Mindanao State University Has New President

January 9, 2008 at 9:43 am | Posted in 1 | 9 Comments
GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 09, 2008) — Philippine leader Gloria Arroyo has named a respected Muslim as new president of the Mindanao State University (MSU) in the southern Philippines.

Dr. Macapado Muslim will replace former Police Deputy Director General Ricardo De Leon, who has served as interim president of the university since September 2005.
The turnover ceremony will be held on Jan. 21 at the university’s main campus in Marawi City. It will be presided by Commission on Higher Education Secretary Romulo Neri.
“I leave MSU with sadness because I have grown to regard you all as family and will surely miss you. I also leave it with joy and pride, knowing that I have given it my best shot; that I gave it all that I am and have. Should our paths cross again in the future, rest assured that I hold the same affection in my heart. I thank you for giving me the highest title a University President dreams and wishes to achieve, to be endeared as ‘Daddy Pres’,” De Leon said to a group of MSU alumni.
Muslim, a native of Marawi City, is an alumnus of the MSU. He received his masters degree in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines.
He obtained his MA and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science from the University of Hawaii as an East-West Center scholar. Muslim was a chancellor of MSU in General Santos City for 11 years and was a concurrent member of the MSU Board of Regents.
Both the appointment of Muslim and the term of De Leon have been marked by controversy and disappointments.
De Leon, who holds a doctorate degree in police and security administration, was an unpopular choice for the post; he is not an alumnus of MSU.
Arroyo’s appointment of De Leon as MSU president in 2005 came just shortly after her surprise designation of Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan as chief of the Southern Command in “an already discontented and restive military.”
Critics said the appointment of a military man like De Leon in a non-military establishment, such as MSU, is tantamount to militarization of the establishment.
National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, however, said that De Leon’s appointment was necessary to “clean the mess” in the university brought about by supposed intervention of “warlords” in the selection process for the MSU presidency.
De Leon replaced Dr. Camar Umpa, whose term expired on September 1, 2005 as MSU president. He was reportedly to serve only from six months to one year.
Like in Adan’s case, De Leon’s designation bypassed the search committee constituted by Malacañang.
However unlike Adan, who was also among those considered by the Board of Generals, De Leon was not among the 21 candidates screened by the search committee.
Of the 21 applicants, a short-list of three was submitted to Malacañang to which Muslim was the unanimous choice of the committee for the post.
The other two nominees were Dr. Nasroden Guro, dean of the College of Public Affairs, and Dr. Abubakr Otinggue Mohammad Masnar, vice chancellor for research.
Critics said if Arroyo was “serious in giving due recognition to MSU’s contribution to peace and development in Mindanao, she should appoint someone to the academe on the basis of merit via the institutionalized process of the search committee,” Alecks P. Pabico, head of Multimedia Desk of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism reported.
It was the first time that the “long-respected institutional processes observed in the academe has not been followed,” an alumnus of the university said.
Critics claimed while it is the prerogative of President Arroyo whom to choose, the previous appointees were all chosen from the results of the selection process.”
All the past presidents of MSU, except for its first president, Dr. Antonio Isidro, were from Mindanao and either a graduate of the university or a member of the Board of Regents that governs the university.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. also assailed the appointment of De Leon as “bad for the morale of professional educators” and “bad for our educational system.”
“If the justification is for a retired military man to clean up the mess, I beg to disagree,” said former faculty regent Prof. Norkaya Mohamad.
De Leon had been accused by some groups as anti-Muslim and was planning to build a cathedral and forbid the use of scarves by Muslim women in the campus, an allegation he had strongly denied.
Critics further said there has been “severe deterioration of the academic standards” of MSU’s main campus, an allegation dismissed by supporters of De Leon as “a sin of past administrators.”
Muslim’s appointment was hailed by its supporters saying that “he is the best man for the job” to “restore the lost academic excellence of MSU, especially of its main campus in Marawi City.”
“As a former university president, I am alarmed by this years dismal performance of our graduates in the engineering and nursing board examinations compared to the past years where we almost got 90 percent and above as board passers. The choosing of Muslim as president shall save the institution from further academic deterioration,” said Umpa.
Dr. Jose Abueva, the former president of the University of the Philippines argued that President Arroyo did not respect the selection process which chose Muslim to be the president of MSU when she appointed De Leon to the post.
UP professor columnist Solita Monsod said “as an academic and an administrator,” Muslim “stands very tall indeed.”
De Leon also appealed “for sobriety and calmness to ensure a peaceful turnover” and calls “the same support” for Muslim as “you have extended me.”
The Mindanao State University was established in Marawi City on September 1, 1961 by virtue of Republic Act 1387. It is the only university in the Philippines with a special mandate to integrate the cultural communities, specially the Muslims into the mainstream Philippine society. (Norodin Makalay)



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  1. This is a great news. This is actually an overdue action to be taken by PGMA. MSU main should be headed by a fellow Muslim as respect to the Muslim community in Mindanao. Thank you Madame President. It is better than never.

