HISTORY OF DAVAO ORIENTAL STATE COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: ITS INCEPTION AND EARLY YEARS
By: Julieta I. Ortiz, PhD
A Dream Fulfilled
Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST) trace its beginning to the Mati Community College (MCC), a local initiative created in 1972 by the local government of Mati. Until that time, it was headed by Dr. Leopoldo Bravo, a DECS administrator. While MCC gained the needed patronage to sustain it at a marginal level, it direly lacked financial support and, more importantly, the few programs it offered were commerce- and liberal arts- oriented and therefore not responsive to the development needs of the province and the country. Accordingly, its local leaders dreamt of a government-owned and funded state college that would provide not only access to higher education opportunities buy quality and relevant education as well
The vision and initiative of Hon. Representative Thelma Z. Almario to establish a state college in Mati, Davao Oriental by converting MCC which she also founded gained the wholehearted support of local leaders as well as national leaders in the Legislature. On December 13, 1989, the bill creating Davao Oriental State College of Science & Technology (DOSCST) was signed into law by the President of the Philippines. It was the culmination of the dreams of its founders.
It became known as R.A 6807, “AN ACT CONVERTING THE MATI COMMUNITY COLLEGE INTO A STATE COLLEGE TO BE KNOWN AS THE DAVAO ORIENTAL, STATE COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, PROVIDING FOR A CHARTER FOR THIS PURPOSE, EXPANDING ITS CURRICULAR OFFERINGS, REDIRECTING ITS OBJECTIVES, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR.” R.A 6807, DOSCST’s charter, states in Section 2 that, “The State College shall primarily provide higher technological, professional, and vocational instruction and training in science, agriculture, fishery, forestry, engineering and industrial fields, as well as short-term technical or vocational courses. It shall also promote research, advanced studies and progressive leadership in its areas of specialization.”
A College Rises Along the Shores of Pujada Bay
Dr. Julieta I. Ortiz was appointed on May 20, 1990 as founding president. Before her appointment by the Board of Trustees then chaired by Hon. Secretary Isidro Carino, she was Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the University of Southeastern Philippines and also held positions as Graduate School Dean then Director for Research in the same university before that. Shed received her education from the Mindanao Institute of Technology (University of Southern Mindanao), magna cum laude, and the University of the Philippines-Diliman capped by a PhD degree from Illinois State University, USA in 1982.
The newly charted college started operations in June 1990. Classes continued to be held in three buildings of the Mati National Comprehensive High School located at the ‘old site’ at Barangay Sainz until the College moved to its present 10-hectare site, 5km away from Mati, Davao Oriental proper in September 1991. Mindanao Agro-Pioneers Corporation owned by the heirs of the late Don Jose Corro Martinez, Sr. donated this site, a flat land about 300 meters from the shores of Pujada Bay.
On the ‘new site’, additional initial structures were built. A paved 5-kilometer road leading to the campus was constructed by DPWH in record time and electricity, water and communication lines were installed two buildings had already been previously constructed on the new site form national funds through Hon. Almario. Bright and promising professionals were recruited to man the faculty, new academic programs were crafted, and the arduous path towards instituting relevant research and extension programs was blazed. The difficult task of instituting an academic culture comparable to national standards also commenced.
The formalization of instructional and administrative practices and processes into policies was a continuing process during the early years. In the beginning, practices and processes adopted and implemented were incremental in the absence of institutionalized policies. Policies already institutionalized in other SUCs were ‘borrowed’ and applied when appropriate.
Building its Manpower Infrastructure
The faculty was generally a crop of young, promising new college graduates mostly from Davao Oriental and Davao City and a few others from nearby provinces. A few senior faculties from other SUCs joined the College later. In the beginning, senior faculty members were assigned to assist in administration but as the young faculties grew in experience and capability they were give more and more responsibilities in varied leadership roles. The college, for a time continued to hire the services of some qualified teachers of the Department of Education and Culture in Mati on part-time basis. One or two volunteered to assist the new President during the quick period of transition from MCC to DOSCST.
Practically the entire administrative staff of the old MCC was retained by the College by virtue of the law that created it. Their qualifications, previous MCC duties as well as experience were taken into account and made the basis for their appointments to various positions according to its plantilla of personnel. Their school-related experience in the previous MCC were a big help to the new administration.
Developing Academic Programs
Despite some resistance and opposition from some sectors including local leaders, parents and students, the College proceeded with the task of reorienting and reinventing the academic programs of the former Mati Community College now DOSCST in the direction of the mandate of the College. While the Administration was inclined to continue with some of the old programs, they were not attuned to the mandate of DOSCST; besides, resources would not have been adequate to meet their requirements. The pursuit of its mandate to be a school of science and technology had to be addressed first and resources invested where they should be.
New programs introduced included agricultural technology (post harvest technology and farming systems), development communication, environmental science, education, mathematics, food technology, business management (agribusiness and entrepreneurship), biology, electronic data processing and industrial technology. The old MCC program, Midwifery, stayed on inasmuch as there were already four regular midwifery faculty from MCC time and the same positions were in the College plantilla of personnel.
