The Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) is a pioneer, a leader, and a model institution of higher learning in the Philippines.
The Philippines' Commission on Higher Education has cited PLM as a model for public institutions across the country. Further, it has cited several PLM programs and departments as Centers of Excellence. Studies show that PLM is among the top five schools nationwide in terms of board exam passing rate where it is one among three public universities in the top ten category.
PLM is a chartered institution created by the Congress of the Philippines by virtue of Republic Act No. 4196, now known as the University Charter. This national law was approved by the President of the Republic of the Philippines on 19 June 1965, coinciding with the day of birth of the National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, whose high regard for education as the most potent cure for virulent social ills has inspired the creation of the University.
With the distinction as the first tuition-free institution of higher learning in the Philippines and perhaps in Asia, PLM formally opened its doors on 17 July 1967 with an excellent idea of admitting five hundred fifty-six (556) freshman scholars, all coming from the top ten percent of the graduating class of Manila's then-twenty-nine public high schools, thus, making outstanding excellence an inalienable birthright of Pamantasan.
As the University Charter has provided for,
First in Many Ways
PLM is the first institution of higher learning in the Philippines to have its official name in Filipino -- Pamantasan -- a name more contextually significant than its English equivalent in that it connotes wisdom, thereby giving immediate notice that the main goal of a true university is the creation of wisdom, which means nothing short of total understanding as well as the production not principally of mere professionals but wise men or "pantas."
PLM is also the first university funded solely by a municipal government in the country, thus, making it the first university in the country that is involved in the variegated and multifarious activities of a local community, which is the City of Manila, hence, the first multiversity. It is the first community university ("communiversity") as well as the first socially-conscious university in the country.
Social impact of the "PLM Phenomenon"
Its primary service is the provision of a completely free high-quality tertiary education to the financially less-privileged but exceptionally talented graduates of the City of Manila's public high schools. As such, PLM students hold the distinction as the scholars of the premier and capital city of the Republic of the Philippines.
As an expression of its social responsibility and in order to help democratize admission to quality higher education, Pamantasan opened its doors to other private and public high school graduates outside of Manila on a highly-subsidized scholarship program.
A few decades after PLM's establishment, many local governments followed the way and pursued the social vision shared by PLM. With some 30 other member-universities across the country, PLM serves as the national headquarters of the Association of Local Colleges and Universities since its establishment in 1996.
National Distinctions and Reputation
With twelve (12) colleges, two (2) professional schools, seven (7) graduate schools, revitalized distance learning programs, an integrated learning center for toddlers and a score of specialized centers, PLM is proud to be among the top universities in the country today with affiliations and recognitions of outstanding excellence from various national and international organizations and institutions.
So much of a distinction the PLM has achieved that it has been cited as among the best and topnotch institutions of higher learning in the country. Based on the reports of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), PLM ranks among the top five schools and is one among only three public universities in the top ten category.
As a testament to this excellence, the CHED has publicly commended PLM for its unprecedented track record in scaling great heights yet unmeasured in the country which fittingly serves as a model university for all locally-funded institutions of higher learning to emulate -- citing further that "PLM's excellence is beyond doubt and a class of its own."
The late Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal, who himself was a poor young scholar, said when he visited the University in the late 1960s 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." About four decades later, his daughter who followed his footsteps as President of the country, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, cited PLM in 2003 for exuding a "culture of excellence" and commended the university for what the national government believes as PLM's "impressive" accomplishments in various fields.
The country's leading newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, described PLM as a local university with a national character and reputation. Then-US Ambassador to the Philippines 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." In an article in the Business Mirror, PLM is considered as the "highest symbol of Manila’s public educational system which radiates another form of power and influence." Many websites, including that of the Manila Board, regard PLM as among the leading and prime public universities in the country today.
In accepting his nomination as PLM President in 2007, the then-national spokesperson of the Genuine Opposition, Atty. Adel Tamano, wrote in his column at the Manila Times 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."
Today, after almost 47 years of outstanding excellence since it opened in 1967, it serves as the training ground for a higher dimension of intellectual maturity for about 12,000 undergraduate scholars and 1,000 graduate students annually -- of about 13,000 great men and women envisioned to be the leaders of the future -- under whose able hands will spell and chart out a better future for our beloved city and our dear country.