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Social Enterprises, the RDC and APAEAN

At noon today (November 8), the Economic Development Committee (EDC) unanimously endorsed to the Regional Development Council (RDC) the Social Enterprises Development (SED) Project of the Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation in Canaman (MPCF) in tandem with the Central Bicol State University in Agriculture (CBSUA) and Tabang Bikol Movement (TBM) titled, “Developing Social Enterprises for Economic Resilience of Disaster Survivors in Bicol,” a two-year research and development grant from the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Central Office.

In practical terms, the endorsement means that the SED project is recommended to the RDC to help serve the overall socio-economic development of the region. The endorsement is timely and welcome news for the SED’s key project proponents. Acceptance is an expression of support as the RDC is the highest policy-making body in the region and serves as the primary institution that coordinates and sets the direction for development planning and policy-making in the region. It is the forum where local efforts can be related and integrated with national development activities.

The EDC provides the RDC with the appropriate information and recommendations on matters concerning regional development, particularly in the following areas: Agriculture and Fisheries; Environment and Natural Resources; Agrarian Reform; Science and Technology, Trade, Industry, and Commerce, among others.

At today’s EDC 4th Quarter meeting, the TBM reiterated its strategic goal to promote people-centered, community-based, HEAL orientation (health and environment) for alternative livelihood and the SED project’s seven objectives: to develop a sustainable SE framework for disaster survivors in Bicol; assess the capacity and productivity of its established SEs; capacitate them following the framework; replicate promising practices in other areas; publish technical papers; and develop a directory of SEs in the region. It asked the EDC for endorsement to the RDC to help disseminate and facilitate the project as a viable socio-economic intervention for Bicol communities in collaboration with LGUs in need of such intervention with the support of appropriate NGAs in the region. The EDC endorsement sealed that in with gusto.

In addition, TBM announced its proposed actions to hold a regional summit of SEs and provincial/regional SE trade fair and expressed support to push for the passage of a law on SEs in Congress, a consistent subject of TBM papers and columns in the Bicol Mail. The RDC has provided a forum to ventilate these concerns, and the SED proponents are grateful.

SED and the APAEAN

Last month, five days after World Food Day on October 16, was also a timely occasion for advocates of “Food for all” to bring to the fore the importance of integrating agriculture-based, “doable strategies” for food and nutrition security in economic development planning in the light of the pressing challenges that agriculture and rural communities, including the educational and extension sectors, face today, like planetary health, climate change and disasters in the Post-Pandemic period.

Joining the 8th Asia-Pacific Association of Educators in Agriculture and Environment (APAEAN) international conference last October 18-21 at the SEARCA Hotel in UP Los Banos, Laguna, was one enjoyable collective learning journey. Along with delegates from Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, Myanmar, and the Philippines, the SED team members presented various papers to “share knowledge and good practices” to help solve post-pandemic challenges in agriculture and the environment. The conference was co-sponsored with the College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf), the CBSUA and the Department of Agriculture Region IV-A. The lead conveners, Dr. Josefina Dizon, APAEAN president Dr.Glenn Gegorio, SEARCA director Dr. Jose Camacho, UPLB Chancellor Dr. Albert Naperi, and CBSUA president, gave the inspirational messages.

The APAEAN conference theme “Emerging Trends, Dimensions, and Models in Agriculture and Environment Education, and Extension in Post-Pandemic Times” guided the scholar-delegates through the keynote messages, workshops, and parallel paper presentations. These parallel sessions were on the following: Post-pandemic models and contents of agriculture education, extension, and community development; Science Communication Diplomacy and Rural Advisory Services; Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction in Agriculture; Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation Waste Management and Planetary Health; Green Biotechnology and Circular Economy; 6) Agricultural Digitization, Role of Data and Data Analytics.

The SED project team - Cely Binoya, Philip Talay, Pat Boneo, Hanny Hidalgo, Lea Palmes, and myself- presented papers along the CHEd-funded project for disaster survivors in Bicol. These were on Developing a Sustainable SE Framework; Evaluating the Social Context and its Impact on SE Development; CamSure Multi-Purpose Cooperative, A Case Study; Good Practices in Capacity Development for Establishing SEs; Redesigning Venn Diagram and Asset Pentagon in Evaluating Capacity and Productivity of Disaster Survivors as Precursors in Institutionalizing SEs in Bicol; Developing Capacity and Productivity Assessment Tools for SEs. A field trip to the Cavite State University-National Coffee Development Center and the SVD Organic Farm in Tagaytay concluded the conference.

The EDC-RDC meeting and the APAEAN conference happily ended with new partnerships and networks forged and developed.


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