    • Is it necessary that msu will be headed by a muslim? i think that is wrong. look what happened to msu now? faculty are suffering from the inefficiency of pres muslim. he couldn’t able to discipline his staff.if you compare the administration of de leon to muslim, de leon is good and have control over his men unlike muslim, some of his staff have no respect to him. just visit msu marawi how worse it is compare to de leon’s administration.

  2. Congrats MADAME PRESIDENT!!! Hope and pray you continued giving the MUSLIM minority what is due to us and hopefully the next is the peaceful resolution of southern Mindanao problems. Alas more power…

  3. Congratulation Madam President, I am feeling pleasure to hear that a Muslim Lady have capability to lead the Muslim humanity in Muslim minority country. I prayer for your good luck and bright future in the rest life. I prayer to My God give you succeed at your every step. Thanks you Madam President. God bless you. Allah Hafiz.
    Your well wisher,
    Muhammd Khalid Butt.
    From Pakistan.

  4. The Seat of the Learned
    Aisa O. Manlosa
    MSU Alumna, 2006

    I am not very good in writing. I don’t have any formal training nor have I written for the most part of my life. But today I take a seat in front of the computer. I pound on the keys with hopes that at some stretch of time, I would produce a writeup that shall come close to giving justice to all that MSU means to me and to everyone who can relate to what I will be saying. An introduction as faulty as mine will probably tell you how unlearned I am in the aspect of literary genre and styles. However, this article finds its security in the untainted divinity of the message it carries. When the message is great, no writeup can be weak.

    To tell the story of how I arrived in MSU in the supposed crispy summer of 2002 amid the brush and hush of cold winds, and to tell the entire story of my 4-year stay would fall short of the greatness of the message I want to relay here. For the glory of MSU is not captured nor can it be fairly represented by the voice of one alumna. The glory of MSU is in the hundreds of thousands of students that have sought education and insight and solace and home and strength and future and hope in its hallowed halls and open fields. The majesty that exudes the rolling plains of MSU does not begin nor does it end with the scenic view. The majesty emanates from the many souls that have trudged and worn its paths on to learning and on to empowerment.

    What does MSU stand for?

    For the poor and struggling youth of Mindanao. Classified as a Third World Country, that is the Philippines. Nestled in among the poorest regions of this country, that is Mindanao. Hailed from the poorest of families, from the marginalized, from homes that are barely able to provide the amenities of a hardly comfortable life – of homes that may not even know the comfort of electrical light and potable water. This is the humble roots of the many students who have sought shelter and the promise of a better tomorrow in the academic halls of the university.

    What does MSU teach?

    It teaches Math, Biology, Health Science, Islamic Laws, Environmental Ethics and more so that its constituents may be well equipped to face the challenge of national and global competitiveness with the end goal of landing a job that can help them feed and raise their destitute families. But more than that, MSU teaches how life must be lived. It teaches that one cannot choose the circumstances to which he is born. But he can always choose what his life will become. To be born to economically struggling parents will not determine that you will end your life in the same humble circumstances. For every cry at birth screams the vastness of the far greater things that await the bold who will dare to explore them. MSU teaches us to overthrow the rein of what is and to dare embrace what can be. She teaches her students to look into the horizon for uncharted territories beyond the seemingly limitless plains.

    What does MSU stand for?

    For hope almost extinguished but now blazing more than ever. The country and the world watches as the media spews news of terror and violence raging across Mindanao, creating a rather repelling and depressing image of the island. But MSU stands as a blazing torch of hope. It blazes in piercing light because it is the abode of Mindanao’s best and the seat of Mindanao’s most learned. Do not go into prematurely judging my superlative acclaims. I don’t use a word for lack of anything else to say. I use them to give justice to the truth of which I am a living witness. Mindanao’s best and Mindanao’s most learned are in MSU because they are not those who were raised in comfort, who were blessed with the luxury of computers and expensive facilities at their taking. Mindanao’s best are not those who lived in the heart of cities where the basic amenities of electricity and water where unquestioningly available 24/7. Mindanao’s best are made and proven in the furnace of inconvenience where to be the best seem to be incessantly blocked by hills of challenges and discomfort and yet they come out all the more strengthened rather than discouragingly scathed. They are not the people who complain and groan at their mundane afflictions and the deprivation of their circumstances. They are the ones who breathed and live and embrace difficulties knowing these are flames that will purge what is unbecoming and purify what is deserving. Who would endure a university where electricity failure is as common as daily happening stretching for weeks on end, where water is as unavailable when electricity is out, where studying for exams and completing requirements take the unfortunate truth of the adage “nagsusunog ng kilay” because candles are the only flickering hopes for passing academic hurdles. This is where we are condemned to use Coke for brushing our teeth when water is as scarce as gold. This is where we stay up as late as 2 am or later and wake up as early as 4 am or earlier, to study amid howling and biting winds comparable only to the ambiance of Baguio and other highlands. In MSU alone do we end classes at 5:30 or 6 pm and none beyond, and we keep ourselves locked in the boarding houses we uniquely call “cottages” to ensure safety. In MSU alone do we call it the day that early and yet accomplish as much as is being achieved in other institutions.

