One of the Congressman Tobias Fornier’s greatest achievements in his stint as representative to Congress and for which he will be greatly and dearly remembered is ASAT. By virtue of R.A 857, Antique School of Arts and Trades (ASAT) were established. The school did not have a permanent site and building then. Yet, Mayor Santiago A. Lotilla immediately took initiative in donating land where the school will be permanently located. Many benevolent Sibalomnons followed suit. When construction commenced men and women worked in shifts, all generous with their time, effort, material resources and moral support. The founding years was the time of big dreams and indomitable spirit to pursue these dreams. The hard struggles to overcome the challenges of breaking and clearing the grounds, leveling the hills, steadying the posts, rebuilding devastated structures, providing more accommodations to the growing number of students were never more than the determination and fortitude of the pioneer administrators, teachers, students, supporters, and the community. Among the administrators and important people responsible for securing the foundations of the schools were Supt. Hilarion Agustin, Supt. Gil Tenefrancia, Supt. Rogelio Cachuela and Supt. Victor Blacer.
The turbulence in the political scenario of the 70’s and changing tide of socio-cultural events threatened to shake the foundation of a young school like ASAT. Yet, instead of giving in to the menace, it was propelled to function. In 1970’s the school which specialized in ceramics, a field which also gave added reason for its existence, rose to prominence when it was acclaimed as one of the best ceramica school in the country. The creativity of Mr. Donato Sermeno Jr. was given honor. Behind him was the support of the people like Supt. Avelino Asuncion, Supt. Paulino Villagonzalo, Supt. Salvador Navarro, Mr. Olimpio N. Madiangbayan, Supt. Adriano S. Sullesta, and Mr. Teopisto Umpad.
The school was like the humble day, supple and formless, yet when in the hands of an artist, becomes a masterpiece. The artistry of the Sibalomnons was expressed in the production of figurines and pottery. And art, like any other noble pursuit of the human mind gave wings to the spirit of exploration and higher achievement. Toward close of the 70’s Supt. Godofredo E. Gallega was given the reins of administering ASAT after the term of Supt. Adriano Sullesta. With the support of Assemblyman Arturo K. Pacificador who passed Batas Pambansa Blg. 912, ASAT took an ambitious step. It was converted into a college on November 14, 1982, thus, being known from then on as the Polytechnic State College of Antique. The conversion of the school is not only a change in its name. It dared more impressive changes in its buildings, grounds, and physical structure, in facilities and equipment. It enjoyed improvements in curricular offerings, structure and administration, faculty qualifications and trainings, programs and thrusts.
The decade of conversion was the time of renewed visions and directions. It was the time of hope. It was a happy era of cultural revival as well as euphoric decade of freedom fought in. The byword of the 90’s was expansion. This expansion was in the colleges growing population, curricular offerings, and facilities but also in its thrusts and programs. The idea of expansion brought with it the challenge of accreditation. Seven areas of its operation, later expanded to twelve, were subjected to closer scrutiny in order to bring the college to the level of excellence. This was the time that the word EXCELLENCE was taken to heart and made an ever-present tenet in our school life. It was a time when the meaning of excellence was made the essence of our existence. It was also the centennial of the Philippine revolution, thus, awaking the nationalistic spirit of the majority of the citizens.
This decade was not only the expansion of thrusts, from the mere instruction to the triumvirate of instruction, research and extension. It was also the years when other tertiary schools were integrated with PSCA, thus, giving birth to daughter campuses in Hamtic (formerly ACA) and Tibiao then TLMASOF.
The turn of the century, the ushering of the new millennium. It was the year 2000. It was the year of jubilee, a celebration. Just as we rejoiced in having reached a new epoch of eternity, we rejoiced that PSCA has turned fifty!
Time has passed swiftly by PSCA was invigorated with new vision and hope. The last struggles and victories strengthen them as they rejoiced in their success. They were ready to take leap to reach university status. Such as it was in the past, PSCA is never alone in its dreams. Former Congressman Jovito Plameras helped PSCA shape this dream, which was later pursued in Congress by the incumbent Congressman Exequiel B. Javier.
Meanwhile, on March 2005, Dr. Godofredo E. Gallega was appointed president of TCP-Manila so, Dr. Benny Palma the then ASU President temporarily served as OIC-President until Dr. Victor E. Navarra was chosen as the second President and the assumed his duty on March 25, 2006. The struggle in converting UA into a University continued for many years even during the time of Gov. Salvacion Z. Perez. Finally, on November 10, 2009, during the incumbency of congressman Exequiel B. Javier, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed R.A. 9746, converting PSCA into the University of Antique.
