In 1989, Rev. Fr. Rogelio B. Alarcon, O.P., then rector and president of letran, thought of introducing a program that makes use of a community as an educational resource. he initiated the practicum program (on-the-job-training) or application of what the letran collegiate students learned from their academic subjects like sociology, theology, marketing, accounting, etc.
The initial stage was an immersion of the students by bringing them to tala leprosarium community and matching the class with economically deprived families for learning-partnership. the program was intended to be a long-range plan that would establish a lasting relationship between the students and the community.
In 1992, the successor of Fr. Alarcon, Rev. Fr. Ramon Cercado, O.P., formalized the creation of the office which will be in-charge of the outreach program of Letran, the Extension Services Office. Fr. Cercado likewise believed that the academe must include a feature, which would enable the Letranites to connect with the community and to learn altruism.
In 1999, a new rector and president was elected, Rev. Fr. Edwin A. Lao, O.P. He shared the same dream as his predecessors. He envisioned of making Letran known for its “academic excellence with social relevance”, that is “to promote the importance of the extension services in realizing the Vision-Mission of the school.”
The community service area of the Colegio’s Extension Services was expanded to include not only the immediate residents of Intramuros where Letran is located, but also to other poor communities in Metro Manila and as far as the Babuyanes Group of Islands.
In the year 2004, as Letran played a vital role in social development, the name Extension Services was changed to Community Extension Department. The school is seen here as an institution committed to freely devoting its resources for the sake of others through its community involvement program directed towards the promotion of sustained improvement of the quality of life of the Filipino Poor. Through the leadership of Mr. Ronald Dugang, the first director of the Community Extension Department, the Letran BuildHOPE Program was formulated. It identified three modes of engagements to the community: PUNLAD, the colegio’s response to the development of partner urban communities PANDARAL, is the assistance to partner public schools and MISYON, the commitment of the Colegio to rural communities particularly to the mission areas of the Dominican Province of the Philippines.
In April 2007, Rev. Fr. Tamerlane R. Lana, O.P. was elected rector and president of Letran Intramuros and Abucay campuses. Community development was one of the important things he considered for the 12-year strategic plan in the attainment of university status and the preparation for the quadricentennial celebration in 2020.
In 2011, commencing the second term of Rev. Fr. Tamerlane R. Lana as rector and president, a challenge was posted to the Letran Community to live up a balanced Arriba Spirit, that is integrating Diakonia (Service) with Kerygma (Preaching) and Liturgia (Celebration). Consequently, it demanded a review of the existing community development program. Thus, the revision which gave birth to the Letran BuildHOPES Community Development Program.
In 2015, further revision to the said program is expected - the Letran's Build HOPES Community Development Program will be sustained and enhanced. To make it better, the Community Extension Department will always look into “Opportunities for Improvement” in the light of the concretization of the Vision-Mission of the Colegio.
Rev. Fr. Clarence Victor C. Marquez, O.P. (2015-2019), the 81st Rector and President of Letran Manila and Bataan, expects more from the Center of Community Development to take the lead in providing opportunities for the school community “to venture into new worlds in dialogue and solidarity with the forgotten, the poor, the victims of violence and oppression” in the process of renewal and in the spirit of gratitude following the Acts of the General Chapter of the Order (Trogir 2013) in view of the celebration of the Jubilee of the Order and the celebration of the 400th year anniversary of Letran in 2020.
Siempre Arriba! Siempre Letran!
The Community Extension Department is responsible for building community awareness, directing and motivating the students and employees of Letran toward community service. It is tasked to support the school’s aim of making Letranites dynamic builders and leaders and integrally formed individuals. It aims to contribute concretely to nation building through community involvement. Specifically, the Center aims to:
On- campus Community Education and Mobilization
On-site Community Building
Community Relations, Funding and Promotions