I have a very strong reason to write once again about this topic on the planned boycott of the PRISAA’s national games scheduled in February next year at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila: unity among institutions in our University Town.
Is it possible for Silliman University, St. Paul-Dumaguete, NORSU, Foundation University, COSCA and ACSAT, these institutions which to share a common stand calling for the institution of reforms in this schools sporting league which has been controlled and utilized by the current national officials, notably by one who had himself installed as “chairman for life” to promote personal interests and political agenda?
In past columns, I have called attention to the need for academic institutions to appreciate and utilize for shared benefits what could be realized in the CHENO, or the Consortium of Higher Education in Negros Oriental formed three years ago, but which, up to now, remains dormant.
Could a shared concern in the discipline of sports ignite and set aflame the potentials for good of CHENO?
This campaign for reforms in the PRISAA has gained the support of academic institutions in Negros Occidental through a campaign led by UniGames President Roger Banzuela of De La Salle Bacolod.
Banzuela likewise had succeeded to get the commitment of HEIs in the Cordillera Administrative Region, namely the influential University of Baguio, St. Louis University, and the University of the Cordillera.
In the Bicol region, the influential president of the University of Northeastern Philippines, Atty. Peachy Alfelor-Moraleda, emailed me in response to my seeking her support for a Manifesto that shall be calling for PRISAA reform (it should be recalled that the Alfelors are a political power in the Bicol region):
“I read the manifesto and would like to ask your permission if I can share it with the other members of the Bicol Foundation on Higher Education. The BFHE is the RAHEI of Bicol Region, organized long before RAHEIs were invented by former (CHED) Chairman Angeles.
“BFHE will have a meeting on Dec. 20 and it would be a good time to discuss this manifesto and see if we can support it as an organization.
“This thing about PRISAA has been bothering me and the whole Bicol group of educational institutions. A few months ago, there was a meeting called for PRISAA members to attend here in Bicol but surprisingly (and very confusing for our sports coordinator), the agenda was largely not about sports but issues that should be tackled by other organizations such as PACU and COCOPEA. It took us sometime to decide who to send because I rarely attend PRISAA meetings which is usually attended by our Athletic & Sports Coordinator. Our ASC would not want to attend because she said she had nothing to do with the issues that were supposed to be taken up, and suggested our VPAA to attend.
“Later I was informed that the Bicol RAHEI was supposed to host the meeting. The thing is the RAHEI (BFHE) President is not a PRISAA member school because she is the president of an SUC.
“The Manifesto is a good move. I hope it gets enough support to initiate changes in the organization. On my part, I will do my best to drumbeat the manifesto in Bicol.”
With the Cordilllera, Bicol, and Negros Occidental HEIs now committed to support and join us in boycotting the PRISAA, can we depend on the other schools in the University Town to make the same stand and manifest our unity as members of CHENO?
I have written on so many subjects in the year ending soon: walking for wellness and the environment, rice conservation as a strategy to achieve food sustainability, the potential danger of jatropha as a source for biofuel in response to a proposal to farm this plant in a substantial area of land in Negros Oriental; exhilaration in the approval of an ordinance banning smoking in our City of Gentle People and a provincial ordinance supporting organic agriculture, and those which I believe require our urgent attention–health risks among our young population due to obesity, HIV-prone workers in call centers, and teenage pregnancy.
Teen-age pregnancy, to my mind, is the most urgent concern that education officials, parents, and government workers and officials must address.
With too many young people facing the responsibility of parenthood sans education, jobs, and the means to survive, of what good is our effort in nurturing a generation that is damaged and compromised at the very genesis of its life?
May the Peace that is Christmas promise to be with you this time around.