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DOST Officials with Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Guevara, at the opening of the S4CP Summit in Mindanao

The ongoing Science for Change (S4C) Summit focused the spotlight on three (3) more Research and Development Leadership (RDLead) engagements in Mindanao during its 3rd installment in Davao City last May 27, 2022. The event highlighted the engagements from Philippine Women’s College (PWC) of Davao City with RD Leader Dr. Casiana Blanca J. Villarino; Saint Joseph Institute of Technology (SJIT) with RD Leader Dr. Angelito A. Silverio; and Tawi Tawi Regional Agricultural College (TRAC) with RD Leader Dr. Eureka Teresa M. Ocampo. The three engagements represent 3 of the 6 regions in Mindanao namely: Davao, Caraga, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BA2RMM), respectively.

(Dr. Mark Ronald Manseguigaio, representative form DNSC and Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay received the award of Dr. Alejandro Tongco)

Like the first 2 summits in Visayas and North Luzon, the featured RDLead engagements started off with a video presentation of the engagements done by the RD Leaders. The three RD Leaders provided an insight to their engagements and how they worked with their host institutions to level up their research capabilities. Following each of their video presentation, a representative from the host institution conducted a live Ted talk – style presentation of the engagement’s impacts on them as beneficiaries with the goal of showcasing the RDLead program from the beneficiaries’ point of view.

The live presentation done by the institution’s representative highlights the key accomplishment during and even after the engagement. Presenters from the host institutions were the following: Dr. Maria Christina B. Ramos for PWC Davao; Dr. Edwin M. Puhagan from TRAC; and Dr. Felizardo Grendula for SJIT. They discussed how their respective work with their RD Leader opened doors of opportunities for their researchers and personnel.3

(Prof. Maria Christina Ramos gave her testimonials about the RDLead engagement with Philippine Women’s College)

PWC Davao – a clearer research path

Dr. Maria Christina B. Ramos, Coordinator of the Food Processing, and Innovation Center (FPIC) at PWC Davao discussed their engagement with Dr. Villarino. In her presentation, she highlighted how Dr. Villarino was able to help provide a clearer research direction to PWC Davao by way of helping develop the PWC Research for Innovation, Development and Enterprise (PWC RIDE). She also mentioned the 2 external research grants that PWC has received during the engagement with help and guidance of Dr. Villarino.

Further, she presented the increase in the number of personnel trained in thermal processing and descriptive sensory evaluation with statistical analysis. This is a huge jump for PWC as they used to only have one person trained in these two areas, but now they have 5 and 6, respectively. She also mentioned that the trainings were even extended to the personnel of other institutions like the DOST XI and University of the Immaculate Conception (UIC). Lastly, she capped off her presentation by presenting the results of NRCP membership with 1 approved member and 2 awaiting application. This is a great leap as PWC Davao only had one NRCP member prior to the engagement. In closing, she expressed her gratitude for the support and expressed they PWC Davao will continue to push for their faculty to apply for NRCP membership.

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(Mr. Felizardo T. Grendula presented the milestones of the RDLead-Saint Joseph Institute of Technology)

SJIT – Pride. Passion. Positivity.

Dr. Felizardo Grendula presented the RDLead engagement at Saint Joseph Institute of Technology (SJIT). He expressed pride in SJIT being the first private higher education institution (HEI) in Caraga to engage an RD Leader. This marks a great breakthrough for SJIT when it comes to securing external support from the government, particularly the DOST.

During their engagement with their RD Leader, Dr. Angelito A. Silverio, he presented the quick wins they have accomplished. As he continued, it became clear that passion has been a key driver for the SJIT team as they worked with Dr. Silverio. He presented how much it took their relatively young faculty (when it comes to research) to pull through and deliver their outputs, particularly the research proposal and going through the technical trainings. It is also passion that also led to them to finally enhancing SJIT’s 5-year research agenda and the 990 combined number of participants from the 3 trainings (proposal development, renewable energy, and internet of things) that were carried out by Dr. Silverio.

Now that SJIT has experienced the whole proposal development process, Dr. Grendula concludes that positivity is now what they must keep as they await the result of their hardwork. While recognizing that the proposal they have submitted may be approved or not, he expressed that with the learnings they got from the engagement, he’s positive that more opportunities will come in SJIT’s way.

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Dr. Edwin M. Puhagan gave his testimonials about the RDLead-Tawi- Tawi Regional Agricultural College Engagement

TRAC – taking the steps towards a clearer research track

Dr. Edwin M. Puhagan did the presentation for the Tawi Tawi Agricultural College (TRAC). He provided an overview of the island of Tawi Tawi, where TRAC is located. He also noted the expansive land area of the institution, at 1,300 hectares, awaiting to be exploited for more productive purposes, especially research.

As he went on to the meat of his presentation, he showcased the great transition that TRAC has experienced during their engagement with their RD Leader, Dr. Eureka Teresa. He explained that from zero “0” personnel involved in research and related activities, TRAC now has 25 personnel working on getting started with research. Next, he also mentioned that from none or “0”, TRAC now has 7 proposals developed and submitted. Lastly, in capping off the great turnaround for TRAC, he revealed that they are

now in talks with 3 institutions for research and other collaboration, which is again a great leap from none or “0” before the engagement started.

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Question and answer segment of Project Leaders, RD Leader and Beneficiaries with Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr Rowena Cristina L. Guevara

Ready for the challenge

The presentation of the three RDLead program beneficiaries closed the first segment of the program. It was followed by an open forum that also included representative beneficiaries of Niche Center in the Regions or NICER. In the open forum, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development expressed how impressed she is with the impacts that the S4CP has been having in the beneficiaries. She also stressed how the institutions in Mindanao have lived up to the challenge in taking on the opportunities that were made available to them through the S4CP. Dr. Villarino, Dr. Puhagan, and Dr. Grendula joined the panel on stage and entertained questions from the attendees as well the online audience on Facebook.

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Dr. Grendula talked about what encouraged SJIT to request for and RD Leader. He emphasized that they found alignment between SJIT’s objectives and that of the RDLead program. He also noted how SJIT aims to conduct research that will benefit not just Caraga, but also the country. Dr. Villarino, on the other hand, talked about the fulfillment she has felt ever since she started becoming an RD Leader. She also stressed that one of the most important things she received as an RD Leader is a new family that she found in PWC Davao.8

Dr. Edwin M. Puhagan with Dr. Casiana Blanca J. Villarino during the Q&A segment of the S4CP Summit Mindandao Cluster

Lastly, Dr. Puhagan took the opportunity to express TRAC desire to receive support to pursue research on cassava as it is Tawi Tawi’s second most consumed food commodity next to rice.

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Dr. Casiana Blanca J. Villarino gave her responded to the question from USec. Guevara

In closing the open forum for the first segment of the program USec. Guevara emphasized that Science for Change Program is the one she recommends for prioritization by the government when it comes to research and development. Given the results it has shown in levelling the research playing field nationwide, she appeals to the audience for help and support in the passage of the Science for Change Bill. As the bill is still to hurdle the legislative process, she assured everyone that the DOST remains committed to support all stakeholders that are ready to take on the research and development path. (Marfy Lita, PDO IV)