GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The University led a community development project at a Muslim community on Eid al-Fitr as part of its activities leading up to the inauguration of the UST General Santos (GenSan) campus.

The outreach project was a collaboration between the UST Office for Alumni Relations and Tomasinong Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos), the recognized UST alumni chapter in the region.

Some 150 residents from Barangay Batomelong in GenSan attended the event on April 10, where they each received grocery packages and vitamins.

UST Secretary General Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said the outreach program was conducted to introduce the Mindanao campus to nearby communities as it approaches its opening next academic year.

“‘Yung UST na nakita ninyo na may building, hindi lang po building–may mukha, may kulay, may anyo,” Coronel said in his opening remarks.

“Hindi lang po kami kapitbahay; kami po ay inyong kaagapay rin po dahil pinapanalangin namin na ang aming pag-aaral, ‘yung aming po ay mga researches, doon po ay maging partner namin kayo,” he added.

Coronel also underscored the importance of the University’s connection with the Muslim community in GenSan.

“Higit sa lahat, hindi lang po kapitbahay, hindi lang po kaagapay, tayo pong lahat ay mga Pilipino. Iba-iba man po ang ating papanampalataya, iba-iba man po ang ating kultura, mga Pilipino naman po tayo at tayong lahat ay magkakapatid,” he said.

Antonio Villanueva Jr., president of the UST Alumni-Soccsksargen Chapter, said the outreach project was just the start of the group’s fulfillment of a bigger role as UST GenSan opens.

“Malaki ang magiging role ng UST alumni in terms of tulong sa promotion, marketing, then may mga collaboration projects kami later on na gagawin,” Villanueva said. “Gusto rin naming mag-sponsor ng scholar kung kakakayanin namin, may mga fundraising activities din kaming gagawin.”

“‘Yung isang purpose namin is charity borne out of gratitude. Ibig sabihin, ‘yung involvement po namin dito is voluntary and in gratitude na nakapagtapos kami sa UST,” he added.

GenSan houses the fifth largest Muslim population among cities in Mindanao, despite 70 percent of its population being Roman Catholics.


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