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matabada vietnamAssoc. Prof. Maria Aurora Teresita W. Tabada, Director of the Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies (ISRDS), acceded to the invitation of Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Vietnam Chamber for Commerce and Industry to speak on “Engaging Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) for EITI Implementation: Experiences from the Philippines” during the Workshop on Managing Revenue Streams from Extractive Industries in Vietnam on October 10, 2014 at the Sofitel Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The workshop was organized to discuss the status of and enhancing the benefits from the extractive industry for Vietnam. In addition, since Vietnam is planning to join the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), it sought to learn from the experience of the Philippines which was admitted to the EITI as a candidate country on May 22, 2013 during the 6th EITI Global Conference in Sydney, Australia.

President Benigno Aquino created the Philippine EITI through EO 147, series of 2013. PH-EITI seeks to introduce greater transparency and accountability in the extractive industries (mining, oil and gas, coal) in the way government collects and companies pay taxes and other revenues from Extractive Industry (EI).  In particular, the PH-EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) provides business and civil society stakeholders a platform for engaging government in the implementation of EITI in the country. The PH-EITI is lodged with the Department of Finance.  The CSO representatives come from Bantay Kita (BK), the broad coalition of civil society organizations advocating transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.

Assoc. Prof. Tabada said that by joining EITI, the governmentdemonstrates commitment to reform and anti-corruption, leading to improvements to the tax collection process, and enhanced trust and stability in a volatile sector; companies benefit from a level playing field and an improved and more stable investment climate in which they can better engage with citizens and civil society; and  Filipino citizens and civil society organizations benefit from receiving reliable information about the extractives sector, and a multi-stakeholder platform where they can better hold the government and companies to account.

Tabada’s paper presentation consisted of three parts: legal framework for people’s participation in governance; the PH-EITI implementation; and the value of CSO participation in the EITI implementation. 

First, Tabada said that the 1997 Philippine Constitution recognizes the role of civil society, particularly the youth, in nation building. Philippine laws, likewise, specify areas for people’s participation, i.e. Multipartite Monitoring Teams (MMTs).

In the second part, the points raised included the mandates of the PH-EITI MSG, composition of, selection process, and roles of the CSO representatives.

The third part highlighted the accomplishments of the CSO reps in terms of the conduct of subnational stakeholder consultations, capacity building by participating in workshops on EI governance, full participation in the monthly MSG meetings, and monitoring disclosures. She showed that participation is a step forward because it encourages civil society to participate continuously in government affairs while ensuring that government is responsive to the needs of the public especially the marginalized sectors.

Assoc. Prof. Tabada is a member of the BK Board of Trustees and CSO representative to the PH-EITI MSG. The ISRDS is a member of Bantay Kita.

csc 2014In celebration of the 114th Anniversary of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Visayas State University (VSU) distributed certificates and VSU logo pins to 100 employees who are still working in the University for 10 to 35 years. The awards were given during the VSU’s “CSC Anniversary Culmination Program and Fun Walk/Run” held on September 30, 2014 at the VSU Gymnatorium.

Aside from the pins and certificates that they received, 17 employees who rendered services for the first 10 years will also receive in December a cash award of PhP5,000 each; while  another 17 employees who served for 15 years will receive PhP2,500 each.  Moreover, 13 employees who rendered services for 20 years and 20 employees for the last 25 years will also receive PhP3,750 each; while 13 employees who worked for 30 years and 20 for 35 years will be receiving PhP5,000 each. This is VSU’s way of recognizing their faithful, unconditional love and loyalty of service to the institution regardless of remuneration they received from the government.  

The occasion was spiced up with the presence of Dir. Pharida Q. Aurella, Director II of CSC Satellite Office in Ormoc City, as she delivered a message that centered on the theme “Tapat na Serbisyo Alay Ko Dahil Lingkod Bayani Ako.”  Dir. Aurella reminded the VSU employees regarding their responsibilities as public servants as stipulated in the Constitution which is “A Public Service Is A Public Trust.”  The guest speaker emphasized that all public offices and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people and serve them with highest degree of responsibility, efficiency, loyalty, integrity, and lead modest lives.  She believes that as public servants, we are building a new civilization for the future of our country.  She encouraged everyone “to start within ourselves to become a good public servant.”

