BALER, Aurora — The oblation, which is the mark of the University of the Philippines (UP), will soon be built in the UP satellite in this capital town after six years of operation.
The UP School of Health and Sciences (UPSHS) Baler is located on a five-hectare lot in Barangay Reserva beside the Aurora Memorial Hospital (AMH).
Julia Elisa Puertollano, former director of the UP Baler campus, said visitors found the school less inviting without the concrete statue, which symbolizes selfless offering to one’s country.
Puertollano said the people coming from different places who had frequented the school practically considered it “incomplete” without the oblation.
It could be remembered that the original oblation was a masterpiece of Filipino sculptor and National Artist Guillermo Tolentino and was commissioned in 1935 by Rafael Palma, the university’s first Filipino president.
The oblation is made up of the naked figure of a young man in a symbolic gesture of sacrificial offering of service to country and humanity has become an identifying landmark in its every campus.
It is also the major rallying point for all kinds of dissent, protest actions and social criticisms as well as expressions of public service, nationalism and patriotism.
In 1939, it was unveiled and dedicated to the national heroes at the UP Padre Faura campus by Gregoria de Jesus Nakpil, widow of Andres Bonifacio.
The monument’s cornerstone was laid on Nov. 30,1931 by former First Lady Aurora Aragon-Quezon, wife of late Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon who hailed from this capital town.
On Feb. 11, 1949, the original oblation was transferred to UP Diliman as part of the celebration of the university’s 40th anniversary.
The statue stands prominently in front of Quezon Hall, welcoming students and visitors to the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City.
In the campus here, no such statue welcomes students and visitors.
Critics said that the oblation was very important.
” It’s UP’s symbol. Without the oblation, it’s as if there is no UP,” they said.
The UPSHS here was put up in 2008 at a cost of Php 154 million financed jointly by the Department of Health (DOH) and the provincial government.
Negotiated by former senator Edgardo J. Angara, a former UP president and another ex-president Emerlinda Roman, it was only the second university’s School of Health Sciences (SHS) outside Metro Manila.
It is offering courses intended to produce graduates in midwifery, nursing and medicine to solve the dearth of health professionals in the countryside caused by the mass exodus of doctors, nurses and midwives for greener pastures abroad.
It is the first UP specialized school on health in Luzon which serves the medical needs of people not only in the host province but also the provinces of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino and Nueva Ecija.
Construction of the satellite campus involves three phases, including two to three-storey school buildings to house the administration building, academic rooms, laboratory, social hall and staff house with identical floor area of 1,200-square meters each.
Puertollano said that the oblation was included in the construction phase 2 at a cost of Php 25 million.
She said that the particular phase has already undergone a number of failed bids because the contractors deemed the amount “too small” for the oblation.