History of the Division of Cabanatuan City
Written by: Mario V. Calara, Retired Administratvie Officer
Supplemented and Updated by: Glenn L. Agustin, EPS, Media & ICT
The Municipality of Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija was a bustling town. The expanse of which reached as far as Barangay Balangkare (now a leading barangay of the town of General Mamerto Natividad). As early as 1949, then Congressman Jesus Ilagan, representative of the 2nd Congressional District of Nueva Ecija, worked for the enactment of Republic Act No. 526 which converted the municipality into a city on July 14, 1950. Before it became a city, the elected municipal mayor was Sergio S. Ocampo. When the town became a city, its mayor, according to the said law, shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines and Sergio Ocampo was appointed. He was therefore the last elected municipal mayor and the first appointed city mayor of Cabanatuan.
The said law, known as the Charter of Cabanatuan City, provided for the establishment or the organization of the offices of the City Treasurer, City Assessor, City Auditor, City Superintendent of Schools, and other division or departments necessary for the smooth operation of the city.
In 1960, the then City Mayor Mario S. Garcia worked for the establishment of the Office of the City Schools Superintendent. With the help of Congressman Angel D. Concepcion, then the Representative of the 2nd District of Nueva Ecija, he organized the Division of City Schools, with Mr. Mariano R. Guevarra as the first City Schools Superintendent.
Mr. Guevarra was then the Assistant Superintendent of Schools of Nueva Ecija. The Division Office personnel were: Mrs. Sabina J. Ferrer who was assigned as Division Academic Supervisor; Mr. Macario G. Medina, as Administrative Assistant; Mrs. Cornelia S. Sanchez as Supply Officer; Miss Remedios Ulanday as Clerk and Mr. Romeo Medina as the Office Janitor.
During this time, only primary teachers (those assigned in Grade I to IV) were paid under the national government and known as insular employees. Intermediate teachers (those teaching Grade V to VI) being paid by the city government, received salaries a little lower than the primary teachers. It was during the term of Mr. Guevarra that the local government created positions of Guidance Coordinator and Assistant Elementary School Principal. (This is the reason why, of all the school divisions in the Philippines, Cabanatuan City has 5 positions of Guidance Coordinators and 4 positions of Assistant Elementary School Principals under its plantilla). It was also during his term that Dr. Pedro Orata known as the father of barrio high schools conceptualized the establishment of the barrio high schools. Per Municipal Board Resolution No. 190 s. 1967, Supt. Guevarra was authorized to establish barrio high schools at Cabu, Camp Tinio, Bangad, Mayapyap, Caalibangbangan, Pamaldan, San Josef and Sumacab. Mr. Eliseo A. Carrillo, still teaching at J.P. Melencio Elementary School, was one of those assigned in the barrio high school. Except for Camp Tinio, said schools were closed after some time. Though they did not last long, it however opened the eyes of local officials and barangay people that children in far-flung barrios may have opportunity to study and finish high school. Before the year ended, Superintendent Guevarra was transfered to the Division of Abra.
Mr. Pedro R. Lingad, Assistant Superintendet of the Division of Pampanga, was named as the second Schools Division Superintendent in 1962. It was during his time that the Division Office was transferred from the City Hall to the first floor of the Cabanatuan Masonic Temple at del Pilar Street where it stayed for almost twenty (20) years.
In August 1962, Mr. Macario Medina, the Administrative Officer, transferred to the Office of the Provincial Auditor of Nueva Ecija. Mr. Mario V. Calara, a clerk-stenographer in the Division of Nueva Ecija was appointed in his place in September 1962. As has been said, the intermediate teachers then received lower salary than their counterparts in the primary grades. Mr. Romeo A. Serdeña, an Intermediate Teachers Association Officer made representation in the Congress through Nueva Ecija Congressman Angel D. Concepcion and introduced a bill nationalizing the salaries of all intermediate teachers and other division office personnel being paid by the local government. It was his action which urged other city schools similarly situated to write their respective congressmen about the matter and finally a law was enacted nationalizing the salaries of intermediate teachers and division office personnel. All those included in the plantilla from the City Schools Superintendent down to the Intermediate teachers, including positions of assistant elementary school principals and guidance coordinators, were nationalized.
