Pampanga State Agricultural University is one of the leading agricultural universities in the Philippines. It produces finest graduates finished in degrees from agricultural courses to teacher education. PSAU's contribution to fields of agriculture traces back to the Spanish period. PSAU was initially established as La Granja Modelo de Luzon. It was established by Spanish businessmen, Don Bernardo Garcia Coteron and Don Jose Pesaña Piñol. La Granja's initial objectives was to function as agricultural experiment station for their company, Coteron y Compania to experiment cash crops especially in tobacco. It has three hundred hectares of land located in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. However, due to heavy influence of the Spanish colonial government in tobacco monopoly, and the creation of La Comision Agronomica de Filipinas in 1881, La Granja was taken over and appointed its first director, Don Jose Alemany Penalva. However due to insufficient and bad condition of the land, on March 20, 1885, it was transferred from San Isidro, Nueva Ecija to the foothills of Mt. Arayat in Magalang, Pampanga. Its royal charter was signed by Queen Maria Christina on January 30, 1886. The new are has nine hundred hectares cleared mostly by polistas. It was equipped also with school, staff building, animal pens, sugar mill, alcohol distillery and a weather observatory. La Granja was headed by a director and assisted by a perito agricola. It also housed a fifty men companias diciplinarias providing rotational security to the granja. The granja offered two programs, first and most important was a three-year sequence in farm management, leading to the title of perito agricola. The candidates who wanted this title had to demonstrate the possession of suitable secondary-level schooling in geometry, trigonometry, drawing physics, and chemistry, prior to entrance. The other program, which conferred the title of capataz de cultivo, concerned itself with the preparation of field foremen and livestock supervisors. Those who obtained these titles they were conferred as graduates equivalent to a college graduate both in the Philippines and Spain. The granja has variety of breeds of animals such as buffaloes, cattle, wild pigs, goats, horses, chickens, ducks and doves. La Granja devoted its cultivation and experimentation of wheat, sorghum, sesame, rice, corn, indigo, tobacco, peanuts, potatoes, sugarcane and alfalfa. On June 30, 1887, La Granja Modelo de Luzon won the highest diploma honor award from Exposicion de Filipinas held in Madrid, Spain in field of agriculture; especially in cultivation and exhibition of tobacco and different varieties of corn. (La Granja Modelo won the award together with famous Filipinos such as Juan Luna who won the same award for his masterpiece, Una Mestiza, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, gold medal awardee for his masterpiece, La Barca de Aqueronte and Isabelo de los Reyes, silver medal awardee for his selection, Folklore Filipina). In 1891, the granja was transformed by Governor General Valeriano Weyler into La Escuela Pecuaria. The school was expanded focusing on the study and breeding of cattle. In 1894, the weather observatory become fully operational with telegraph lines connected with the Observatorio de Manila run by the JesuitsIn 1895, the granja pioneered the experiment and study of different Central American varieties of peanuts and teosintes. In that year also, on January 23, it won silver medal award from Exposicion Regional de Filipinas in the field of cross breeding of Arabian horses, exhibition of different rice varieties and different types of farm equipment. At the outbreak of the revolution, it was used as one of the hideouts of the Spanish troops fighting the insurgents in Camansi. During the Philippine-American War, it was served as grazing area for cavalry horsesand training ground of American troops. After the war, on November 26, 1901, the Department of Public Instruction recommended the establishing of an agricultural school in granja, however it never implemented. In 1902, it was reopened by the Americans as an agricultural experiment station under Bureau of Agriculture; with Lt. Col. Charles Hatfield was designated officer in charge. On July 26, 1904, Governor General Luke Wright issued Executive Order No. 33; declaring additional areas to expand the experiment station’s area to 1,050 hectares and naming it as the Magalang Reserve to be used for agricultural experiment purposes. On 1918, it started to offer agricultural intermediate and high school education and named as Magalang Farm School and later as Pampanga Agricultural School; Mr. Frank Ebbesen was appointed first principal of the school. Subsequently, Commonwealth Act No. 313 was enacted in 1938 made the school a national institution and named it as Pampanga National Agricultural School. During World War II, it was shut down and became a military training camp of the Japanese forces. After the war, it reopened and continued operations. The Huk insurgency forced the school to suspend classes until the peace and order situation returned in 1955. On June 19, 1965, President Diosdado P. Macapagal signed Republic Act No. 4576 upgrading the school to tertiary level to become the Pampanga Agricultural College. It completed its upgrading to college status in 1974, with Supt. Felix V. Remigio was appointed first college president. On June 11, 2013, Republic Act No. 10605 was signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III converting the college into state university as Pampanga State Agricultural University. The Commission on Higher Education was tasked by the law to evaluate the college for its compliance with the requirements for university status. On January 13, 2015, CHED was officially granted full university status to the college; the first state college in the Philippines granted university status by CHED based on merits.

Photo Credit: Archivo Estales.mecd.es

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