By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. is keen to position the province as the first to have a localized research and development program in the country.
Defensor said this after the Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency David Bruce Hartman, paid a courtesy call to his office last week.
“Right now we are positioning to have a localized research and development program with our state colleges and universities (SUC),” Defensor said in a press conference.
The provincial governor noted that the Embassy of Canada to the Philippines has partnerships with academic institutions and scholarship exchanges that can expedite the process.
“As soon as we have it on paper and as soon we have formalized our collaboration with SUCs, I will immediately write [to the Embassy],” he added.
The provincial government said they are eyeing to start the process in November this year.
Defensor said that over the past two months, concerned department heads of the province have already discussed the possible research agenda with target SUCs, including the University of the Philippines Visayas and the Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology.
The target SUCs and the provincial government are set to sign the memorandum of agreement and understanding for the collaboration in November this year.
The localized research and development program will focus on developing value chains, particularly in the creation of food packaging for local products and the development of various food varieties.
In an August interview, the provincial governor wants “to maximize the potential of Ilonggo minds from our academic institutions so that we can disperse their creation for the practical needs of our people.”