FAST BACKWARD: Mampising Agricultural School

Established in 1914, Mampising Agricultural School (MAS), one of many institutes organized by the state all over the archipelago, was established in Mabini, Davao de Oro, as a settlement farm school to educate the natives and equip them with the skills in crop and animal production.

The American colonists were the first to observe the agrarian potentials Davao could offer. In fact, the first planters to cultivate sprawling hemp estates in the district were the U.S. servicemen who saw promise in the fertility of the region’s lands. Many of them became af-fluent, and a handful decided to marry local maidens and permanently reside in the province.

Managing the affairs of the school were five Filipino teachers but reduced to only three the next year. For school year (SY) 1919-20, the institute had forty-six enrollees. Enrollment in SY 1921-22 rose to one hundred fourteen, with only four educators supervising. The followIng year, enrolment fell to ninety-six.

In 1924, the number of pupils was only eighty. For the first time, an American teacher was assigned during SY 1924-25 but only for one term, while five Filipino educators were appointed to supervise ninety pupils.

In 1926, the school was elevated to a high school institution under Commonwealth Act 3377, also known as the Magna Carta of Vocational Education, and the 110-hectare estate was renamed Mampising Agricultural High School (MAHS), after the barrio that hosted it. Appointed as school principal for the year was Eugenio Celis, with jurisdiction over the en-tire province. The number of teachers for 1925-26 was six, all Filipinos, and the total annual enrolment was sixty-nine.

In 1927, Celis retained his post as school principal while Pedro Maderazo was installed as academic supervisor. For SY 1926-27, there was a decline in matriculation with only twenty-six pupils under the direction of four teachers. The following school year, the enrolment number appreciated to fifty-five with the same number of staff handling the academic affairs.

The sprawling campus, moreover, also served as enclosure for animals that included carabaos, horses, cattle, hogs, and poultry. Part of the estate was planted to vegetables, field harvests, fruits, and other cash crops. Income derived from school and home products also added value to fund the school’s exigencies and other maintenance expenditures.

Bureau of Education records show that between 1920 and 1928, the total value of products of school and home produce amounted to P28,485,37, or an average annual income of P3,165.04. The highest total value year on year was registered in 1924 with P5,510.43, followed by 1921 with P4,028.57, and 1923, with P3,107.93. The lowest total value of products was recorded in 1927 with P2,248.69 with 1925, at P2,313.67, coming in close as second most reduced value.

In the Economic Survey Report (1929), there is a detailed accounting of MAHS’ assets namely: value of semi-permanent building, P50,000; building of light materials, P1,000; value of animal works, P1,000; and value of hand tools, P300. Total intermediate enrolment was ninety-nine, with 18 years old as average age of the graduating class. In July 1941, it was re-named to Mampising National Agricultural High School (MNAHS).

In 1969, under Republic Act 2471, MNAHS was converted to a national regional agricultural school and renamed as Davao National Regional Agricultural School (DNRAS).

On December 15, 1978, the national legislature passed Batasang Pambansa Bilang 12 cre-ating the University of Southern Philippines (USP). Due to duplication of the name with an-other school in Cebu Province, the appellation was changed to University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP). This paved the way for the integration of the Davao School of Arts and Trades (DSAT) and the Davao National Regional Agricultural School (DNRAS) as subsidiaries of USeP in 1979.

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