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BCU founder gets own street after Salvosa, Bautista

LET’S CALL IT FERNANDEZ DRIVE. The portion of Perfecto Street from Harrison Road to the Lake Drive that is depot for westbound jeepneys will be now called Dr. Margarita J. Fernandez Drive after the founder of the Baguio Central University, the oldest tertiary school after the Saint Louis University which was founded after the war in 1945. Photo by Neil Clark Ongchangco / PIO Baguio

One of the three educators that helped shape the city as the education center of the north after World War II will get her due and the honor she deserves like her two male colleagues and contemporaries as a city street will now be named after her.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong this week signed Ordinance Ordinance 58 that was passed by the city council last May 21 changing the Burnham side of the Perfecto Street after Baguio Central University founder Dr. Margarita “Itang” Joven Fernandez.

The ordinance principally authored by another educator, councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, a lawyer, honored the late founder of the former Centro Academy by naming said portion of the street as Dr. Margarita J. Fernandez Drive, as she now joins her contemporaries, lawyer Benjamin Salvosa and Fernando Bautista, Sr., who have their names etched at the thoroughfares that bound the Rizal Monument just below the Baguio City Hall.

In naming the 100 meter portion of Perfecto Street after Fernandez from the corner of Lake Drive to Harrison Road, the councilors took note of the international awards she received that brought honors to the city.

The councilors wrote: “Her outstanding accomplishments as an educator, helped achieved the City of Baguio’s vision in achieving excellence in the field of education, bolstering the title of the City as ‘Education Center of the North’”.

The councilors noted Fernandez as a champion of women’s welfare, being former president of the Baguio Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Tabanda, in her proposal, said that naming a part of the 100-meter road which now serves as a depot for westbound jeepneys — is to commemorate the educator who founded one of the universities that defined Baguio as an educational hub.

Fernandez founded the school right after World War II that may have started the school building drive in the city.

In 1946, Salvosa founded the Baguio Colleges that would become the Baguio Colleges Foundation (BCF) and later the University of the Cordilleras (UC), while Bautista, Sr. established the Baguio Tech in 1948, now the University of Baguio (UB).

Fernandez was named as a Builder of Baguio like her two contemporaries during the city’s centennial celebration in 2009 for founding the school, which holds campuses along the streets of Magsaysay and Bonifacio.

Tabanda, in penning the proposed ordinance, wrote that in 1979, Fernandez became the first president of the University and, through her leadership, expanded its academic programs and infrastructure development.

The family of Fernandez, meanwhile, has since June last year lent the former Sto. Nino Hospital for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

Baguio is home to more than 100,000 college students from its various universities, colleges, technical-vocational schools and the military learning institution of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

The biggest is Saint Louis University which has more than 35,000 students from pre-school to post-graduate. UC and UB are also home to more than 15,000 students at all levels.

The three are among the best schools in the country in terms of professional board passers.

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