Divine Word University of Tacloban
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Divine Word University of Tacloban
Liceo del Verbo Divino
(DWU Tacloban)
Divine Word University of Tacloban logo.png
The Landmark of the Catholic Education in Region 8
Former names
Tacloban Catholic Institute
St. Paul's College of Tacloban
Divine Word College of Tacloban (1965-1966) Divine Word University of Tacloban (1966-1995)
MottoAgnoscite Dei Potentiam (Latin)
Motto in English
Acknowledge the Power of God
TypePrivate, Catholic University
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
(Society of the Divine Word)
Location, ,
Aerial view of Liceo del Verbo Divino, Tacloban City, Philippines

The Divine Word University or DWU was a private, Catholic, co-educational institution of higher learning run by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) in Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.

Founded in 1929, it was closed in June 1995 by the school administrators after a court ruling favoring the labor union which represents its faculty members and other employees. In 2006, DWU reopened its doors with a new administration and a new name, Liceo del Verbo Divino.


Collective bargaining

Two prolonged strikes occurred in 1988 and in 1989. From the start the administrators were unwilling to negotiate with the union. Instead of accepting the union's right to represent the workers on the basis of signed memberships, they demanded a certification election. Union leaders were antagonized with this approach. In addition, the administration's lawyers advised them to attempt to form a parallel union of their own which would be more favorable to the administration, but the court considered this to be "union busting".

In 1990 the Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled in favor of the labor union: "In Divine Word University of Tacloban vs. Secretary of Labor and Employment, petitioner therein, Divine Word University of Tacloban, refused to perform its duty to bargain collectively. Thus, we upheld the unilateral imposition on the university of the CBA proposed by the Divine Word University Employees Union. We said further: 'That being the said case, the petitioner may not validly assert that its consent should be a primordial consideration in the bargaining process. By its acts, no less than its action which bespeak its insincerity, it has forfeited whatever rights it could have asserted as an employer.' "[1]

The university administration still refused to negotiate. Administrative Officer Fr. Margarito Alingasa announced the closure of the university in June 1995. Students, faculty and staff were left with no school and no employment. Many in the community were affected, including boarding houses, tricycle drivers and the Tacloban business community. Supporters of the university administration claim that the "selfishness of union members" led to the closure, and that faculty and staff had been promised "exorbitant amounts" if they joined the union.[2]

Liceo del Verbo Divino entrance facade

Recent Developments

In June 2000 the Divine Word Hospital opened St. Scholastica College of Tacloban, renting the Janssen Building of the University for classroom use and office space. Courses were offered in nursing, medical technology, biology and pharmacy.

On February 21, 2006, the SVD announced the reopening of the Divine Word University of Tacloban under a new school name: "Liceo del Verbo Divino," though still under the SVD management.[3] A signing ceremony was held at the Santo Niño Church after the Holy Mass held in celebration of the birthday of Most Rev. Archbishop Pedro Dean. This came ten years after the DWU shut down in 1995 after the dispute with faculty and other employees.


