Davao del Norte State College is a chartered public college located in Panabo City, Davao del Norte, Philippines. It is mandated by its charter to provide higher professional, technical, and special instructions for special purposes and promote research and extension services, advanced studies and progressive leadership in education, engineering, arts, sciences, fisheries, and other fields.

Humble Beginnings

Davao del Norte State College traces its humble beginning as the Davao del Norte School of Fisheries (DANSOF), a secondary school located at Bayawa (now San Pedro, Panabo City).  The establishment of DANSOF was envisioned by Mayor Gregorio Dujali to educate fishermen and their children towards sustainable fishing and proper use and conservation of fishery resources.

Mayor Dujali caused the passing of a municipal council resolution for the filing of a bill establishing the Davao del Norte School of Fisheries.  This was then submitted to Congressman Lorenzo Sarmiento.  Mr. Tranquilino P. Benigno was requested by the mayor to follow-up the progress of the bill into a law.  Finally, on June 21, 1969, Republic Act No. 5876 was enacted creating the Davao del Norte School of Fisheries (DANSOF) in the Municipality of Panabo.

It took some years for the law to be funded and implemented.  It laid dormant for years without the school.  In 1974, Congressman Sarmiento visited Mayor Dujali who then instructed Mr. Benigno to work on the budget proposal and other requirements for establishing the school.  In August 1975, the Secretary of Education gave a “Go” signal to start school operations. Mr. Tranquilino P. Benigno was designated as the Secondary School Head Teacher and on October 13, 1975, the budget amounting to Php 250,000.00 was approved to start the school.

Two first year sections were then segregated and three teachers were recruited from the Panabo Provincial High School to start the Davao del Norte School of Fisheries. On January 5, 1976, formal classes were conducted.  For almost two years the classrooms of the Panabo Provincial High School were utilized until the seven rooms at the Bayawa site (now San Pedro) were finished and used for instructional purposes.

The first teachers who took the responsibility of carrying out the mandate of the new fishery school were Mrs. Josefina P. Benigno, Mrs. Ninfa J. Gumela and Ms. Thelma Nanini.  In the second year of operation, four additional teachers were hired.  A full force of faculty and staff were recruited in 1978 and 1979, respectively. and by April, 1979, the first batch graduated.

The DRIFT Years

In 1978, a team from the Educational Development Project Implementing Task Force (EDPITAF) visited DANSOF to evaluate its potential as a possible implementer of the forthcoming Fishery Development Project.  Fourteen (14) fishery schools were evaluated nationwide.  With the representations of then Minister of Natural Resources Rodolfo P. del Rosario and that of Mr. Benigno showing reasonable proof and potentials of the school to the EDPITAF team, DANSOF was chosen among seven (7) schools mandated to implement the 6th IBRD Fishery Education Development Program.

This program was funded through IBRD Loan Agreement No. 1786-PH pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 704 on fisheries development.  On November 27, 1979, MECS Order No. 72 s. 1979 was issued delineating the objectives and program thrusts of the Fisheries Development Project.  It elevated the status of DANSOF from a secondary to a post-secondary school.

DANSOF, became known also as the Davao Regional Institutes of Fisheries Technology (RIFT).  It was mandated to offer the three (3)-year Diploma in Fisheries Technology with specializations in fish culture, fish capture and fish processing. Davao RIFT (DRIFT), being centrally located, aimed to serve three regions, namely: Regions X, XI and XII.  The Integrated Fisheries Development Program aimed to upgrade the technical know-how of fishermen and train the middle-level manpower to develop and conserve fishery resources that is on the verge of wanton devastation through abuse and lack of knowledge among the fisher folks.

To implement the program, a 10-hectare site where buildings and other structures will be erected is needed.  Mr. Benigno requested assistance from then Panabo Municipal Mayor Pedro Dacumos and then Assemblyman Rodolfo P. del Rosario.  Thus, the present site with a land area of 8.95 hectares in Barangay New Visayas was acquired.

DRIFT formally opened its first year of operation in June 1983.  It accepted about 400 students who passed the entrance examination.  The first 2½ years of operations were conducted at the old campus in Bayawa (San Pedro).  In October 1986, classes were transferred to the New Visayas campus.

