CSU-DOST Formally Launch NICER-ITPS Project with Stakeholders Forum

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The newly approved research program “Industrial Tree Plantation Species Research and Innovation Center (ITPS Center) for Upgrading the Wood-based Industry” under the “Niche Centers in the Region for the R&D (NICER)” of DOST has commenced on October 1, 2019.

The Center will serve as the nucleus in continually gathering science-based information and establishment of an ITPS database through research to be the basis for policy formulation/reform, technology enhancement, waste management, and for the development of innovative product designs and contemporary wood-based products.

The program is comprised of three project components, namely: 1. Development of Geodatabase of Industrial Tree Plantations in Caraga Region using remote sensing and GIS under the leadership of Engr. Jojene R. Santillan; Project 2. The intermediaries’ Characteristics and Practices in the Wood Industry in Caraga Region: Documentation and Analysis for Pareto-based Forestry Policy Actions under Dr. Raquel M. Balanay; and Project 3. Analysis, Characterization and Utilization of Wood Wastes from Tree Farms in Caraga Region towards Industrial Symbiosis under Dr. Rowena P. Varela.

On November 28, 2019, the program was formally launched for its stakeholders awareness of its existence and to be actively involved in the program’s undertakings. The   Stakeholders Forum & Launching was held at the Almont Inland Resort, Butuan City, participated by its partner agencies: DOST-Caraga led by Mr. Ricardo Varela, the Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations, DENR-13 led by ARD For. Ben-Ali B. Decampong, together with the representatives from the PENROs and CENROs in the region. Also present to engage in the stakeholders’ forum were representatives from the Regional Development Council (RDC), NEDA-13, the wood-based industry network, and some Peoples’ Organization, CSU Forestry students, project staff and personnel of each project, the administrative council members from Caraga State University led by Dr. Anthony M. Penaso.

CSU President, Dr. Anthony M. Penaso, welcomed everyone to the forum. Beaming with pride, he shared that CSU is among the 14 HEIs in the country to be awarded the NICER program since its inception in 2018. He also mentioned that it is very timely to discuss about how to upgrade the wood industry in

Caraga Region and in the country through the NICER program. He further mentioned House Bill 4490 on the establishment of the Forest Studies and Development Center (FSDC) being proposed in Congress.

A multimedia presentation of the ITPS Research and Innovation Program was presented, followed by a Couch Discussion with representatives of the partner implementing agencies. ARD For. Ben-Ali B. Decampong from DENR-13 Regional Office, ARD Ricardo Varela of DOST-Caraga, Gladys Giberson of the RDC, Dr. Shiela Reyes of ASSCAT, Mr. Edwin Escobal of SSCT and For. Rustom Aguilos of FWRDEC. Prof. Chime M. Garcia, Director of the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagements (CSU-OIGE) moderated the discussion.

Presentation of the Project Components by the Project Leaders jumpstarted the stakeholders’ forum; various issues and concerns related to the ITP-based industry in the region were raised by the participants which were accommodated and answered by the Project Leaders or by the representatives from DENR after the presentation of each project.

The activity has given an opportunity for the program to present the goals and objectives very well to the stakeholders. Likewise, the roles that the stakeholders will play in attaining the success of the program were discussed as well as the different problems that may arise in the conduct of the different projects.

As a whole, the partner implementing agencies, wood-based Industry networks, Peoples’ Organization and students showed their support and willingness to be part of the next activities that the program may undertake that will involve them to really bring the wood industry in Caraga Region and the whole country back to its glorious days of being the  ‘Timber Capital of the Philippines’. DJOT/pico

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