THE HISTORY OF ASIST
The Abra State Institute of Sciences and Technology (ASIST) started as a lowly industrial school in 1908 by an American educator, Mr. Amos Allen, with the vision of integrating the people in the area into the objectives of national development. Five Americans administered the growth of the school until 1917. It was named Lagangilang Farm School in 1911 and financed by the National Government under the Philippine Commission.
Mr. Jose Reyna was the first Filipino principal, who served for twenty five (25) years from 1917-1942. During his time, the school was converted to Lagangilang Agricultural School (LAS). Consequently, the original 5-hectare campus was expanded to 123.6 hectares through purchase and donations of the Tingguian landowners of Lagangilang.
During World War II in 1942-1945, the school ground was used as a garrison by the Japanese Imperial Army operating in the area. After the war, the school was headed for a short period by Mr. Dominador Clemente. Home Economics was added to the Agricultural Curriculum as part of the development of the school.
Mr. Melquiades Bayog administered the school for ten (10) years from 1948-1958. With his noble intention of promoting Agricultural and Homemaking Arts, he worked for the nationalization of the school. Later on, the school was named as Lagangilang National Agricultural School (LNAHS), through a bill sponsored by the late Senator, Hon. Quintin Paredes of Bangued, Abra.
For its administration, the school was integrated to the former Ilocos Sur School of Arts and Trade (ISAT), now University of Northern Philippines (UNP). Mr. Isidro Dumua took over in 1958 as Principal. He was succeeded by Dr. Patrocinio Abaya Sr. who served until 1964. More facilities were added including a 1,200 hectare ranch, located in Ba-ay-Licuan, Abra,18 kilometer-away from the Campus. In 1965, LNAHS was separated from ISAT and Mr. Francisco Zamora served as the first Superintendent of the school.
On June 6, 1966, LNAHS was converted into a College, the Lagangilang Agricultural College (LAC) through Article No.4647 authored by the late Congressman, Hon. Carmelo Z. Barbero in order to promote Agricultural Education. A two – year Associate in Agricultural Technology (AAT), a technical course was offered. Two years after, the four – year course, Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA) was offered.
From 1967-1981, the succession of superintendents were: Mr. Mariano Macasaet (1967 – 1969), Mr. Gregorio Alava (1969 – 1970), and Mr. Jose Mendoza (1976 – 1981), an Inlaud Tingguian of Lagangilang, the first native to head the school.
Due to the untimely death of Mr. Mendoza, Dr. Santiago Labanen was appointed as the first President of Abra State Institute of Sciences and Technology (ASIST) in 1981. By virtue of Batas Pambansa Bilang 392, sponsored by Assemblyman Jeremias Zapata on May 18, 1983, LAC became a chartered state college as Abra State Institute of Sciences and Technology (ASIST), to give professional and technical training in agriculture, science, technology and arts to the youth of Abra.
It was during the term of Dr. Santiago Labanen when a consortium was forged between the University of the Philippines, Los Baῆos, Laguna (UPLB) and ASIST, which offered the Graduate Program in Master of Development Management from 1988 to 1991. Professors from UPLB travelled every weekend from Los Baῆos to Abra to teach the graduate students.
The term of office of Dr. Santiago S. Labanen as president expired on June 29, 1992. Since there was no president who was immediately installed, Prof. Jose G. Rambaud was appointed as Officer-in-Charge for a year. During his incumbency as OIC, Mr. Rambaud continued the construction of a two-unit nursery house, one-unit executive house and the RP-EEC AGRED program on infrastructure and agricultural equipment.
On July 12, 1993, Dr. Imelda Carmen Alzate Buenafe was appointed by his Excellency President Fidel V. Ramos to become the second president of ASIST. Dr. Buenafe envisioned to enhance the development of an institution with a national standing and excellence in agriculture, science and technology. New curricular offerings were BS Math, BS Biology, Bachelor in Agro – Forestry and Diploma in Agro – Forestry. The Graduate School has also been revived in consortium with the University of Northern Philippines, Vigan City. By Virtue of CHED Memo No. 27, s 200, ASIST integrated Abra School of Arts and Trades (ASAT), which became ASIST Bangued Campus.
On July 9, 2007, Dr. Roberto P. Tubaῆa Sr. was appointed as the third ASIST President. It was during his term that Research and Development was in “boom”. The college MOOE increased because of the research fund from Sen. Eduardo Angara’s CDF. ASIST researchers presented in international fora. Linkages in research and agriculture also increased like PhilRice (through its Palayamanan), other SUCs, and Department of Agriculture (DA).
On March 31, 2012, Dr. Aurelio V. Labanen was elected and appointed as the 4th ASIST president. More linkages were established which led to the implementation of projects such as the Village Level Processing Center and Compost Shed from DA, two – storey building (Joy Valera – Bernos Building) from Congressman Jocelyn V. Bernos, research linkages with PhilRice and Sen. Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committees on Cultural Communities, Climate Change and Environment and Natural Resources and the Community Radio Station (DZNA – FM 99.9 Radyo Kabinnulig) with the National Nutrition Council (NNC). Some Curricular programs attained Level 2 Accreditation status by AACCUP. President Labanen’s term ended on March 31, 2016 but was given a hold-over capacity for 2 years.
In accordance with Sec.6 of R.A. No. 8292, otherwise known as the “Higher Education Modernization Act of 1997”, including Sections 21, 25, and 27 of its revised Implementing Rules and Regulations and by virtue of Resolution No. 08 S. of 2018 of the Abra State Institute of Sciences and Technology Board of Trustees dated April 03, 2018, Dr. Gregorio T. Turqueza Jr. was appointed as the new President of Abra State Institute of Sciences and Technology, Lagangilang, Abra from April 4, 2018 to April 3, 2022. His administration threaded on transformational leadership aimed to transform the College to a state university with a higher level of status that strategically responds to the challenges and opportunities of higher education to deliver quality and equitable tertiary education to the people of Abra. Thus, the major thrusts of his term were embodied in the acronym TRANSFORM:
Transformational leadership in governance and management performance
Relevance and quality of academic programs
Aggressive staff development and welfare programs
Natural environment and climate change programs
Sustainable community service programs
Free enterprise and gainful resource generation endeavors
Optimum utilization of human and physical resources programs
Research capability and output programs
Massive infrastructure development projects and programs
Significant support from collaboration, networking, linkages, and partnerships by and between the administration, stakeholders, and clientele as well as resource allocation and utilization further established the competence of the major thrusts enabling ASIST in addressing sustainable development goals contributing to nation-building.
Through a special hybrid meeting of the ASIST Board of Trustees, Gregorio T. Turqueza Jr. was reappointed, via unanimous decision, as College President by virtue of Resolution No. 09, S. of 2022 dated June 10, 2022 and expiring on June 9, 2026. Dr. Turqueza is currently serving his second term as the 5th ASIST College President.