Shamag September-October 2022

BSU Celebrates 106th Founding Anniversary

Founded in 1916 as a farm school formerly known as Mountain State Agricultural College, Benguet State University has grown from a small school with only a handful of students to an institution that now serves over 14,000 students from all parts of the Cordillera Region and beyond.

 This year, the university celebrated its 106th Foundation Anniversary with the theme “Championing Advocacy on Responsive Educational Services Towards National College of Highland Agriculture and Environment.”

In honor of the milestone, BSU hosted several events which include the Kapihan, multidisciplinary discourse, and among others. The festivity also culminated its award ceremony that recognized the outstanding faculty, staff, and alumni who have made significant contributions to the university’s development over the years.

 As one of the oldest educational institutions in Luzon, Benguet State University continues to uphold excellence through engagement initiatives such as its foundation celebration that pays tribute to its proud legacy and inspire all stakeholders to keep striving for greatness.

Foundation Anniversary Grand Opening

"The past is alive and continues to exist.." - Atty. Allan Casaldo Sacpa

Led by President Felipe Salaing Comila and other officials along with the BSU-CCA, stakeholders and other participants gathered together on the morning of September 27 in front of the BSU Administration Building for a Street Dance Parade.

With the sound of the gongs echoing through the air, the procession went on to showcase the “longest G-string and Benguet tapis” that spans 106 meters in length in commemoration of the years since the founding of the university along with the agricultural products of Cordillera.

An ecumenical service at the university gymnasium followed with various denominations present to grace the celebration. Prayers and invocation were said during the service.

Vice-President for Administration and Finance Atty. Allan Casaldo Sacpa, upon cordially welcoming the attendees said that the celebration enables us to look back at the past as it is worthy of commemoration and look forward to the future as it is worthy of aspiration.

The lineup of activities from today is mainly in recognition of the past that surely inspires us, guides us, and equips us to be the future. As French archbishop François Fénelon said, ‘Let gratitude for the past inspire us with the trust for the future,’” he said.

On the other hand, with this year’s F o u n d a t i o n Anniversary theme highlighting one of the visions of the university, Dr. Rome A. Gomez, Jr., the Dean for the National College of Highland Agriculture and Environment (NCHAE) presented the initial plan and proposed timeframe for the said national college.

It can be noted that establishing a national college in the region is one of the target goals of President Comila ever since he took office last November 26, 2020. Specifically, the NCHAE plans to restructure the College of Agriculture and withdraw the Environmental Science Program from the College of Natural Sciences and include it in the proposed national college programs.

He clarified however that the national college does not plan to dissolve all the other colleges, exercising a “disciplinal respect for the other field of specialization as well as the existing units or colleges.”

“It might be a possibility that we have a restructured college of agriculture because this is basically the vision for this university to have a national college. And while we can accommodate lowland crops and animal production systems, highland crops and animal production system should be the strong focus because this is our primary strength,” he said as he detailed the university’s strengths, resources, partnerships, accomplishments, and geographical location among others as a rationale for the possibility of the said endeavor.

According to Dr. Gomez Jr., the national college will focus on two fundamental trajectories which are Highland Agriculture which concentrates on semi-temperate crops and animals, and Highland Environment which focuses on the natural and urban ecosystems as well as the Traditional Rice- B a s e d Ecosystems or TRBEs.

In his explanation, Dr. Gomez Jr. said that the TRBEs refer to the indigenous rice terraces in the region which might not be comparable to the Ifugao Rice Terraces but also abounds in Benguet, Mountain Province, and other provinces of CAR where culture is closely intertwined.

In line with the opening, President Comila facilitated the awarding of plaques to the immediate past members of the Board of Regents.

Dr. Stephanie F. Christiansen, the Assistant Regional Director of NEDA-CAR and former BOR member, in her response message, talked of how the university continues to be a pillar of development in the region embracing students of all economic statuses, ethnicity, gender, and race. According to her, this helps in nurturing a generation of students responsible and abled contributors to growth and development not only in the region but also in the world.

Congressman Eric Go Yap, the keynote speaker of the day then shared his congratulatory message in honor of the continuous quality education and invaluable community service of BSU in the province.