As a result of the shift to new academic programs, phasing out of some and the imposition of new standards and processes, enrollment dwindled on the second year. The holding of evening classes was however continued. Apparently, many parents and students preferred the old MCC programs over new science and technology and development-oriented programs of the College. That, and some other issues concomitant to the change process, affected the College for a while. But the new college was not about to be stymied by constraints to its development. A positive attitude was maintained. It was the College’s firm belief that it was going in the right direction and that the academic programs were relevant to the needs of the province and fulfilled the mandate of the College.
Assistance of the Institute for Environmental Science and Management (IESAM) of the University of the Philippines-Los Banos was sought for the development of the curriculum in BS Environmental Science. Likewise, UPLB also helped develop the BS Business Management curriculum. Programs like BS Commerce and Bachelor of Arts were phased out.
Building Linkages and Partnerships in Research
To speed up institutional growth, Dr. Ortiz established linkage with other higher education institutions, including other government agencies. As a result, the instructional, research and extension programs began to take on respectable form and substance as early as the second year, the new President pursued the arduous task of seeking partnerships and linkage with more advance SUCs and the department of Science and Technology (DOST). She saw it as a strategy to hasten the growth and development of the College and make its presence known and recognized in the academic community. She walked into offices, introduced herself and the College and invited them to collaborate in projects she believed would help the College grow. Some of her efforts paid off.
Linkage with the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Geological Science (NIGS) with Dr. Benjamin S. Austria as director and the Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) headed by Dr. Edgardo Gomez was formalized in an MOU for Educational and Scientific Cooperation between University of the Philippines-Diliman and DOSCST in 1992 specifically for joint research projects through resource sharing and collaboration, training and capacity building, faculty exchange and the development of a geology program. The partnership, which lasted for a period of five years, resulted to significant gains for the College and the province.
The 5-year partnership with the University of the Philippines undoubtedly played a key role in making the presence of DOSCST “felt” in the province and the Region as well as the scientific community. Two UP-DOSCST joint projects, one with NIGS to assess the semi-precious gemstone deposits of Davao Oriental and another with MSI to assess the fishery and shellfish resources of Balete Bay in Mati were funded by the Department of Science and Technology(DOST) to the tune of almost two million pesos. At that time Dr. Graciano Yumul Jr. and Dr. Edgardo Gomez were directors of NIGS and MSI, respectively. Their Support of the projects was unwavering.
Every summer for five years thereafter, a team of NIGS faculty came to the College to conduct training in Geology, Paleontology and Environmental Geology. These summer institutes were funded by DOST-STEVPP (Science and Technology Experts Volunteer Pool Program). While a NIGS faculty would occasionally come to the College to teach a course, two faculty members were sent to NIGS to pursue advanced degrees in the geological sciences. Similarly, MSI faculty came to conduct training on coral reef survey methods and do other research activities with DOSCST faculty.
Before the end of the 5-year partnership with UP-NIGS, the College and NIGS were getting ready to embark on opening a ladderized Geology program in the College which was uniquely from the geology program of UP. NIGS promised to support the College in offering the program. Unfortunately, the project plan ended along with the end of the term of Dr. Ortiz in 1997.
The NEDA Scholarship Committee (based in Pasig) supported our thrust in the sciences, particularly marine science and geology. At least three faculties were sent to train in Japan and one went for a master’s degree in marine ecology in Belgium on a scholarship.
It was during the 5-year period of partnership with UP that DOST-MIRDC(Metals Industry Research and Development Council) designated DOSCST as the training Center for gemstone cutting and polishing. The College and MIRDC, with some support from the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental, worked together with LGUs and cooperatives in San Isidro, Davao Oriental for almost three years. It was also during this period that the Provincial LGU of Davao Oriental commissioned the College to assess the dimension stone deposits of Mati and San Isidro. UP-NIGS and DOSCST collaborated in the project. The College also did baseline studies of some barangays of Davao Oriental including three sitios of Mati for DENR.
The College also embarked on research studies of its own, notable of which were the following: study of Mantis shrimps inhabiting Pujada Bay; socioeconomic characterization of nearby barangays; utilization and management of resources among a group of Mandayas in Davao Oriental (with the Research Institute for Mindanao Culture-Xavier University); Impact studies of some livelihood training conducted by the College; characterization of mangrove ecosystem in Guang-guang Point and nearby shores of Pujada Bay; comparative analyses of IPM strategies for mango; effectiveness of local government training in San Isidro and Banaybanay and a few others.
During the 7-year term of Dr. Ortiz, the College and the Department of Science and Technology collaborated o a number of extension projects. DOST-TAPI (Technology Application And Promotion Institute) with Dr. Maripaz Perez as director transferred Php 100,000 yearly for three years to fund technology transfer projects approved by TAPI. DOST-PCARRD(Philippine Council For Agricultural Resources Research And Development), UPLB-PHTRC(Post-harvest Technology And Research Center) Under Dr. Conception Lizada also engaged the College in a project to transfer technology on post-harvest handling of mango to member of Menzi Farmers’ Cooperative. The College also allowed DOST XI to hold office in the old building in Brgy. Sainz for its Provincial S&T office.
