By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper
Though its new name is West Visayas College of Science and Technology (WVCST), many Ilonggos still prefer to call it by its old “ISAT” or simply “Trade”.
ISAT stands for Iloilo School of Arts and Trade, a government school that has produced artisans and professional machinists.
ISAT upgraded its curriculum to include bachelor in science courses. Assemblyman Salvador “Buddy” Britanico, in the last years of the Marcos dictatorship, worked to elevate it into what its name now suggests, that offers full college courses.
Britanico is also credited for making Miag-ao town, 40 kilometers south of Iloilo City, main campus of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) system.
WVCST officialdom is not satisfied with its current status though. Its top brass lobbied with Rep. Raul Gonzalez, Jr. to transform it into a “polytechnic university” which offers wider range of collegiate disciplines.
Gonzalez has filed a bill to that effect and got the support of Britanico as co-author, as House representative for BANAT partylist which advocates for barangay-based interests.
A polytechnic university means greater capacity for the former ISAT to offer wider range of college and postgrad courses, particularly engineering, carpentry and metal works.
It means more graduates honed in different engineering and trade skills. That confirms the role, which Iloilo City has been enjoying for decades, as the hub of “educational tourism”, serving as magnet drawing people from towns, other provinces and regions, to Iloilo to study.
We interviewed Britanico twice in the talk show “Kape kag Isyu” of columnist Peter Jimenea and in both occasions, he reiteratetd his advocacy for better educational facilities in Iloilo.
We also had Gonzalez twice being the guest of the show where he promised to push, in his third and final term, to upgrade the WVCST into the “West Visayas State Polytechnic University”.
Nothing is heard of that now. Gonzalez failed in bid last May 10, 2010 elections, for his third and final term. The victor, former Mayor Jerry Trenas, we had been informed, has filed a similar bill but he is yet to update his constituency how his proposed legislation is faring now.
Trenas did the same to the bill filed by his predecessor that sought to divide Iloilo City into two congressional districts. He brushed the Gonzalez bill aside and filed an identical one, this time with himself as author. Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, chair of the committee on constitutional reform, however, nixed the Trenas bill because it failed to meet the requirement on minimum voters’ population of 250,000 per district.
We find it interesting how Trenas prefers to prolong the procedure of upgrading the WVCST into a polytechnic university by introducing a new bill instead of simply pushing for the Gonzalez version and name himself a co-author thereof.
Be that as it may, the grapevine points to Gonzalez gearing for a rematch with Trenas come May 2013. The political configuration in Iloilo City points to that potential clash.
The father of Gonzalez Jr., Raul Sr., already declared that one in the family was running for 2013 and confirmed reports that he, this paper’s publisher Rommel Ynion, and Larry Jamora, had joined forces against the alliance of Rep. Trenas, Mayor Jed Patric Mabilog, and Vice Mayor Joe Espinosa III.
Raul Sr. says it will be Ynion (which the latter later confirmed) to be slugging it out with Mabilog while the representative from the Gonzalez family, probably, the junior, will be colliding with Trenas.
A member of the Jamora family (Larry or his nephew, Dave) will run for vice mayor in the same ticket.
Incidentally, Trenas told Atty. Dwight Trasadas, a co-panelist of Kape kag Isyu, to forego with his alleged interest to join the fray for the city council in the May 2013 elections. He informed Trasadas that the latter was the 29th in the “survey” he conducted among “600 respondents” and advised Trasadas of the latter’s chance of getting elected to the city council if he landed at least within the “top 15” in the survey.
Well, elections are still far off and Trasadas has not yet begun his campaign. Curiously, Trenas advised him to stay away from “Kape kag Isyu” because its panelists were “Gonzalez boys”.