As we embark on the 106th year of academic excellence, BSU continues to become the bedrock of our responsive education service that is geared towards highland agriculture and development in the province as well as to our neighboring provinces. Noting that the main source of livelihood in the province is agriculture, the university remains to utilize and harness the limitless potential of the sector and other prospective and rising industries. Hence, it is crystal clear that the mandate of the university always transgresses beyond the university itself,” he commended. He believes that BSU will “remain dauntless in the years to come” regardless of whatever challenges will transpire in the future. “As the province’s only state university, we kakailyans, will rally behind its back,” he ended.

University President Comila then said that one of the end goals of the proposed NCHAE is to combat food scarcity problems in our region and in the country. “We will continue to flourish, to prosper, and to be one of the sources of food in the university for our country despite the challenges of food security. I will continue to stand with the vision and mission that we have established and we will continue to pursue it until the end of our term,” he said.

Kapihan sa BSU

“The role of education is enlightenment… in the holistic level,” says BSU President Felipe Salaing Comila.

Through the Kapihan, key BSU officials were able to exchange ideas and perspectives as well as share relevant information together with the university’s together with the university’s media partner, the Philippine Information Agency – Cordillera Administrative Region (PIA – CAR) to the public.

President Comila, alongside Executive Assistant Atty. Andres Arnold Wadingan Lampacan, Vice-President for Academic Affairs Dr. Samuel Salay Poliden, and Vice-President for Research and Extension Dr. Johnny Guzman Dati, r., recently shared a range of university-related updates and programs with the public, including the promotion of faculty under NBC 461 Cycle, the expansion of the campus to various municipalities of Benguet, and the qualification of BSU as a medium university.

President Comila further explained that the ultimate aim of these programs is to elevate BSU to a Level 5 University, thus providing students with the highest quality of education and the opportunity to reach their full potential. Through these initiatives, BSU is striving to become a beacon of enlightenment and knowledge in the region.

PRAISE Everlasting Awards

"Public service is encouraging and rewarding..." - Atty. Matias C. Angiwan, Jr.

As part of the annual Foundation Anniversary of the university, the PRAISE EVERLASTING Awards 2022 recognized once more the employees who demonstrated commitment to excellence, positive leadership, and loyalty in service.

Anchored through CSM-MC No.1 Series of 2001 which mandates all government agencies, including SUCs to establish their own employee incentive awards system under the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE), the BSU’s PRAISE-EVERLASTING Awards was created.

University President Felipe Salaing Comila in his message spoke of the importance of these kinds of platforms to honor deserving awardees saying, “The splendor of the heart and the brilliance of the mind are often not appreciated if not placed in a structure like this one.” For him, the awardees continue to shine as an inspiration to their fellow at the workplace.

President Comila also commended the retirees for their unwavering service and loyalty to the institution and how they attest that indeed, “there is life after retirement.”

Meanwhile, Chief of Administrative Services Division Atty. Matias Chawana Angiwan, Jr. shared three crucial realizations through this awarding ceremony: humility, encouragement, and gratitude.

He said that it is humbling to understand that public service is a noble undertaking and can be very rewarding. He further states that these awards are an encouragement to those who may be looking forward to receiving the same recognition. He then thanked the committee for their effort in organizing the event as well as the nominators, calling it a “collaborative effort.”

A leader can never be alone from the top. He needs people to work with him. And it is with these people that he shares the recognition and award,” he said.

Along with these realizations, Atty. Angiwan also shared some spiritual insights, saying that everyone needs to seek the greater award which will be given by our Lord Jesus C h r i s t . “The things on earth will p e r i s h but the things that are eternal will always be eternal. And indeed, when we come to our time and the Lord will say, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joys and the kingdom of your Lord,’ that would be the greatest accolade and the greatest reward that we can ever receive,” he added.

As a closing, Dr. Percyveranda A. Lubrica, GS coordinator of CTE, adulated the university employees’ resiliency amidst the increasing challenges of our changing times along with the increasing demand and responsibility of our growing university.

“With the expansion of academic programs in our university over the years, the demand for quality service has also increased correspondingly. It is therefore a fact that BSU is what it is today basically as a result of the effort and ingenuity of the employees and this fact is appreciated by all,” she complimented.

Everlasting Cañao

In honor of the Benguet State University’s accomplishments for 106 years, the University held its Everlasting Cañao on September 30 at the BSU Gymnasium.