DILG XI designated the College as the Provincial Institute for Local Government Administration (ILGA), a local government training center for barangay officials in the province. The DILG Local Government Academy(LGA) was so impressed by the performance fo the College that in an appropriate event at the LGA in Los Banos, Laguna LGA under Dr. Brillantes adjudged the College ILGA as one of the best performing ILGAs in the country. The DOSCST-ILGA was the subject of a feature published in an LGA publication. The College received an annual support of Php 100,000 to manage the project.
The local government of Manay and then Board Member Nelson Dayanghirang sought the assistance of DOSCST for the conduct of capability building and skills development training in the municipality. Along with some NGOs based in Manay, an inter agency organization was organized- the Manay Council for non-formal Education(MACNE). The project was actively pursued by the College and the MACNE partners for some time.
In 1995, the State college, FIDA and the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental inaugurated a Tissue Culture Laboratory for abaca and cut flowers in the old site of the College with the College being designated as manager.
Cognizant of the fact that as a young college, its capability to respond to advanced education opportunities expected by professionals and government employees in Davao Oriental was limited, the college linked with state universities and a private university to bring some advanced degree programs to
Davao Oriental. In 1997, DOSCST inked an agreement with the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) to offer Master of Science in Development Administration with the latter as degree –granting institution in order to help upgrade the capability of development workers in the province. About 35 practicing professionals in the government and the private sector in Davao Oriental earned some advanced units with only one from DOSCST graduating with the degree. Likewise, a similar agreement was made earlier with the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) for advanced degree in Public Management in order to help upgrade the educational qualifications and management skills of interested employees both of GAs, LGUs and of the College. As a result, practically all section heads of the College obtained master’s degrees.
Consortia with universities were also established for degrees in Criminology and Civil Engineering, with the University of Mindanao (UM) in Criminology and USEP in Civil Engineering. For both programs, the College offered the first two years of college after which a student may proceed for the degree in either UM and USEP, as the case may be.
In 1997, upon representations made by Hon. Mayor Tina Yu of the municipality of San Isidro, the Board of Trustees approved the opening of a campus in that municipality. It was established in order to make higher education more accessible to the people of San Isidro, Gov. Generoso and also Banaybanay. Buildings and facilities, including the college site, were the counterpart of the local government. Classes commenced in 1997.
The College Library: A Legacy
The Administration relentlessly pursued the task of improving the College’s library collection and instructional facilities. With the firm belief that a rich library is the lifeblood of a college/university, the Administration built a 5.5-million air-conditioned library from its capital outlay. Increasing its collection of books and other library materials became a relentless pursuit of the College President. The biggest number of titles was obtained free through ACPAD-Australia while books from Books Across the Sea Foundation were obtained for a minimal amount. Other free sources were Thomas Jefferson Cultural Center through the Rotary Club of Makati and Asia Foundation. By the end of the term of Dr. Ortiz, the library acquired thousands of volumes of books and copies of print materials. Not included in the number were library resources purchased from the National Library, Cultural Center of the Philippines and others.
Prized were the more than a hundred titles of books donated by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile from his personal library. Fulfilling a promise he made to Dr. Ortiz while campaigning for senator, his donation covered a wide range of subjects in the arts and letters, including philosophy and religion.
Improving Physical and Instructional Facilities
With an e-library in mind, the Administration set up 27 units of computers in a space provided for in the library even as the same computers were also utilized for instruction. Additional computers were purchased through the years. Computers were likewise provided to the administrative offices and the faculty. Equipment for technology programs was also programs was also purchased, such as a farm tractor and a lathe machine. The College also acquired some equipment for marine research, such as scuba gears and underwater camera, etc.
By the seventh year, several buildings/ structures dotted the 10-hectare campus. They were the Administration, Library, Science, Post-harvest, Canteen, Technology, 2 Academic, R & E, student center. Paved walks connected buildings, and the 10-hectare site was fully fenced.
The College President aimed at increasing the capital resources of the College by seeking to acquire land through donation. A prominent citizen of Davao Oriental expressed willingness to donate 20 HA of property close to the Mayo River but somehow the intent fizzled out and Dr. Ortiz did not press on the matter any further. She also approached the owner of Pujada Island requesting for use of a piece of the beachfront. The place was ideal for a marine laboratory for coastal management which the Administration hoped to be supported by the DENR and /or the local government. Having received a 6-week training in Coastal Management form the USAID-supported Coastal Resource Center (CRC) in the University of Rhode Island, she was eager to share her knowledge and that of the faculty for better coastal management of Pujada Bay. Unfortunately, the request was turned down.
In June 1997, the Board of Trustees appointed a new president, Dr. Jonathan A. Bayogan, formerly of Benguet State University. At that time also, the DOSCST Gymnasium, a 50-Million-peso project through Hon. Thelma Almario was ready to be built in the College site.
Note to the reader: The events and facts narrated in this write-up happened more than 20 years ago. The reader is encouraged to cross-check the facts against existing documents in the College archives and/or with those who were there when the events happened.
HISTORY IN PICTURES