In 1964, Supt. Lingad was transfered to the Division of Pampanga, and Mr. Emilio J. Samaniego, from Bigaa, Bulacan, was appointed as the third Schools Division Superintendent. He conceived a project that will provide water and electricity in all public schools, provide furniture and school equipment, but because of financial constraints, only a few schools were provided with facilities.
In 1966, Supt. Samaniego was transferred to Zambales and Mrs. Sabina J. Ferrer, the then Division Academic Supervisor was appointed as the fourth Schools Division Superintendent. It was during her time that the number of Promotional Staff was increased to eleven supervisors. San Jose City then had its own city schools division but because of the ruling of the Department of Education that only school divisions with 350 teachers or more shall be retained and those with less will be dissolved. San Jose City Division was dissolved and one of its division supervisors, Mr. Bienvenido Abello, Vocational Education Supervisor, was transferred to Cabanatuan City that completed its 11th slot. It was during the time of Mrs. Ferrer when the school division which only has two (2) school districts was redistricted into four known as the East, West, North and South Cabanatuan Districts. It was during her time when the Division Office, where it is now, was constructed.
It was her term in 1969 when Republic Act No. 5447 otherwise known as the Special Education Fund Act was approved. Its implementing rules were employed in 1970 and the first Cabanatuan City School Board was organized. The members then were SDS Sabina J. Ferrer as Chairman, City Treasurer Primo E. Ferrer as Member, City Councilor Benjamin M. Ferrer as Member, Representative of Sangguniang Panlungsod as Member, Mr. Basilio Serdeña, President of Cabanatuan City Federation of PTA as Member, AO Mario V. Calara as Member-Secretary up to September 15, 1999.
Mayapyap Barangay High School re-opened in 1974 through the joint efforts of barangay, PTA and DepED officials. All the teachers were paid by the City Government.
Cabanatuan City then was a part of the Nueva Ecija Delegation when participating in Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association meets. The then City Mayor Perez and Supt. Ferrer worked hard until finally Cabanatuan City was allowed to have its own delegation in CLRAA Meets. SDS Ferrer retired in 1980.
Upon the retirement of Mrs. Ferrer, Dr. Ester C. Baylon, the then Assistant Schools Division Superintendent of Nueva Ecija, was appointed as the Fifth Schools Division Superintendent of Cabanatuan City. For the first time, the Division of Cabanatuan City was given a position of Assistant Schools Division Superintendent and Mr. Apolonio Aviguetero from Tarlac was appointed as its first and stayed up to 1982. When he left, Dr. Librada M. Tan, then a division supervisor of the city schools division was appointed as the second ASDS.
Dr. Baylon, envisioned among others, that each school should have a library. And as a role model, she established a Division Office Library. She also conceptualized a special school designed to cater the bright and intelligent pupils and students of the city and its environs. With the support of the late City Mayor Honorato C. Perez, Sr., they established the Cabanatuan City Science High School which was inaugurated on June 27, 1985. It is now known as the Honorato C. Perez, Sr. Memorial Science High School. In 1986, Dr. Baylon was transferred to the Division of Nueva Ecija.
Dr. Feliciana C. Santiago of Angat, Bulacan took over as the sixth Schools Division Superintendent in 1986. In 1989, ASDS Librada M. Tan was transferred to the Division of Nueva Ecija and another Bulakeño in the person of Mr. Emilio Domingo was appointed as the third Assistant Schools Division Superintendent. In less than a year, Mr. Domingo left Cabanatuan City and was replaced by Mr. Loreto Estrella of Bustos, Bulacan in 1989 as the fourth Assistant Schools Division Superintendent. He assisted Dr. Santiago in her School Building Program, curriculum development, and boy and girl scouting movements. In 1990, Dr. Santiago and Mr. Estrella were transferred to Nueva Ecija.
