Two University of the Philippines teams were in Cotabato City on June 1, 2023, to consult the Bangsamoro agencies through the forum, “Reinforcing Engagement with Academe through Partnerships” (REAP).
The UP Mindanao team of Prof. Larry Digal sought the support of the BARMM agencies by presenting the outcomes of their project, “Extending the LIFE Model to new MILF communities in Maguindanao and Cotabato,” funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
The LIFE model aims to improve the quality of life in target communities through training in farming and other livelihood activities. The project has sites in Brgy. Saniag, Ampatuan, Maguindanao; Brgy. Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat; and Brgy. Kadigasan, BARMM Special Geographic Area, Midsayap, Cotabato. The baseline results, highlights of project activities, and the results and accomplishments of the program were presented. An open forum followed to gather inputs for improvement.
The second UP team, led by UP Executive Vice President Jose Fernando Alcantara, inquired about new areas for UP's institutional involvement in the Bangsamoro region.
EVP Alcantara sought additional collaborations in preparation for the creation of a UP institute dedicated to the Bangsamoro region. Previously, UP and the BARMM’s Ministry of Basic, Technical, and Higher Education signed a memorandum of understanding which produced the Junior Scientist Program and Affirmative Actions in Education in the Bangsamoro region.
Representatives of BARMM agencies welcomed the inquiries and contributed suggestions for UP’s collaboration. Represented were the BARMM ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), Science and Technology (MOST), and Labor and Employment (MOLE). Officials from the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority, and the Policy Research and Legal Services were present. The CBCS and the Cotabato State University completed the BARMM representation.