Cañao is a special feast for the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera Administrative Region. It is a socio-religious ritual and a thanksgiving to the god, Kabunyan, where chicken, pigs, and/ or carabaos are butchered as a sacrifice.

“We are gathered here to be united in the spirit of people and gesture of peace by understanding each other’s culture and tradition,” expressed Vice- President for Research and Extension Dr. Johnny Guzman Dati, Sr., in his welcome remarks. He added that the event inculcates patriotism among students.

In a Ceremonial Welcome Tayao, the three salao were presented, which represent the three campuses of the university, including the La Trinidad, Bokod, and Buguias. The three kayabangs are also representative and symbolic of the growing family of Benguet State University, such as the Kapangan Campus and the Kabayan Extension Campus. During the ceremony, President Felipe Salaing Comila also led the traditional dancing accompanied by playing gongs and joined by the BSU officials, employees, and guests. It was followed by the drinking of tapey, a rice wine and a traditional alcoholic beverage of the Cordillerans. BSU officials, employees, and guests also performed the traditional Bendian dance. It is a circle dance to celebrate a victory. It is one of the most beautiful and unique dances of the Ibaloy-Ithno linguistic group of Benguet, which originated in Kabayan.

Meanwhile, Benguet Local Government Officials from La Trinidad, Itogon, and Bokod and CHED-CAR and DepEd CAR representatives congratulated BSU for its milestones and delivered their commitments to the University.

In a message delivered through Hon. Henry Kipas, La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Kimo Salda commended and reminisced about the continuing achievements of the University in delivering quality services to its students and stakeholders.

Bokod Mayor Thomas K. Wales, Jr. also expressed his commitment through his Representative Giovan S. Mesa. He thanked BSU for having the Bokod Campus, which according to him, has been transforming and uplifting the lives of the people of Bokod, even in neighboring communities. He committed to supporting the BSU’s vision, mission, and development goals (VMDG), its goal of expanding satellite campuses and offering additional courses, and forging a partnership between BSU and LGUs and other agencies for the betterment of the general public, especially on the education sector.

In addition, CHED-CAR Representative Dr. Maria Geraldine Casipit acknowledged the collective effort of the present administration, other BSU employees, and the past presidents that resulted in the exemplary performances of the University through the years. “Your more than a century of existence is a manifestation of a university’s thrive to propel for greater heights in the realm of higher education,” she expressed.

Assistant Director of the DepEd- CAR Dr. Florante E. Vergara assured that the department provides quality basic education to its learners. He believes BSU is a great partner of various agencies in the region in providing programs, activities, and projects that will contribute to the enhancement of the skills and abilities of all learners.

Moreover, Guest Speaker and Benguet Governor Melchor Daguines Diclas, through his representative Mr. David Cabuten, lauded BSU on its various accomplishments and excellence in education. He also announced the significant roles of the university in agricultural development through its excellent innovations that empower and enrich local communities and the country. “As BSU continues to expand and provide more equitable, high quality and responsive educational services, while we pursue to address pressing issues and future concerns on agriculture, I am certain that BSU is a reliable partner towards our aspirations by not only providing quality agricultural courses but also by empowering our learners to become community-oriented and socially concerned future, innovative leaders, with the sense of ethical responsibilities,” he expressed as he encouraged BSU to continue to impart knowledge and skills to its learners.

In his response, Pres. Comila talked about eliminating the negative but focusing more on the positive ones. He further shared his plans for the University, such as the expansion of university campuses in Benguet, improvement of facilities in all campuses, and boost of the business affairs sector of the University, even the tourism industry in the locality. He further inspired everyone to give their best saying, “Time is gold. The currency of the economy is money but the currency in life is time. It’s the time that you give to the University that defines the direction.”// CANapiloy & EMBawayan


DLIS Maintains Stellar Board Performance

 It was yet another outstanding performance by the Department of Library and Information Science during the Librarian Licensure Exam on September 12- 13, 2022.

The university produced newly licensed librarians with a passing rate of 71.88%, which exceeded the national passing rate of 39.43%. A total of 23 passed the examination with a 70.97% passing rate for the first takers and a 100% passing rate for retakers.