The DRIFT’s school officials included: Vocational School Administrator Tranquilino P. Benigno, College Department Head Josefina P. Benigno, and the three (3) department heads namely: Mrs. Rosario B. Saligan for Inland Fisheries, Mrs. Jocelyn T. Alicaway for Fish Processing and Mr. Francisco P. de la Peña for Marine Fisheries.  On April 7, 1986, there were 71 who constituted the first graduates.

Mr. Tranquilino P. Benigno retired from service on May 7, 1992 and while waiting for the appointment of the next administrator, Mr. Quirino M. Bero was designated as the officer-in-Charge.

The Transition Years     

DANSOF continued as a post-secondary school with its multi-million peso facilities.  With a meager budget, DANSOF could hardly pay its electric bills which led to power disconnection.  For a while, the school was literally left in the dark until additional budget was allocated.

Dr. Vicente C. Hermoso was appointed as the Vocational School Administrator II of DANSOF on December 16, 1992. He re-organized the management structure and designated school officials to manage the different units of the school.  On June 8, 1993, the Bachelor of Secondary Education (Fishery Education) was offered through DECS Order No. 55 s 1993.  With this offering, the transition towards higher education began.

On February 14, 1995, Republic Act No. 7879 was signed into law by Pres. Fidel V. Ramos converting the Davao Regional Institute of Fisheries to Davao del Norte State College (DNSC).  Dr. Hermoso, the incumbent administrator of DRIFT/DANSOF was appointed as the first President of Davao del Norte State College.  Immediately, the Governing Board was organized.  Dr. Ester A. Garcia who was the Oversight Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education for Mindanao was designated as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.

Adapting to the higher education system, the faculty members were evaluated under the promotion and compensation scheme of state universities and college, the National Compensation Circular No. 69.  The promotion scheme required, among others, faculty performance in instruction, research and extension.  This signaled the need for faculty to embrace and transition to a culture of research and extension.

Soon after, additional degree programs were offered, as follows:

Name of Program Date Approved Board Resolution
BS Marine Biology November 24, 1995 BR # 014
BS Food Technology February 14, 1997 BR# 051
BS Information Technology April 1, 1997 BR# 067
BS Fisheries February 6, 1998 BR# 092
BS Aquatic Resource Engineering February 14, 2000 BR# 154
Master of Fisheries Technology
Master of Arts in Education

A significant event during the Dr. Hermoso’s presidency was the establishment of Marine Reserve Park at  Adecor, Island Garden City of Samal through IGACOS City Ordinance No. 97-12 in 1997.

Towards a Culture of Excellence

Dr. Eloisa Paderanga, then CHED-XI Regional Director, served as Officer-in-Charge after the retirement of Dr. Vicente C. Hermoso from service on May 5, 2001.  She gave particular attention to the improvement of different curricula particularly their content.  She also visited projects to ensure their sustainability.

On October 30, 2001, Dr. Edgardo M. Santos took the leadership as the second president of the College.  He brought with him his wealth of experiences and expertise as  president of a similar state college and started the transformation of the College into the level of an institution of higher learning.

Among the initiatives and reforms he implemented were:

            Re-engineering Through a Strategic Plan.  Giving every constituent a voice and role in crafting the College’s plan, the Institutional Development Plan Framework was formulated and approved as per BOT Resolution No. 16, s. 2004 and served as the direction and guide in the development undertakings of the College.  Today, the College has attained most of what were envisioned 14 years ago.

Dr. Santos also advocated for consensus building, program and policy focused decision making, clean governance, high standards of work ethics, accountability and recognition based on merits.

Good Governance.  During this time, the Administrative and Academic Councils were fully activated as policy-making bodies subject to Board of Trustees approval. Administrative and academic policies which included revisions and enrichment of the college code and curricular programs were approved by the Board of Trustees.  The College Management Team composed of Deans and Directors was constituted and shared decision making was practiced. As a result, a culture of cohesive decision making was developed.

The faculty, non-teaching personnel and students were involved in decision making.  The faculty, staff and students are represented in the Administrative and Academic Councils. They are also members in key committees like Promotion, Scholarship, Bids and Awards.

