by Alyha Zshiazny B. Lantud and Lynrose Jane D. Genon , OVCRE-DE
On May 26, 2021, the Department of Extension launched the MSU-IIT Mainstreaming SDGs Initiative through the Volunteerism for Community Engagement Program (VOCEP) in partnership with Kataas-taasang Sanggunian ng mga Magaaral (KASAMA) to raise awareness of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, and to provide opportunities for youth to make meaningful contributions to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The goal of the discussion series is to bring together youth from various backgrounds to discuss the SDGs. It aims to: (1) raise awareness of the SDGs and examples of their global impact among young people; (2) magnify existing local initiatives that help achieve the global goals; (3) identify areas of mutual interest and potential joint activities; and (4) brainstorm ideas for increasing youth participation and interest in contributing to the SDGs.
In addition to the SDG Talk Series, the MSU-IIT Mainstreaming SDGs Initiative includes the construction of an SDG Corner, which will serve as an information, conversation, and networking hub for MSU-IIT students, professors, and staff, and other stakeholders.
Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals is to “end hunger, ensure food security and improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,” which is in response to the data by World Food Programme that records 135 million people to be severely malnourished, owing this to man-made conflicts, climate change, and economic downturns. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the figure has doubled putting an extra 130 million people at risk of starvation. This was addressed during the first episode of the SDG Talk Series.
Ms. Ezeil Cervantes, owner of Jucha Juice Bar, spoke at the first SDG Talk Series on Food and Sensibilities. During her session, Ms. Cervantes discussed the etymology of food, economic and communal perspectives on food systems, and nourishment in food systems. She moves on to stress the importance of dietary values in defining who we are. Our bodies are built on the foundation of the food we eat. She emphasized the significance of eating well and caring for our bodies. People nowadays eat anything they want without considering the consequences on our body. We live in a world where eating poisonous foods is acceptable and physical inactivity is the norm.
In explaining why we should begin adjusting our eating habits to improve our daily lives, Ms. Cervantes stressed it is not an easy task to do so which is why she recommended that we begin by eating less. However, eating less does not mean going without food for a few days nor does consuming fewer calories imply foregoing meat and subsisting solely on salads.
Rather, she argued that eating less simply means eating less of whatever you choose. Eating less requires keeping track of how much food you consume each day. Reduce the amount of rice you eat by eating only one cup instead of two. She also suggested that we may begin eating healthier by gradually including nutritious foods or beverages into our everyday meals, such as eating an apple every day or drinking fruit blended juices. This way, we show our body that we respect and honor it.
At the end of the session, Ms. Cervantes showed a short demo of food preparation by making sushi with healthy and organic ingredients.
Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) has solidified its reputation as a leading university in Mindanao by being named a Center for Sustainable Polymers – the first of its kind in the country.
A sustainable polymer is a plastic material that can be used to produce a variety of commercial products that do not harm the environment, the health of consumers, or the economy.
MSU-IT was given the recognition in April by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) along with P107.3M in funding for the program and projects to be undertaken.
The designation of the University as a Center for Sustainable Polymers by DOST occurs under the agency’s new Niche Centers for Research and Development (NICER) Program.
The NICER Program aims to provide institutional grants to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) for research and development capacity building to improve their science and technology infrastructure.
The program and projects of MSU-IIT as a Center for Sustainable Polymers will be implemented through a research team composed of faculty members from its College of Engineering and Technology (COET) and College of Science and Mathematics (CSM).
Dr. Arnold A. Lubguban, COET faculty member who has a doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Missouri, USA is the overall head of the Center’s program. Dr. Lubguban’s field of specialization is on polymer bioprocessing.
The team also has two project leaders, namely, Dr. Arnold C. Alguno, CSM faculty member who completed Doctor of Science in Physics in Tohoku University, Japan and who specializes in research in semiconductor and nanotechnology; and Dr. Ronald P. Bual, COET associate professor who finished Doctor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering at Kyushu University, Japan and whose areas of specialization are in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
The team’s study leader is Dr. Roberto M. Malaluan, COET faculty member who holds the degree Doctor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from Tohoku University of Japan. Dr. Malaluan specializes in research in supercritical fluid technology.
Funded by DOST-GIA/DOST-PCIEERD, the project implementation for the Center is slated to begin in the next few months.
According to the research team, MSU-IIT plays an important role in the government’s effort to develop Northern Mindanao as an innovation hub, as it has been developed to become a technopreneurial breeding ground. They said that Region 10 is abundant in coconut and fish processing waste and derivatives which can be used as raw materials for the research projects.
