June 23, 2016
The Honorable Chairman and Members of the Board
Dear Sirs, Mesdames,
I would like to reiterate that whenever the alumni of the RTU, or any similar outsiders as well, would like to enter the campus, they will be allowed to enter only on official business such as securing important documents. We are tolerant of those who have unnatural hair colors as this could be the acceptable style in their jobs. However, we do not allow male outsiders to wear earrings in the campus. Actually we really do not mind if they have abominable hairstyles but they should be dressed decently. They can stay in the campus only while doing their official transactions. We do not allow outsiders to linger inside the campus as this will create problems for us based on decades of our experience in dealing with this matter. And we had to learn hard lessons from our experience.
There was a harrowing stretch in the history of the RTU when just about everybody could enter the campuses with impunity, with the security guards impotently watching all that happened or often not at all. This was during the time of the first two presidents, Dr. Lydia M. Profeta and Dr. Josefina V. Estolas. Dr. Profeta was able to maintain order in the Mandaluyong campus by limiting to a certain extent the ingress of outsiders in it, but outsiders still freely entered the grounds of the Pasig Campus where we were powerless against their intrusions. We were then in the Rizal High School grounds. Dr. Profeta opened a vehicular and pedestrian gate on A. Flores Street because the Rizal High School would not allow our constituents to use their Dr. Sixto Antonio gates anymore. The gates were ineffective, though. Outsiders from A. Flores Street could enter the campus, and demanded to enter the campus with backing from politicians because the basketball court adjacent to the Isidro Rodriguez Building which we occupied was their playground. Further, it was not clear in P.D.1341-A if that basketball court belonged to the Rizal Technological Colleges, or the adjacent grounds were we parked our vehicles. Matters became worse when the outsiders entered the building itself, with officials placidly watching, unable to do anything for the safety of our students who were bullied and harassed whenever they passed through A. Flores Street.
I was then under no compulsion to act in any capacity on this matter but I did. Dr. Pedro Mendonez, the VPAA then, and other more senior officials such as Mr. Ubaldo Sta. Ana, Mr. Clemente Diaz, and not to mention the loud Mr. Bernardo Del Rosario were there. They could have acted but they did not. But I thought that as former President of the Kabataang Barangay of Pasig I could do something, so I talked to the leader in the community to request their intervention. I also talked to the policemen in the precinct right in the entrance to the street. Some of them were my classmates in the RTC and they promised to intervene.
The harassment and the bullying subsided after that. Even the gambling places frequently visited by our students were closed. But 1986 came and there was a change in the administration of the RTC. Dr. Estolas became President.
With Dr. Paz S. Regis as VPAA, the RTC just about lost control of security and order in its campuses. Dr. Regis had a mindset that since the RTC was publicly-owned, it was a public place and therefore anybody could enter the campus. Dr. Regis’ concept of community service meant that the campus should be opened to just about anybody who would want to use its facilities.
In all the years of the administration of Dr. Estolas the students did not have IDs. The security guards were useless. Anybody could enter the school anyway, which they did.
Troublemakers were plentiful in the campus at this time when activism was the fashion and they could not be sent out because they carried with them Makabayan, Makamasa, Samasa, Pangmasa and all such IDs which revealed their color preference; they hang revolutionary banners in the lobby of the Old Building. These outsiders, not a few of them alumni interfered in school affairs, from the designation of officials, to who should teach, to the grades of students. They lingered in the scene of their perceived triumph in bringing down the administration of Dr. Profeta, and felt it was their duty to give advice to the younger generation of student leaders on how to do battle at every turn with the school administration. I knew all of them. I was Dean of Student Affairs twice: during the height of student activism following the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. in the Profeta Administration, and once more in the Estolas Administration.
I was then stripped of my designation as Dean of Student Affairs. I was the last Profeta official to have been removed. One day I had the temerity to ask these outsiders who gave them permission to hang those banners. An alumnus, a former officer of the Mandaluyong Student Council, replied: “PI mo! Wag mo kaming diktahan!” The administration did nothing to the complaint I subsequently submitted as it was powerless to do anything about the incident.
Hangers-on (tambays) went in and out of the campus with impunity. One day I saw Dr. Estolas with some officials pass by the chapel towards their vehicles. A mass was going on in the chapel. There were outsiders hanging out just outside the chapel in the parking lot. They were in sandos and shorts. They were playing loud rock music with a mini-component. The priest just went on with the mass. Dr. Estolas just passed by the group without even looking. I asked the security guards to send those people out. They answered “Sir, mga tambay sa Barangka Ibaba yan!” That was it. They could not be sent out.
Because the RTC was a public place anybody could sell anything inside the campus from bottles decorated by prisoners who entered classrooms at will, to jueteng tickets, food and merchandise, and prohibited drugs. At nights you could smell the smoke of marijuana in many dark corners of the buildings. It happened every night.
Several students were stabbed on several occasions in the lobby of the Old Building by outsiders.
The school became a marketplace of religious ideas and activities, figuratively and literally. Born-again groups who plied their trade in marketplaces entered the campus at will with their karaoke units and preached right on the Quadrangle stage. Religious groups entered classrooms to sell religious merchandise. Basketball teams of African-American women played basketball in the Quadrangle court and preached during half-time. The Mini Theater, then the only auditorium we had, was rented out for 200 pesos per month to a Born-Again group who danced and sang while standing on the upholstered folding theater chairs, causing much damage that was repaired only once. Roman Catholic groups populated the campus with outsiders to play and to hold parties. They played and held parties but always forgot to clean the place afterwards. My office at the ground floor reeked with urine after a whole night of partying by these groups. They simply urinated on my office door.