The College Organizational Machinery was restructured and specific Terms of Reference were formulated for each office consistent with SUCs Operations. This was to promote effectiveness and efficiency among the internal units.

An Internal Resource Allocation Mechanism was established. The different units were ensured of equitable distribution of resources based on agreements and optimized the use of resources based on priorities.

Dr. Santos also strictly implemented the “No License No Load” Policy for the faculty members in consonance with Republic Act No. 8981 or the PRC Modernization Act of 2000.

            On Equitable Access.  To fulfill its mission of provide wide access to higher education and serve the underserved and underprivileged, mechanisms were instituted such as an extensive and diversified enrolment campaign, the retention of the Php 40.00/unit tuition (one of the lowest in the country), and the institution of the Comprehensive Students’ Assistance Program which included scholarship grants, student loan assistance, and part-time work opportunities in the College and immediate communities.

The College also adopted open admission-selective retention scheme for ladderized

Programs and implemented induction for new entrants.

            Quality and Relevant Programs.  Program offerings were revitalized by revising and enriching the different curricula to comply with CHED, PRC, TESDA and other requirements.  Studies were done to conform the program contents with job target intent and the needs of the labor market.  General Education courses were content-enriched and were sequenced appropriately and logically.        

            On the delivery of instruction, Dr. Santos emphasized the regular updating and implementation of departmentalized course syllabi, conduct of remediation for slow learners, adoption of relevant and diversified students-centered teaching strategies, ensured the balance and appropriateness of the students’ evaluation through: table of specifications-based and departmentalized examinations.

Production of instructional materials was initiated to enhance instructional efficiency. It likewise instituted Clinical Supervision to enhance Teaching-Learning Processes. Instructional facilities like laboratories and some classrooms were upgraded or rehabilitated.  Likewise, instructional equipment were purchased and installed to standardize the delivery of instruction. Review assistance to graduates who would take the licensure examinations was provided. Skills evaluation conducted by TESDA was also given support by the respective institutes.

Graduate programs were improved by revising and realigning the various courses based on the intent and content of the curriculum, complying with CHED requirements, restructuring foundation and major courses, replacing courses with more current and important ones, expanding coverage of targeted clientele, enhancing efficiency of the program offerings.  Academic policies for graduate programs were crafted, extensive information campaign of the programs was done and 2 volumes of Research Journal with ISSN by the National Library of the Philippines were published.

Co- and extra-curricular activities were encouraged to develop the wholesome personality of students.  For a long period, the College had zero disciplinary case.  It was only in 2009 where one case was subjected to the disciplinary tribunal.

For faculty development, a significant increase for trainings was observed. Faculty with doctoral degrees, pursuing doctoral degrees, with masters degree, and pursuing masters degree had likewise increased from 2001. Trainings for faculty and staff also increased tremendously compared to previous years.

The above efforts also led to the offering of Ladderized BS Information Technology through Board Resolution No.17 and the offering of Ladderized BS Fisheries through Board Resolution No. 19 on June 23, 2004.  DNSC was then designated as TESDA Assessment Venue for PCO NC II, CHS NC II and as TESDA Assessment Venue for Aquaculture NC II and Food Processing NC II in 2007.

Accreditation of academic programs was also done as a quality assurance mechanism.  On June 28-30, 2005, the first accreditation visit was conducted by the Accrediting Association of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (AACUP).  Subsequently, Level 1 Accredited status was awarded to BS Education, BS Fisheries, BS Marine Biology and BS Information Technology in 2007 and Level II re-accredited status was awarded to these programs and Level I accredited status to Technology in 2010.

Auxillary Services.   The auxiliary services of the College were also greatly improved.

The library collection improved to a total of 10,080 volumes. An easy access to library collections was provided through the computerized card cataloguing system and installation of the complete module of the Follett System.  Library holdings were accessed through the on-line public access catalog (OPAC). Library services extended through the e-Library with 21 units of computer. The Audio-Visual Room was renovated and provided with the necessary equipment

            The Guidance Services provided varied testing materials like the Otis Lenon School Ability Test (OLSAT), Students’ Assessment Test for Teachers (SATT), Manchester Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA), Management Development Questionnaire (MDQ), 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (5th Ed), Test for High School entrants.  The Guidance Office rendered counseling services to students, both walk-in and referrals.  It implemented peer counseling and trained students to undertake this actively. Pre-employment seminars were regularly conducted.

