To the entire faculty, staff and students of ASIST, led by its ever-energetic President Gregorio Turqueza; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; my fellow Abreños: a pleasant day to all of you!
Four (4) years. It took to us four (4) years before getting this sweet achievement. When we first took office in 2016, our goal was simple: to deliver PROGRESS to Abra, whatever form it takes. We started with initiatives that will improve infrastructure in Abra because that is the most tangible proof that, indeed, progress is here in the province.
We also have educational assistance to college students back then. That program was for the students, the clientele of the higher educational institutions, to meet the needs for the completion of their degrees. I realized later on that our endeavor for the education sector should not only be geared towards the clientele, the consumers of the services offered by ASIST. Our endeavors should also benefit the institution through improvement of its facilities, which we also did.
However, the crowning glory of all endeavors would be the conversion of ASIST into a state university. A cursory search online will tell you that out of seven (7) state universities and colleges in the Cordillera Administrative Region, ASIST is one of two remaining state colleges in the region. This is not a race, however. It is just that ASIST deserves to be a university NOW. The school is not just a training ground for vocations. It is becoming a research institution that provides solutions to various matters concerning Abra – be it in agriculture, engineering, cultural studies, or teacher education. Their annual reports, which I receive as representative for the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education in the Board of Trustees, is teeming with lists of research, extension, and professional services rendered by ASIST personnel for the community. They have been at the forefront of generating scientific knowledge for Abreños – knowledge that can be used to further improve our ways of living.
It has been a journey for us. The road to the conversion of ASIST was not met with challenges, but with shifting priorities of the national government that showed down deliberations on many local measures, including this bill. We are grateful to our colleagues in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in 17th and 18th Congresses for concurring with this measure. We also thank President Rodrigo Duterte for signing this bill that brings so much pride to us Abreños. We fought hard to make this dream come true. After four (4) years, we got it, ASIST will now soon be University of Abra.
Despite the enactment of the law, we cannot be complacent yet. There are still more that needs to be done to fully implement the law. As we move into new heights with the new campus and new degree programs, we are also moving into an era where we build the University of Abra as the primary academic and research institutions in the Province. We will create a state university that will be responsive to the demands of the public and adaptive to the needs of the times.
With the new University of Abra, the Abreño youth will never have to leave the Province again in pursuit of the dreams. Let us join hands as we ensure a bright future of their dreams. Let us join hands as we ensure a bright future for them. Let us move mountains to sustain this momentum towards further progress through science.
Thank you very much and may God bless us all. Mabuhay and University of Abra!
- Hon. Congressman Joseph Sto Niňo "JB" B. Bernos