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University of the City of Manila

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University of the City of Manila
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila
Karunungan, Kaunlaran, Kadakilaan
TypePublic university, city-funded
Established19 June 1965
Endowment750 million pesos
PresidentAtty. Rafaelito M. Garayblas
Metro Manila

43°35′12″N 120°58′35″W / 43.58667°N 120.97639°W / 43.58667; -120.97639
NicknameBlue Panthers

Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), or the University of the City of Manila, is a university in the city of Manila, Philippines. It is funded by the government of the city[1][2][3][4] and it does not have any tuition fees.[3][4] It is in the district of Intramuros in Manila, the Philippines. It was established on June 19, 1965 and opened on July 17, 1967 to 556 scholars, all coming from the top 10% of graduates of Manila's public high schools.[3][4][5][6]

PLM holds the distinction of being the first institution of higher learning in the country and perhaps in Asia to offer tuition-free tertiary education; the first university funded solely by a city government; and the first institution of higher learning in the country to have its official name in Filipino.[3][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Total enrolment has grown to an average of 11,000 a year.[7] The lone college has grown to 12 colleges, five graduate, two professional schools, and a score of research and specialized centers, including a teaching hospital, an enterpreneurial center, and an integrated learning center for toddlers.[5][7] It maintains a comprehensive distance education and open university program for thousands of community health workers and public administrators in nationwide with affiliations and recognition from various national and international organizations and institutions.[4][7][8]

There are 53 single-degree baccalaureate programs and 49 masters, doctoral, and graduate diploma offerings that lead to degrees in accountancy, economics, architecture, business administration, computer studies, education, engineering, law, mass communication, mathematics, medicine, nursing, physical education, physical therapy, psychology, sciences, social work, tourism, management, and public governance.[7]

According to the Philippines' Commission on Higher Education, it is a model university for all public institutions across the country, one of the centers of excellence in the City of Manila, and the fifth among all universities nationwide based on the number of examinees passing the Professional Regulation Commission test.[1][3][7][9][14]

Academics and administration

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As a university with its own charter, PLM enjoys certain level of autonomy. It is governed by the Board of Regents and administered by a President.[6][15] The Board of Regents[6][15] has the authority to grant diplomas, certificates and titles to students who have completed their academic programs and validate graduation of students.[16] The six-member Board is composed of the President of the PLM, a representative of the PLM faculty, a distinguished alumnus, a respected educator, and one other respected professional, and the Superintendent of the Division of City Schools-Manila. Each member serves a six-year tenure of office. The President oversees the implementation of the university policies.[6][15][17] Immediately under the President are the four Vice-Presidents - Executive Vice President, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Administration, and Vice President for Finance and Planning.[15]

The PLM campus at Intramuros as seen from the world-famous Manila Hotel.

The University is organized into twelve undergraduate colleges, two professional schools, seven graduate schools, and an open university and distance learning program,[7][18] which are all being supervised by the Executive Vice President. [7]

The twelve undergraduate colleges are the College of Accountancy & Economics, College of Architecture & Urban Planning, College of Engineering & Technology, College of Human Development, College of Liberal Arts, College of Management & Entrepreneurship, College of Mass Communication, College of Nursing, College of Physical Education, Recreation & Sports, College of Physical Therapy, College of Science, and College of Tourism, Hotel & Travel Industry Management. The two professional schools are the College of Law and the College of Medicine. The seven graduate schools include Graduate School of Arts, Sciences & Education, Graduate School of Health Sciences, Graduate School of Engineering, Graduate School of Law, Graduate School of Management, Graduate School of Urban & Settlements Planning, and the President Ramon Magsaysay School of Public Governance. The university's open university and distance learning program[3][7] is served through the Emeritus College, Open University,[18] and the District Colleges.

PLM is the tenth largest university in Metro Manila with a total student enrollment of 13,711 (as of January 20, 2006).[19] For the undergraduate class of 2011, PLM received 40,000 college applications, and accepted 3% of them.[20]

PLM's endowment in 2008 was valued at PhP 500 million,[5] excluding the funding allotted for its teaching hospital, Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center, of about PhP 250 million.[21] The University spends about four to fives times the national average for education.[22]

Members of the PLM Administration with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, 2008.

