To build full support and foster strong commitments among stakeholders towards promoting science, technology, and innovation and to achieve inclusive and sustainable peace, the Department of Science and Technology Regional Office I (DOST-I) rallied various stakeholders in the region to work closely together.
DOST-I initiated collaboration with the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police (PNP) – Ilocos Sur Provincial Police Office (ISPPO), Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC), North Luzon Philippines State College (NLPSC), and 12 Local Government Units (LGUs) of Ilocos Sur. As a result, these organizations signed the Memorandum of Agreement, Partnership, and Understanding (MOA, MOP, and MOU) for shared implementation of DOST’s Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program last 25 May 2021.
The virtual signing ceremony created an avenue for mutual understanding on the roles and responsibilities of all implementing parties towards the attainment of the program’s objectives.
During the ceremony, Dr. Armando Q. Ganal, DOST-Iregional director, delivered the rationale of the activity highlighting the milestones of the CEST program in Region I. He further emphasized that the agency aims to bring science, technology and innovation
(STI) to partner LGUs in the realms of health and nutrition, human resource development, environmental protection and conservation, livelihood, and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and Climate Change Adaptation (DRRM/CCA) that are very important to the communities.
“We will continue to be a partner to all government units and agencies in bringing the different programs of the government in our communities especially in conflict affected areas,” said LTC. Rodrigo A. Mariñas Jr., Commanding Officer of the 81st Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army. “We welcome the initiative of DOST and we are honored to be partner in bringing the CEST program to our communities in the province; rest assured that we will always be there to support all your various undertakings and we will be looking forward to be working in attaining success in the implementation of the program,” he added.
Likewise, the ISPPO represented by PLTCOL. Jay A. de Guzman, Deputy Provincial Director for Administration, expressed his congratulations to DOST for coming up with the project and for choosing the organization as a partner. Envisioning fostering and enhancing working relationship to one and all, de Guzman expressed 100% support from the men and women of the ISPPO to the program and assured that the PNP will never be off duty to serve and protect the community.
On the other hand, Dr. Gilbert R. Arce, ISPSC president, assured their commitment and support to this undertaking. He conveyed that the project would provide an opportunity for the college to prove its worth, not only as purveyor of quality education but, as a partner in the development of the communities. In addition, Dr. Elizabeth M. Gacusana, NLPSC president, voiced the college’s commitment to undertake extension services and assist the different government instrumentalities and agencies in the project as it promotes unity, national reconciliation, peace, and economic development.
As stipulated in the MOA/MOP/MOU, DOST-I will deliver science and technology (S&T)-based interventions by employing the CEST program. In turn, the partner SUCs will provide additional funds and technical assistance needed in the implementation aligned with the program’s thrusts and operations through their research and extension services. The Philippine Army and Philippine National Police – ISPPO commit to assist throughout the implementation of the project which include, but not limited to, providing security and transportation in geographically isolated and depressed areas. All these commitments are geared towards bringing STI to the communities affected by armed conflicts and sustaining the development efforts of both national agencies and LGUs.
This year, DOST-I – Provincial Science and Technology Center in Ilocos Sur will spearhead the implementation of the CEST projecttitled “Engaging Local Communities with Science, Technology and Innovation for Development” that will benefit 39 beneficiary barangays from 12 LGUs of the second district of Ilocos Sur, namely: Narvacan, Cervantes, Sta. Lucia, Sta. Cruz, Nagbukel, Candon City, Suyo, Sta. Maria, Salcedo, Galimuyod, Burgos, and Quirino. The project aims to uplift the socio-economic condition of the people in the communities affected by local armed conflicts by providing them development interventions in the areas of Livelihood/Economic Enterprise Development, Human Resource Development, Health and Nutrition, Environmental Protection and Conservation, and DRRM/CCA. The project will provide a total budget allocation of PhP 10.5 million.
Collectively, all the parties expressed their commitment to end the insurgency problem and create economic benefits for the communities and municipalities covered by the program. The MOA signing ceremony was attended by the DOST-I officials and CEST core group, mayors and barangay captains of the 12 LGUs and 39 barangays, presidents of SUCs, heads of 81stIB7ID, Philippine Army, and ISPPO together with their witnesses. (John Oliver E. De Vera, Project Assistant III, DOST I-CEST)