Responding to Globalization-A A +A
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
A LANDMARK of Benguet, a province described as “rose of the northern mountains” and often overshadowed by Baguio City from its vegetables, strawberries, patatas and sayote, is a school that inhabits a kilometer stretch along the highway in the capital town of La Trinidad. Known for some decades as MSAC or Mountain State Agricultural College, Presidential Decree 2010 was signed on January 12, 1986 converting it to be the first state university in the Cordillera (first university in the region outside Baguio City) known now as Benguet State University. This year, the institution commemorates that milestone with the twenty-seventh anniversary theme, “BSU: Responding in a Globalized Environment”.
The mention of “globalized” brought me to one of my favorite poems “Sayote Island” by Napoleon Paris (a fellow here at Ubbog). The poem begins by describing then sayote as a crop in the Cordillera which can just be thrown into one’s yard then later on benefiting from its fruit. The second stanza tells that people in the land of the sayote never gets hungry because it was so easy to throw. The poem says it was so easy to throw plates, cups, spoons, TV, radio, component and others. To me, this is a metaphor to changes in atmosphere affecting the way people live in present times. Those items mentioned were once outside the environment of the region, became an ordinary part of people’s life but soon are being thrown away, perhaps because the item was destroyed, or outmoded and needs replacement. The stanza ends with the question, do these things that we throw away bear fruit. It is one angle of globalization – elements that are once beyond the boundaries of our comfort zone are already affecting us and should challenge us to respond in fruitful way.
My favorite verse in the poem is this – “Ad-ado’y mabalin ay apiten ed ilin di sayote/ Nu usto’y bin-i di en ipukupok/ Adam lang ammu, din sayote’y inippeg mo sindoy/ yan nansaringit kadwa na’n arapa-ap mo/ Ay dumakdake ya mankalkalatkat/ Paey sin kad-an di sad-angan, kad-an di atep/ Ya kad-an di alad/ D’wan umadayo sin naramutan.” My rough translation in English is as follows: “There are a lot to be harvested in the place of the sayote/ If the correct seed was the one thrown/ And it will soon blossom together with your dreams/ It will grow and clamber up/ Going up into the clothesline, up to the roof/ Then onto where the fences are/ While going away from where it was rooted.” The verse describes another angle of globalization – just like the sayote going away from its roots and perhaps beyond the fence, one’s environment has the potential to influence not just within but outside one’s own zone.
The theme is a clear acknowledgement that this landmark university is operating in a global environment, affected by the world and giving back to the world. It is giving flesh to what the presidential decree that created it envisioned, “the development of natural and manpower resources of the area… by making available to the people in that area relevant and more easily accessible university education at a cheaper cost.” Past and present stakeholders, leaders, and administrators shared this vision in different words. At the turn of the millennium, Dr. Cipriano Consolacion, then the university president made clear his foresight for the university: “We would like to see the university to be …strong in Information Technology; ...offering more courses attuned to the needs of the times; …implementing participatory researches, responding to the plight of the farmers in the grassroots; …enabling more communities to be productive, self-reliant and enterprising…” The president next to him emboldened this thought by advocating the present organizational vision of becoming “ A Premier State University in Southeast Asia.” The present president, Dr. Ben D. Ladilad, wants to vigorously continue on towards that foresight adding that the university has “to be dynamic premier institution that propels progress, sustainable countryside development through quality education, civic society empowerment, effective resource generation and management, and social justice.” The theme is giving an affirmation that the university, aided by visionaries, is at the right path of natural and manpower resource development even bringing it to the global stage.
The poem ends with the verse “Et edwani ay manbunga din sayote/ Apay ngen ta siya abbey kuma-anam/ Egen-egen din nabalkot ay badbadom.” (At this time that the sayote is bearing fruit/ Why are you taking it as the time to get out/ Holding your wrapped clothing.) As the university shares the celebrations to students, faculty, staff, the community, alumni, partners, and all its stakeholders, like this ending of the poem, the theme poses to all the challenge of “staying” with the vision and responding to the globalized environment.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 10, 2013.