MIMAROPA State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), local government units (LGUs), and various government and private institutions recently convened for the NRCP Regional Basic Research Caravan held virtually.
The caravan was a collaboration between the Department of Science and Technology MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA) and the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) conducted on November 17, 2020, as part of DOST-MIMAROPA’s celebration of the 2020 National Science and Technology Week in MIMAROPA.
Under the banner of “Nurturing Regional R&D Niches,” it is aimed at promoting the importance of basic research and strengthening regional collaboration for research and development (R&D) in the region.
DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director, Dr. Ma Josefina Abilay shared in her welcome remarks how science and technology and research and development has been beneficial in coping with the recent struggles due to COVID-19 and other hazards, and how it can help address many more concerns and issues, when strongly reinforced, in the future.
In her speech, NRCP Executive Director Dr. Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay highlighted the importance of aligning the region’s fundamental research priorities to the National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (NIBRA) under the 2017-2022 Harmonized National Research and Development (HNRDA). NIBRA provides the roadmap for the basic research in the country.
In the presentation led by DOST-MIMAROPA, the MIMAROPA R&D Agenda has already prioritized the following research areas: NIBRA, Health, Agriculture, Aquatic Natural Resources Sector (AANR), Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology, and Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in line with the HNRDA.
Among the highlights of the caravan is Governor Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. of Marinduque’s talk about the importance of evidence-based policymaking in the province. He emphasized that decision-making should be independent of political and external influences but based on available and reliable data and evidence. This signifies the need for more research studies that the local government units can use as a basis for the development of policies for the region.
Local R&D Issues in MIMAROPA
Part of the program also centered on the identification of local issues in the five provinces of MIMAROPA to generate possible R&D projects and/or programs that can be implemented in the region.
Through an online self-administered survey, participants from various institutions in the region were asked to define the unmet needs in their localities and their importance under the sectors of Sustainable Communities (SAKLAW), Health Sufficiency (LIKAS), Water Security (TUBIG), Food and Nutrition Security (SAPAT), Clean Energy (ALERT), and Inclusive Nation Building (ATIN).
Results showed that some of the identified needs in the region are industry-related researches especially for priority commodities, healthy product development from the farm produce, sound nutrition program for marginalized communities, and utilization of clean and renewable energy as a source of power in rural communities.
To overcome the identified needs, the participants recognized the importance of conducting a dialogue between the academe, industry, and stakeholders to pay significant attention and participate in R&D undertakings. They also noted that government agencies like DOST have been encouraging the academe to conduct research within the priority R&D agenda in the region including the provision of research funding.
Call for More Researchers, R&D Leaders
Dr. Sumagaysay also revealed that the caravan seeks to promote and encourage membership to NRCP to expand the pool of researchers and experts in MIMAROPA.
NRCP is a collegial body, research council, an advisory body to the government that is mandated to promote and support fundamental or basic research.
It is also looking for more R&D Leaders under DOST Science for Change Program (S4CP) as its implementing agency. The R&D Leadership Program aims to strengthen the research and development competencies of HEIs, SUCs, and Research and Development Institutes (RDIs) by engaging R&D leaders or experts to extend their proficiencies and assist institutions in different R&D activities.
The program also complements the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) Program, which is also under the S4CP, by allowing R&D leaders to help in activities significant for the establishment of R&D centers from crafting of the proposal for funding to temporary management of the facilities until it becomes self-reliant and sustainable.
In MIMAROPA, the Philippine Native Pig RDE Center (PNP-RDEC) in Marinduque State College was already established under the NICER Program.
New Studies in the Region
The caravan served as an avenue for bringing the result of NRCP-funded research to the region, allowing for increased relevance of knowledge generation and innovation.
NRCP gave Dr. Decibel F. Eslava from the University of the Philippines Los Baños an opportunity to present the result of her study titled “Paleomagnetism of the Amnay Ophiolite Constraining the Translation History of a South China Sea Oceanic Fragment.”
According to the result of their study, Amnay Ophiolite originated in the South China Sea. They also found out that older rocks like the Guinlo formation and Mansalay formation which is approximately 130 million and 160 million years old, respectively, came from at least 20 degrees latitude. Meanwhile, rocks from the cretaceous period such as the Mangyan Ophiolite came from nearly the equator.
Amnay is a major river within the watershed areas situated in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. The result of the study would further provide significant information necessary for the advancement of geochronology and arriving at solutions for contemporary environmental issues.