Dr. Librada M. Tan, then Assistant Schools Division Superintendent of Nueva Ecija was named as the Seventh SDS of the city in 1990. Mr. Jose E. Soriano of Tarlac was appointed as the sixth ASDS from May 1990 to December 1990. Miss Veronica S. Cava was appointed as the seventh Assistant Schools Division Superintendent from December 1990 to November 1991; Dr. Ernesto J. Arceo as Eighth ASDS serving the division from November 1991 to February 1994. Dr. Victoria A. Aguas replaced Dr. Arceo as the ninth ASDS from May 1994 to August 1996, and Dr. Simon S. Barlis as the tenth ASDS from August 1996 until he was transferred to the Division of Aurora in 2003.
All of these Assistant Schools Division Superintendents assisted Dr. Tan in all the programs and projects of the division. It was during her time that the four districts of the division were named as Cabanatuan Districts I, II, III & IV. It was also during her term when the Boy Scouts Office was separated as an independent chapter from the Nueva Ecija Chapter with the authority of the National Office.
Dr. Librada M. Tan retired in 1998 and Mr. Dioscorides D. Lusung of San Pedro, Pampanga was appointed as the eighth Schools Division Superintendent of the city. He was assisted by the then Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Simon S. Barlis. Supt. Lusung spearheaded many programs and projects. Noted as the centerpiece of all his programs is the Operation School Lot Ownership (OSLO) which encouraged school heads to work for the papers and documents or land titles of their respective schools.
Supt. Lusung was transferred to the Division of Nueva Ecija in 2002 and Dr. Sotera M. Cruz from manila was named as the ninth Schools Division Superintendent. Dr. Cruz brought with her the expertise in school management from Manila. She made it a point that updates on management trends and practices was the first part of Division Staff Meeting. Dr. Simon S. Barlis likewise assisted her.
When Dr. Cruz was transferred to Region IV-A as Assistant Regional Director in 2003, Dr. Tarcila P. Javier from San Fernando Pampanga was appointed as the tenth Schools Division Superintendent of the Division of Cabanatuan City. Upon her arrival, Dr. Simon S. Barlis was transferred to the Division of Aurora and Dr. Javier was left without an assistant.
Her concept on the “systematic development of people who would join her in the quest for better instruction” guided her in running the division even without an assistant superintendent for almost two years. The absence of an assistant was put to an end when Mr. Malcolm S. Garma, former Director of Community Relations Office of the University of the Philippines, was installed ASDS on May 15, 2006. Armed with a non-DepED mindset, Mr. Garma smoothly blended his ideas and insights with Supt. Javier to make DepED Cabanatuan City more responsive and sensitive to the needs of its clienteles in the bureaucracy.
As an offshoot of Supt. Javier’s transfer to the Division of Nueva Ecija, Mr. Garma assumed the Office of the Superintendent with an OIC capacity on March 11, 2008.
On July 2, 2008, Mrs. Teresa D. Mababa, the then OIC-ASDS for Special Programs and Projects in the Division of Nueva Ecija, was named ASDS of DepED Cabanatuan City. Just like her predecessors, she willingly brought herself together with the management styles of her chief executive officer and infused her previous experiences to further improve the system.
On September 6, 2008, Mr. Garma received his appointment as a full-fledged Schools Division Superintendent and as the eleventh CEO of DepED Cabanatuan City. Since his assumption of office, he has never turned his back on his advocacies like regenerating moral values among pupils and students by institutionalizing the use of “po” and “opo”, empowerment of school administrators through a strengthened school-based management program, addressing the non-reader problem among the learners by purchasing supplementary instructional materials and reading kits, and upgrading the ICT literacy level of public school teachers through a series of training-workshops and by deploying ICT equipment and devices in the districts and schools.
Cognizant of the fact that public school teachers’ welfare is also one of his main thrusts, he put up a teleradio program dubbed as DepED Hour which is aired over DWJJ and Channel 16 of the local cable network in the city every Wednesday at 6:00 to 7:30 p. m. to address issues directly affecting their workplaces and profession. Said program intends to keep the public school teachers abreast with the latest trends, issues and developments in the educational community. The program also features news reports and video clips presented by campus journalists under the guidance and supervision of DepED Media Bureau Members in the area. The teleradio program started airing on August 11, 2010.
