Baguio City –The Department of Science and Technology-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOST-CAR) conducted the Launching and Orientation of two DOST Research and Development (R&D) Programs in CAR on June 8, 2021. The two programs respectively aim to aid in the preservation of the region’s mountains amidst natural disasters and urbanization through innovative engineering solutions; and ensure water security and climate resiliency for the mountain communities in the Cordilleras.
During the launching, a press conference was also held with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA-CAR) and local media with both program’s stakeholders across the region such as the academe, line agencies, and Local Government Units (LGUs): provincial government units of Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province; and municipal government units of Sallapadan, Abra; Itogon, Tuba, Tublay, and La Trinidad, Benguet; Baguio City; Banaue, Ifugao; Tabuk City, and Tinglayan, Kalinga; and Bontoc and Bauko, Mountain Province.
The first program, namely, “Program Boondock: A Mountain Engineering Center Towards Sustainable Infrastructure and Upland Water Security”, is a collaborative effort of the DOST-CAR with the University of the Cordilleras (UC), Kalinga State University (KSU), Saint Louis University (SLU) and the Watershed and Water Resources Research, Development and Extension Center (WWRRDEC)—one of the Research Centers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB). The program seeks to enhance the industrial competitiveness of the Cordilleras in the field of agriculture, tourism and mobility through mountain engineering solutions and promote social and human development through upland water security, and environmental sustainability.
Funded by the DOST Science for Change Program (S4CP) Niche Centers in the Regions (NICER) for R&D, the Program Boondock is expected to have an estimated P1-billion savings in infrastructure damage due to landslides and extreme flooding in a span of 3 to 5 years while also safeguarding lives. The R&D center, which is the second NICER program in CAR (the first being the Potato Research and Development Center of Benguet State University in 2019), will have a total funding of P62 million and will target to increase agriculture production by 20% and provide sustainable water resources management solutions. Since 2017, 35 NICER Centers have been established in 17 regions across the country, amounting to P1.7 billion devoted to support the country’s R&D initiatives.
The second program, titled “Ensuring Water Security and Climate-Resilience for Mountain Indigenous Communities of the Cordillera through Technology-enhanced Decision Support Tools” is expected to bring about sufficient, clean and safe domestic water supply in mountain communities especially during the dry season. The program, which is a partnership of DOST-CAR with the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) and University of the Cordilleras (UC) and funded by the DOST- National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), will provide the necessary data and information to support decisions on water resources development for water supply that are more resilient to climate change and climate variability and a technology-enhanced information and decision support system for the conservation of the rivers and watersheds of the Cordilleras.
With this, both the Program Boondock and Water Security Program are seen not only to impact the state of R&D in addressing natural calamities in the region, but also in protecting the lives, livelihoods and natural resources in the Cordilleras.
By Christian Robert Sandoval
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis