“I thank the University for recognizing whatever contributions that I have made to the university and to the country”, now Dr. Ramon C. Bacani, Department of Education Undersecretary for Regional Operations said as he receives the Doctor of Education Honoris Causa degree conferred upon him by WMSU.
Bacani accepted said conferment last July 20, 2010 at the Juanito Bruno gymnasium in line with the celebration of the 106th Founding Anniversary of the WMSU, which was originally dated at July 18.
In line with theme “WMSU at 106: Towards Better Access to Quality Education for All”, the foundation day celebration held host of activities starting off with a Eucharistic Celebration followed by a motorcade in the morning, prior to the conferment ceremony. A dinner was held after the ceremony at the WMSU Social hall, which was graced by the presence of the city mayor Hon. Celso Lobregat.
The granting of the said honoris causa degree was unanimously approved by the Board of Regents (BOR) of the university chaired by the Hon. Hja. Luningning Misuarez-Umar, CHED Commissioner.
The degree was awarded to Bacani to recognize his exemplary leadership in education, invaluable services as Chair of the WMSU-BOR from 1990 to 1997 and invaluable contribution to the cause of literacy development in the country.
The conferment ceremony was attended by Usec Bacani’s spouse Mrs. Marcelina Bacani, Assistant Director-General of NEDA together with Atty. Lilia Garcia and Dr. Norma Salcedo; CHED Commissioner Hja. Luningning Misuarez-Umar; CHED Region 9 director Dr. Emylou B. Yanga; DepEd Region 9 director Dr. Walter O. Albos; the president of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) Dr. Milabel Nazario; Councillor Al-Jihan Edding, Councillor Melchor Sadain and other city officials; the members of the WMSU-BOR; former WMSU president Dr. Erdulfo B. Fernando; WMSU president Dr. Grace J. Rebollos; the university officials to include the vice-presidents, deans of colleges, directors; the faculty, staff and students of WMSU.
Bacani spoke about DepEd’s Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA), a program which envisions basic education covering preschool, elementary and high school, as inclusive of all Filipinos in a learning environment that is learner-centered and that upholds children’s rights.
According to Usec Bacani, BESRA promotes basic education not only through formal schooling but also through alternative learning systems (ALS), and alternative delivery modes (ADMs).
He stressed that “BESRA is fully committed to the education on the concept of functionality. It advocates that education is not the sole responsibility of government but of society as well, and their responsibility involves harmonizing and coordinating the various ways of delivering and facilitating education.”
Furthermore, he presented some of the findings of the latest Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) conducted by the NSO. The survey shows that while the basic literacy rate of the population 10-64 years old for the entire country was 95.6 percent, the functional literacy rate was lower at 86.4 percent. For Region 9, the discrepancy was higher, with a 94.0 percent basic literacy rate and 79.6 percent functional literacy rate.
He also added that although ARMM posted the lowest scores, with a basic literacy rate of 81.5 percent and a functional literacy rate of 71.6 percent, “…there is a significant improvement in the functional literacy rate of ARMM from 2003 wit a 7.9 percent increase.”
Finally, he talked about education and peace, noting that injustice and not poverty is the core problem in Mindanao.
He said “As an educational institution, WMSU can help widen education and economic opportunities, but more importantly, WMSU can play a significant role in building a culture of peace in the region starting with an education system which builds trust, removes prejudices and stereotypes, and facilitate genuine dialogue among the tri-people of Mindanao, e.g., the Christians, Muslims and Lumads.”
Bacani is a holder of Master’s Degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and MS Industrial Engineering from the University of the Philippines. He is also a graduate of De La Salle University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Management Engineering.
He was also trained in Strategic Public Sector Negotiations sponsored by Harvard University; Educational Planning and Administration by UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning in Paris, France; and Corporate Management and Industry Evaluation by the Private Development Corporation of the Philippines.
Moreover, he has attended several seminars, workshops, and study visits organized by the World Bank, ADB, UNESCO, UNICEF, SEAMEO, etc. in management of education reform, student assessment, monitoring and evaluation in relation to policy-making, among others.
He had been with the Department of Education since 1990 to date. He also served in the Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Health and Hospitals, Boston Environmental Health Improvement Program (now the Office of the Environmental Affairs) and the General Electric Appliances, Co., Inc.
He also had short-term consultancies for the United Nations Centre for Regional Development in Nagoya, Japan; and United Nations Children’s Fund East Asia and Pacific Regional Office. He was also involved in projects sponsored by the Asian Development Bank and World Bank. (Almar E. Villanueva, PAO-WMSU)