The Southeast Asia Regional Center for Graduate Study in Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Catanduanes State University (CatSU) in a virtual ceremony held via Zoom on 11 January 2023.
CatSU is a research and higher education institution (HEI) located in Catanduanes, Philippines. Dubbed as the green university of the Philippine eastern pacific seaboard, the university envisions to foster excellence, holistic, and inclusive education attuned to the demands of a diverse world towards the formation of productive and value-laden lives.
Under the five-year accord, both parties agree to collaborate in undertaking programs, projects, and activities related to faculty development, agricultural and rural development and exchange scientific materials, knowledge products, and information.
Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA Director, and Dr. Patrick Alain Azanza, CatSU President, signed the agreement with Assoc. Prof. Joselito Florendo, SEARCA Deputy Director for Administration, and Dr. Ramon Felipe Sarmiento, CatSU Vice President for Research, Extension and Production Affairs, Dr. Lily Custodio, CatSU Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Zyra Mae Tumala, CatSU Center for International Relations & Continuing Professional Development Services Director, as witnesses.
In his opening message, Dr. Gregorio stressed that universities play an important role in SEARCA’s 11th Five Year Plan, which gives focus on promoting the Academe-Industry-Government (AIG) interconnectivity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic changed the climate and value chain of food systems of agriculture. That is why, there is a need to demonstrate the abilities of universities to take on social responsibilities in shaping reforms not only for their learners and educators, but for their educational systems,” Dr. Gregorio articulated.
The SEARCA Director added that SEARCA has an ongoing Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-funded Leadership Development Program for HEIs and looks forward to CatSU’s participation on this initiative in the future.
Dr. Azanza positively responded that the collaboration would help CatSU gear towards internationalization. Moreover, he emphasized CatSU is one with SEARCA in cultivating agricultural innovations among HEIs as the university is up for the challenge to introduce new and emerging innovations in agricultural education.
“We see that there is a huge potential on exploring food security and climate change in the island that could be important aspects of our partnership. Carrying these in mind, CatSU looks forward in upgrading the skills of our faculty and researchers. We look forward to a very fruitful 2023 onwards as we pursue this endeavor,” Dr. Azanza concluded.
In attendance to the virtual ceremonial signing from SEARCA included Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Nur Azura Binti Adam, SEARCA Deputy Director for Programs; Ms. Corinta Guerta, Technical Advisor to the Director; Dr. Gerlie Tatlonghari, Program Head, Research and Thought Leadership Department (RTLD); Ms. Sharon Malaiba, Head, Partnerships Unit; Ms. Beatrisa Martinez, Executive Coordinator, Office of the Director; and Ms. Ma. Victoria Bravo, Executive Assistant, Office of the Deputy Director for Programs; Mr. Sonny Pasiona, Senior Associate, Communications; and Mr. Nathan Felix, Senior Associate, Public Relations.