In a presentation by the research team on May 24, 2021 at the Knowledge and Technology Transfer Office (KTTO), the team showed Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol that with MSU-IIT becoming an R&D Center for Sustainable Polymers, it will address issues on high volume of by-products or derivatives from coconut processing, high volume of fish waste from fish processing facilities, and finite source of petroleum-based raw materials.
With MSU-IIT’s existing advanced polymer lab facility, expertise and with its good track record of R&D and IP management, the University, through the Center, hopes to utilize and optimize coconut processing derivatives and fish processing wastes to produce original research products which can be industrially-competitive. These diverse products include alternative bio-based polyols, polyurethane insulation and viscoelastic memory foams, oil-absorbing foams for wastewater treatment, polyurethane-modified concrete, fish-derived functional food supplements, and wound healing patches.
Expected outcomes of the said Center shall be increased production of high value products and increased coconut and fish productivity, as well as production of industry-compliant and cost-effective products with high market value.
MSU-IIT will be collaborating with other universities and agencies when implementing the Center’s projects, such as MSU-Naawan, MSU-General Santos, MSU-Marawi, Caraga State University, Ateneo de Davao University, Chemrez Technologies, Inc., URATEX Philippines, MERAV Bio-Nutraceuticals, Corp., Nuevochem Specialties, Inc., and Phoenix Petroleum.
Aside from MSU-IIT, six other HEIs were identified as NICER Program grantees for this year. These HEIs are the following:
Technological Institute of the Philippines – Center for Advanced Batteries
Isabela State University – Smart Water Infrastructure and Management
Mariano Marcos State University – Coastal Engineering Research Center
Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Center for Environmental Technologies and Compliance
Laguna State Polytechnic University – Center for Lakes Sustainable Development
De La Salle University – Laguna – Center for Vector of Diseases
The NICER is just one of four capacity-building programs that compose the Science for Change Program (S4CP). The S4CP is DOST’s larger program that was created to accelerate STI (science, technology, and innovation) in the country.
Mr. Jayson R. Pucot, MSU-IIT’s MS Biology student, Ms. Jea Christine Escala, BS Biology alumna, and Prof. Cesar G. Demayo, faculty member of the Department of Biological Sciences and the Project leader of the Climate Change Research Group of the Premier Research Institute of Science and Mathematics (PRISM) won the Best Paper award during the recently concluded International Conference on Research, Innovation, and Investment (ICRII).
Their paper entitled Phytochemical Screening, GC-MS Analysis and In vitro Pharmacological Investigations of Myristica simiarum A.DC Bark Ethanolic Extract is co-authored by Dr. Mark Lloyd Dapar, faculty member of the Department of Biology of the Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon.
The virtual international conference that was held on May 17-20, 2021 gathered more than 300 participants from different countries across the globe, such as Australia, China, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Poland, Philippines, and Taiwan.
The country’s president, Hon. Rodrigo R. Duterte, gave his message during the conference’s Opening Ceremonies. Philippine Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri keynoted the Innovation and Investment Forum, and Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV, author of Innovative Startup Act, talked about investments in innovation and entrepreneurship in the conference.
Winners for the Best Paper, Best Presenter, and Most Number of Delegates (institutional level) were announced during the Awards Ceremony. The Best Paper awardees hope that their paper gets published in the Mindanao Journal of Science and Technology (MJST), a scientific journal published bi-annually by USTP and indexed by Scopus and Clarivate Analytics.
ICRII is an annual gathering of international and local researchers, innovators, investors, policymakers, and leaders who come together to address innovations, existing and emerging trends, best practices, and other developments in specific fields and pursue advanced research and innovation frameworks. The conference covered presentations on the following topics:
Food Security and Safety
Energy Sufficiency and Security
Information and Communication Technology
Infrastructure and Transportation
Gender and Development
Science and Technology Education
Language and Communication
Social Science and Humanities
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The ICRII was hosted by the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) with this year’s theme The Emerging Role of Research, Innovation, and Investment in a Disruptive World.
Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) has been named as a grantee by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) of a research and innovation grant that aims to help Philippine universities address challenges in the new normal.
The grant was given for an MSU-IIT research project that focuses on the conversion of waste from coconut oil processing into an economically viable substitute to imported chemicals used in insulating foam production, while also creating a higher-value pathway for the by-products of the researchers’ industry collaborator.
Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol received the certificate of recognition from the USAID on April 27 via Zoom during the launch ceremony of the agency’s Widening Applications of Research within the Pandemic (WARP) grant that is given through its Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) program.