PLM utilizes a semester-based modular system for conducting courses,[23] adopts features of the American system (credits), and employs the General Weighted Average system and a 1.00 to 5.00 grading scale, with 1.00 being the highest possible grade for a particular undergraduate course. The calendar used by PLM consists of two regular semesters of about 15 to 16 weeks each, and semestral breaks of about three to four weeks each. The university requires a minimum of twelve units to be considered a full-time student, with the maximum being twenty units.


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"It is not easy to hurdle the culture of excellence that is the culture of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila"

— Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 2003[24]

The late President, Diosdado Macapagal, who himself visited the University, said that PLM is "a unique university because it is the first community-oriented and socially conscious university in the country." He added that, "it gives poor but deserving public high school graduates of the community the means to acquire higher education." Moreover, he recognized PLM's emerging status as "one of the top universities in the country."[25] Her daughter, President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said PLM had a "culture of excellence,"[9] and commended the university for what she had believed as its "impressive" accomplishments in various fields.[24][26]

The country's leading newspaper, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, described PLM as a local university with a national character and reputation.[27] US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, in her speech during the 40th Commencement Exercises at the PLM Grandstand, praised PLM for building a "culture of commitment to public service in its students, faculty and alumni."[28] In an article in the Business Mirror Archived 2009-10-04 at the Wayback Machine , PLM was considered as the "highest symbol of Manila’s public educational system which radiates another form of power and influence."[29] Websites such as Manila Board say that PLM is one of leading and prime public universities in the country today.[30]

On August 13, 2008, Adel A. Tamano, in his column at the Manila Times wrote that PLM is "a unique learning institution" and is "essentially an honors school where only the students from lower income families with excellent scholastic records are admitted."[31]

PLM is not a perfect institution, and the university had been criticized in the past for the 'reconsideration' cases, wherein some students who failed to meet the university’s standards for retention were readmitted because of their so-called 'backers'. In order to resolve this issue, the city government has insulated the University from political pressure so as not to compromise its status as one of the country's leading educational institutions.[1] [2]

Geographical History

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Gusaling Don Pepe Atienza (Don Pepe Atienza Hall), the PLM graduate school building.

The site of the PLM campus at Intramuros used to be occupied by the Colegio de Manila (also known as Colegio Seminario de San Ignacio), which was founded in 1590 by Fr. Antonio Sedeño, S.J.[32][33] The Colegio de Manila formally opened in 1595, and was the first school in the Philippines.[11][34][35]

Aside from Colegio de Manila, there were other structures that were built in the site.[34][36] Iglesia de Santa Ana, the first stone church in the Philippines, was built in 1590 and opened in 1596. However, an earthquake destroyed it, and another church was built in honor of St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1626.[34]

In 1601, the Colegio de San José was set up as an annex of Colegio Seminario de San Ignacio.[11] Twenty years later, Pope Gregory XV, through the Archbishop of Manila, authorized the Colegio Seminario de San Ignacio to confer degrees in theology and arts and elevated it into a university.[34][37] In 1623, Philip IV of Spain confirmed the authorization, making the school both a pontifical and a royal university, and the very first university in the Philippines and in Asia.[38][37][39][40][41] In 1722, the Colegio de San José was granted royal patronage.[37]

In 1768, the Jesuits surrendered the Universidad Maximo de San Ignacio to the Spanish authorities after their suppression and expulsion from Spain and its territories.[11][32][33][34][37] Later, the Universidad Maximo de San Ignacio was placed under secular administration and converted into a seminary and a liberal arts college. In 1773, Pope Clement XIV formally declared the dissolution of the Society of Jesus. In 1895, the Universidad Maximo de San Ignacio merged with the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of the University of Santo Tomas. The Colegio de San José is now the San José Major Seminary at the Ateneo de Manila University.