  • 1929 DWU began as the Tacloban Catholic Institute (TCI), founded by Bishop Sofronio Hacbang of the then Diocese of Leyte and Samar, Justice Norberto Romualdez, Sr., Gov. [[rnardo Torres and Cong. Juan Pérez of Leyte, and educator Martin de Veyra. It was initially an elementary school with 78 students. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Vicente Figueroa was the first Director.
  • 1934 The High School Department was opened.
  • 1935 St. Therese of the Child Jesus was declared Patroness of TCI, and a chapel was dedicated in her honor.
  • 1940 Bishop Manuel Mascarinas of the Palo Diocese turned over the administration of TCI to the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). Fr. Eugene Stoll, SVD, was the first SVD Director.
  • 1942 The College Department was established under Fr. Luis Paulsen, SVD, with the opening of the Secretarial Course.
  • 1944 TCI temporarily ceased operations when the Japanese Army occupied the school buildings.
  • 1946 The School reopened as St. Paul's College of Tacloban (SPCT) with Fr. Alberto van Gansewinkel as the first Director.
  • 1958 The SVD acquired SPCT from the Diocese of Palo under Archbishop Leo Gonzaga.
  • 1965 Founding of St. Paul's Hospital, a 100-bed general hospital, as the teaching hospital of SPCT, under the administration of the Benedictine Sisters (OSB). SPCT now became the Divine Word College of Tacloban (DWCT) with Fr. Ernest Hoerdemann, SVD, as the first college president.
  • 1966 DWCT achieved university status, and became Divine Word University of Tacloban (DWU), with Fr. Ernest Hoerdemann, SVD, as the first university president.
DWU Jubilee Foundation, Inc.
Alumni Association
Founded2000, Philippines
HeadquartersTacloban City, Philippines
Key people
Board of Directors:
Louis Ocana
Paul Bolaños
Jaime Bermejo
Sara Q. Caballes
Athena Cloma-Granados
Flerida Creencia
Wilfredo Garrido
Alberto Lamayo
Cesar Merin
Imelda Nartea
Fideliza Noel
Natividad Noel-Alejo
Leo Rama
Tarcelo Sabarre
Ma. Luz C. Vilches
Samuel J. Yap
Board of Trustees:
Fideliza G. Noel (Chairperson)
Samuel J. Yap
Athena C. Granados
Leo R. Rama
Natividad Noel-Alejo
Wilfredo Garrido
Flerida V. Creencia
Ma. Luz C. Vilches
  • 1995 DWU closed down due to a disagreement with its labor union, causing severe dislocation in its region.
  • 2006 The SVD announced the reopening of the campus under the name "Liceo del Verbo Divino".
  • 2007 Liceo del Verbo Divino reopened its doors to Grade 1 pupils and First Year High School students.

DWU Jubilee Foundation, Inc.

In the early months of 2000, a DWU Jubilee Association was established in Manila in an attempt to mobilize the alumni from the university and former students, staff and friends the world over to bring the Divine Word University back to life.[4] Local chapters of the association were planned for Tacloban City, the United States and Europe.[5]


  • Organize DJFI Chapters in key areas such as Tacloban, Metro Manila, USA and Europe, where potential members reside;
  • Implement projects and activities to carry out the mission of the Foundation;
  • Build a worldwide network of DWU students, alumni, employees and friends;
  • Utilize trimedia communications to disseminate information and obtain support for the projects and programs of the Foundation; and
  • Establish a DWU Jubilee Fund in support of such programs and projects.

Notable alumni and professors

  • Congressman Florencio "Bem" G. Noel, representative of An Waray Party-List
  • Business Man Carnac Venables
  • Congressman Marcelino C. Libanan, representative of the lone district of Samar
  • Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, Congresswoman of Ilocos Norte 2010 - present; Governor of Metro Manila (1975 - 1986); 10th First Lady of the Philippines
  • Ted Failon, current news anchor for ABS-CBN and former representative of the 1st district of Leyte from 2001-04
  • Atty. Matusalem S. Calamaya, former vice-mayor of the Municipality of San Miguel, Leyte
  • Pelagio Tecson, Jr., former Procter & Gamble Asia's Deputy Marketing Chief and Mayor of Tanauan, Leyte from 2013 - present


  1. ^ 213 SCRA 759, 11 September 1992, Ruling of Supreme Court of the Philippines, cited in General Milling Corporation vs. Hon. Court of Appeals, General Milling Corporation Independent Labor Union (GMC-ILU), and Rito Mangubat Archived September 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Cloma-Granados, Athena. "Reanimating an Alma Mater (The Struggle to Reopen the Divine Word University of Tacloban)". Archived from the original on 18 May 2006.
  3. ^ Desacada, Miriam Granada, "DWUT to reopen next year under new name" Archived May 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Heair, James, SVD, "Will the University Re-open?" Archived May 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine Divine Word Missionaries, Volume XXXXIV No. 3, Summer 2000. Divine Word Missionaries, Mission Center, Techny, Illinois
  5. ^ Vilches, Maria Luz C. "One Momentous Day in the Life of the DWU Jubilee Foundation" Archived May 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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