By Ali G. Macabalang
GENERAL SANTOS CITY
GEN. SANTOS CITY – The Mindanao State University (MSU) system satellite campus is bracing up to open its own College of Medicine this academic year, pending full completion of construction works for the corresponding P162.9-million building in few weeks.
Officials of the university campus here, known as MSU-GSC, said a Regional Quality Assessment Team (RQAT) of the Commission on Higher Education Regional Office 12 (CHED-RO XII) has completed its initial assessment of the campus’ College of Medicine (COM) last May 25.
The RQAT, led by Auditor-Physician Bonifacio E. Valdez alongside Annabelle R. Dafielmoto, Education Supervisor II, conducted an ocular inspection of the COM’s building, library, laboratories, equipment, and facilities, officials told the Philippine Muslim Today news.
Dr. Anshari P. Ali, MSU-GSC chancellor, said regional assessment was a prelude to the intent of his administration’s stride to start accepting enrollees of medical studies this school year. His internal audit unit chief, Lorraine Sarigala, was more optimistic that their campus can accommodate enrollees for this current semester.
Chancellor Ali, in a chat with the PMT, corroborated the optimism, citing also a positive signal from the MSU system leadership, notably University president Habib W. Macaayong and the Board of Regents (BoR). The BoR is chaired by CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera III.
The prospected COM opening 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, Sarigala said.
Upon installation as campus chancellor on April 28, 2019, Dr. Ali committed in his investiture speech to establish a College of Medicine alongside strides to link up his campus with national agencies and international institutions, upgrade organizational operations, and expand their academic activities.
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 university BOR the creation of the COM even as an “extension” unit of the Marawi City-based main campus’ medical college. But the proposal drew objection from higher MSU officials purportedly undermining the satellite campus capability, inside sources said.
“Due to Chancellor Ali’s persistence, the MSU system leadership approved the proposal but with a challenge for the MSU-GenSan campus to administer the proposed college independently,” a subordinate official disclosed.
Dr. Ali said he accepted the challenge, but admitted having a mental “burden” as to sourcing out funds to construct the proposed College of Medicine building and in sustaining its operations.
Fortunately, he said, his administration’s 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 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 broke the ground for the construction of the COM building last last Feb. 5. MSU System President Macaayong, to his amazement, even attended the event, it was learned.
Construction works worth P162-million for a four-level building have since reached substantial completion under Phase 1, Sarigala said.
Of the project cost, the Ali administration allotted P46-million out of savings as counterpart, with the remaining P117-million being committed by the national government, it was learned.
Sarigala said Chancellor Ali was “so eager” about the opening of COM classes that he had earlier assigned some rooms in the College of Law building for medical study classes.
Elected officials in Central Mindanao are reportedly equally eager about the COM opening, because the region lacks a medical center. The Cotabato Regional Medical Center is located in Cotabato City, which is now part of the infant Bangsamoro autonomous region. AGM