The buildings of what was the Universidad Maximo de San Ignacio were transformed into military headquarters called Cuartel del Rey, which eventually became known as Cuartel de España. José Rizal was placed on trial for sedition here on December 26, 1896.[5][11][34]

During the American occupation, part of the barracks was razed, and a gymnasium was built on it. In early 1930s, one of first games of the NCAA was played in the 31st Infantry Quonset Gym.[42] The buildings and the whole premises served as military headquarters for the 31st Infantry of the United States Army until 1941.[11] During World War II, General Douglas McArthur held command post here, but the entire area was later destroyed by the ongoing military conflict.[34][43]

In early 1960s, the site was rehabilitated by the city government and a building was constructed at General Luna Street to house the students of Manila High School. On April 24, 1965, President Diosdado Macapagal issued Proclamation 392-A, giving to the proposed city university the three-hectare lot being occupied by Manila High School.[25][34] On February 26, 1967, the new complex along Victoria Street was opened, and the students of Manila High School were transferred there. On July 17, 1967, the first group of PLM scholars began studying on the site where the modern educational system in the Philippines started.[27]


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The call to open a university run by the city government of Manila began during the term of Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson when Ordinance No. 4202 was approved by the City councilors on January 13, 1960. The ordinance allotted a total of PhP 1,000,000 for the construction of the university. Mayor Lacson did not however live to see the realization of this project as he died suddenly of heart attack.[44] Vice Mayor Antonio Villegas took over and continued Lacson's plan. He later issued Executive Order No. 7, s-1963 that created the committee that would draw up the plan of founding a university.[44] He sought the help of Congressman Justo R. Albert, representative of the City's fourth congressional district. Congressman Albert then sponsored House Bill No. 8349 at the Philippines' House of Representatives. The Senate version of the bill was authored by Senators Gil Puyat and Camilo Osias. The two bills were eventually combined into one, and it was discussed during the Fourth Session of the Fifth Congress of the Philippines on January 25, 1965. The final bill was later passed by the joint Congress. On June 19, 1965, the final bill with the title - "An Act Authorizing the City of Manila to Establish and Operate the University of the City of Manila and for Other Purposes" - was signed into law by President Diosdado P. Macapacal in a signing ceremony at Malacañang Palace. The law was captioned as Republic Act No. 4196, which now serves as the University Charter.[source?]

Early years

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With an enrollment of 556 students—both men and women—PLM opened for classes on July 17, 1967. All of them were housed under the University College, which offered liberal arts courses. After a year, a Graduate Institute for Teachers was founded, and it was followed by the Institute of Extramural Studies. At the turn of the decade, the school had expanded its offerings to include degree programs leading to specializations in communication, engineering, education, business administration, nursing.


