Research Consortium Launches Mindanao Devt. Guidebook in WMSU

Zamboanga City – THE book “Checkpoints and Chokepoints – Learning from Peace and Development Paradigms and Practices in Mindanao”, published by the Mindanao Studies Consortium Foundation, Inc. (MSCFI), was launched at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) last Dec. 13.

The book is a useful tool in analyzing how development projects are being planned and implemented in Mindanao, said WMSU President Dr. Grace Rebollos. Its contents are various studies prepared by members of the consortium and presented during the 1st Mindanao Studies Consortium held in Davao City last February, Fr. Albert Alejo of Ateneo de Davao University, who wrote the foreword, said during the launch at the president’s conference room.

Dr. Rebollos received a free copy of the book from consortium chairman Ricardo de Ungria, who said it was the group’s gift to her as new president of WMSU.

Dr. Rebollos said the book will help development planners and implementors including non-government organizations as well academic researchers learn how to better undertake community-building projects. By scrutinizing the processes in developmental work as the book does, Dr. Rebollos said, past mistakes will be avoided and improvements introduced in future efforts.

WMSU, a member of the research group, hosted the MSCFI regular meeting held simultaneously on that day.

In the meeting, the consortium also adopted a resolution supporting a Congressional bill that seeks to provide a permanent agency status to the Mindanao Economic Development Organization (Medco). The consortium noted that Medco has existed by virtue of only a presidential proclamation since 1992, though it has proven to be instrumental in pursuing developmental programs in southern Philippines.

The group also adopted a “position paper (that stresses) the urgency of the need to address the deteriorating quality of graduate school education and to help upgrade it” through some recommended steps. These include the adoption of stricter mechanisms to guide the creation of programs that effectively address community problems and issues and for a better training of professors, among others.

The group also proposed amendments to the Indigenous People’s Rights Ac (IPRA) to plug loopholes in the processes of involving ethnic communities in the implementation of projects in their ancestral domains. The group further moved for a deeper and more comprehensive study through a “joint needs analysis” of the mining industries in Mindanao to ensure that mineral explorations will benefit local communities and conserve the environment.

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