The Department of Science and Technology Regional Office I (DOST-I) started implementing the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) Program in three barangays [communities] in Mapandan, Pangasinan through the conduct of the community needs assessment (CNA) on 7-8 April 2022 as the first step towards helping these communities to level up.
CEST beneficiary-barangays that were identified by the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Mapandan are Barangays Luyan, Torres and Sta. Maria.
DOST-I Regional Director Armando Q. Ganal spearheaded the CNA together with DOST-Provincial Science and Technology Center Pangasinan Director Arnold C. Santos, CEST Project Leader Decth-1108 P. Libunao and the experts from Pangasinan State University. A total of 75 key informants participated in the activity which consisted of leaders of associations and organizations in the barangay, education representatives, barangay health workers, and barangay officials with LGU Heads of Mapandan.
The activity aimed to identify the current situation of the community in the areas of livelihood generation, health and nutrition, basic education, environmental protection, and disaster risk reduction in line with the thrust of the CEST Program. This targets a wider implementation of the program, as part of its effort to sustain its initiatives in transforming marginalized communities to combat poverty and promote resiliency through science and technology.
Director Ganal emphasized, “Hindi kayo iiwanan hanggang hindi niyo kayang tumayo sa inyong sariling paa (We will not leave you unless you can stand on your own).” Particularly, CEST Program aims to empower rural communities and geographically isolated disadvantaged areas (GIDA) by implementing a package of applicable science and technology interventions.
Officer-in-Charge Municipal Planning Development Council Melchor Serapion said “Handang matuto at paano malaman kung paano ma empower ang mga kababayan namin, marami tayong resources andiyan ang Department of Science and Technology para tulungan po tayo (We are eager to learn on how to empower our constituents, DOST will be there to support us with our resources).”
The local government officials of Mapandan emphasized that the implementation of the program will greatly contribute to the improvement of the conditions in the province. Evidently, all DOST’s projects and services are provided through CEST Program throughout the region that empowers and assists underprivileged communities to improve their status and develop using relevant science, technology, and innovation. (by Monique C. Esguerra, DOST-I)