UP Baguio makes academic research work for Cordillerans

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The University of the Philippines (UP) – Baguio has laid down a three-year plan that aims to make its academic research actually work for the benefit of the people of Cordillera, such as the region’s weaving industry.

“We really want to pursue a greater engagement with the LGU (local government unit), government institutions, and industry, so that the knowledge we produce in the university, our research, will be made available and useful to society,” UP Baguio Chancellor Raymundo Rovillos said on the sidelines of a convocation event at the university’s Teatro Amianan on Wednesday.

“Yun ang binago kong imahe ng UP Baguio. Kasi ang perception talaga sa amin, (The is the image of UP Baguio that I changed. Because people’s perception of us is,) we are not connected to the community. We are just on this little hill and nobody knows what we are doing and we don’t know what is happening outside,” Rovillos said.

UP Baguio, he said, has present linkage with the Department of Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry – Cordillera for the improvement of the weaving industry in the region.

He said the university will have more engagements with other sectors in the next three years.

“We have anthropologists, chemists, physicists, and we’ll be doing research on textile to contribute to making it competitive globally. I want our faculty to be doing relevant research that really directly addresses our people, especially the poor,” he said.

Rovillos added that he also wants the university to be involved in improving the designs of Cordillera’s hand-woven products.

“We will bring our fine arts people to introduce new product designs for weaving and other crafts,” he said.

Appointed for this third term as UP Baguio chancellor, Rovillos said the academic institution had been visible and engaged with the community in the past six years under his watch. He said he plans to continue this in the next three years.

UP Baguio has been engaging in several research studies on the environment, health, and indigenous people.

The state institution was greatly involved in the conceptualization of papers submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for Baguio’s inclusion in the list of promoting arts and crafts worldwide.

Baguio City was the first city in the Philippines and fourth in Southeast Asia to be included on the UNESCO list.

“UP Baguio is now our partner in crafting the Regional Weaving Industry Development Plan that hopes to create a synergy among appropriate agencies to enable the industry to compete in the local and global market,” said Nancy Bantog, regional director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) office in Cordillera.

Bantog said the partnership will also enable the concerned agencies to identify the gaps in the sector and prioritize the needed government interventions.

“From 2014 to 2017, when he (Rovillos) assumed the chairmanship of the Cordillera Regional Health Research and Development Council, a total of 36 research and development proposals were endorsed for funding,” he said. “An example is the ongoing establishment of the Indigenous Peoples Research and Development Center that focuses on science and technology.”

Under Rovillos’ leadership, Bantog said, UP Baguio received a Plasma-Physics laboratory from the DOST.

The university also hosted the UP-DOST Phil-LiDAR 1 project, which is an expansion of the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation program.

Through the project, three-dimensional flood and hazard maps for the remaining two-thirds of the Philippine river systems were generated. The maps were instrumental in beefing up the country’s disaster risk reduction and management initiatives.

“There is still much to be done to create a science culture in this beautiful region. I am very confident that the DOST-Cordillera’s partnership with UP Baguio will grow stronger, as we work together for a sustainable and competitive economic development through science, technology, and innovation,” Bantog said. (PNA)

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