unequivocally opened many opportunities to students in the barangays of Cagayan de Oro, many of whom have moved on to higher educational pursuits which improved their intellectual capabilities. They will become worthy sons and daughters of the City of Golden Friendship, true Kagayanons and citizens of the future.
Congressman Rufus B. Rodriguez, named “Mr. Performance” by his constituents will be running for a fresh term this coming May 2019.
(Renato Gica Tibon is a fellow of the Fellowship of the 300, an elite organization under Centrist Democracy Political Institute [CDPI] with focus on political technocracy. He holds both position as political action officer and program manager of the Institute. He is the former regional chairman for Region 10 and vice president for Mindanao of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines [CDP].)