Every great dream begins with a dreamer. A dream that was worked out by the dreamers Juanita Ybarle Vda. De Salmon together with the former Congressman Benjamin V. Bautista Sr. and the people who had the same outlook in life.
It begun in 1966 when Municipal Ordinance No. 70 was passed, creating Malita Barangay High School, primarily to help the poor who could not afford to study in private schools.
The school started with only 80 students in one class with no school building and chairs to sit on. The class was temporarily held under the mango tree with the students sitting on the protruded roots of the tree.
Two years later, Municipal Ordinance No. 80 dated July 5, 1968 was passed converting the said Barangay High School to Malita High School with complete secondary curriculum. It was housed in a 2-hectare lot in Poblacion, Malita – donated by Mrs. Juanita De Salmon. This is where the 10-room Marcos type building was constructed with Ms. Rosario P. Dormitorio as the new High School Principal.
But the dreamers did not stop dreaming. On February 8, 1982, Malita Municipal High School was converted into a state college and was named MALITA AGRIBUSINESS AND MARINE AND AQUATIC SCHOOL OF TECHNOLOGY (MAMAST).
This dream came into reality when the bill authored by Assemblyman Benjamin V. Bautista became into a law known as Batas Pambansa Bilang 148. The first president of MAMAST was ENGR. RAMON M. BARBON. The school‘s vision and mission was to propagate entrepreneurship and competitiveness in the field of agriculture and fisheries.
The conversion from a mere high school to a state college was impressive. Most state colleges evolved from an established tertiary school, but MAMAST was unique: a simple secondary school turned into a state college. A legacy which could never be erased because it has already been imprinted in our hearts. The noble legacy of a DREAMER, a LEADER, and a FATHER.
The college was made operational in 1983. It initially offered 3 courses — Agribusiness, Agriculture, and Fisheries.
To widen the coverage of the institution, MAMAST was changed into SOUTHERN PHILIP-PINES AGRI-BUSINESS AND MARINE AND AQUATIC SCHOOL OF TECHNOLOGY (SPAMAST) in 1984 by virtue of Batas Pambansa 651 through the efforts of the father of SPAMAST.
Beginning 1989, SPAMAST, under the leadership of the second president Dr. Francisco G. Ladaga, Sr. acquired several properties through sales and donations. It acquired an 8-hectare land in Brgy. Buhangin, Malita, which served as field laboratory for instructional purposes and income generating projects. The school has also acquired 5.4 hectares of land in Brgy. Matti, Digos City through a donation executed by the Provincial Government of Davao del Sur in September 1992. A 2.6-hectare Within the span of less than six years, SPAMAST operated in three campuses – the Malita Campus, with extension classes in Caburan and Jose Abad Santos; the Buhangin Campus; and the Digos Campus. All the campuses have general education buildings constructed for instructional purposes, classrooms and laboratories. Other areas were intended for sports development and livelihood projects. Students‘ dormitories and faculty houses were also constructed.
In 1995, with the intention of creating a significant niche in the agricultural development of the province, the 28 hectare lot in Matanao was acquired. However, time and conditions of its acquisition did not warrant immediate positive outcomes in terms of having for-mal instruction facilities in the area. But nonetheless, production, research and extension services have been conducted there.
In 1997, the institution started offering its Graduate programs in the two campuses, Malita and Digos campus. Three years after, the school offered 4 Master‘s Degree programs; 7 Bachelor degrees; 2 Diploma courses; and a laboratory high school. It was also then that rationalization of programs in the different campuses was initiated; thus, the Malita campus was named: COLLEGE OF AGRI-BUSINESS, FISHERIES AND MARINE SCIENCES with an external campus in Buhangin, while Digos campus was named: COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES with laboratory and production sites in Matanao.
In 2001, the third president of SPAMAST, DR. ALEXANDER M. CAMPANER, was installed.
Strengthening of the basic functions of SPAMAST has been given focused under his administration. In September 2003, the Fisheries program attained its first level accredita-tion with AACCUP, and in 2005 the Secondary Teacher Education program; both in CAFMS.
To equally give due attention to the once a feeder campus, 3 programs — the Agribusiness, the Agriculture and the Secondary Teacher Education — in CAS Digos City were also accredited on December 2006.land in Malita was purchased in May 1993, and an-other 1.5 hectare lot along the shoreline fronting the Malita Campus.
Aside from accrediting various programs, SPAMAST offered a new course — the BS Information Technology — in the two colleges, along with two short-term courses with TESDA.
SPAMAST has been known as active human resource development advocate through active participation in various research and extension undertakings. The institution is a member of different research consortia, not only at the regional level but also in the national, and even in the international arena. SPAMAST had been selected among State Colleges and Universities in Mindanao as a Zonal Center to concentrate on Marine Biodiversity. With our strong linkage with CHED, there were 17 faculty members who availed of CHED scholarship in 2007. CHED, through the National Agriculture and Fishery Education System (NAFES), has awarded SPAMAST as the Provincial Institute for Agriculture for CAS and another award as the Provincial Institute for Fisheries for CAFMS.
SPAMAST has expanded its extension services to more barangays in the province, and even extended its services to the municipalities and areas surrounding Davao gulf, joining collaborations with various government agencies, non-government institutions, people‘s organizations, private firms and farms, cooperatives and individual entrepreneurs.
In July 2010, the 4th president of SPAMAST, DR. IRVIN C. GENERALAO was in-stalled. And just under a year and a half in the position, a lot has been accomplished. There was an increase in enrollment in both campuses, new extension campuses were opened and new courses were offered in SY 2011-2012. The year 2011 has also seen a dramatic improvement in our institutional passing rates in licensure examinations. SPAMAST has also secured a partnership with USAID-GEM by offering the Job Enabling English Proficiency (JEEP) classes in our Digos campus. Faculty members and staff were given the opportunities to pursue their graduate studies; attend different trainings, symposia, conferences and seminars the past year; present their research papers in the different research fora and symposia, both local and global. We have a professor who was recently selected as a principal candidate for a Fulbright scholarship.
For the past year, SPAMAST has established strong connections in the local, national and international scenes. We welcomed in our fold the esteemed institutions of University of California Riverside (UCR) and Davis (UCD), Can Tho University (CTU), Rubber Research Institute of Vietnam (RRIV), and Kyoto University.
Furthermore, the school has been conducting its strategic planning. This plan is essential to determine the relevance of our existence in Davao del Sur. Currently, SPAMAST is preparing to align itself with the direction of the plans of the Province of Davao del Sur, the Region XI, and the Philippine Development Plan, 2011-2016 of the National Government. The strategic plan of SPAMAST will be for its next six years, as approved by the SPAMAST Board of Trustees.