MANILA, Jan. 29 The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Reserve Officers' Training Course (ROTC) will have a grand reunion and parade on the occasion of the university's 400th founding anniversary at 3 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2011 at the UST parade grounds in Sampaloc, Manila.
Dr. Rory Tuazon, national commander of the UST Golden Cross and Saber Alumni Association Inc. (USTGCSAAI), said President Benigno S. Aquino III has been invited to witness the parade-in-review of the UST Golden Corps of Cadets (USTGCC).
After the parade, a homecoming ball is scheduled at 8 p.m. at the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) multipurpose hall on North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.
Tuazon, son of the late former Press Assistant Secretary Victor M. Tuazon, said distinguished members of the alumni will don the gala uniform themselves and march as unit commanders.
He also said all USTGCC alumni, School for Cadet Officer (SCO) graduates, Honorary Corps of Lady (HCL) sponsors alumni, ROTC cadets and graduates of UST are cordially "invited to return and revisit your glorious and unforgettable past."
He also said alumni/graduates of the UST ROTC program are joining the loyalty parade in honor of the founding anniversary of UST.
Historians said on April 28, 1611, Msgr. Miguel de Benavides, together with Father Domingo de Nieva and Father Bernardo de Santa Catalina, founded the Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario.
It was originally conceived as a school to prepare young men for priesthood. It was later renamed Colegio de Santo Tomas in memory of the foremost Dominican Theologian, Saint Thomas Aquinas. Its original location was within the famous "Walled City" of Manila known as Intramuros.
As a college, it already enjoyed the authority to confer academic degrees as early as 1619.
The authority became permanent when Pope Innocent X raised it to the status of University of Ecclesiastical and Civil Studies on Nov. 20, 1645, and in 1680, was subsequently placed under Spanish Royal patronage.
The Institution has, from the beginning, always been under the governance and administration of the Order of Preachers.
In 1785, King Charles III of Spain bestowed upon the Institution the title Regalia and awarded the Crest of Loyalty or Muy Leal for the exceptional loyalty shown by the administration and students in volunteering to defend Manila against the British invasion.
Military training in the institution became a thing of the past until 164 years later.
On Sept. 3, 1936, the UST School Senate (nowadays known as Student Council) approved the steps to organize the ROTC, making Military Science and Tactics compulsory to every able-bodied male student of the university, thus giving birth to the UST Golden Corps of Cadets.
The university organized the UST ROTC in 1936, making it one of the first institutions to implement the National Defense Act of the Philippine Commonwealth Government.
The officer tasked to organize the first cadet corps was 1Lt. Ceferino Garcia. Prof. Juan Nakpil was comissioned to design their gala uniform for parade purposes.
Maj. Alfredo Ramirez assumed his post as the first commandant on Sept. 28, 1936. Some 700 enthusiastic male students made up the first batch of ROTC cadets.
Cadet Enrique Quema, who later became the Assistant Executive Secretary for President Carlos P. Garcia, served as the first corps commander.
Cadet Col. Mariano Alimurung later on took over Quema's post and was awarded the Sword of High Command by the Cross and Sabers Fraternity.
Alimurung is a topnotch heart specialist and one of the founders of the Makati Medical Center.
In the early part of S.Y. 1953-54, the Cadet Corps, under the leadership of Cadet Col. Luzmindo B. Fajardo as the Corps Commander, drew up plans to put up a distinctive gala uniform. Cadet Col. Paterno Villanueva fabricated the design of the new gala uniform.
As a result, the "Special Regiment" under Villanueva's command was created, composed of the MP Battalion, the Model Battalion of three full-sized companies in addition to one Infantry Regiment and one Medical Regiment.
The MP Battalion, organized a year earlier, became the nucleus of the newly Special Regiment.
The new gala uniform's design and traditions were patterned after England's Buckingham Palace Guards – which have for centuries been the embodiment of discipline and pride, also noted for their pomp and splendor.
With a dashing Commandant (Col. Albert B. Friedlander) and very supportive Rector (Fr. Rector Angel de Blas, O.P.) and Regents (Rev. Fr. Agapio Salvador, O.P., and Rev. Fr. Jesus Merino, O.P), the Corps was then riding the peak of its popularity. (PNA) scs/JCA