Dir. Aurella also shared three most important points to avoid mistakes in delivering quality service to the clients—we should have commitment, give love, and have time.  According to her, if you commit something to anybody, you indwell into that person.  She further said that if we give love on anything that we do, we are also willing to sacrifice and later on reap excellent service.  She also said that if we give time, we don’t need to explain anything. 

In the same occasion, special awards were given to those who joined in the fun walk/run as a prelude to the culmination program, in the Zumba exercise, and in the raffle draw.

hu profDr. Lawrence M. Liao, associate professor of the Graduate School of Biosphere Science of Hiroshima University (HU) in Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan, conducted a seminar on Ethics in Research and Publication Writing on September 4, 2014 at the PhilRootcrops Training Hall. The seminar was participated in by some faculty, staff and students of the University including the master and doctoral students.

In his paper entitled “Recent Ethical Issues Challenging Academic Research,” Dr. Liao talked about some of the reasons why students plagiarize as cited by Park, 2003. These are: ignorance of academic integrity or digital ethics, emphasis on grades versus learning, poor time management and research skills, personal values or attitudes, peer pressure, temptation and opportunity, and negative student attitudes towards assignments and teachers.

Dr. Liao also mentioned why researchers publish their work and it is because they want to communicate results to peer, advance career, personal prestige, gain funding, and financial reward. Moreover, he revealed some types of scientific misconducts wherein the researcher must be aware of. These include the following: failure to report results accurately, failure to do a proper literature search, failure to ensure data is correct, failure to be honest, failure to assign credit fairly where due, failure to adhere to and work within ethical guidelines, failure to attribute work of others you use.

Likewise, he defined the three types of misconducts based on the Hiroshima University standard, such as fabrication which is making up data or results and recording or reporting them; falsification which is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the researcher is not accurately represented in the research record; and plagiarism which means the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Dr. Liao also presented some tips on how to avoid plagiarism. “Quotation” is one tool in which the writer can have an exact copy of something someone else has said or written and citing the source. “Paraphrasing” is another tool in which the writer rewrites the text in his/her own words but must cite the source. “Citation” is also one by naming the text that identifies the source of a quote or idea.

According to Dr. Liao, authorship must be based on substantial contribution to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; drafting the article or reviewing critically for important intellectual content; and final approval of the revision to be published as cited in the guidelines set by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

He also reminded those trained persons who are paid salaries to do routine technical and laboratory tasks that they cannot be authors if they only perform routine experimental tasks. “However, they can be authors if they contribute to the independent establishment of new and non-routine methods used in the projects, and if they participate in experimental design and interpretation,” Dr. Liao said.

The speaker also warned the participants regarding authorship abuse also known as promiscuous authorship. Among these authorship abuses include honorary authorship out of respect and friendship in an attempt to solicit favor; coercive authorship in response to their exertion of seniority or supervisory status over subordinates or junior investigator; mutual support authorship as a result of agreement by two or more investigators to place their names on each other’s papers; duplication authorship by publishing the same work in multiple journals; ghost authorship whose authors’ names appear or disappear from a paper for whatever reasons; and denial of authorship when works of other people are published without providing due credit for their work.

The topic on plagiarism was reinforced with a workshop after some inquiries cropped up which the speaker eloquently responded at the end of the seminar.

isrd 33rdThe Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies (ISRDS) with the leadership of Associate Professor Maria Aurora Teresita W. Tabada celebrated its 33rd Founding Anniversary on September 17, 2014. 

