by Michelle Jeanne Caracut, OC/OPI

MEETING over coffee and kakanin, the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology and its institutional partners brainstormed and shared ideas on how to optimally collaborate through innovation initiatives to achieve significant impact in Mindanao. 

The brief meeting which was held at the Institute’s Fabrication Laboratory (FABLAB) Mindanao on the afternoon of September 13, 2019 were attended by the Institute’s Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol, Prof.. Evelyn Creencia, Director for Research, and Assoc. Prof. Lemuel Clark Velasco, FAB LAB Manager, together with representatives of MSU-IIT’s partner institutions: Regional Director Alfonso Alamban of the Department of Science and Technology-Region 10; Regional Director Linda Boniao of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Region 10; CHED-Region 10 Supervisor Desiderio Apag, III; Director Ruel Paclipan of DTI-Lanao del Norte; and DTI FAB LAB Coordinator Nancy Echavez.

Joining the meeting also was Deputy Chief of Missions of the US Embassy, John Law. In the meeting, he expressed his happiness that they can partner with universities and agencies, like MSU-IIT and FabLab Mindanao, in finding ways of unleashing the potential of other people.

During the exchange of ideas, Tanggol expressed the importance of continuing the kind of relationship that the Institute and the agencies currently have. He hoped that the institutional partners continue to share financial resources that can support MSU-IIT’s and FabLab Mindanao’s projects and programs. 

“We can use our resources, our talents, our faculty members, our students in trying to create [a] better society,” he added.

The performance of the Institute as well as that of the FabLab Mindanao banks not only on the support of the local government but also on the support of its collaborators and partners, Tanggol said.

FabLab Manager Velasco hoped that through the meeting MSU-IIT and its partners can explore more opportunities; and that by next year, FabLab Mindanao can get more projects.

FabLab Mindanao has been working with DTI on projects focusing on business, with DOST on projects related to science and researches, and CHED on projects related to teaching.

According to Velasco, DTI, DOST, CHED want to explore projects on community development and innovation center capacity building. 

“Since there are a lot of innovation centers in the Philippines established by DTI, DOST, CHED, they want to piece them all together and capacitate them, Velasco said. 

Currently, FabLab Mindanao is working on three projects for the out-of-school youth, children, women, and differently-abled people, and training them to be employed in the laboratories.

Velasco wishes that by 2020, FabLab Mindanao can capacitate other fabrication laboratories in the Philippines, and that the consortium will be created to unify efforts as there are many and different initiatives.

“Hopefully, MSU-IIT will be at the center to unify them through the consortium and lead others,” he said.

Photos by: Jan Christian Pagarigan