DOST Secretary Mario Montejo led on Thursday the groundbreaking rites of the PSHS-Soccsksargen Regional Campus -- the 12th campus of the PSHS system and third in Mindanao -- at Barangay Paraiso, adjacent to the state-of-the-art Philippine National Halal Laboratory and Science Center.
“We’ll make this new campus really unique, not only in curriculum but also in physical structure and design of the buildings and architecture, one that really stands out,” the secretary said.
The campus is situated in a 4.5 hectare lot that the provincial government purchased for P7.3 million, specifically as site for the campus. Last February, Dr. Josette Biyo, executive director of the PSHS System, and some DOST officials visited the site for evaluation and decided, the area is perfect location.
On the site will rise academic buildings, research and laboratory facilities, dormitory as well as other amenities that will be in keeping with the learning requirements of the PSHS students who are considered gifted in science and mathematics.
“With the support we are getting from local government officials, we can build a world-class campus here,” Dr. Biyo said. “We will bringing to Soccsksargen the best education that the PSHS system can give – a world class education.”
Besides the purchase of the lot, Gov. Arthur Y Pingoy Jr., with the support of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, allocated P5 million to fund the initial construction of the campus’s facilities.
During the ceremonies, YACAP Partylist Carol Jayne Lopez turned over to Gov. Pingoy the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for P5 million as her contribution to help fast track the project.
She also announced that she will allocate additional P1 million as a counterpart to Gov. Pingoy’s P1 million budget for the rehabilitation of the street going into the campus.
Agham party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones, who confessed he envies South Cotabato for the establishment of the PSHS here, also promised to give P2 million, “which should be delivered before the end of 2012.” He said they have been pushing in Congress the creation of a PSHS campus in North Cotabato.
In 2010, North Cotabato 2nd District Representative Nancy Catamco filed House Bill 02812 proposing for the establishment of a PSHS in North Cotabato, which is now pending at the Committee on Science and Technology.
“I envy South Cotabato,” Rep. Palmones said. “We are still deliberating the budget for the proposal. Yet here you are building the PSHS campus.
“Since only one PSHS campus is allowed per region, rest assured that we will support your efforts,” he said.
“I am also committing P1 million for the road project to the school site,” he added.
Koronadal Mayor Peter Miguel also pledged P5 million to improve the road network that connects the campus to the communities in the vicinity.
Gov Pingoy explained that the provincial government has already prepared the initial program of work for the building subject to the approval of Dr. Biyo and Secretary Montejo.
“My only concern is that we could start the construction work so the soonest so that we will be ready for the opening of classes in school year 2013 – 2014.”
PSHS is an attached agency of the DOST and operates as a specialized high school that focuses on high quality science-based education and training of students that show exemplary aptitude in science and mathematics.
Only those who are in the top 10 percent of the graduating class and those certified by their school principal as having shown special aptitude in science and mathematics are allowed to take the National Competitive Examination, which determines acceptance to the PSHS schools.
This year the NCE is scheduled on September 29. According to the PSHS website, the deadline for the submission of application form for the NCE will be July 13.
Dr. Biyo, however, announced that for Soccsksargen area the deadline for the submission of application form has been reset to July 31.
She added that a team of PSHS teachers will be coming to the region to coach the applicants on how taking the examination which is designed to designed to measure Scientific Ability, Quantitative Ability, Abstract Reasoning, and Verbal Aptitude.
Only 90 students (30 per class) can be accepted in the freshman (Grade 7 in K to 12) level.
Biyo added that PSHS campuses, including the Soccsksargen campus, are also implementing the 4-year junior high school plus 2-year senior high school approach of DepEd’s K to 12 program. (DED-PIA 12)