The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Resource and Environmental Economics Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (REAP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for institutional cooperation on 7 October 2020 at SEARCA Headquarters.
Under the MOU, SEARCA and REAP committed to collaborate on a number of activities for five years, including programs, projects, and other related activities to education, training and research in agriculture and environmental science.
REAP is an organization duly recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission of the Republic of the Philippines, and the legal entity of the Economy and Environment Group Philippines, a partner institution of the Economy and Environment Partnership for Southeast Asia.
The MOU signatories are Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, and Dr. Gem B. Castillo, REAP President and National Director of Economy and Environment Group (EEG) Philippines. Mr. Joselito G. Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration, and Dr. Zenaida M. Sumalde, REAP Member of the Board, signed as witnesses to the MOU.
The signing ceremony was also attended by SEARCA representatives Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Operations Consultant for Emerging Innovation for Growth (EIG); Dr. Pedcris M. Orencio, Program Head for Research and Thought Leadership (RTL); Dr. Romeo V. Labios, Operations Consultant for Partnerships; Ms. Donna Bae N. Malayang, Program Associate; Ms. Rochella B. Lapitan, Program Associate; Ms. Anna Gale C. Vallez, Project Associate; Ms. Pauline D. Gonzales, Project Associate, all of RTL Department; Mr. Sonny P. Pasiona, Communications Associate; Ms. Maria Teresa Lourdes B. Ferino, Administrative Associate; and Mr. Nathan P. Felix, Public Relations Associate, all of Partnerships Unit. Dr. Ma. Angeles Catelo of the University of the Philippines Los Baños was also part of the REAP delegation.
Among the pioneer collaborations of REAP and SEARCA is an upcoming research conference where the Center will participate in one session. Dr. Castillo said “EEG’s approach is transdisciplinary. We want to promote transdisciplinary approach to engaging with in terms of issues and problems in the Philippines the reason why we want to conduct this conference. We foresee that most of the problems now cannot be addressed by only considering the economic nor the environmental perspective.”
Dr. Orencio highlighted that the conference theme is within the priority areas of SEARCA’s 11th Five-Year Plan, in particular the EcoHealth/One Health Applications to Agricultural and Rural Development (ARD). Together with REAP’s advocacy to address timely issues, he also presented the SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagements (SOLVE) as one of the Center’s instruments to connect with its stakeholders and to highlight specific and concrete actions being implemented on the ground through a technology-mediated platform.