Additionally, Ms. Diana Faith F. Dalilis managed to grab the top 10 seat in the examination with an average of 85.40%. This would be the third time the university has produced topnotchers for the said licensure exam since 2018. Ms. Arlyn Olante Bayeng grabbed the top 8 seat in 2018 and Mr. Daniel Soriano Balbin, Jr. landed top 1 in 2019.

Since 2015, the university has consistently surpassed the national passing rate in the Librarian Licensure Examination.

According to DLIS Chairperson Dr. Elizabeth A. Lascano, there are challenges faced by the department since this batch was affected by distance learning.

"We were adamant on pushing through for a face-to-face review but we felt that it is a tremendous benefit for the students because the past two years they've been learning strictly online and modular learning. We felt that conducting the review through distance learning will not be enough for the students," Lascano said.

Furthermore, Lascano extended commendations for the support of the University Library and Information Services and BLIS alumnus Daniel S. Balbin, Jr. to the students. "The university library, through Mr. Balbin, was also a great help to the students by answering queries and providing review materials to the students. We were also amazed by the resourcefulness of the students. They took advantage of the few resources they had. Their willingness to help one another gave them an edge for the upcoming exam," Lascano added.

To maintain this successful trajectory, Lascano emphasized the importance of maintaining the department's current practices, focusing on the students, and looking for new methods and programs that would contribute to the university's success in producing competent licensed librarians.

Meanwhile, College of Information Sciences Dean Dr. Russell Battad Dolendo was exultant to see the consistent performance of DLIS graduates. "It has something to do with consistency in implementing policies, such as the screening process of those who would be enrolling. We incorporated Course Auditing in our curriculum, which helped tremendously, and we also believe in our collaborative work with our partners outside, especially with other libraries and the continuous support of the university library," Dolendo said. Additionally, she lamented the fact, despite the accomplishments of the DLIS, the Library and Information Science program still faces misconceptions.

"Year after year, the majority of our students who enroll report that LIS is not their top choice. As a result, we attempt to encourage them while also letting them learn more about LIS. We motivate students by sharing examples from previous graduates before demonstrating the competencies needed by the majority of organizations. By doing this, we may show them that their preconception is incorrect and that librarianship is a versatile and rewarding profession," she added.

Furthermore, she concluded by extending gratitude to the unwavering support of the university sectors through the initiative of President Felipe Salaing Comila.// OGDacocotJr.


 BSU Produces 76 Foresters and 78 Vets

The university once again produced newly licensed Foresters following the Forester Licensure Examination last October 26-27, 2022. The College of Forestry managed to produce 76 licensed Foresters with 60.53% overall performance, surpassing the 54.87% national passing rate.

CF Dean Dr. Marissa R. Parao expressed both exuberance and determination. According to her, this recent performance merits celebration, especially with the steps taken by the college to help the students. "We learned our lesson last year because the examination review was conducted online and we was conducted online and we think that was a big factor in last year's results. So that's why this year we tried to accommodate our students for a face-to-face review and by God's Grace we surpassed the national passing rate," Parao said.

"We also conducted mock examinations to simulate their licensure examination, this was good for the students because they needed a little refresher due to the delay of schedule for the Foresters Licensure Examination. Also, the mock examinations outlined the parts where they need to focus more on," she added.

Moreover, despite the university surpassing the national passing rate, Parao lamented this year's licensure examination result, specifically the performance of the retakers. "Though the first takers performed very well, we were sad to see the performance of the retakers," she said.

According to Parao, the poor performance of retakers has been a challenge for the college. However, addressing this problem has been difficult to navigate due to the willingness of the retakers to participate in the college extension programs.

"We still have retakers who had been taking the examination for more than 10 years and some are even 20 years. Lately, we requested the names of the retakers from the PRC so we could communicate with them. But this is also a challenge for us because some of them are humbled by their age and this made it difficult for us to reach out. Although the retakers this year improved compared to last year, we still look for more avenues to help them, such as providing them with a free review," she said.

Meanwhile, the College of Veterinary Medicine produced 78 licensed Veterinarians with 32.05% overall performance following the Veterinarian Licensure Examination conducted on September 27, 2022.

