To ensure continued campus operations, the Tarlac State University administration and the local government of Concepcion renewed their partnership through a memorandum of agreement signed on May 19, 2023, at the TSU Concepcion Extension Campus grounds in Brgy. San Nicolas Poblacion.
This MOA signing and the establishment of extension campuses in the three towns of the third congressional district of Tarlac Province is the university's response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) on ensuring quality education, according to Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Agnes M. Macaraeg.
"This [bringing TSU to Concepcion town] would mean an answer to the mantra of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that no one will be left behind. And this will mean a lot [to the students]," VP Macaraeg added.
TSU Board of Regents member Hon. Dennis Norman T. Go emphasized the importance of partnership renewal for well-defined provisions relative to quality education delivery.
"Kailangan eh magkaroon tayo uli ng MOA signing dito sa Concepcion regarding dito sa Concepcion Campus by and between TSU atsaka ang local government of Concepcion. Ang sabi ko po sa sarili ko, siguro ito 'yung magandang pagkakataon para ma-renew nating mabut at ma-define nating mabuti ang magiging relasyon ng ating state university at ng local government of Concepcion," Hon. Go said.
The agreement stipulates the addition of the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering program among its course offerings alongside the existing programs, namely Bachelor of Elementary Education, Bachelor of Science in Criminology, and Bachelor of Public Administration.
The offering of the civil engineering program is in line with TSU President Dr. Arnold E. Velasco's plan to strengthen the university's niche in engineering while also mentioning that both he and Concepcion town mayor Noel L. Villanueva are engineers.
Among the other new provisions in the MOA that would benefit the students and faculty members are converting some classrooms into a faculty room, faculty dormitory, library, computer laboratory, crime laboratory, and canteen and providing faculty members' transportation allowance.
In his message of commitment, Pres. Velasco expressed his positive dedication to the agreement and the continuing partnership with LGU Concepcion.
"I also would like to anticipate and [be] optimistic that, in the near future, this is not just the start and end but the beginning of more programs and projects that will enhance the education of the youth – kayo po na kabataan dito sa bayan ng Concepcion," Pres. Velasco said.
In response, Mayor Villanueva thanked the university for the partnership renewal.
"Sa araw na ito, I would like to extend my eternal gratitude to the TSU administration for this opportunity to work hand-in-hand with them in our quest to provide quality education to our youth," he said.
On the other hand, according to Mayor Villanueva, LGU Concepcion and third congressional district representative Hon. Noel "Bong" Rivera will provide financial assistance amounting to 3,000 pesos per semester to all students enrolled in the campus regardless of residence in the district.
"Isa sa pinakiusap ko sa ating sumunod na kinatawan (third congressional district), si Cong. Bong Rivera, na huwag niyang tanggalin 'yung 12 million na pondo para sa mga mag-aaral natin sa TSU. Kaya tuloy-tuloy pa po 'yan," Mayor Villanueva said.
The Concepcion town mayor is the former third congressional district representative who had allotted 12 million pesos for scholarship grants to tertiary students, particularly in TSU.
Mayor Villanueva also mentioned the newly established Concepcion Scholarship Foundation Inc., which would also benefit the tertiary students on the said campus. This is his project as returning town mayor, together with some prominent figures of Concepcion as founding incorporators.
Moreover, BOR member Hon. Alvin P. Belarmino noted the essence of free quality tertiary education in the Philippines that is now within reach of Concepcion town residents.
"Makwento ko lang po my experience in one of the ASEAN countries that I visited, and specifically this is Vietnam. Doon ay nakausap ko 'yung tourist guide, nandoon kami sa bangka, and he was telling me that, 'You in the Philippines are very lucky, because your country, your president, provides [free] education up to the tertiary level,'" Hon. Belarmino said.
"Alam ho ninyo, hindi ho libre ito na basta... Binigay 'yung budget para sa mga estudiyante na katulad po ninyo. Ito po ay pinantayan ho ng ating national government. We have the budget for this. And the good thing here now, it has cascaded to the municipal level. I really appreciate po the administration of Concepcion, much so si Mayor Villanueva ay itinuloy po niya... So kayo pong mga estudyante, ay binabati ko kayo – kayo po ay iskolar ng bayan," he added.
The campus welcomed its first batch of students last August 2022 under the leadership of former Concepcion mayor Andres "Andy" Lacson and former TSU President Dr. Myrna Q. Mallari.
"This memorandum of agreement signing started actually with the establishment of this building together with the then mayor of Concepcion, Mayor Andy Lacson, and our [former] president Dr. Myrna Mallari. Wala po itong building na ito kung hindi kay Mayor Andy at kay President Myrna Mallari," VP Macaraeg said in her opening message.
Meanwhile, BOR member Hon. Reynaldo L. Catacutan challenged the Concepcion campus students to finish their studies and contribute to the exemplary passing rates of the university once they graduate.