With sense of pride and higher expectations, my colleagues and I in the print and broadcast media in Bicol Peryodiko and BPTV online News Live, join the academic community and allied sectors in welcoming Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Bicol regional director Dr. Freddie T. Bernal who was designated as officer-in-charge of the Catanduanes State University (CatSU) recently.

              This temporary changing of the guard so-to-speak came in the heels of recent online meeting of the university’s Board of Regents (BORs) where two of the members —former Congressman Cesar V. Sarmiento and Prof. Serelino Tasarra –reportedly told the boad that Dr. Morales has already vacated her position due to her compulsory retirement last April 10, 2020 when she turned 65.

              Imbued with Solomonic wisdom, however, without any objection, the Board of Regents (BORs) opted to consider her as president on-leave and designated Dr. Bernal as OIC in concurrent capacity effective August 1, 2020 while it awaits the opinion of the CHED Legal Division on the issue.

             Be that as it may, so as not to spoil this good development in the academe this issue surrounding Dr. Morales presidency vis-à-vis the reaction of Sarmiento and Tasarra will be held in abeyance for thorough discussion and analysis next issue.

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             Dr. Freddie T. Bernal is not new or foreign to the Catanduanes State Colleges, now a University. He was one of the alumni of the College of Education and graduated “cum laude” if memory still serves me right. He was the son of the late Prof. Pedro Bernal of the College of Education and first cousin  of retired CBA Prof. Edna T. Bernal and Virac MSDWO Jane B. Triumfante. He hails from the land-locked municipality of San Miguel, Catanduanes.

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           Classes for the first semester, academic year 2020-2021 at CatSU is supposed to start last August 10, Monday, but was extended for another two weeks on August 24, to provide ample time for the faculty members to prepare their modular instructional materials. It appears that majority of the students in this only state-owned institution of higher learning are not high-tech capable/ready. 

            A reliable source said the extension of start of classes was decided when during a faculty meeting per college, or general meeting, they said they were not ready when asked if their teaching materials are available. Hence, it coincides with the start of modular learning instruction in all levels in private and public schools in the DepEd, Division of Catanduanes led by Division Superintendent Dr. Danilo Despi.