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Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
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(Message of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman on the Pre-Opening Program on 27 March 2023 for the 78th Founding Anniversary of TNHS)

I am truly elated that the pre-opening program of the 78th Founding Anniversary of the Tabaco National High School is held at this Alumni Hall, which is a gift to our Alma Matter from the Class of 1958, to which I belong, during the celebration of our Golden Anniversary in 2008. That was 15 years ago.  In another 10 years our class will be celebrating its Diamond Anniversary. I assure you I will be still around together with my classmates.

I noticed, however, that you are giving me only ten minutes for my message. I can comply with your prescription, but I hope that you can give me a little more time to retrospect, memorialize and look forward.

Anniversaries are not mere chronology of years. They are not perfunctory salutes  to aging.  Anniversaries are celebrations of excellence, glories and successes.

The 78th Founding Anniversary of the Tabaco National High School is indeed a commemoration of its grand past, highlighting its excellent present and anticipating its fulfilling future.

History of Tabaco National High School at a Glance

  1. Albay High School in Tabaco was born in 1945 from the ravages of World War II. Since the campus of the Albay High School in Legazpi was in ruins, it was transferred to the Tee Qua Chee Gan Building in the Municipality of Tabaco.
  1. When there was a plan to transfer back to Legazpi the Albay High School, the popular move to retain the Albay High School in Tabaco prevailed. Consequently, the Albay High School had then two campuses, one in Tabaco and another in Legazpi.
  1. In 1949 the Tabaco High School was established as the country’s first municipal High School.
  1. In January 1955, from the old Golingco building in the población, Tabaco National High School was transferred to its present site here in Bankilingan-Panal-Guinobat Campus.
  1. By virtue of R.A. No. 6292, Tabaco High School was on June 19, 1971 converted into the Tabaco National High School, its present name. Its operations have been funded since then from the national budget. Incidentally, if you want it to be renamed as the Tabaco City National High School, then I am willing to introduce the amendatory law.

Our class of 1958 was the pioneer freshmen in this new site. We were the ones who cut the cogon and other wild grasses and helped landscape the new sprawling campus.

Present Situs Of Academic Excellence

From a one main building with few classrooms, the Tabaco National High School is now a complex of 50 buildings and 264 classrooms, the vast majority of which were constructed during my incumbency as Congressman, including the Olympic-size swimming pool and the Hermon C. Lagman Memorial Gymnasium, which has to be repaired.

I am a truly proud alumnus of the Tabaco National High School, which is a situs of academic excellence and complementing education infrastructure.

I am informed that the Tabaco National High School excels in math and sciences, together other disciplines. TNHS has also outstanding extra-curricular performances.

I recall that in 1958, the Tabaco National High School romped away with almost all the gold medals in the annual provincial meet’s singing and oratorical contest. My classmate, the late Romeo Gonzaga, who became a lawyer, won the gold in vocal solo with his rendition of “Sunshine of Your Smile”. Another classmate, the late Susan Bobis, who became a teacher, won first place in duet together with Felizardo Uy of Class 1960 for “Chasing Rainbows”.

The late Ma. Cielo Burce, also of class 1960, garnered the gold medal in declamation with her piece, “Sisa”. Cielo became the first American Field Scholar from then Tabaco High School and we were married in 1966.

Due to my superior education in the Tabaco High School, I bested the graduates of exclusive schools in Metro Manila when I was studying in the University of the Philippines.

TNHS is the largest High School in the Bicol Region with 13,233 enrollees this current school year. However, TNHS is not only known for the quantity of its studentry, but more so for the quality of its students, faculty, administrative support staff, and graduates. 

Celebrating the 78th Founding Anniversary of the Tabaco National High School is both a recollection of past glories and a challenge to maintain presently its legacy of excellence, and retain its preeminence in the future.

I shall join your agenda for continuing excellence in years to come.

I shall endeavor to:

  1. Substantially increase your annual budget starting in 2024 in the General Appropriations Act
  1. Enhance your literacy program
  1. Construct an Administration Building
  1. Construct a Faculty Building
  1. Construct a Student Center
  1. Update your library facilities
  1. Resume the construction of drainage facilities in the campus.
  1. Construct road and pathways networks
  1. Improve your track and field oval and related athletic facilities.
  1. Purchase additional land to augment the present area of the Tabaco National High School campus of 10.5 hectares donated by the Villanueva family and one (1) hectare plus donated by Mr. Pedro Moran.

I shall redeem these promises. It is my trademark, that what I promise, I deliver. This is a commitment which I shall fulfill.

The Constitution mandates the highest budgetary priority to quality and accessible education. I fully subscribe to this constitutional edict.

Education is the greatest factor for social mobility. It affords citizens to liberate themselves from the burden of poverty and helps them achieve a better life.

Let me share with you the following self-explanatory important quotations on education:

  1. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, from Nelson Mandela. Truly, the end goal of education is to make a meaningful change in improving people’s lives.
  1. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”, from Mahatma Gandhi. Truly, we are students during our entire lives because learning should never stop. Education is for generations. It is for posterity.
  1. “If You are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people”, from a Chinese Proverb. There is no greater impact that you can make than making education relevant and accessible to all. Education has no season. It is for every second, every hour, every day, every month, every year, every decade, every millennium. The import of education is perpetual.
  1. “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”, from Benjamin Franklin. We should not count the costs of education. We must count its myriad benefits.

Congratulations to one and all on the 78th Founding Anniversary of the Tabaco National High School. I am almost three years older than my Alma Matter, whose enviable mentorship I truly cherish.

Thank you for this opportunity of paying homage to my grand Alma Mater, and communing with the bustling Tabaco National High School Community.