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Bank funds library program

Santo Tomas university's heritage facility to receive 50 million peso grant

Dominican Father Rolando de la Rosa (second from left) and bank chairman Justo Ortiz sign an agreement Dominican Father Rolando de la Rosa (second from left) and bank chairman Justo Ortiz sign an agreement
  • NJ Viehland, Manila
  • Philippines
  • April 29, 2011
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The Union Bank of the Philippines has announced that it will fund a multi-million peso program by the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (UST) to conserve and digitize the university's historic archives and develop an open library of Philippine heritage.

In a ceremony on the 400th anniversary of UST's foundation yesterday, Dominican Father Rolando de la Rosa signed a memorandum of agreement as UST Rector with Union Bank Chairman Justo A. Ortiz.  In the memorandum, the bank has committed to donate 50 million pesos (US$1.165 million) for the program.

"Union Bank will finance the preservation of books and archives, produce exhibits and new publications, digitize the books and archives and put them on the web to open access to more people," Ortiz said.

In his speech, Ortiz pointed oput that the UST library resources represent over 400 years of Philippines national memory, including the first book printed in the country in 1593 titled "Doctrina Cristiana," (Christian Doctrine), and a 1650 collection of musical knowledge, reportedly read by Bach and Beethoven.

"These show that Spaniards did not come to the Philippines only to evangelize but also to educate," he said. "We at UnionBank are grateful to UST for its willingness to share this national heritage," he added.

Marge Macasaet of the bank's corporate social responsibility program said that in 2002, its directors resolved to allot one percent of  profits to social development ventures.  "The bank funds mostly education-related programs," she said.

The library was first instigated by Miguel de Benavides, the third archbishop of Manila, who bequeathed money and his own personal library for a seminary college. His fellow Dominican priests fulfilled his dying wish and established the College of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary on April 28, 1611.

Evolving into UST, the institution now has seven faculties, 10 colleges, a graduate school, an institute and two high schools. Pope Innocent X recognized it as a university in 1902. It is the only university in Asia to receive papal patronage.

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