MANILA— The House of Representatives on Monday passed on final reading a bill converting the Basilan State College (BASSC) into a university— a development the province’s representative hopes would contribute to its progress after being gripped by terrorism for years.
Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, one of the principal authors of the bill, said in a statement Tuesday that the approval of House Bill 7697 brings the province “a step closer to having a Basilan State University.”
“The development of our province has been stunted by war and terrorism. Pero ngayon ay tuloy-tuloy na po ito,” said Hataman, who acknowledged his home province as a former stronghold of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group.
“This is but one of our key education initiatives in Basilan to equip our people with the necessary knowledge and skills to help us in nation-building,” Hataman said of the conversion of the BASSC into a full state university.
The upgrade of the status of the educational institution will enable it to offer more courses, accept more students, and improve the academic performance of those in Basilan and nearby areas, said Hataman.
Following efforts of the security sector, local government units, religious groups, community members and families through the Program Against Violent Extremism, Hataman said the growth in the province would require “more skilled professionals… that can only be supplied by a full-fledged university.”
“Napakadaming makikinabang dito kapag naisabatas ito at naging realidad ang Basilan State U,” Hataman said as he appealed to the Senate to approve a counterpart measure, which is necessary to pass the bill into law.
Meanwhile, Hataman is also pushing for the creation of a Basilan Science High School, a Basilan Sports Academy, and a TESDA office in the provincial capital of Isabela City.