THE Carlos Hilado Memorial State College (CHMSC) is expected to gain its university status following the approval of its proposed conversion through House Bill 7081 during a committee hearing on Monday at the House of Representatives in Quezon City.

Zamboanga Sibugay Representative Ann Hofer, who chairs the House committee on higher and technical education, approved the measure authored by Bacolod City Representative Greg Gasataya, who also sits as the vice chairman of the said committee.

Representatives Alfredo Benitez of the Third District and Alejandro Mirasol of the Fifth District co-authored the bill.

CHMSC director for external affairs Rhoderick Samonte, who was present during the committee hearing, said the school community is very grateful for this development and is willing to comply with the requirements set for its final conversion to a state university.

"For now, CHMSC has approximately P300 million budget as a state college. Should the university status is achieved, this will double its budget from the national government and many students will continue to benefit from its conversion," he said.

Further, the signing into law of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act by President Rodrigo Duterte that will provide free tuition for students in 112 state universities and colleges nationwide, which will be implemented this coming June, is also a positive development for CHMSC.

CHMSC has 12,000 students enrolled for this school year.

For his part, Renato Sorolla, president of CHMSC-Talisay, is also thankful to the officials who initiated the conversion of CHMSC into a state university.

In his letter to Gasataya dated February 23, Sorolla said that the entire CHMSC Academic Community extends its heartfelt gratitude for taking a courageous to convert CHMSC into a state university.

"This initiative motivates the institution to perform its mandated functions to further benefit its stakeholders, specifically the Negrense people," he said.

Sorolla added they already started gathering pertinent documents to comply with requirements and other needed data, as required by law, for the conversion of CHMSC into a state university.

"Rest assured that CHMSC will continue its public service considering its role for nation-building and socio-economic development," Sorolla said. (Carla N. Canet and Merlinda A. Pedrosa)