    I can go on and on with the circumstances MSUans faced and may continue to face. Circumstances worth retelling to generations because it is a blend of life like no other. Do not mistake me for demeaning the community color. That was not even an exaggeration at its best. I merely had to relay the truth. Much more is kept in the closet. I tell the story because I want the world to know that our college lives were harder than any non-MSUan can ever begin to imagine. A premise as truthful and as clearly defined as that would hopefully make you understand that the best of any institution, of any region, of any country, and of any race are those that rose from the ashes of seemingly insurmountable challenges to become great.

    Let electrical failure come while the MSUan studies and you will only see him smile and shrug as he embraces the length of the night ahead while burning candles in preparing for tomorrow’s exam. Somebody once told me “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

    What does MSU teach?

    She teaches that it is in the furnace of inconvenience that gold shines in glaring luster.

    What does MSU stand for?

    MSU stands for great men and women of faith, of honor, of valor, of integrity, of talent, of challenged but proven strength. What is Mindanao? It is but the second largest island of the Philippines. And it is to this island that MSU extends its domain and farther. Look what difference we could make if we stand up for what MSU stands. Look what positive force we can altogether become if we maintain the ideals for which the nobility of MSU stands.

    What does MSU teach?

    She teaches the difference that we can make and we are called to make.

    The country needs us.

    I may appear to speak out of idealism. But this is so because I do not let my idealism die. It is one of the few precious virtues for which our national hero referred to our generation as the “Hope of the Fatherland”. It remains a challenge for every MSUan to respond to.

    By the sweat and blood of our predecessors were the first foundations of MSU firmly laid and established. By their unmoved devotion to the vision they held were its earliest pillars secured. By their struggles against adversities did MSU rise towards the skies. The years spanned by its existence were nothing less than these. The roots of MSU were noble as they may have been divine. The earliest batches and graduates had to brave through unpaved and hardly marked grounds, of ankle-deep mud, of knee-high grass barring their way, of small classrooms, of hardly modernized abodes, of the rumored war-torn land in order to pry into the best caliber of education within their reach at the time. Their efforts did not fail them. They grew to become great contributors to a land parched and hungry for the fulfillment of a promise.

    The circumstances in MSU had become much better with the advent of modernization and progress although the uniqueness of its inconveniences can never be discounted. In contrast to my earlier narrations, there are now internet cafes I lost count of, classy restaurants that could rival Jollibee, immaculate gardens, well-manicured fields, stunning infrastructure and more semblance of physically imposing greatness.

    However, the passing of time and the eventual rise and fall of leaders has eroded the glory that MSU was. Political unrest and corruption not sparing the highest to the lowest position has marred MSU’s name. The complexity and clout of the decay has been widespread beyond imagining extending from dilapidated buildings to ghost employees to unmanaged gardens. More deeply, the consequent failure in several leaderships has severed the stability of the supposed social laboratory ideal for the blending of diverse cultures leading to tensions and some unprecedented level of violence perpetrated within and among various cultures.

    I was a witness to this decay as many are.

    But I was also a witness to MSU’s redemption with the coming of the previous President Gen. Ricardo de Leon. I didn’t join rallies for or against him in my younger years. But I waged and fought my own war for MSU by being the best that I can be as a student. That was my tribute for the university and for the president who came not as a leader to be served but as a servant who walked the streets of the institution as a civilian to know and feel the bitter pangs of unfortunate circumstances from unpaved roads to squatted lands to helpless ATM machines to unimproved dormitories.

    In the character of the President, I saw a father that MSU so needs and deserves. I was not able to work closely with him. But in the distance pronounced by his seat as the highest official of the university and by my situation as a mere student, I saw in his eyes the glimmer of greatness and all that it stands for and the promise of MSU’s bright future. Before the coming of this celebrated “Daddy Rick” I was engaged in a debate with my colleagues in the MSU-Rostrum Oratorical and Debating Society whether or not it is proper for a military man to take the seat of the President. Armed with my reasoning capacity as I was flung to the negative side, I fought against the idea. I cannot quite remember who won in the debate practice in the fateful motion so given, I can only remember how I desperately fought my arguments through and how several hours eroded the heat of the debate in me. But I can so well remember how blessed I realized MSU is, for every good news I hear about this new President.

