Tuguegarao City, Cagayan – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region II, through the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program, partnered with the Police Regional Office 02 (PRO 02) aimed to alleviate poverty and reach out to poor and conflict-stricken municipalities in Cagayan Valley region.
CEST, one of the flagship programs of the DOST that is being implemented by all regional offices, aims to introduce technology innovations as a foundation for further development in remote areas in the region.
This initiative also entails the provision and transfer of technology-based livelihood projects to the identified communities specifically in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) and the marginalized sectors that include farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous people, and women's groups.
In Cagayan, DOST-II recently funded projects amounting to P1M in three identified CEST areas, namely: Sitio Lagum and Sta. Felicitas in Sto. Nino and Cabuluan in Alcala town.
CEST focal person Rowena Guzman said that, “there is more to mountains than climbing to the top, there is still life across the river and there is still hope even in the farthest and most isolated places in the region. So, we should maximize government efforts to support them.”
Noting that Sitio Lagum is one of the most isolated place that is accessible by a 3-hour walk across water and land with roads unpaved and impassable during the rainy seasons. Also, 56 households in the community do not have access to electricity and potable water.
In partnership with the Cagayan Police Provincial Office (CPPO), the agency provided water distribution system from the mountain going to their households with the use of pipelines that eventually lessened their burden. The community will also be given solar panels with complete sets of battery and inverter for the electricity.
Furthermore, there are residents who are not capable of sending their children to school tend to join armed groups that results in more poverty incidences and more conflicts in the area. Because of this, the DOST had planned to conduct S&T training to prevent this situation.
To supplement the need for educational tools, the DOST-II will also make S&T available to them through the Science and Technology Research-Based Openly-Operated KioskS (STARBOOKS) that can be operated even without Internet connectivity that will provide reliable and free science and technology (S&T) information to the public in an offline mode. It includes books, journals, researches, and other learning materials, including livelihood videos that will help the children, teachers, and the community develop and enhance their S&T knowledge.
Meanwhile, Barangay of Sta. Felicitas in Sto. Nino with no access to clean and potable drinking water will be included under CEST.
Ronnie Nacional, a Barangay Kagawad in the community said that the water they get from the well is not safe for drinking especially during typhoons and the residents could hardly buy drinking water because their barangay is located in the middle of a river.
To improve their access to quality drinking water, DOST-II conducted site assessment and community project inception meeting last 07 July 07 2021 for the implementation of the Potable Water System project under the CEST program. This intervention will benefit around 130 families.
DOST-II will also ensure the sustainability of the project through a package of training for the maintenance of the equipment and the facility that forms part of the technology intervention in the community.
Teachers in the barangay as well will be linked to the STARBOOKS online training conducted by DOST-II that will help them upgrade their S&T knowledge and instructional materials. In the same manner that Barangay Cabuluan in Alcala town will benefit from CEST initiative.
The DOST-II funded the implementation and the establishment of income-generating livelihood projects in the community, livelihood training and demonstrated the production of dishwashing liquid, powder detergent, and hand sanitizer, with the help of the CPPO that is perceive help the community prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus.
Part of the project focuses on the livestock and poultry production to help the farmers and the community recover from the loss of jobs and unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic and those whose poultry stocks were adversely affected due to bird flu.
DOST-II has committed to continue providing them with appropriate S&T training that will also assure the maintenance and sustainability of the intervention so that the community would surpass the change in climate conditions during the driest or wettest days.
In attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, and in support of the government’s efforts to end local insurgency and armed conflict in the country, DOST-II will continue to introduce high impacts projects on poverty reduction and livelihood development and projects related, but not limited, to health and nutrition, education, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and environmental protection and conservation for Cagayan Valley region.
DOST with the help of the CEST program will further continue to build empowered, progressive, and resilient communities in Cagayan Valley.