            The Registrar maintained an accurate and updated inventory of Students’ Academic Records. It worked out sound records management system for effective disposal of students’ academic records. Grades of the students were sent to their parents via mail.

            The medical services implemented a comprehensive health care program for the College community which included, among others, the regular fumigation of the campus, attendance to students/faculty/personnel health concerns and referrals and maintenance of campus sanitation.

The dormitory was repaired and enhanced to provide conducive students’ lodging facilities for out-of-town residents.  Occupants for the dormitory were properly screened and managed by a dorm manager.

            Efforts were exerted to improve the human resource management program and to strengthen the records management system in all offices of the College.

            The Finance Services adopted a strong Internal Control System that manifested in audit zero disallowance, zero suspension and minimal audit observations, automation of collection and disbursement scheme.

Research, Extension and Production.  Under Dr. Santos, research and extension as a mark of the higher education institution was institutionalized.  He always said that it takes years for an institution to be known in instruction but it needs only few good research and extension to be known.  He implemented a research and extension development paradigm which demonstrates the research to extension continuum.

During this time, DNSC became the locus of DOST-PCAMRD Zonal Center V on April 2004.  In due time, a few college faculty published in international journals papers on population dynamics, reproduction and growth of the indo-Pacific horned sea star, Protoreaster nodosus; predator of Crown of Thorns Starfish and other related publications.

To support these research activities particularly in marine sciences, facilities were upgraded, namely; improvement of the Marine Research Station Facilities and construction of the Multi-Purpose Hatchery. The College was the lead agency for the Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources (AFNR) Project the Fisheries Sector and implemented the “Earn-Learn Resource Center” a model project with Php 5M support from DOST.

DNSC was also selected as Regional Center for Vermiculture and Vermicompost Production in January 2007-April 2008.  In December 2008, DNSC was selected as partner Agency in Region XI of Commission on Information and Communications Technology as implementer of its iSchools project.  On August 14, 2009, DNSC was selected as the National University/College of Fisheries for Region XI.

Capping Dr. Santos’ terms were two awards for research and extension:  the 2008 Outstanding Regional Research Program for Region XI and the 2010 Outstanding Extension Program for Region XI.

Sustaining the Growth

Dr. Jonathan A. Bayogan was appointed as the third DNSC President on December 14, 2010.  With the development direction well defined by his predecessor, Dr. Bayogan embarked on efforts to sustain the College’s quest for excellence in academics, research, extension and production.

The Job Enabling English Proficiency (JEEP) project of the Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM, funded by USAID) which was earlier negotiated under Dr. Santos was put in place.  Through this project, all curricular programs were enriched by integrating an English proficiency program in the English courses.

Instruction and student services.   In addition to sustained effort to maintain and upgrade the quality of programs and services, new programs were crafted and offered in response to local needs and development.  A Memorandum of Agreement with the Davao del Norte Learning Institute, a training arm of the Provincial Government of Davao del Norte, was signed in 2012.  This led to the offering Bachelor of Public Administration (alternative delivery mode) and Certificate in Preschool Education (special program).

Soon after, Master of Public Administration (in consortium with Mindanao University of Science & Technology) and the regular Bachelor of Public Administration were offered through Board Resolution No. 26, s. 2013.

Quality assurance is continuously pursued.  Two (2) graduate programs were accredited from Candidate to Level 1.  Due for re-accreditation are five (5) programs.

There was also a steady increase in the enrollment and graduation during the period. Along with this development is the enhanced student access and equity through increased scholarship and assistantships.  In addition to internally-funded scholarships and assistance, externally-funded grantees more than doubled during.  The government’s Student Grants-in-aid Program for Poverty Alleviation, a financial assistance to children in poor families with no college graduate, greatly enhanced financial assistance services.  The College Student Financial Aid Program was also updated to expand access provisions to poor students.

Performance in licensure examinations, particularly for teachers and fisheries technologists, was maintained or improved way above national passing percentage, respectively.   In addition, the performance of students in the TESDA National Competency Assessment had consistently been at 98 to 100% passing.