Dr. Loretta Caspillo Romero, the College of Veterinary Medicine dean, was delighted by the 78 newly licensed Veterinarians but lamented the licensure examination result. According to her, the preparedness of the student before the examination greatly affected the overall performance of the college. "One thing that we observed in our assessment was the readiness of the students. The college did not conduct a face-to-face review because of the restrictions, so we had to do it online, which was not substantial enough to prepare the students for the examination," lamented Romero.

Much like other colleges, the College of Veterinary Medicine faced the academic predicaments caused by the global pandemic. According to Dr. Romero, "learning loss" was evident during the past years of students strictly learning online. Out of 928, only 335 examinees passed the licensure examination, with a 36.10% national passing rate.

Despite the past results of the examination, Romero showed optimism for the future, as the university has already implemented face-to-face classes. "We are already seeing the difference in the performance of our students in our face-to- greatly need addressing. Also, we have an extension program in the college called the ' Binadang Licensure Exam Extension Service for Students (BLESS) Program,' which provides our students with online and face-to-face reviews, our CVM library provides review materials, and our alumni also help. This program is also our avenue to help the mental state of our students, " Romero said.

Furthermore, Romero shared her exuberance about the employment rate of veterinary medicine graduates. "We traced our graduates last year, and we are happy to see that all of them are already employed. Many of our students, while still studying are already working, which speaks greatly of their competency," Romero exclaimed.

According to her, within six months after graduation, more than 80% percent of graduates are already employed all over the country. With only 23 universities and colleges offering veterinary medicine, graduates are highly sought by institutions.

Parao and Romero thanked the support of President Felipe Salaing Comila and the university sectors, as the success of the colleges would not be possible without their support.// OGDacocotJr.


 BSU Maintains ISO Certification as of October 2022

 Benguet State University retains its ISO 90001:2015 Certification after the Surveillance Audit by TUV Rheinland on October 26, 2022.

 “The team reveals zero non-conformity," proclaimed Lead Auditor Abegail Salomon of TUV Rheinland during the Closing Meeting at the RDC Hall. She also announced that the University has established and maintains an effective system to ensure compliance with its policy and objectives and comply with the requirements of the ISO standard.

Along with Salomon, other TUV Rheinland auditors, including Xylene Tagorio and Rolando Remitar, assessed the BSU Top Management and various offices under instruction and research and extension sectors.

BSU, a provider of tertiary education, is ISO certified since 2018. This year, it passed the first surveillance audit of the University’s ISO recertification in 2021.

President Felipe Salaing Comila said that this momentous occasion validates the effective Quality Management System of the University and serves as encouragement to pursue a higher level for the University. “This event serves as an eye opener for us, you have provided and given us direction so that we could now pursue the things we needed to do. This event affirms our confidence to pursue further because nothing is impossible if we work as a team. It’s nice to be validated,” he expressed.

Pres. Comila and Quality Management Representative Dr. Aurea Marie Mioten Sandoval thanked all the sectors for the collective effort for this University’s milestone.

“We continue maintaining and documenting the different ISO processes, the BSU Quality Management System according to the ISO standard,” said Sandoval hoping BSU will achieve the same in the audit next year. She added that the University that the University continues to conduct orientations and reminders among BSU offices to follow the ISO processes for the University's improvement.//EMBawayan


BSU, UOG Hold 3rd Int’l C Confab on IPs’ Food, Culture

The Benguet State University Institute of Social Research and Development (ISRD), in partnership with the BSU Gender and Development (GAD) Office, the BSU College of Social Sciences (CSS), and the University of Guam (UOG) in the United States of America (USA) spearheaded the third International Virtual Conference on Understanding Food and Culture of the Indigenous Communities Across Borders: The Role of Men and Women in Ensuring Food Security on October 27, 2022.

In line with the celebration of Indigenous Peoples (IP) Month every October, the conference aims to facilitate understanding and appreciation of the cultural practices of the indigenous peoples across borders. ISRD Director Dr. Gigy Guma-ad Banes said that the event is a continuing activity between BSU and UOG to strengthen partnerships in line with the internalization of Philippine higher education. It was attended by participants from New Zealand, Kenya, the USA, and the Philippines.

Dr. Banes further explained that participants will learn more about food and culture from the resource speakers. “Generally, food is part of our culture. Food is a great unifier. It can connect people from different backgrounds and experiences,” said Dr. Banes as she defined food culture as habits, rituals, practices, beliefs, values, lifestyle, traditions, and customs.

