AFTER several years, the Carlos Hilado Memorial State College (CHMSC) in Negros Occidental has been officially elevated to a state university as per approval of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) En Banc on Tuesday, April 19.

This was confirmed by Rhoderick Samonte, director for External Affairs of CHMSC, who said that the Ched had informed their president Norberto Mangulbanan of this development.

In 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 1136, converting CHMSC into a university adapted from House Bill 8732 authored by Bacolod Congressman Greg Gasataya.

The House bill seeking the conversion of the college institution into a university was also co-authored by former Negros Occidental Third District representative Alfredo Benitez and Representative Alejandro Mirasol of the Fifth District.

The CHMSC in Talisay City, formerly known as Paglaum State College, has three satellite campuses located in Barangay Alijis and Fortune Towne, all in Bacolod City, and in Binalbagan town.

"The status of being a university is a big deal, not only for us, but for the province of Negros Occidental," Samonte said, stressing that that the institution can now expand their programs and services.

"We are thankful especially to all those who have gone ahead of us, to all of our colleagues, co-teachers and students, among others, who helped us to become a university," he added.

Samonte, who considered the college's conversion as a gift to the youth of the province, noted that they will be reverting their logo, name and color combination, among others.

For his part, Gasayaya said they are happy that CHMSC is now a state university, adding that the conversion would mean more budget for the institution, better opportunities for the CHMSU community and more academic programs and courses to be offered.

He said this will also improve capacity to accommodate more students with free tuition, development and improvement of academic facilities, an increase in academic research, refinement of the CHMSU corporate image, and an overall improvement in quality of education in all of its campuses.

CHMSC's conversion goes hand-in-hand with Republic Act 10931, or the Free College Education Act, which he also co-authored during his first term in line with his advocacy to improve access to and the quality of public education in Bacolod City.

"We thank the hardworking community of the CHMSC for their dedication to the advancement of their educational institution in pursuit of quality, relevant, and accessible public education for Bacolodnons and Negrosanons," Gasataya said.

He also lauded the Ched led by its chairman Dr. Prospero De Vera for its staunch commitment to quality tertiary education.