The Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology (CFCST) and the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) Claveria, in Mindanao, finally met physically with their RD Leaders, Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz and Dr. Wilma A. Hurtada, respectively. With the easing of travel restrictions, the visit of their RD Leaders marked their first in-person meeting since the engagements started last year. Dr. Cruz visited CFCST in Arakan, North Cotabato from May 15 – 18, 2022, while Dr. Hurtada went to USTP Claveria, Misamis Oriental from May 22 – 29, 2022.

Both were joined by representatives from the NRCP RDLead program. Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay, NRCP Executive Director and RDLead Project Leader joined the visit at USTP Claveria from May 24 – 25, 2022, during which, she conducted an orientation on NRCP projects and program, especially on membership. She advised the participants of the upcoming Call for Membership starting May 25, 2022. She also gave some tips on how to increase chances of funding by properly aligning proposals to the priorities and interest of the funding agency.


NRCP Executive Director Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay as she presents the NRCP research priorities and membership information during the RDLead engagement visit at USTP Claveria on May 24, 2022.

CFCST: levelling up research in Arakan Valley3

CFCST researchers and personnel as they pose with RD Leader Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz (5th from left – seated) following the training sessions he conducted during his engagement visit from March 15 – 18, 2022

The CFCST, currently being mentored by Academician and RD Leader, Dr. Rex Victor O. Cruz, is working on enhancing their current capabilities to conduct research pursuits in their immediate locality – Arakan Valley. Teeming with natural resources and potentially rich biodiversity, the area still needs more study to understand and maximize its potentials for both economic and social development. Dr. Cruz, a forestry and climate change studies expert, is helping CFCST establish a clearer research path to enable it to efficiently channel its limited institutional resources to make impactful research undertakings to serve its stakeholders.

During his visit, Dr. Cruz facilitated various activities as part of his deliverables. He trained the CFCST personnel in writing for scientific papers, research proposals, among others. He also facilitated discussions related to the assessment of CFCST’s institutional research readiness as well as in developing applications for intellectual properties based on CFCST’s current potential intellectual assets. He also provided an opportunity to be consulted by CFCST faculty regarding their graduate studies, particularly their master’s thesis and dissertation as part of his mentorship role as RD Leader. During his visit, he expressed hope that CFCST will be given more opportunities for research as they work on applying the knowledge and skills he has been sharing in his engagement.

USTP Claveria: the path to alternative food staples for health


USTP Claveria researchers posing with RD Leader, Dr. Wilma Hurtada (front row, 4th from left) after capping off another day of learning during Dr. Hurtada’s visit from May 22 – 29, 2022.

USTP Claveria presently works with its RD Leader, Dr. Wilma A. Hurtada, a retired professor from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and an advocate of alternative food staples for health. She has been helping USTP Claveria in pursuing research in this area given that a significant population in Misamis Oriental and the whole of region 10 are consumers of alternative staples, particularly corn. This puts USTP Claveria in a unique position to understand and harness the potential health benefits of consuming non-rice staples, especially for those afflicted with diabetes and other diseases.

During Dr. Hurtada’s visit, she facilitated discussions on how to prepare USTP Claveria for the conduct of research on alternative food staples for health. She met with Chancellor Renato O. Arazo and USTP System President, Dr. Ambrosio B. Cultura II. In her engagement work prior to her visit, she already presented the result of her institutional research readiness assessment last November 2021 and the recommendations she made. She also spoke with USTP architect and discussed the possible area in the school where the research facility can be set up.

During her visit, a total of five (5) trainings were delivered. These are: Research Management; Food and Nutrition; Value Chain Analysis; Improving Alternative Staples through research; and Nutrient Uptake of alternative staples, particularly corn. She was joined by her research team, which further enriched the content of the training sessions through their individual targeted expertise. In addition to the training sessions, she also provided consultation opportunities with USTP Claveria researchers to help them with the graduate studies and other research outputs, particularly publication. Like other RD Leaders, Dr. Hurtada is hopeful that with the positive response and commitment of USTP Claveria researchers, they will soon be given their much-needed break to conduct more impactful research that will benefit their community, the region, and the country.

The Research and Development Leadership (RDLead) is part of the Science for Change Program (S4CP) together with the Niche Center in the Regions (NICER); Collaborative Research to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE); and the Business Innovation through Science and Technology (BIST). RDLead is implemented by the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP). For institutions who are interested to avail of the support, the RDLead program team may be reached through the following email addresses: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (Marfy Lita, PDO V)


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