KIDAPAWAN CITY – A team from DOST XII Cotabato Provincial Office conducted Community Needs Assessment among barangays in North Cotabato identified to benefit the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) Program.


The DOST-CEST program is a package of S&T interventions that aim to build empowered, progressive, and resilient communities.


As DOST XII OIC-Regional Director Engr. Sammy Malawan elaborated earlier, CEST is DOST’s response to the government’s Whole of the Nation Approach in support to the task force-ELCAC or End Local Communist Armed Conflict targeting marginalized sectors like farmers and fisherfolk groups, Indigenous People, Women’s Organizations, and the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas or GIDAS.


Barangay beneficiaries were identified in partnership with the Arakan Valley Complex- Project Management Office (ARV-PMO), which includes Brgy. Sagcungan in President Roxas and Brgy. Camutan in Antipas.


After a courtesy visit to Mayor Jonathan Mahimpit of President Roxas and Mayor Egidio Cadungon of Antipas, DOST XII and ARV-PMO teams proceeded to identified barangays and discussed the CEST program with Brgy. Captains Pablo Relatado and Ronnie Amoloy, respectively.


“S&T needs of each community were determined and assessed. Both barangay captains are willing and more than happy to cooperate with us in this endeavor,”, Provincial Director Michael Mayo said.


Major components of CEST are the following: (1) economic development (2) health and nutrition (3) environmental protection and conservation (4) human resource development (5) disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation.


For economic development, livelihood projects with appropriate S&T interventions to generate additional income and local employment will be provided to the community.


Specific DOST projects concerning health and nutrition will also be provided in the community like the Accelerated Nutrition Advocacy for Kids or ANAK project and RxBox, a medical device that enables health workers in remote communities to consult with medical experts in urban areas, thus providing better access to life-saving healthcare services. Training such as Food Safety, Good Manufacturing Practices, and complimentary food production to fight malnutrition, among others, will also be provided among beneficiaries concerned.


“DOST XII will also provide Ceramic Water Filter and conduct laboratory tests to ensure safe drinking water for the community,” PD Mayo added.


On environmental protection and conservation, DOST XII- Cotabato Provincial Office plans to adopt certain areas as the Clean and Green model to encourage the participation of the community.


As to the human resource development aspect, DOST XII will provide STARBOOKS or the Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk System, a stand-alone digital library with free S&T materials accessible without an internet connection. STARBOOKS will benefit not only students but also entrepreneurs, NGOs, researchers, and others. Moreover, students will also be encouraged and prepared to try the DOST Scholarship Programs.


Capacity building for disaster prevention and mitigation will also be established in identified barangays focusing on risk assessment and early warning systems.


PD Mayo affirmed that implementation proper of the DOST XII Programs, Projects, and Activities (PPAs) under CEST will commence within the year.


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