On February 24, 2011, Supt. Garma was conferred the rank of CESO V through an appointment signed by President Benigno S. Aquino, III. His promotion to CESO V is an offshoot of his completion of the 11th Session of "Salamin-Diwa ng Paglilingkod" conducted by Career Executive Service Board (CESB) on September 21 to October 4 at Subic, Zambales.
Through the vibrant leadership of SDS Garma combined with the dynamic management style of ASDS Mababa, DepED Cabanatuan City promises to be a complementing sub-system in the implementation of the Department of Education’s programs, projects and aspirations to better serve the Filipino youth.
The retirement of a number of schools division superintendents around the region brought forth movements in their ranks. In March 13, 2012, the 12th Schools Division Superintendent of Cabanatuan City in the person of Dr. Esperanza Lina-Laya was inaugurated and installed into office. Supt. Laya's post in the Division of Science City of Muñoz was taken over by ASDS Teresa D. Mababa while Supt. Malcolm S. Garma was named Schools Division Superintendent of the Division of Zambales replacing Supt. Perlita C. Basa.
The ASDS position in the Division was temporarily left vacant. In the absence of a full-fledged ASDS, Supt. Laya appointed EPS Leonardo J. Andasan as Assistant to the Schools Division Superintendent to handle the less serious responsibilities of her office.
With her innate compassion to children with special needs, Supt. Laya started the plan of establishing SPED Centers in the Division which earned positive response from the City Government through incumbent Mayor Julius Cesar V. Vergara. Supt Laya has already identified some of the central schools to house the proposed SPED Centers. Pooling of resources and scribbling basic documents have already been delegated to selected DepED Cabanatuan City personnel.
Among Supt. Laya’s notable course of actions within her limited stint as chief executive officer of the Division is the pro-rated allotment of utilities from the Special Education Fund (SEF), specifically, the allocation of financial support for electricity and water consumption for all school children in every public school in the Division. Said initiative was left halfway towards its realization when she was named Schools Division Superintendent of the Division of City of San Fernando.
Coinciding DepED Cabanatuan City’s commemoration of its 53rd Founding Anniversary on January 15 and 16, 2013, Dr. May Batenga-Eclar, a native of Gerona, Tarlac, was sworn into office as the 13th Schools Division Superintendent in an installation rites at the Teachers Hall.
Foremost of which is the establishment of four (4) integrated schools in strategic locations in different districts. These are Imelda Integrated School in District 1 (with 121 Grade 7 enrolees and 5 additional teachers); San Isidro Integrated School in District 4 (with 80 Grade 7 enrolees and 5 teachers); Daan Sarile Integrated School in District 3 (with 59 Grade 7 enrolees and 3 teachers); and Palagay Integrated School also in District 3 (with 45 Grade 7 enrolees and 3 teachers).
Though the establishment of ISs is but a conservative gesture to support the “No Filipino Child Left Behind Act of 2008”, the program appears to be a relief to elementary graduates and their parents within the vicinity of these integrated schools concerning financial difficulties for transportation -- a common problem why financially depressed families opt not to send their children to secondary schools.
Under the stewardship of the 13th CEO, DepED Cabanatuan City has also witnessed physical and organizational transformation where prime offices and personnel were merged for more efficient business transactions on the part of various clienteles.
Relative to organizational transformation, Supt. Eclar has also carried out initial moves to pilot the full implementation of the rationalization plan which resulted to delegation of responsibilities to Division Office personnel who are believed to possess the skills and talents for specific functions.
As of the start of School Year 2013-14, Supt. Eclar is being assisted in carrying out her duties and responsibilities by OIC-ASDS Celestina Bolisay-Bactol who was a former Principal - II of Peñaranda Central School in the Division of Nueva Ecija.
Mrs. Bactol was designated as Officer-In-Charge of the Office of Assistant Schools Division Superintendent on November 5, 2012.
|Last Updated on Monday, 17 June 2013 10:02|