Bangsamoro leaders, researchers, scientists, and artists joined hands in crafting the first Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) research and development (R&D) agenda to strengthen research culture, capacity, and ethos in the region.


Participants of the two-day consultation workshop for the crafting of the BARMM R&D agenda held on July 1 and 2, 2021

Slated on July 1-2, 2021, the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) joined forces with the Ministry of Science and Technology-BARMM (MOST-BARMM) in holding the two-day multisectoral consultative workshop as a primary stepping stone in the formulation of the R&D agenda in the region. 

The said workshop, led by NRCP Mindanao Regional Cluster Chair Ephrime Metillo, provided an inclusive environment that facilitated local and scientific collaborations among six (6) core groups in BARMM: (1) academe, (2) local government units (LGUs), (3) the business and industries, (4) national government agencies and civil society organizations (CSOs), (5) ministries and top offices, and (6) the Ulamas and Alimas, the male and female Bangsamoro scholars in Islam and Islamic law.

Bioresearches, water security, education, disaster resilience, medical services, social services, and cultural preservation and promotion came out to be the top priorities.

Bangsamoro people also floated  the following research needs: functional food from seaweeds, technology for farm mechanization, access to clean water supply, standardization of regional Islamic education, the establishment of age-friendly communities, legislation to regulate the use of the word Halal, implementation of eco-friendly and sustainable farming practices, women empowerment and development, standardization of Halal supply chain in food and non-food industries, and development of renewable energy sources suitable in BARMM communities.

Dr. Cristine D. Villagonzalo, Vice President of the NRCP, said that through the two-day workshop, the Bangsamoro people will be able to raise the status of scientific disciplines and related professions in BARMM.

 “We are in a country, although we have rich human resources, we have limited funding resources, but we can overcome this as what we are doing today by pulling expertise and resources and cultivating the spirit of commitment, enthusiasm, and volunteerism,” said Villagonzalo.


Presentations on Harmonized National R&D Agenda (HNRDA) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)

The workshop was also guided by the following presentations on Harmonized National R&D Agenda (HNRDA) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST): (1) Basic Research by NRCP Executive Director Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay; (2) Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources by Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development Executive Director Enrico C. Paringit; (3) Health by Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Jaime C. Montoya; and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) by DOST Undersecretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr.

NRCP in full support to the crafting of the BARMM R&D Agenda

During the virtual NRCP Regional Basic Research Caravan held for BARMM on April 08, 2021, MOST-BARMM stated that the region does not have its R&D agenda yet.

Mandated to foster linkages with local organizations for enhanced cooperation in the development and sharing of scientific information, NRCP took on the cue and expressed support to MOST-BARMM in crafting the BARMM Research and Development Agenda.


DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña delivering his keynote message

During the workshop, DOST Secretary Prof. Fortunato T. de la Peña commended the partnership between NRCP and MOST-BARMM anchored on a collective desire to serve for the benefit of our people.

“Five to ten years from now, in a conference of researchers and NRCP experts from BARMM, someone will look back on the humble beginnings of this friendship that started in 2021,” he said.

The Secretary also described BARMM as a destination rich in culture, heritage, and tradition—which are constantly shaped by its natural beauty and its people.

“To properly understand and care for BARRMs natural resources and treasures, it is imperative that science is put to the fore… We need all of you here today to help up fuse science and the arts, which we believe is essential in pursuing development while keeping the core of our humanity,” de la Peña added.

In her remarks, NRCP Executive Director Marieta Banez Sumagaysay also highlighted the importance of researchers, scientists, engineers, and artists in achieving increased productivity, economic sustainability, and inclusivity in BARMM.

There are already 28 NRCP members in BARMM (57% male and 43% female) as of July 1, 2021.

“I hope that as we continue to enhance science productivity in the region, more researchers, scientists, engineers, and artists will also become NRCP members,’’ Sumagaysay said.

“Let’s define our vision on what we want to be and where we want to go,” she added.


Dr. Marieta Banez Sumagaysay, NRCP Executive Director, sharing the rationale of the workshop

This NRCP-MOST partnership is a result of the consultative meetings initiated by the NRCP President, Dr. Gregorio E.H. del Pilar; NRCP Executive Director, Dr. Marieta Baňez Sumagaysay; and the MOST Minister, Engr. Aida M. Silongan.

BARMM R&D Agenda in uplifting the lives of the Bangsamoro people

The BARMM R&D Agenda will serve as the region’s guide for research and development efforts.

Engr. Aida M. Silongan, Minister of the MOST-BARMM, reiterated the statement in article 9 of section 21 of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which states that “the Bangsamoro government recognizes science and technology as essential to national and regional progress.”

“This first R&D agenda will contribute to the second of the BARMM government’s 12 Point Agenda that is to review, integrate and harmonize the Bangsamoro development plan (BDP), the regional development of BARMM, the camp transformation plan, and other Bangsamoro plans to make them responsive to the current and pressing needs in the region,” Silongan underscored.


Engr. Aida M. Silongan, Minister of the MOST-BARMM, talking about the importance of the BARMM R&D agenda

More than 150 Bangsamoro leaders, researchers, scientists, and artists (64% female and 36% male) participated in the two-day consultation workshop.

Following this workshop, a validation conference has been scheduled on August 4, 2021.