BARMM official Senior Minister Abunawas Maslamama, alongside Cotabato State University President Prof. Sema Dilna and other officials, attends the opening of the three-day celebration of the institution’s 100th founding anniversary on February 8, 2024, in Cotabato City. (Photo by Michael Camsa/BIO)


COTABATO CITY—Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim extended his heartfelt congratulations to Cotabato State University (CotSU) on February 8, as it celebrates its centennial year as an institution.


Recounting his own time as a student in the said institution, he emphasized the significant impact the university has had on shaping values and character among its students and alumni.


“This celebration is a testament to 100 years of providing quality education to the population of central Mindanao and its neighboring communities,” Chief Minister Ebrahim remarked.


This year’s commemoration, themed “Honoring the University’s Centennial Milestone through Inclusivity in a Diverse Culture and Arts”, brought together alumni from batches 1950 to 2023 for a parade through the streets of Cotabato, culminating at the university oval.


Founded in 1924, the university initially existed as Cotabato High School (CHS), subsisting for almost 43 years. Later, it became Cotabato City National High School (CCNHS) from 1977 to 1983 and eventually became Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC).


After more than three decades, former Maguindanao First District Representative Bai Sandra Sema authored House Bill 5914 to convert CCSPC to a state university for global competitiveness.


She said this move of converting CCSPC into a state-run institution aimed to “provide children of marginalized Moro and Christian families access to quality, but inexpensive education.”


The bill, approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate in February 2013, became Republic Act No. 10585, renaming CCSPC as Cotabato State University. Former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III endorsed it on May 24, 2013.


Now, as CotSU, the institution’s journey reflects its commitment to excellence, with optimism for continued success in the future.


The Chief Minister commended the dedication and efforts of all involved, including the leadership of President Sema Dilna and predecessors, in elevating the university to its esteemed status.


Further, he pledged his unwavering support for the university’s endeavors in producing skilled professionals and advancing research and community engagement.


“As our partner in pursuit of an inclusive society, we are supportive of all of the endeavors of your institution to produce science and technology professionals, peace and development advocates, promote and undertake research and extension, and provide progressive leadership in the fields of specialization,” he said.


Meanwhile, Minister of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) Mohagher Iqbal also extended his congratulations to the university, noting that he is immensely proud of being one of the graduates of the institution.


He also mentioned some notable Bangsamoro leaders who were proud products of this institution, including the late Senator and General Salipada Pendatun, Cong. Simeon Datumanong, the first Governor of the then-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Datu Zacaria Candao, former Cong. Datu Michael Mastura, Minister of Labor and Employment and former Cotabato City Mayor Datu Muslimin Sema, and Minister of Environment Akmad Brahim.


“I would like to say here and commit that as your Minister of the MBHTE, we are more than ready to cooperate fully with the Cotabato State University, and of course with the President and all other officials of this institution, so that we will be able to deliver quality education for our people,” Minister Iqbal said.


The University President, Professor Dilna, extended his gratitude to the Bangsamoro Government for their support, as well as to all other alumni and stakeholders.


“It is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration. Ito po ay ating paghandaan sa pamamagitan ng ating pagpapaunlad [at] pagpapaigting ng ating paaralan. Para po ito sa mga batang Bangsamoro. Ang kinabukasan po nila ang ating main concern,” Dilna said.


On the first day of the three-day celebration, Mayor Mohammad ‘Bruce’ Matabalao awarded P50,000 each to two septuagenarian alumni, Antonia Caneda Sumaid and Jovita Meer Pinalva, both from batch 1964, who attended the celebration. Additionally, the batch that gathered the most attendees received P30,000.


The centennial celebration of the CotSU stands as a testament to its enduring legacy and dedication to fostering knowledge and service within the Bangsamoro community. (Aisah Abas/BIO)