The religious activities became so rampant and consistent in the campus that Dr. Estolas thought of converting the fourth floor of the ITC into an ecumenical chapel to accommodate them all.
Students frequently complained of losing important items such as t-squares, slide rules, calculators, wallets, bags, even their shoes. The perpetrators were outsiders who carried with them ice picks, darts and arrows, knives, and occasional guns. Nobody could stop them from entering the campus. In the early years when I was VP I caught a few of these elements roaming the campus. One of them was identified by the policemen as a notorious professional thief. He was dressed and looked like a student.
When I became Vice President in 1993 I took it upon myself, with hardly any concern much less encouragement from the President, and with indifference bordering upon hostility from other officials who thought I was behaving like a modern version of Don Quixote, I almost single-handedly tried to put things in order.
My objective was to finally bring an ideal learning environment for the RizalTech. More importantly, maybe we could earn for ourselves some respect from the people in the community and from the political leaders. I have heard so many bad insulting words about our school. People called it “Bulok” such as “Tang inang eskwelahan ito, bulok!”
“Pare, ba’t ka dun sa RTC nag-enrol ang daming gago dun!”
Respect is what I wanted. Just some respect would be alright. I was tired of hearing my school treated with contempt, laughed upon like it was some kind of a big joke.
It was a hard, punishing affair. The problem of outsiders persisted. The RTC has developed a culture of tickets: tickets were being sold everywhere from concert tickets, to raffle tickets, to jueteng tickets. Field trips became a cottage industry and a big source of income for faculty members. Things were being sold everywhere and many were sold by the administration itself: from the official test booklets, to PE uniforms, to school uniforms. Student organizations sold just about anything to their members, from pins, to bull caps, to t-shirts. The attendance of faculty members to their classes was intermittent, to say the least. Fixers were everywhere, from enrolment fixers, to grade fixers. People graduated without even attending school. Parties and concerts were held every Friday in the Quadrangle.
It was not easy putting things in order but we had to. We wanted respect so we had to be respectable as an institution.
In the early years of the Macaballug Administration a new problem surfaced.
Led by their alumni members, fraternities grew strong in the school. Being strong they had to show it with frequent rumbles right in the Quadrangle or anywhere they happened to bump into each other. They had separate tambayans near each other so they could eye each other the whole day and night. I caught one of them with a paltik revolver and sent him to jail. A member of a northern group fraternity was caught with a rusty balisong. He happened to be a relative of Dr. Macaballug who sent him packing his things to Isabela province. One fraternity held a yearly three-day camping in our school grounds where they held their “finals” for the neophytes. Of what use were their alumni members in this problem? Well, they talked with me but they could not promise anything and could not guarantee anything.
Campus peace was restored only when I ordered the MIC to block the student numbers of about 50 members of a fraternity who murdered a student in hazing, effectively denying them readmission to the University. The name of their victim was Ronnie Facistol, the only son of a poor couple. Needless to say, several high ranking RTU officials condemned my action of not readmitting the members of this fraternity as they thought this was done without due process, and several politicians even as far as Bulacan intervened. All of the 50 with no exception had poor grades and could not meet our standards, and that was enough reason to refuse them readmission.
There were so many times when we were threatened by lawsuits for damages: by parents whose children were mauled by outsiders and fraternities, by students who lost things inside the campus to thieves, by parents whose daughter was raped in the Old Building, by parents whose child was stabbed by ice pick by an outsider in the OB lobby. An institution is duty-bound and legally-bound to keep a safe environment in its premises for the students and other constituents, and with greater amount than ordinary because they are students.
Everything is peaceful now in the fraternity front. There has never been a single rumble between frats since I became President and very few and isolated cases of violation of student discipline.
All the things which plagued us with regularity are now things of the past. The University is now in order. The stage is set for greater things to do. We have won the battle for order. We have tremendously improved the University in all aspects. We have worked hard to attain all these things, ingredients that would make a University great. Of course some people will always deal with the negative and always find things to be critical about instead of appreciating the greatness in front of them by dwelling on isolated incidents but we understand that this is human nature.
More importantly we have earned the respect we so badly wanted even from those whom we nurtured, developed, and prepared for the challenges of life in all the time that they studied in this University. It has been a mighty struggle. As I look out in the Quadrangle I am proud of the things we have achieved.
If there is anyone in this room who has a greater stake in the future and development of the RTU it is I, an Alumnus who never lost heart and faith in this University even in the face of dreadful, atrocious, and appalling circumstances we have faced, even in the brink of dissolution, even in the face of overwhelming tests we have encountered.
I have stayed in this University in all these times, performing many key tasks, working hard and never losing sight of the day when we can call the Rizal Technological University a great University. Perhaps the time has come.
I am an Alumnus of the Rizal Technological University. Fate has allowed me this much, that no single alumnus can equal my contributions to the University to become what it is today.
Very truly yours,
Jesus Rodrigo F. Torres
Alumni Batches 1978, 1982, 1986