Center to produce more professionals in Iloilo

By Marie Katherine Villalon

More Ilonggo workers and professionals will have the chance to further their education in a short time through the professional development center that will soon rise in the campus of the University of San Agustin, Iloilo City.

Fr. Frederick Comendador
“Dr. Edgar ‘Injap’ Sia II has donated a building to the university to house the professional development center,” said Fr. Frederick Comendador, OSA, university president.

Sia is a young Ilonggo businessman who founded Mang Inasal, Deco’s and Injap Land, among others. He is known for his philanthropic acts such as donating school buildings in Iloilo City and donating to victims of typhoon Yolanda, among others. He recently received the 2013 BizNewsAsia Management Excellence Award along with Jose Sio, another USA alumnus.

Sia is among the 63 graduates of the school who were conferred with the Alumni Achievement Award and Distinguished Alumni Award during a program that followed the memorandum agreement signing for the said building last February 28, 2014.

“The building is for educational use. We will offer short courses, programs and trainings to enhance the capability of professionals in Iloilo,” Fr. Comendador added.

Dr. Edgar ‘Injap’ Sia II and Efrain Pedregosa

 Fr. Comendador said that before he became president of the USA, Sia’s intention to give the gift was already in the plan.

“The university was founded for a specific mission. It is non-stock and non-profit. It aims to help transform the society and develop the potentials of young people. This vocation does not rely on the fees of the students. So, we are grateful for alumni like Dr. Sia. This is the biggest donation so far that the university has received,” he said.

The center will be called the Dr. Edgar ‘Injap’ Sia II Center for Continuing Education.

Meanwhile Dr. Sia said, “This is the embodiment of my advocacy for entrepreneurship and continuing education. This will be the training ground for Ilonggos in the coming years.”

“I want to assure that construction of the building will start in 1 ½ months. I will personally oversee it,” he added.
Dr. Asuncion Faro, Fr. Frederick Comendador, Rev. Fr. Eusebio Berdon and Fr. Williener Jack Luna

 In fact, even without the building yet, the university has created the Center for Culinary Studies, an arm of the professional development center. It currently trains restaurateurs, chefs and frontliners for the ministerial meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation which will be held in Iloilo City in 2015.

“The university was tapped by Iloilo Business Club, through the Canadian government, to provide trainings to hotel owners, chefs, waiters, managers, taxi drivers, barangay captains, etc. in preparation for APEC,” said Prof. Jigger Latoza, presidential chief of staff of the university.

Fr. Comendador also announced that they have created the Philanthropic Office in order to find sources of funds that the university will use to support its seven advocacies.

“These advocacies capture the mission of the university,” Fr. Comendador said. They are:
1. Research. “We are tapping big foundations to support our research agenda,” Fr. Comendador said.
2. Augustinian Catholic Identity Promotion. “We want to produce students who are not just skilled but are guided by ethics; they have morals,” he added.
3. Faculty development
4. Physical development. “We want the university to be conducive to learning development. We have an ambitious plan to put up a modern library,” he explained.
5. Culture and arts
6. Sports
 7. Scholarships
The Philanthropic Office is headed by Fr. Williener Jack Luna.
“We have started with the modern classrooms already. The alumni donated the classrooms. This is just the beginning,” Fr. Luna said.

Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Eusebio Berdon, OSA, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said that in learning, virtue and science go hand in hand. “The mind can’t be productive unless the heart is there. Love and do what you can. Let your mind guide .you but put your heart in there,” he concluded./

Prof. Jigger Latoza and 
Henry Chuseuy, USA. FB Photo


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