Bridging the inter-jurisdictional chasm | Opinion of the applicant
President Duterte announced last Monday that he had started packing his personal belongings so he could leave Malacañang in March, about a month before the May 9 elections. Mr Duterte seems in too much of a rush to get out, considering his term does not end until noon on June 30. If he moves into a small condo as he plans, he will go into “work from home” mode like many people for maybe a hundred days.
This apparent presidential mood of fatigue and desperation may simply reflect the numbing stupor government and bureaucracy may be feeling. The government is already in the pre-departure zone as national and local government offices slow down their work for various election-related reasons: senior official resignation to stand for election; demoralization among “true believers”; loss of urgency, direction and supervision; and the numerous restrictions on procurement and project implementation that come into effect during the election campaign period. Many meritorious projects are no longer initiated in this twilight of the current administration so they will not be banned in the coming one.
If you step back and watch the election frenzy from afar, you wonder if you’re going to capsize the ship by all huddled on the port side, neglecting to gaze at the vast sea that lies ahead. To ensure that the country does not stand still, the relay must be taken up by other institutions and sectors of society.
One of these institutions is the university. The way universities can fill the void of national attention without being partisan is to fix their gaze and potential contribution on the year 2030, the year of the end of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In a way, the government programs proposed by candidates and political parties to meet the urgent and important needs of the nation are in fact variants of the 17 UN SDGs, a global campaign to which the Philippines is committed. engaged.
Over the next three months, the Universities Action Network for the SDGs will be established, with Cavite State University, Eastern Visayas State University and Mindanao State University as partners. pioneers, alongside the National Academy of Science and Technology, universities and councils. Southeast Asia Inclusive Development Innovation Network and Future Earth Philippines Program.
The idea of the network is to help transform Philippine universities into SDG-aligned universities. Many SDG-focused initiatives come out of universities, but these are individual or unit-level efforts rather than at the whole-institution level. The contribution of universities to the achievement of the SDGs would be all the more important if the teaching, research and outreach functions, programs and projects of universities were aligned with the achievement of specific SDGs that the university is particularly well placed to approach.
The universities mentioned make vigorous efforts to work with government officials to translate their research into policy and problem-solving initiatives. One example is the Mindanao-Iligan State University Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) which last year during the pandemic held two university-wide workshops dubbed Research to Policy to Action (R2P2A) to learn how to make their research more effective. respond to the needs of local communities and solve problems that fall under the SDGs. Earlier, an MSU-IIT multidisciplinary study offered recommendations for the conservation and development of Lake Lanao in light of the Siege of Marawi.
Some of the research I found interesting ranged from very technical research to more practical research. One was a study on the development of biosensor materials for possible use in COVID-19 testing. Another was an effort to restore and innovate agricultural education and engineering technology courses to enable senior high school students to immediately obtain local employment upon graduation.
During the election campaign period, similar efforts are needed from academia, the media and civil society. There is a need for research institutes, non-governmental organizations and, yes, academic institutions to help process, analyze and transform information and documents from presidential debates and proclamation rallies into a form that ordinary voters can understand and appreciate. Securing our future means some of us have to look beyond elections.
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