Divine Word University of Tacloban

Liceo del Verbo Divino
(DWU Tacloban)
Former names
  • Tacloban Catholic Institute
  • St. Paul’s College of Tacloban
  • Divine Word College of Tacloban
  • Divine Word University of Tacloban
Type Private, Catholic University
Established 1929
Location Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
Closed 1995 (reopened in 2007)
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 2007, DWU repoened 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.


DWU Jubilee Foundation, Inc.
Alumni Association
Founded 2000, Philippines
Headquarters Tacloban 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

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]


Notable alumni and professors


  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
  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"
  4. Heair, James, SVD, "Will the University Re-open?" 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"

External links

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