In addition, Vice-President for Research and Extension Dr. Johnny Guzman Dati, Sr. emphasized the significance of the celebration of IP Month in education that promotes indigenous knowledge, skills, and other aspects of indigenous heritage. He hoped the participants appreciate and value the cultural knowledge and understand the food and culture of indigenous communities.

Aside from food and culture, the webinar highlighted also the roles of men and women in ensuring food security. “When addressing food security, it is a community concern, with men and women equally responsible for assuring the sustainability of community livelihoods,” expressed Senior Vice-President of Academic and Students Affairs of UOG Anita Borja Enriquez. She also emphasized that indigenous women are the backbone of indigenous communities and have significant roles in ensuring food security. She further stated that through a partnership between universities, educational institutions contribute to the body of literature to explain unique challenges and determine solutions related to food security in communities.

BSU President Dr. Felipe Salaing Comila added that women nowadays are food providers for the family, not just men. “I say that both (men and women) are qualified to look for the food, produce the food for the family,” he said. He encouraged men to appreciate and respect women who also have a crucial role in sustaining food security for the family Further, various topics on food culture and the roles of men and women in food security were discussed by resource speakers from New Zealand, Guam, Kenya, and the Philippines.

Hema Wi Hongi, Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies of the University of Waikato in New Zealand, discussed the first topic of the webinar titled, Wai262 Journey: An expression of Rangatiratanga (Absolute Sovereignty) Kumara Sweet Potato. She talked about the struggles of the Maori and their efforts to take back control over the Maori lands, including flora and fauna.

Elyssa J. Santos, Special Projects Coordinator, Kumision I Fino Chamoru, University of Guam, USA also discussed the topic on Products of the Soil: Unearthing Histories of Chamoru Resistance to Colonial Agricultural Project in Guahan. She shared the history and struggles of the Chamoru people, the indigenous peoples of Guahan or Guam, whose existence has been threatened due to colonialism. She further elaborated on the participation of Chamoru in colonial agricultural projects and expanded on indigenous women’s involvement in food production. “As in other indigenous communities or cultures, the farmer is a very important figure in the Chamoru community,” she added. She also highlighted the role of women as cultivators of land.

Elvi Kaptoyo, Pastoral Communities Empowerment Program in Kenya, discussed Understanding the Culture and Foodways of the Pokot Indigenous Community. In her discussion, she emphasized and hoped that women can also participate in decision-making, not just men, such as the right to decide on agricultural and household levels and can participate in decision making. “We should stand for our women, children, and land for whatever we do,” she said and hoped to share more topics for food security.

In the afternoon session, Dr. Stanley F. Anongos, Jr., a Professor at BSU-College of Social Sciences, shared his study on Sobering Drink: Social Meanings of Tapey. Tapey is an alcoholic beverage or wine of the Cordillerans made from rice.

In his discussion, Dr. Anongos elaborated on the sociocultural values associated with alcohol drinking, specifically the tapey. “Tapey is related to important cultures of the Cordillerans,” he said. He added that tapey is served during rituals and other ceremonies such as peace-making activities in the Cordillera. He further said that the socio-cultural values of the tapey contribute to sustainable rice agriculture. “Rituals and ceremonies, and the central role the tapey plays, sustain rice agriculture,” he noted.

Roland D. Ngalob, Master Teacher II of Pines City National High School in Baguio City, talked about Kasilapet: Understanding the Cultural Significance of Linapet in Agawa, Besao, Mountain Province. Mr. Ngalob enumerated how kasilapet is made and the values and cultural meanings associated with the production of kasilapet.

Moreover, Matyline A. Camfili- Talastas, BSU ISRD Division Chief- Indigenous Knowledge Systems, shared the Traditional Food Crops Preservation Practices in Subsistence Communities in Benguet. According to her, traditional food crops are still available and contribute to food and nutrition security. She also emphasized the nutritive functions of the crops and the significant roles of women in providing food for the family. In agricultural production, women do weeding, planting, and harvesting of rice. She further noted that women are seed keepers and actively participate in deciding what to intercrop.

The event concluded with the closing remarks of CSS Dean Dr. Charlie M. Dagwasi, who underscored that food security is the root of development and thanked the resource speakers, participants, and organizers of the event.// EMBawayan