This year’s celebration had the theme “Reaffirming Relevance: ISRDS Post-Haiyan Rehabilitation Initiatives.”  The occasion was graced by Dr. Emma Porio, Professor of Sociology of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, School of Social Sciences of the Ateneo de Manila University, who served as the anniversary speaker.  Likewise, a forum on “Reaffirming Relevance in the Light of the New Normal” was held in the morning with the partners sharing their expectations of the ISRDS in terms of RDE directions. The anniversary lecture was delivered by Dr. Porio in the afternoon at the ISRDS Training Hall in the presence of Dr. Othello B. Capuno, VP for Research and Extension, together with some VSU faculty, staff, and students.

Dr. Porio’s paper highlighted her research work which is still in progress entitled “Social Capital Research in Metro Manila: Implications for Post-Yolanda Recovery and Resilience Building in Baybay, Leyte.”  She presented the impacts and losses of lives and properties brought about by the Super Typhoon Yolanda in which she poses a challenge for recovery and resilience building in the families, communities, and institutions. 

In her paper, Dr. Porio presented the types of social capital and their roles in disaster preparedness recovery and building community resilience.  The speaker cited the work of Dr. Ricardo Abad on the World Values Survey saying that “Filipinos, in general, are rich in bonding capital but have limited bridging capital especially to the marginal and vulnerable populations (to floods and typhoons).”  She further said that social capital is more present among males from upper income families who are professionals, and/or formal sector employees. 

The resource person elucidated why social capital is important in disaster preparedness and recovery.  She referred social capital to the institutions, relationships, and norms that shape the quality and quantity of a society’s social interactions that would lead to trust and cohesion.  “Social capital is critical for poverty alleviation and sustainable human and economic development,” Porio stressed.

Moreover, Dr. Porio pointed out the ecological-environmental vulnerabilities of Metro Manila/Urban Philippines, such as: most of the areas are located in coastal areas/flood basins; located along seismic lines; infrastructure/urban basic services are sometimes non-existent and not “climate proofed”; wetlands/marsh/swampy lands are with inferior soil, subsidence, and habitat for disease-bearing vector; the sea level rise and the low-lying areas of most coastlines and related river systems; and environmental pollution/degradation.

Porio also mentioned the components of social vulnerability which include social structure of the community, housing materials and condition, land tenure, and disability; and where the people ask for help in times of calamities such as floods, typhoons, and tidal surges. 

She also presented some practices and strategies initiated and adopted by some local government units, community-based organizations, and the civil society sectors in networking and governance. 

Dr. Porio enthused that because of people’s limited social trust, we really have to build trust in each other and with others.   Moreover, she emphasized that to be prepared and build resiliency, we need to increase the bridging capital (trust networks) of those who have less in life so they access support from their local governments, private sector and civil society organizations; build bridging capital through capability-building support for the vulnerable groups along river lines and degraded environments; and make programs and policies that will support/enhance their adaptive capacities and resilience building initiatives.

Dr. Porio quoted His Excellency Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, President of the Philippines, saying: “The well of strength and compassion that characterizes us as a nation has time and again proven to be bottomless.  Solidarity both of faith and prayer, combined with a steadfast resolve, is showing the world that nothing can make the Filipino yield.  The Almighty has granted us resilience to withstand such tragedies, secure in our belief that God will continue to guide us as we provide care for our countrymen, rebuild our nation, and prepare for the future.” 

She even challenged ISRDS for the crafting of research agenda within the resilience building framework of the people’s striving for security either in food, climate, governance, and environment.

The lecture was concluded with a workshop wherein the participants answered the following questions:  1) Losses/impacts and gains from Yolanda, what have you done? 2) What do you think you can do to build resilience? and 3) What singular commitment that you help build your own/organization/community resilience?

As a prelude to the ISRDS’s anniversary celebration, it sponsored a movie marathon for free from September 8 to September 14, 2014 held at the ISRDS Training Room.  

The Visayas State University had joined the entire country in celebrating the 114th Anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service with the theme “Tapat na Serbisyo Alay Ko Dahil Lingkod Bayan Ako.”