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  1. 1.0 1.1 "Soaring high and leaving footprints in pursuit of a legend in quality higher education". Manila Bulletin. June 18, 2004.
  2. Pascual, Federico Jr. D."Roco backed out Archived 2006-11-04 at the Wayback Machine". The Philippine Star. February 04, 2005.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Miguel, Marlon G. "Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila celebrates 39th founding anniversary." Manila Bulletin. June 18, 2004.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila 39th Anniversary". Manila Bulletin. June 19, 2004.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Linda, Bolido.On hallowed ground Archived 2009-09-20 at the Wayback Machine. "The Philippine Daily Inquirer". December 29, 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Republic Act 4196". Philippine Laws, Statutes and Codes - Chan Robles Virtual Library. Accessed March 05, 2009.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 "Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila". Eskwelahan, Philippine Schools Online. September 08, 2008.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila: 40 years of providing quality tertiary education." Manila Bulletin. July 17, 2005.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila 41st Anniversary". Manila Bulletin. June 19, 2006.
  10. Maghirang, Tony."First! Best! Most! Archived 2010-09-22 at the Wayback Machine". June 24, 2007.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 "Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila Archived 2009-10-25 at the Wayback Machine". Geocities. Accessed March 06, 2009.
  12. "PLM 35th year observed. Manila Bulletin. June 20, 2000.
  13. Bonabente, Cyril. "Did you know?[permanent dead link]". The Philippine Daily Inquirer. June 22, 2007.
  14. "Manila committee on use of English in schools reveals initial measures". Manila Bulletin. July 19, 2004.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 "PLM Administration Archived 2009-04-03 at the Wayback Machine". The Pamantasan. Accessed March 05, 2009.
  16. Villarosa, Maria Cecilia D. "Pangilinan Authors PLM Charter Amendments." Ang Pamantasan, Vol. XII, No. 08. March 21, 2002.
  17. "University President Archived 2009-04-09 at the Wayback Machine". The Pamantasan. Accessed March 07, 2009.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Texting and Open Universities Archived 2011-07-27 at Archive.today". Owl Institute Open Educational Resources. Accessed February 19, 2009.
  19. Philippine school rank in terms of student population. Information Manager, Inc. Accessed February 19, 2009.
  20. "PLM Admission Test Archived 2009-04-03 at the Wayback Machine". Accessed March 05, 2009.
  21. "Atienza says Health Services Remain Priority of City Hall Archived 2007-04-15 at the Wayback Machine". The Manila Times. March 04, 2007.
  22. Dela Peña, Shiela and San Juan, Jayson Edward (2008-03-27). "Adel Tamano's Bright Star". The Lobbyist. Retrieved 2008-07-25. I was asked by a reporter during my investiture, "How are you going to address that problem of lack funds of PLM?" I answered, "I dispute that, PLM has so much money. If you do not steal the money of this University, there's so much money." I'll give you another example. Here at PLM, we're doing quite well. Our passing rate for example in Medicine in February 2007 is 100 percent. Our PRC rating in Accountancy is number two. Architecture, number two. Nursing number, three. Now, we're doing well because Manila is spending a lot of money for the PLM students. It's a tuition-free institution. Manila spends about four to five times the national average per student here. And that's why we're doing well. PLM should be like a showcase. That's if the money is handled properly.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)[permanent dead link]
  23. Barrios, Dr. Romeo M. and Nuñez, Dr. Domingo B. "Improving College Teaching via Modules". Pamantasan StarPost, Vol. III, No. 2. September 2002.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "GMA cites 'culture of excellence' at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila". Office of the President, Republic of the Philippines. 2003-04-12. Archived from the original on 2009-04-25. Retrieved 2006-09-27. the President said that because of its culture of excellence, it is not easy for a student to go through college at the PLM. She said that only those who have excelled in high school are accepted at the Pamantasan, a university funded by the Manila city government.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Atencio, Joel C."Arroyo leads Pamantasan rites today". Manila Bulletin. November 07, 2001.
  26. "GMA cites 'culture of excellence' at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila Archived 2009-04-25 at the Wayback Machine". The Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines. April 12, 2003.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Tamano, Adel A. (2007). "Investing in Education - The Gateway to National Development". Maranao Online. Retrieved 2008-08-05.[permanent dead link]
  28. Kenney, Kristie A. (2008-03-29). "Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney's Graduation Address to Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) 40th Commencement Exercises". Manila US Embassy Official Website. Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2008-08-05. Thanks to President Adel A. Tamano for his leadership and vision in making Pamantasan one of the top universities in the country... I congratulate Pamantasan for building a culture of commitment to public service in its students, faculty and alumni.
  29. Osorio, Emmanuel Libre (2008-06-26). "Manila: Heartland of Bangsamoro". Business Mirror Vol. III, No. 189. Archived from the original on 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2008-08-16. The university, of course, is not the seat of political power; that rests in City Hall, just outside Intramuros. The university is the highest symbol of Manila's public educational system which radiates another form of power and influence. In this wise, it would be best if the mayor allows the university president to take a leave of absence as spokesman of the opposition so he could lead the institution to new heights of excellence.
  30. "Manila Board: Manila Education". Manila Board. Accessed January 19, 2009.
  31. Tamano, Adel A. (2007-08-13). "Minority Report: Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila". Manila Times. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-08-13. Last Thursday, I was appointed by the Board of Regents of PLM as University President. PLM is a unique learning institution. With over ten thousand students, faculty, and staff, the challenge of running the university might seem daunting. But its uniqueness, that it is essentially an honors school where only the students from lower income families with excellent scholastic records are admitted, appeals to my sense of leadership and education so much that any doubts or worries that I might have are overcome.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Cruz, Roman Jr. A. "The Ateneo Story." Aegis. 1959.
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  35. The Ateneo Aegis (Official Yearbook)
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  43. Manila High School History Archived 2009-01-23 at the Wayback Machine. Manila High School Alumni Portal. Accessed February 19, 2009.
  44. 44.0 44.1 Goco, Raul Ilustre. "Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila: 42 years of existence Archived 2012-09-10 at Archive.today". The Philippine Star. July 14, 2007.