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Involving the Community

By Danica Marie Supnet

After two days of research presentations, the ICBRDS ends the session in a half-day Stakeholder’s Forum. The forum is held at the Sarmiento Hall of the University of the Philippines Baguio, January 16, 2014. The forum is facilitated by Prof. Arellano Colongon Jr., Associate Professor of Political Science—UP Baguio.

Prof. Colongon drawn out the discussion on the main objective of the forum: to explore specific areas of cooperation in each sector (intrasectoral) and across sectors (intersectoral). Although not all the participants who attended on the simultaneous presentation for the past days did not attend today’s forum, a good number of participants from the local government units, civil society organizations, private sectors, and academic institutions are well represented. Some of the key speakers even stayed and participated.

 

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On-Going Discussion during the Stakeholders Forum at the Sarmiento Hall, UP Baguio

Prof. Colongon used an “open-space approach” in the facilitation of the forum in order to engage the participants to comment and ask question. A semi-formal “non-threatening” discussion as he said. This reminds me of academic forums he usually facilitated during my college days. Semi-formal approach, coloured papers for posting, flip charts, and of course the circular bonded masking tape prepared align at the back of the white board which he usually uses. Prof. Colongon is indeed an excellent facilitator in a forum.

The groups will focus on the following DRRM and CCA topics:

  • communication and information dissemination of DRRM-CCA to various sectors of the society
  • mitigation measures to impacts of disaster
  • risks and climate modelling
  • systems of information
  • psycho-social processing
  • bridging research and policy action

Everyone was free to choose.

I chose the group discussing the last-mentioned topic above. It is of course my interest as the resident researcher of iCSC to know some perspectives on research and policy. My group is composed of academicians (Prof. Grace Evangelista of Miriam College and Prof. Leilanie Pavilndo of Bicol University), researcher from a private sector (Ikuko Matsumoto from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies-Japan), and a representative from the local government unit of La Trinidad Benguet. Our general objective is centred on incorporating research of topics/issues on DRRM-CCA into extension-action research (research on the ground) to uphold the interest of LGUs and policy makers in implementing DRRM and CCA related policies.

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Important points discussed by our group ready for presentation

iCSC’s commitment in advocating the People’s Survival Fund, iCSC has drawn-out its work with a research on the irreversible long term effects of climate change, otherwise called as Slow Onset Impact (SOI). The research contains scientific and anecdotal evidence, and expert and grassroots recommendations brought about by the questions: What are we doing about Slow Onset Impacts (SOI) or the long-term effects of climate change? Why should we do more? And what steps should be taken to meet this challenge?

I shared to the group how our research in SOI will help in formalizing a network of SUCs in the Philippines that can be a venue for sharing various issues (results may vary in one university), to further encourage innovation and solutions.

Prof. Colongon re-convened the forum through a quick presentation of the different groups and questions-comments. As a synthesis, he poses a challenge on the importance of collaborative actions of the different sectors of the society.

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Post-conference pictorial with my former Professors (L-R) Doris Wilson, Victoria Diaz, Evangeline Ram

Lunch is served and I have time to chat with my former professors in UP Baguio. I am very happy to represent iCSC in this forum hosted by my alma mater. What’s even worthy to know is that my former professors are happy with what I have achieved so far. This is a reminder and a challenge to continuously learn and work hard in the career that I have chosen.

And yes, challenge accepted!

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