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"We are bringing European film culture to new audiences in Leyte. We are also very keen to plan additional screenings to reach residents of the worst affected areas of typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban," said Guy Ledoux, ambassador and head of the European Union delegation, in his speech in the CE 17 opening in Manila.

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Dr. Julie D. Tan and Dr. Daniel Leslie S. Tan, both Professor VI of VSU’s Philippine Root Crop Research and Training Center (PhilRootcrops), participated in the 3rd International Symposium on Processing of Foods, Vegetables and Fruits held on August 11-13, 2014 at the Kuala Lumpur Teaching Centre in Selangor, Malaysia.

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eetulin hiroshimaDr. Teruo Maeda and Dr. Lawrence M. Liao, professor and associate professor of the Graduate School of Biosphere Science, respectively, of Hiroshima University (HU) in Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan, together with six third year college students of HU—Yuki Takeuchi, Mizuki Ueda, Tomomi Aratani, Yutaro Morozumi, Kojiro Sebata, and Yuma Miyazaki—visited the Visayas State University Main Campus on September 2-6, 2014 for an Educational Tour. The group was hosted by the College of Agriculture and Food Science through the Department of Animal Science (DAS) headed by Dr. Dinah M. Espina.

The group was warmly welcomed by Dr. Edgardo E. Tulin, VP for Instruction, during the courtesy call at the VSU Office of the President. Dr. Tulin oriented the visitors on the different programs of the University. Moreover, the participants were toured around the campus by Mr. Jesus Freddy M. Baldos, Administrative Officer V of VSU Information Office, for them to learn more about the University and have a glimpse of the campus and its surroundings.

The host department through Dr. Lolito C. Bestil, faculty member of DAS, gave an overview of the department including its programs and the faculty members. After which, the group was divided into two, in which the students attended a lecture in Animal Science 133 subject and mingled with other college students who are taking up Bachelor of Animal Science, while Dr. Maeda and Dr. Liao had an interaction with the DAS faculty.

What transpired during the discussion was the need to maximize the full potential of the MOA between the two universities. The HU representatives extended an invitation to the faculty and staff of the Department and even to some VSU personnel to visit Japan, either to conduct research or make a joint research proposal which will be implemented in the Philippines and in Japan. It was also discussed that VSU can invite Japanese professors to serve as thesis committee members and even as guest lecturers.

Other activities lined up for the Japanese exchange students included the following: briefing on buffalo production project, horseback riding lessons, visit to copra processing plant and observed coconut wine gathering, visit to the Philippine Carabao Center and the Baybay Dairy Cooperative and observed milk processing, interactions with VSU Animal Science students, demonstration on restraining cattle/Rodeo skills, participate in small ruminant and poultry activities, field trip to Sabin sheep-cattle and pineapple farms, and visits to some research centers and academic departments.

The exchange students also had some sports activities like basketball, volleyball tennis together with the VSU counterparts.

The week-long visit to VSU was concluded with a dinner and socials at the Center for Continuing Education wherein all participants showcased their prowess in singing and dancing. Likewise, certificates of participation were distributed to the Japanese students with some impressions delivered by the representative of the students and the professors as well as the VSU counterparts.

The educational tour was made possible as part of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Academic and Educational Exchange between VSU and HU that was signed on December 9, 2011 at the Training Hall of PhilRootcrops. The Agreement aims to establish an academic and educational exchange that would promote mutual understanding between the two universities through educational and academic collaboration and exchange, and ultimately contribute to the advancement and progress of learning.

Some 100 researchers, farmers and processors from Mahaplag, Abuyog, Baybay City, Ormoc City—all in Leyte; Calbayog City, and Southern Leyte, including those from the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office Number 8 and the Visayas State University, convened on August 5, 2014 for the Jackfruit Congress TechnoMart and Market-Matching Event at the VSU Convention Center and experienced Jackfruit World in a day.

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