Salceda envisions “Berkeley of Bicol” in BU East Campus; lauds OK for development plan for research and tech hub

LEGAZPI CITY  – Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has lauded the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education for approving the bill which seeks to create the Bicol Innovation, Research, and Technology Hub (BIRTH) and the construction of its facilities in the Bicol University (BU) – East Campus in this city. 

Salceda, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and  principal author of the bill (HB 1302), said BU is like the University of California system of Bicol: “I envision BU East campus as the equivalent of UC Berkeley in that system. That’s why this development plan is critical.”

The lawmaker said he crafted HB 1302 in line with BU’s vision of a “world class university producing leaders and change agents for social transformation and development,” which requires it to develop and initiate a physical development plan that will cater to the need for the institution through campus development.

“Every industrial economy needs a center for developing industrial knowhow. That’s BU East, and it will help us in the transition from agriculture to a more advanced regional economy,” Salceda said. 

The BU, especially its College of Engineering, is home to topnotchers in national licensure exams, and maintains an overall performance in the engineering board examinations that is higher than the national passing percentage, he added. 

Salceda said HB 1302 institutionalizes the BU East Campus’ Physical Development Plan which will provide well-equipped classrooms and laboratory facilities “that meet the standards of a globally competitive engineering school.” The bill also commits the national government to funding the development plan. 

“If you have a campus that is conducive to innovation, the rest follows. And it always spills over to the surrounding community,” he explained, adding that he envisions startups and tech companies sprouting in Albay as a result of an improved BU East Campus. 

“We have among the best students in the country, based on licensure exam results. We just need to house and nurture them in a better learning environment — one that allows them to think, create, innovate, and invent.” Salceda stressed.