Quality and relevant education. These are the key words and the main objective for the establishment of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Taguig Campus.
Government and University officials envisioned PUP Taguig to become the main source of commercial and industrial managers and employers that will fill in the job vacancies in the area, particularly now that the region is fast becoming an industrial zone that can employ thousands of workers.
Twenty years ago, upon the request of then Philippine College of Commerce President, Dr. Nemesio Prudente, former President Ferdinand Marcos issued proclamation No. 469, which excluded from the operation of Proclamation No. 423, dated July 12, 1957 a certain portion of land (10 hectares) situated in the Municipality of Taguig for school purposes of the PCC, now Polytechnic University of the Philippines. This proclamation was issued on September 30, 1968.
But things didn't work right. On September 21, 1972, President Marcos declared Martial Law, and Dr. Prudente had to forcibly vacate the PCC Presidency. Those who succeeded him, however, did nothing about the land. When he resumed his post in 1978, he started reviving PUP's right to the land, which, by that time, was already occupied by the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC). With three congressmen sympathetic to PUP, Prudente wrote President Corazon Aquino about the matter, citing that the 10-hectare land awarded to PCC was reassigned to MIRDC with an assurance from former Sen. Ronaldo Zamora and former MIRDC Director Antonio Arizabal, Jr. that former Pres. Marcos shall issue another Presidential Proclamation excluding 17-hectares from Proclamation No. 423 to be given to MIRDC on June 2, 1975. Unfortunately, the said assurance did not materialize.
University officials conducted thorough studies and investigation about the matter. MIRDC claimed that it had rights on the land by virtue of an unnumbered Presidential Proclamation dated June 2, 1975. In fact, they had already four laboratory buildings situated at the disputed site since 1975. On July 10, 1990, Dr. Prudente once more wrote Malacañang Palace, asking if Presidential Proclamation No. 469 had been revoked by any another Presidential issuances. Mrs. Aurora Aquino, Director IV, replied that the records available in that office failed to show that Proclamation No. 469 was ever revoked.
Thus, on September 8, 1990, PUP personnel surreptitiously entered the site premises and started the construction of a building, inspite of a notice nailed to the fence which read: NO TREEPASSING, (BAWAL PUMASOK) MIRDC PROPERTY, All Trespassers will be prosecuted. On Sept. 9, 1990 the Ground-Breaking Ceremony of PUP Taguig was held at 9:00 A.M..with Sec. Guillermo Carague, Sec. Ceferino Follosco, Sen. Edgardo Angara, Gen. Marino Filart, Congressmen Dante Tinga, Rolando Andaya, and Carlos Padilla, Mayors de Guzman, Capco, Bunye, and Ferrer, among others as sponsors. This move of the PUP Administration caused the MIRDC to file a suit against PUP for entering its premises without seeking permit and for illegally constructing two buildings within their area. Consequently, the office of the Solicitor General issued a CEASE AND DESIST ORDER was issued by the Office of the President on Sept. 27, 1990. Another CEASE AND DESIST ORDER on Oct. 1, 1990. PUP officials tried to settle the matter amicably but the MIRDC refused to accept the offer. Instead, a winner-take-all deal was agreed upon.
On Oct. 19, 1990, the Office of the Press Secretary (National Printing Office) through Mr. Heriberto Bacalla, the Chief of the Official Gazette Publication, certified that the said office had never received nor accepted any unnumbered document about the PUP land from the Office of the Malacanang Records for publications in the Official Gazette. Thus, the alleged unnumbered proclamation entitled, Revoking Proclamation No. 469, dated Sept. 30, 1968, which established the school site reservation of the PUP in the Municipality of Taguig and reserving the land embraced therein for MIRDC, was not received nor published in the Official Gazette. This development opened the case with MIRDC as petitioner and PUP as respondent with a powerhouse legal counsel, which included lawyers Ernesto Fernandez, Boy Acejas III, Orlino, Estelita dela Rosa, Honesto Cueva, Marcelino Bonafe, Valencia and Rodrigo Melchor.
Finally, on Feb. 4, 1991, then Justice Secretary Franklin Drilon released the ruling regarding the issue, stating that Proclamation No. 469 has not been revoked or superseded by the unpublished and unnumbered Proclamation dated June 2, 1975, and therefore said Proclamation No. 469 remains valid and enforceable until that time.
Following the court ruling, the construction immediately resumed, this time receiving substantial support from Congressman Tiñga, who worked and fought hard for its funding in Congress. That time, a P7 million fund was released for the two-storey building which the school used for its initial operation.
In April 1992, through the request of Dr. Samuel M. Salvador, Vice President for Branches and Extension Services, PUP acting President Zenaida Olonan, gave the approval to start the campaign for the opening of PUP Taguig. He recommended Dr. Normita A. Villa, Prof. Angelito D. Roldan, Prof. Susan A. Roldan, and Prof. Amelita A. Laurente to do the job.
On June 15, 1992, amidst the uncertainty of a mounting campus unrest spawned by a university-wide opposition to the administration of then Education Secretary Carinos anointed, Dr. Jaime Gellor, PUP Taguig held its first class session with some 470 enrollees, 15 faculty members, and a lone clerical staff housed in a still to be completed two-storey building standing on a muddy terrain.
The rest is history.