CAMARINES Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has expressed gratitude to the House committee on higher and technical education for the prompt passage of a measure that seeks to rename the Central Bicol University of Agriculture (CBSUA) to the Gov. Luis R. Villafuerte University of Agriculture, in honor of the late political kingpin of Bicol who was a champion of agriculture and education reforms and recognized patron of the CBSUA.
This committee chaired by Baguio City Rep. Mark Go passed just recently House Bill (HB) No. 10170, which the younger Villafuerte had filed to honor the memory, and advocacies on agriculture and education reforms, of the province’s longest-serving governor and three-term congressman who passed away last September.
“His (late Gov. Villafuerte) unrelenting dedication in championing the agriculture and education sectors is shown in his active participation as CBSUA’s Board Member until his demise last September,” Rep. Villafuerte said. “This proposed measure’s simple intention is to honor his memory and advocacy by renaming the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture to the Gov. Luis R. Villafuerte University of Agriculture.”
Villafuerte expressed the hope that both legislative chambers would be able to pass this measure in this third and final session of the 18th Congress as “a fitting tribute to the sterling record as legislator and local government executive” of the late governor whose advocacies included the conversion of the Camarines Sur State Agricultural College into the CBSUA in 2009 and this tertiary school’s construction on a property owned by the CamSur provincial government in the capital town of Pili.
“My filial affection aside, the late governor certainly is most deserving of this tribute in his honor, given his key role behind this tertiary school’s transformation from a college to a university and in his efforts to find a home for the CBSUA during his term as a member of its Board of Directors,” Villafuerte, who himself had served as Camsur governor (from 2004 to 2013), said.
The younger son of the late governor recalled that in the 14th Congress, the elder Villafuerte filed and then shepherded the enactment into law (Republic Act or RA 4360) of HB 4360 in 2009 that upgraded the college into the CBSUA, thereby empowering this academic institution to provide the necessary instructional and research leadership in agriculture, the environment, education, arts and related sciences.
The congressman at the same time dismissed the misguided concerns raised by a ragtag group of apparently politically motivated individuals at the CBSUA who are opposing HB 10170, supposedly because they saw no compelling reason for the name change and to teach the university students’ the value of protecting their school’s heritage.
“What better way for CBSUA’s administration and faculty to teach their students the value of protecting their university’s heritage by renaming it in honor of the late Gov. Luis Villafuerte who was the school’s recognized patron and the province’s staunch advocate of agricultural modernization and quality education in both the Congress and the provincial government,” Villafuerte said.
He said the elder Villafuerte is certainly most deserving of HB 10170’s intent to rename the university in the memory of his father who had the distinction of being the governor who had served the province the longest for 15 years (1986-1992 and 1995-2004) and representative of Camarines Sur’s third district for three consecutive terms (2004-2013).
Villafuerte pointed out that on top of being an investment banker in the United States (US), a Cabinet secretary (as chairman of the Presidential Commission on Government Reorganization during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino) and member of both the Interim Batasang Pambansa and Regular Batasang Pambansa (during the administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos), the late governor had been a prolific lawmaker (during the administrations of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the late President Benigno Aquino III) who authored or co-authored 50 bills that were enacted into laws.
He revealed that of these 50 laws that the elder Villafuerte had authored or co-authored, 19 of them were on education and agriculture reforms, including RA 9717 in 2009 that established the CBSUA in Pili, RA 10231 that put up the Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology, and RA 9471 that created an aquatic research and technology center in the province.
The late governor had also served as vice chairman of the Abaca Industry Development Authority; chairman of the House committee on aquaculture and fisheries for 9 years; a member of the House committee on agriculture and food; and awarded five (5) doctorate degrees (honoris causea), including a Doctor of Agricultural Science from CBSA itself in 2010.
The elder Villafuerte was also affiliated with various organizations on agricultural science, including the Moringa News Network in France; Organic Garden Organization in the United Kingdom (UK); and the International Herb Association, American Herbal Pharmacopeia and International Plant Propagators Society, all in the United States (US).