At last, the dream has come into a reality! It was a very glorious day for the UA community and for the Antiqueños as a whole. Since its conversion into a university, UA’s population has increased significantly so this requires more instructors, more classrooms and other facilities to accommodate the increasing number of students.
UA is undergoing lots of changes and developments and its envisions to become a leading University in science and technology by 2022 and its adheres to its mission, that is, to provide quality, relevant, and responsive scientific, technological, and professional education and advanced training in different areas of specialization and shall undertake research and extension services in support of the socio-economic development of Antique, the Filipino nation, and the global community.
Compiled by: Mrs. Riza May Omadio, Mrs. Monalie Saylo , Mrs. Ninfa Coronado, & Ms. Charisse Joting
For the present generation, ASAT is just word. Not everyone even knows what it stands for. But for those who are have witnessed the birth and of the former trade school, ASAT (Antique School of Arts and Trades) is more than just a name. Just the mere mention of the word evokes memories of what ASAT was and has been.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and find out how the pioneers and early workforce of ASAT remember the institution.
Name: MR. TOMAS V. OSUNERO
Year of entry in ASAT: 1954-1994
Present Status: Retired Professor
Number of Years in ASAT: 40 years
Designation at the time of Retirement: Professor and Director of Physical facilities and Development
Other information: One of the pioneer teachers of ASAT
“In memory of Tobias Fornier, the father of ASAT, author of RA 857, Mayor Santiago Lotilla, then Municipal Mayor of Sibalom, helped Mr. Fermin Truc, Sr. and his staff accomplish the major task in connection with the preparation of ASAT for its opening in 1954-1995. Thus when the school was opened, the pioneer administrator was Superintendent Taruc, Sr. and his staff was composed of Mr. Gregorio M. Barcebal-auditor, Mr. Julito Pesayco-bookkeeper, Mr. Alejandro Abapo-collecting and disbursing officer, and tghe author, Mr. Tomas Osunero as the secondary teacher – the only survivor, and Mr. Bonifacio Ramiro as janitor.
ASAT was materialized as a vision of then Cong. Tobias Fornier to provide the Antiqueños a better way of life through education. Hence, he authored a bill in Congress during his term mandating the creation of a Trade Technical school in Sibalom. During the first operation of ASAT, the people of Sibalom, through the Leadership of Mayor Santiago Lotilla, agreed to put up Building financed by the people themselves-with all the materials and labor for free. The construction was done through the bayanihan spirit and the building was realized/materialized. The building, which was made of bamboo and nipa was utilized as the first classroom when ASAT opened in 1954-1995. Due to insufficient accommodation, the Sibalom Elementary School through the kindness of the late Mariano Rojo-District Supervisor of Sibalom, Damian Marfil Sr. the principal of Sibalom Elementary School, allowed some of the classes to be held in Sibalom Elementary School. Some other classes which were not accommodated in Sibalom Elementary School were held in Sibalom Municipal Building. The first flag raising ceremony of ASAT was held in Sibalom Elementary School.
The main task of the pioneer superintendent and his staff when they started ASAT were the following: 1) search ans acquisition of the school site,2) publicity and information dissemination regarding the opening ASAT, 3) housing accommodation for classes and offices for students and personnel, 4) selection and recruitment of faculty, 5) survey as to what courses to offer, 6) acquisition of tools, equipment and other facilities of shop and classrooms. Happily, all of the above tasks were realized in due time. The opening of ASAT was made possible because of the cooperation of the municipal government of sibalom led by the Municipal Mayor Santiago Lotilla and his constituents.
In the passing years, ASAT has been administered by ten superintendents namely, Mr. Fermin Taruc, Sr., Mr. Hilarion Agustin, Mr. Gil Tenefrancia, Mr. Rogelio Cachuela, Mr. Victor Blacer, Mr. Avelino Asuncion, Dr. Paulino Villagonzalo, Mr. Salvador Navarro, Mr. Olimpo Madlangbayan (OIC), Mr. Adriano Sullesta, and Dr. Godofredo E. Gallega, each of whom has contributed towards the improvement of ASAT, now the Polytechnic State College of Antique with Dr. Godofredo E. Gallega as president.
In 1981, Assemblyman Pacificador was invited as the commencement speaker of ASAT and he made a public promise that he will not return to ASAT if he cannot change the name of the school from ASAT to PSCA. And true to his words, Assemblyman Pacificador authored Batas Pambansa Blg. 912 converting ASAT to PSCA. In 1982, there was a ceremony. Then in 1981, President Gallega was installed as the first president and up to the present, he still holds the presidency of the college.