Research, extension and production.   This period saw the increase in research projects with greater focus to community-based needs.  The increase is attributed to the increased budgetary allocation both in the college budget and from funding agencies.

Externally-funded projects and collaboration with other agencies likewise increased.  Among the projects were: Marine Protected Area Benchmarking and Monitoring:(Reef Fish Study), Species Inventory & Fishery Assessment of Sea Cucumber, Governance and Sustainability of Small-Scale Fisheries, Philippine National Aquasilviculture Project, Panabo Pride Campaign for Sustainable, Tridacna Tours: Conservation and Livelihood for Fisherfolks, Pangtawid Project  for Typhoon Pablo Victims through Seaweed Farming, Regional Disaster Science and Management  S&T Capacity, Establishment of Meso-Scale Meteorological Monitoring Infrastructure in Davao, Enhancing Tourism Capability of Davao Region through Academe-Community Partnership.

Funding agencies and collaborators include the Commission on Higher Education, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Department of Science and Technology (PCAARD and PCIERRD) and international funding from Rare International and World Fish.  Collaborators included the Local Government Units of Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Panabo, Samal, Adecor and the state colleges in the region.

Research and extension outputs were presented and disseminated in academic and professional forums.  Some won best papers in different categories.  Regular extension and community services through training and other forms of capability building were also done.

Seven (7) scientific (marine biology) papers published in international refereed journals, all with citations based on scopus, and google scholar during the period.

In 2012, Dr. Girley Gumanao, Director of the Research, Extension and Production unit of the college, was awarded the 2012 Provincial and Regional Gawad Saka Award for Outstanding Scientist in Agriculture/Fisheries, a fitting recognition of her years of work.

Administration, resource generation and management.  As a result of the Board of Trustees-approved increase in student fees, the internally-generated income of the College steadily increased.

Likewise, capital outlay budget from the national budget was allocated in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 which enabled the College to continue and complete infrastructure projects.   These are: completion of the science building, completion of the information technology building, retrofitting of the information technology annex (dummy building) and the purchase of science laboratory equipment.  Other grants came from the Commission on Higher education for the refurbishing of the library, the marine reserve park, hostel and audio-visual room; and from the office of Congressman Antonio Lagdameo for the science building.  The Department of Energy also retrofitted the College’s lighting system in 2012.

Through the maintenance and operating expense budget, the students’ development fund and some savings from operations, the college also repaired and improved many college facilities.

During the period, eleven (11) faculty members were assisted to earn advanced degrees thus increasing faculty with advanced degrees and reducing those with baccalaureate degrees.  Three faculty promotions were also implemented: 18 faculty in 2012 through NBC 461 – 3rd Cycle; 27 faculty from vacated items (chain), and 6 non-teaching staff from vacated items in 2013, and 6 faculty for the 4th cycle of NBC 461 in 2014.

Good governance measures were continued.  The Civil Service Commission awarded the College the Certificate of Revalidated Level II Accreditation Status in 2012, and the updated Level II Re-Accreditation Status in May 2014 under the Program to Institutionalize Meritocracy and Excellence in Human Resource Management (PRIME-HRM).

The College also implemented the national Performance-Based Bonus System and for CY2012 and CY2013, DNSC was among the first batch of SUCs to be awarded, having met at least 90% of agency targets and complied with all good governance requirements on time.  For the Annual Audit of 2013, the Commission on Audit gave the College an Unqualified audit indicating complete compliance to auditing rules.  Unqualified is the highest level of audit finding description, the rest being: Qualified, Adverse and Disclaimer.

The Years Ahead

History is written and continues to be written by men and women who are privileged to spend their lives and careers in institutions.  As is wisely said, “men and women come and go, but the institution remains”.  The contributions of the men and women of service are best weighed by how best each, or as a collection of individuals or teams, used the opportunities and talents they had at their disposal at the time they were privileged to serve.

Davao del Norte State College’s history continues to be written by men and women who come into her bosom.  How the College contributes to society through its mission will determine its place in history and in the scheme of things.  How each of the men and women contribute to the institution’s history is determined by his or her dedication to his or her call of duty and beyond.

We find no reason to forget the years that passed.  Many of those years were very significant.  There is no reason why the years ahead should not be better.