    My first glimpse of him was around dusk one day when I was on my way home and he was surveying the 5th Street in Bo. Dimalna for plans of cementing the worn and trodden streets so prone to flooding even in short but heavy downpours. He was a civilian in every way. And students crowded around him as if the greatest man that ever lived was there. I saw warmth in the chilling MSU air. I didn’t know him personally. But I knew no President in MSU has ever done what he was doing and nobody has ever made the students feel as warm. I was assured, our university was in good hands. We were.

    I will not and perhaps cannot enumerate the many things he did for my school, his staff and secretaries can do a much better job of documenting the sacrifices and the gains. But I can say that for the title “the sweetest thing that ever happened to MSU” afforded to him, I cannot find a closer rival. Pres. De Leon came when the days were most dark and he brought light.

    I attended our Commencement Exercises on April 4 and 5 of the year 2006. Glorious days to say the least. The President was there, a symbol of MSU’s might. Circumstances known only to a few of my batchmates and to the uneventual others who came after me, the Latin honor I received was rather controversial. I received an honor lower than what others hoped for or possibly expected and this was attributed to some of my subjects where I received marks of 1.75 and 1.5 when no class was held for those subjects the whole semester. None at all. It was hoped that had the class been carried faithfully the whole semester, I would have achieved higher grades. I dismissed the issue. I settled myself with the second highest honor thinking that perhaps, even if I got higher marks in those subjects, no significant difference may have been made with my honor title. Besides, the honor was not much of an issue. But in my fateful graduation day when I would have the chances to go up the stage and to receive the extended hand of the President, he would speak to me “To us, you are a Summa Cum laude” and the strong statement “This is no longer your fight. I have made it my own”. And so I graduated and worked somewhere far where I was untouched by the issues. Little did I know that the President stood on his word and waged the fight, probing into the circumstances. Hearings were made without me. And the President has transformed the issue into a fight to uplift the quality of education being offered by the university as a function of the performance of the instructors. I was later to find from Pres. De Leon’s statement that it was a lonely fight. And he must have been tired. I wish I could have done something to achieve the goal of quality education that he was fighting for.

    I left the university with him as the President and I was confident to send my sister to the same school with him on the lead. With the change of administration that brought tears to many, I determined to say more prayers for my sister and for my next sister who will soon enroll.

    The change of administration moved me. As it was politics that took Pres. De Leon to the seat, it was the same political ploy that took him out of it.

    But MSU will continue to be resilient. Decay may indefinitely creep in once again, but the fortified pillars forged of old times will stand until light shall shine again and for always. MSU will remain a hub of hope and greatness. The vision will stand. It will because our predecessors imparted it to the many MSUans who stay and inhabit the cold rolling hills. As resilient as the aging and towering trees, mute witnesses to the surging and the subsiding of many storms, so will MSU stand through the ages.

    Across the distance, where the many MSU alumni have been sprawled, we carry her name.

    May our lives be a lasting and profound tribute to her glory. May we be leaving legacies of the Mindanao State University – the seat of those who have learned that although life is short, it is not without its values and although life is hard, it is not without its hopes.

    I cannot find a better way to end this article as there was not much of a strong introduction in the beginning, but let the message in between stand for its value.

    Mabuhay ang anak ng Pamantasang Mindanao!

  5. We are pleased that MSUS is in its home again. Congratulation, but we must always remind ourselves that Mindanao State University… the university in the life of the Muslims in sought which is just an atom of what is supposed to be in the hand of the Muslims in the country!

  6. The most stupid thing that arroyo made for msu was the appointment of macapado muslim as president of msu. Arroyo and macapado muslim belong to the same crop of corrupt beasts that the country and msu ever had.
    She replaced a very good performing president, perhaps, in pursuance to her desire to stamp msu down to the dogs.

  7. Take a look at what is happening in msu marawi under the stewardship of acting president macapado muslim and compare it with the stint in ofice of his predecessor former acting president ricardo f. de leon. Comparing a thing with another is one good means of understanding what you think the situation is.

    • i agree with you.if you are here in msu marawi, you will experience most disgusting administration. for two months since june until this month of july, contractual faculty did not recieve their salary.as a matter of fact, administration has no plan to release the money of the student for thier activities. Back to the salary of the faculty, they treat the faculty as an idiot. maybe Pres muslim doesn’t know that faculty are the frontliners of msu and these faculty are smart and intelligent. probably these faculty are just keeping their disappointment to the msu administration and waiting for the right time. if you able to visit the administration im sure you will be surprised, most of the staff were having “tsismis” for the whole day.they are recieving thier salary without doing their work, that is unfair for those who are doing their work faithfully. one of the administrator said that it is very difficult to change the system msu marawi because of the culture. that’s the stupid i heard from higher ranking official of msu marawi.

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