The research project titled Improving the Gardner Color Index and Homogeneity of a Developed Coconut Fatty Acid Distillate (CFAD)-based Polyol for Commercial Use, is conducted by two faculty members of the College of Engineering and Technology, Prof. Roberto M. Malaluan, PhD, and Prof. Arnold Lubguban, PhD., in collaboration with Chemrez Technologies, Inc. – a Philippine-based manufacturer of powder coatings.
“We are very honored and would like to express our sincere gratitude to USAID STRIDE for awarding us our second grant. It is a confirmation that our research is of value to others in the field and also a great motivation to continue the ever-growing search for alternative bio-based and industrially important polymers into the future,” said Malaluan and Lubguban.
Four other Philippine universities were also awarded the WARP grant for research and innovation during the pandemic. These higher education institutions are the University of San Carlos (Visayas), Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, La Union, University of the Philippines-Visayas, and Mariano Marcos State University, Ilocos Norte.
According to the US Embassy in the Philippines, the grants given under the WARP amounted to nearly P12 million in total.
Another CASS extension project, PROJECT YACAP (Youth, Amplifying, Co-Creating, and Advocating Peace) won the Best Poster award.
To evaluate the entries and pick the winners, the DE invited judges from different government and non-government agencies, who have been partners of the Institute in various programs and initiatives.
Brother Reynaldo Barnido, a development communication expert and one of the judges of Cluster B, applauded the different extension projects of the Institute. “Extension is essential in the life of the center of learning, and it is the center of the learning process,” Barnido said.
The holding of the in-house review of extension projects demonstrated the Institute’s strong commitment to carry out extension engagements that contributed significantly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through its different extension projects and programs under MSU-IIT’s WE CARE framework.
With the theme “Innovation and Sustainability through Transformative Leadership”, the activity gathered extension program implementers and practitioners to (1) assess the quality and impact of the extension projects/programs of the Institute in its alignment to the WE CARE framework and its contribution the 17 Sustainable Development Goals; (2) recognize and make visible the extension practices that work in different partner communities; and (3) provide a space for sharing knowledge, experiences, and expertise in crafting and implementing extension projects and programs.
During the program, Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol highlighted the challenges that confronted MSU-IIT due to COVID-19 and acknowledged that the pandemic pushed the Institute to heights of innovativeness and creativity as exhibited in the different Institute-led initiatives in response to the pandemic.
Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension Jinky B. Bornales added that the DE has a crucial role in improving MSU-IIT’s innovation ecosystem through generating collaborations and innovations, and seriously addressing the cycle of innovation through ideation, research, and technology transfer to affect significant impact in the community.
At the end of the program, the DE called for proposals for the 2021 extension engagements with the theme “Reset, Rebound, Recover: Investing for Resiliency and Sustainability”.
*Ms. Lynrose Jane D. Genon is currently a faculty member at the Department of English, College of Arts and Social Sciences, and an assistant to the Director of the Department of Extension of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension of the same university. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Arts degree in Culture and Arts Studies. Her works are focused on youth leadership, education, and peace.
Food security and livelihood are adversely affected by the unprecedented lockdown measures of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the fish supply to upland communities has drastically diminished, thus prices skyrocketed making them less affordable to low-income consumers like the locals of Rogongon, one of the remote barangays of Iligan City.
Responding to the urgency to alleviate impacts of the crisis to access to food, Malandog Farmers Association (MLA), through the Food & Livelihood Project for Community Development (FLIP-CD) of the Department of Extension of MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, provided locals of Rogongon fresh, locally-available tilapia. Mr. Jovencio Linsagan, 66 years old, a beneficiary of the project, and who owns a 600 square meters fishpond, was able to harvest tilapia to feed his family and even sold 100 kilos of the fish; hence, generating income during the lockdown.
FLIP-CD was launched in July 2019. The project aimed at developing opportunities and capacities of community organizations in food security and sustainable livelihoods (SDGs 1, 2 and 11), through harnessing the existing fishponds in Hinaplanon, Iligan City, which was part of the Institute’s collaborative project with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The project FLIP-CD partners with locals and community-based organizations with existing fishponds. One of the pioneer partners of the project is the Malandog Farmers Association (MLA), in Sitio Malandog, Barangay Rogongon. This association is endorsed and supported by the Barangay in its participation in the project. MLA was set to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Institute during the Panagtagbo 2020 in February, which was indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At present, the FLIP-CD is currently attending to the requests of other farmers to be part of the project.