DOST, MMSU Partner To Empower IPs In Ilocos Norte

The Department of Science and Technology in Region 1 (DOST-1) or Ilocos Region and the state-run Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac City, look forward to uplifting the lives of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Dumalneg, Ilocos Norte.

Composed of four barangays, Dumalneg town is predominantly inhabited by the Yapayaos living on lush green forest and clear rivers.

Access to various technologies and training programs being provided by the different government institutions, however, is limited due to the town’s remote location.

In view of this, the DOST and MMSU have agreed to reach out to the IPs through the so-called Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program, an on-going development initiative of the government for the less-privileged communities and municipalities in Ilocos Region.

The National Statistical Coordination Board recently identified the fifth class municipality of Dumalneg as one of the poorest municipalities of Ilocos Norte.

To formalize this undertaking, a memorandum of agreement was signed by DOST Regional Director Armando Q. Ganal, MMSU president Shirley C. Agrupis, and Dumalneg Mayor Lairvee G. Espiritu on February 11 in Dumalneg town.

Dr. Agrupis said in an interview that she welcomes this effort as another milestone in sharing the expert services of MMSU and DOST to the remote areas of Ilocos Norte.

“With the expertise of MMSU and other partners of the program, the delivery of extension services on areas such as food production, livelihood and skills trainings will be more effectively handled,” she said.

CEST program seeks to undertake social mobilization activities in cognizance of existing values, skills or talents, resources and problems in the community.

It also aims to take advantage of opportunities for wealth-creation through appropriate technological interventions.

Four different activities will be implemented under this program: community organizing in barangays; social mobilization activities; provision of science and technology (S&T) interventions that would mitigate the communities’ concerns; and project evaluation/assessment.

As stated in the agreement, the DOST shall facilitate the acquisition and fabrication of all the equipment and facilities to be used in the CEST program. It shall also monitor, evaluate and document the project activities, lead in the conduct of impact assessment, and provide continuing technical assistance needed during and even after the program implementation.

Meanwhile, the university shall provide additional funds for the project, particularly to be used for supplies, travel, representation and accommodation. It shall also ensure the alignment of the program’s thrusts and operations with the approved vision and objectives of the university’s Extension Unit.

On the other hand, the local government of Dumalneg shall share the cost in the delivery of science and technology or S&T interventions in the locality, and provide full support and commitment to the program.

The program beneficiaries shall provide the space to house the equipment and facilities and shall implement the program activities according to the identified and approved S&T interventions.

The MOA signing was witnessed by the administrators of MMSU, DOST, as well as the local government and barangay officials, and heads of schools in Dumalneg. (PNA)

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