Tuesday, September 13, 2022

 The Isabela State University (ISU), through the Smart Water Infrastructure and Management (SWIM) Program spearheaded by Dr. Orlando F. Balderama, Cagayan River Basin Management Council (CRBMC), National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) – Research and Development Lead Program, Cagayan State University (CSU), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Region 2 and Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), and the Cagayan Valley Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development Consortium (CVIEERDEC) teamed up to conduct the SWIM R&D Center RoadMap Forum at the Cagayan State University, Carig, Tuguegarao City on September 12, 2022.

The forum generally aimed to present a draft of a 10-year roadmap of the SWIM center to stakeholders from the water sector for additional inputs and to seek endorsement for approval by higher authorities such as CRBMC and RDC. Specifically, the activity paved the way for the conduct of a seminar-workshop on preparing policy notes in the water sector and the preparation of priority policy notes for CRBMC. The collaborative activity was participated by various State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the region (i.e., ISU, CSU, NVSU, and QSU), DOST – PAGASA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), National Irrigation Administration (NIA) – Region 2 and MARIIS, Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Local Water Utilities Administration, International Organization for CCA-DRRM, and CVAARRD.

Dr. Urdujah Alvarado, CSU President and Chair of CVIEERDEC, duly represented by Dr. Mariden Cauilan, Vice President for Academic Affairs, as well as Dr. Ricmar P. Aquino, ISU President and Chair of CVAARRD-RRDCC, ably represented by Dr. Miladis Afidchao, CVAARRD Consortium Director, had expressed their delight to be instrumental to the realization of the roadmap forum. On the other hand, Ms. Virginia Bilgera, Regional Director of DOST Region 2, represented by Engr. Sylvia T. Lacambra, Provincial of Cagayan, and Mr. Marfy Lita, RD Lead Coordinator of DOST-NRCP, highlighted the significance of the activity outcomes of the roadmap forum, particularly on the essence of policy recommendations on water resources management and governance as a tangible upshot of the research endeavors of the SWIM Project Team. Essentially, they accentuated the roadmap forum as a vital preliminary step in attaining our vision to develop new innovative approaches and smart techniques in integrated water management.

Proceeding to the next phase of the activity, Engr. Israel Erana, duly represented by Dr. Jennelyn L. Raymundo, had introduced the numerous participants from various government agencies and state universities and colleges in the region. She also presented the objectives and forum-workshop mechanics which served as a channel in setting the directions of the roadmap forum.

Furthermore, Dr. Marietta B. Sumagaysay, Executive Director III, had discussed various NRCP projects and programs to give prominence to the priority areas and possible funding priorities of DOST-NRCP. Moreover, she firmly encouraged the forum participants to be NRCP members as this is the primary step and eligibility to receive R&D funding from the agency and to align project proposals with the National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (NIBRA) such as inclusive nation building, sustainable communities, clean energy, food and nutrition security, health and sufficiency, and water security. She also oriented the participants on the mandates, members of the governing board, and scientific divisions of DOST-NRCP, and elucidated on the characteristics of the government agency as a collegial body and a research council, and the tangible project outputs they consider in accepting scientific and scholarly work.

Moreover, Dr. Lanie A. Alejo, Director of Water Research and Development Center of ISU, presented the draft roadmap for Smart Water Infrastructure and Management R&D Center. Explicitly, she explicated numerous gaps or issues in water resources management in Region 2, such as flood and drought impacts, extreme water flow, and the like. With these in mind, she then presented some proposed interventions to address water resources-related predicaments, which highlighted various S&T mechanisms like the establishment of SWIM Center, and the strong international and national network collaboration and water-related research projects in ISU. She then accentuated diverse integrated water resources-based strategies of the SWIM Center which primarily focus on research and development, technology transfer and capacity building, and institutional development. Lastly, she presented the national and regional roadmaps on water resource management, supply, and sanitation, as well as the series of SWIM R&D Roadmap Workshops conducted by the SWIM Project Team.

In the next phase of the activity, the open forum wrapped up all the bits of information shared by the resource speakers and participants. The exchange of information was focused on the future collaboration of the Department of Water and the SWIM Center as R&D arm of CRBMC, prioritization of water, human involvement, inclusive use of water resources, science communication, categorization of specified activities in the center and expected milestones or outputs for every category of tasks, end goal of the roadmap, and way forward for the water sector. Conclusively, the stakeholders were able to substantiate and finalize the 10-year SWIM roadmap presented in the forum as a preliminary step in seeking approval of the aforesaid matter from the country’s higher authorities.