House okays BISCAST conversion to state univ
By Zyra Ponce
The Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST), a state college, is on its way to becoming a state university after the House Bill (HB) No. 6858 was approved on third and final reading recently.
In a Facebook post, Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte, the bill’s principal author, announced its passage in the House of Representatives.
HB 6858 seeks to convert and rename BISCAST into a state university to be known as the Southeast Asian University of Technology (SEAUTech).
Villafuerte also thanked Sen. Joel Villanueva, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Higher and Technical and Vocational Education for sponsoring, defending and ensuring the swift passage of the bill in the Senate, which will help and benefit student Bicolanos in the future.
According to Villanueva, the passage of the bill in the middle of the pandemic is timely, relevant and also uplifting to the communities that would stand to benefit from these developments in converting state colleges to universities.
The passage of the bill is also among seven bills renaming local state colleges into state universities such as the: Compostela Valley State College into Davao de Oro State College under HB 6596; HB 6842 renaming Surigao del Sur State University to North Eastern Mindanao State University; HB 7030 converting Abra State Institute of Sciences and Technology into University of Abra; HB 7019 in relation to Senate Bill No. 1689, which converts Agusan Del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology to Agusan del Sur State University; HB 7566 converting Occidental Mindoro State College into Occidental Mindoro State Unibersity; and HB 7697 converting Basilan State College into Basilan State University.
HB 6858 also mandates that BISCAST as SEAUTech shall offer undergraduate courses within its areas of competencies and specialization, in the fields of engineering, industrial technology, arts and sciences, architecture, non-traditional courses, and other relevant fields of study.
“The next step is to ensure adequate funding for this university that will be according to international standards of quality education” Villafuerte said.
In addition, Villafuerte said that they he is also planning to establish campus annexes for the benefit of college students in the first and second districts of the Camarines Sur to make quality education accessible to them instead of enrolling and traveling all the way to Naga City where the main campus is located.