VPRE bags ‘Most Promising HIT Plan Award’ in the Phil-HECS Executive Development Program

Dr. Rowena P. Varela, Caraga State University (CSU) Vice President for Research & Extension received the ‘Most Promising HIT Plan Award’ for her project entitled ‘The Sago Eco-Techno Village for Resilient Butuan City’ during the Culminating Activity of the Philippine Higher Education Career System Executive Development Program (Phil-HECS EDP) on October 20, 2017 at the Marco Polo Hotel in Pasig City.  She is one of the nine (9) awardees who bested 35 other projects of Phil-HECS Fellows representing the various State Universities and Colleges in the Philippines. The HIT Plan is the final requirement of the EDP for the candidates to complete the program. Her project focuses on building the adaptive capacity of the communities of Butuan City along the Agusan River through replanting and utilizing sago (Metroxylon sagu Roett.), which is locally known as Lumbia for food security, industry use, and disaster risk reduction. Likewise, the established sago eco-techno village will serve as the social laboratory of CSU where faculty and students can learn core values, analytical skills, and innovative skills required in the 21st-century competency through immersion in the real-world scenario. The project’s specific objectives are: 1) to educate the community on sago’s ecological role in disaster risk reduction, food security and a source of livelihood; 2) to build the capacity of the community on developing new products from sago; 3) to provide technical support in establishing micro-enterprise with sago-based products as the primary commodity; 4) to assist the community in developing the sago eco-techno village into an ecotourism site; and 5) to build among CSU faculty and students values and skills required in the 21st-century competency.

During her research paper defense, Dr Varela pointed out that RESILIENT stands for Research-based Extension Strategy Integrating Local Initiatives for Enhancing the Natural Treasures of Butuan City because sago (locally known as Lumbia) is a natural treasure in Butuan City which is almost forgotten by many in the locality. Sago is a native crop in the Philippines spreading in Mindanao and the Visayas.  The palm is widespread in some parts of Mindanao, especially in the middle and lower portions of the Agusan River Basin covering the two (2) provinces of Agusan (Santillan and Santillan, 2013). In the Agusan River Basin, some of the rice areas were previously sago forests (Varela et al., 2013). Through this project, she hopes to raise the awareness of the local people in Butuan about the value of sago for food, industry development, and Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM). Caraga State University president, Dr. Anthony M. Penaso, was one of the Panel of Evaluators, CSU being an Institutional Partner. Ovpre/piaea

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