After Earning P44.5-Million Last Year, WMSU Now Readies Bigger Business Ventures
June 3, 2005

WITH national government funding now reduced to only for the payment of salaries of its personnel, Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) has overcome the challenge to become increasingly financialy self-reliant by generating over 44.5-million in corporate earnings last year.

Ten different units of the university led the charge to make money for the region’s premiere public school for higher education, ever since university president Dr. Eldigario Gonzales reorganized in 2000 the various auxilliary units under one ofice and inserted it into what became known as the Research, Extension, Development and Corporate Affairs (REDCA) under a vice- president. The department has since been headed by Vice-President Clemencio Bascar.

In his report, Prof. Bascar disclosed that WMSU’s 2004 earnings last year amounted to a 207-percent increase over its 2003’s gross income of 14.5- million.

WMSU’s special nursing program has emerged as the biggest moneymaker since it opened two years ago. The other income generators are the university printing press, testing and evaluation center, garment manufacturing shop, food service center, basic education scholl, health service center, computer studies and learning resource center, agri-business and the project management ofice. The financial performance of these units as wel as their plants to raise earnings were the subject of a morning-long conference presided by Dr. Gonzales and Prof. Bascar last Friday.

Among the new projects discussed during the conference is the construction of a four-storey information and technology building within the next few months in the campus, along San Jose Road. The P28-million structure shall be funded by a P22-million clean loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), with te balance to be put up by WMSU as its equity.

The loan will be drawn from the P500-million window that Dr. Gonzales worked out with DBP recently for availment by State universities and colleges. Among its special features is that loans of the window may be made without any collateral, as in the case with WMSU’s. In exchange, the borrower SUC agrees to make DBP its depository bank, Dr. Gonzales bared.

Local DBP officials attended REDCA’s conference last Friday to update university officials on the progress of the loan processing. DBP manager Eduardo Ong said only a few minor documentary requirements are needed before the agreement would be ready for signing. Dr. Gonzales said he expects the loan interest to be pegged at 9 percent.

Dr. Gonzales said the building will house an audio-visual and information technology center, dormitory and offices for some of the university’s corporate units, as well as commercial spaces to be rented out.

With the institution’s business growing rapidly, Prof. Bascar has recommended for the separation of corporate affairs from its present linkage in REDCA. Dr. Gonzales said he will endorse favorably Bascar’s recommendation to the board of Regents during its meeting in June. As a single and autonomous office, the new corporate affairs is expected to gain greater drive in its crucial mission to raise funds for the university, Bascar said.

Another project is the sale of its student information and registration system to a private company under a build-operate-transfer agreemen tat will earn P30-million for the university coffers, Dr. Gonzales revealed. The private IT company, which already handles the service in five other SUCs, will provide hardware, software, offices and other logistics to computerize WMSU’s student information system, he said.

Dr. Gonzales declared during the annual REDCA meting that such corporate incomes will be prioritized to support the improvement of classroom instructions and facilities and more agressive research and extension programs. He said the elimination of national government funding for capital outlay and other operating expenditures for the university can only be covered up by the business earnings. He added that WMSU’s research and community extension services are fundamentally geared to help government and society reduce poverty and illiteracy in the many neglected and marginalized communities found in the region, like those inhabited by lumads or ethnic minorities and former rebels and their families.

He also disclosed that seven pending bills are being deliberated in Congress that all seek to privatize SUCs. He surmised that WMSU’s present success in corporate ventures make it ready for planned privatization. (Rey-Luis Banagudos – PAO, WMSU)