BAGUIO CITY – The president of a college in Mountain Province was forced to resign on July 1 when teachers, parents and students in Bontoc town barricaded her office following a protest rally.
But Patricia Licuanan, chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), and the board of trustees of the Mt. Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC), revoked the resignation made under duress by Nieves Dacyon.
In a July 6 resolution, the board condemned the rally, sought an immediate investigation of the incident and transferred the office of the MPSPC president to a campus in Tadian, Mt. Province.
The board also gave Dacyon security aides.
The resolution urged authorities to “fast track the complaints [filed] against Dacyon.”
Three days after the rally, the MPSPC Faculty Club filed a complaint before Hadja Luningning Misuarez-Umar, chairperson of the board of trustees, urging the board to revoke Dacyon’s appointment for her “gross insensitivity to faculty benefits, her allegedly flawed work assignments for personnel, gross partiality, personnel harassment, utter lack of transparency, inequitable distribution of supplies and office equipment, and questionable designation of Nena Perez [the MPSPC vice president for academic affairs].”
The complaint said Perez had been encroaching into other MPSPC officials’ functions and had been hard to work with.
Dacyon met with reporters here on Friday to urge the Bontoc community and the MPSPC faculty to help her resolve the conflicts which led to her resignation.
She said the Bontoc campus had been rocked by protest rallies starting June, which were aimed at demanding the resignation of Perez.
Dacyon said she was attending a convention in Cagayan de Oro City but returned to Mt. Province immediately when told about the rallies.
On July 1, she held a dialogue with protesting students and faculty members, after learning that they also wanted her to resign with Perez.
“In a few seconds we heard a countdown for the protesters to attack the administration building. Then, around four policemen [turned up] to escort me out of the building,” she said.
But because the policemen had no vehicle to take her away, Dacyon said she decided to stay inside her office, along with some trustees and several school instructors.
She said the protesters broke through the doors and forced her and two instructors to transfer to another room.
“At about 3 p.m., a prepared resignation letter was handed to my staff,” Dacyon said, adding that she was advised that signing it would help relieve tension.
The document, which was addressed to the MPSPC board, said: “Effective this day, July 1, 2011, I hereby tender my irrevocable resignation as president of the MPSPC.” She signed the document and was sent home at 4:15 p.m.
Dacyon said she would pursue dialogue with the Bontoc community.
“If ever I entertain the thought of resigning, it will not be under this anarchic situation because it will be setting a very dangerous precedent that mob rule will be the process of changing the officials of academic institutions,” she said.
On Friday, MPSPC students and teachers, among them college department heads who took part in the July 1 rally, said they meant Dacyon no harm.
“There was no threat on her life, no one was hurt in that rally. We even shouted over the megaphone, ‘Let us allow her to have a graceful exit. No one should throw things at her, and no one should raise their voice,” said Blaine Bilalat, head of the MPSPC student grievance committee. Desiree Caluza and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon