Towards Financial Sustainability as a SUC

19 March 2011

Speech-SUCSpeech of Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
Commencement Exercise of Laguna Polytechnic State University (LSPU)
San Pablo City, Laguna
19 March 2011

Let me begin by first greeting your university officials led by President Ricardo A. Wagan, and the members of the Board of Regents, the distinguished faculty and staff of LSPU, family and friends and alumni, and of course, the graduating class of 2011.

To the president, officials and academic faculty of LSPU, let me thank you and congratulate you- for inspiring and preparing our graduates for the world of work and for whatever noble pursuits they will choose to embrace. Considering that this institution is only four (4) years old as a State University, you certainly have accomplished so much for you to be proud of.

To our dear graduates, families and friend, this day is a tribute to all of you. And your graduation rites should be an especially exciting day for you. For today marks your moving out day- from the sheltered walls of the academe; as well as your moving up day, another step up the ladder in your adult career.

As you accept your diplomas today, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the important role of public universities, especially LSPU, in transforming your lives, in preparing you to succeed to the next stages of your adulthood.

I believe this year’s batch of graduates reflects the attributes of LSPU as a university. But will LSPU be able to sustain the capacity to produce quality graduates and its university-hood in the face of possible (or impending?) substantial reductions in government subsidy for higher education in the future?

The answer is clearly a NO! Not without additional funds from non-government sources. How then can LSPU sustain or enhance its capability as a real university in face of the LSPU declining government subsidy?

This is simply answered by LSPU generating its own resources for upgrading its facilities, faculty and academic programs, by engaging in production or income generating activities to raise the much needed funds.

In 2004, CHED launched an initiative called- SUCS CORPORATIZATION PROJECT, precisely to help SUCS become financially self-reliant.

The commission identified 24 SUCS with the suitable assets and ready technologies that could be utilized for IGP, then provided some training, technical and funding support (ranging from 100,000 to 1.2 Million per SUC) to help them get started with their IGPS. In 2005, an additional P6 Million was released for the three most promising IGPS.

Luckily your University the Laguna State Polytechnic University, formerly known as Laguna State Polytechnic College, was one of the fortunate recipients and was granted P1 Million for “Production of Quality Tilapia Fingerlings”

In 2000; SUCS depended almost entirely on government subsidy for their operations, only 1.29% of their yearly budgetary needs were generated internally. By 2010, SUC’s internally generated income soared and accounted for 24.6% of their total budgets.

What can be gleaned from these successes in IGP’s? From the experiences of the SUC’s that have engaged in business or income generating projects, the two conditions that had to be met so that the quality of education /instruction would not be sacrificed:

First, the SUC was mandated to undertake a resource generating project that is compatible or consistent with its functions and area of strength—to go into an activity. That the SUC had developed an expertise in and has acquired some suitable assets to capitalize on. If a SUC had been proven to be good at fisheries R & D and has developed a technology that could be utilized or commercialized to improve fisheries production, then it would be qualified to have an income generating project to that would utilize or commercialize such technology.

Second, the SUC has been required to tap a private sector partner to take care of the business end so that the academic people of the SUC’s could concentrate on their teaching chores and R &D. The SUC would just collect royalty or a reasonable return on their investment which could be funnelled back to the institution.

Coming closer to home, in 2005-2006, A team of experts who visited and evaluated LSPU identified as among the university’s strengths—

• Its close linkaging with industry (for OJT of students and employment placement of graduates) and
• The capability of its engineering and industrial technology departments to fabricate equipment.

These identified strengths could then be the basis for identifying and conceptualizing potential areas for LSPU’s future IPG’s.

Furthermore, in addition to aggressive resource generation, LSPU should review its programs to see if there are any that could be phased out or could be run more efficiently and more effectively. Savings from the phased out programs could be used to strengthen the more relevant and/or more market-responsive programs.

At this point, ladies and gentlemen, let me reiterate: That in promoting SUC’s resource generation, I do not mean to transform universities into business establishments or develop a commercial culture in the SUCs. I simply mean that universities should, work with industries more closely, combine theory with practice and contribute directly to economic development while at the same time enriching their programs with experiences learned from these partnerships and exposures to the private sector. In this process, I honestly believe that SUC’s could be weaned from fiscal dependence on the national budget and rid themselves of bureaucratic fetters.

After having read the historical rise of LSPU and its commitment to providing affordable and strong academic foundation for its students. I have become even more aware of its commitment to community service through extension programs and its practice of integrating your academic programs with these service opportunities. And the resulting outcome, I believe, are graduates who are practical idealists, like you, and that is precisely what the country needs today to help us affect the needed reforms in our government and society, so as to accelerate the development and growth of our country and people!

So my dear graduates, no matter what you plan to do with the diploma that you have earned and will now receive, I would like to take this single occasion of your graduation to enjoin all of you to find some way to give back a little-to your school and to the nation. In so doing you will not only help others, but will enrich your lives as well. The end result will be a stronger Philippines!

And when you do, remember that you have a friend in the Senate!

But for today, let us celebrate your success at LSPU and enjoy the moment!

Good luck and God speed. Mabuhay kayong lahat! Mabuhay ang sambayanang Filipino!