Tailored towards the institution’s renewed vision to improve its programs channeled in instruction, community extension, research, and production of technologies, the MHAM community spearheaded a collaboration meeting with the Visayas State University (VSU) team held at Casino Español, Cebu City last June 4, 2019 from 11:00 in the morning to 1:30 in the afternoon.
Headed by the current president and chairman of the board, Mrs. Elma Aznar Sierra, the formal meet and greet and exchange of ideas from both parties were among the highlights of the engagement initiated by the MHAM successor. She was also joined by his grandson, Mr. Vincent Sierra.
Started with a non-formal conversation with Dr. Efren P. Saz and Mrs. Sierra in Dumaguete City, the idea of possible partnership between MHAM and VSU came up after the latter plans to create a botanical garden by planting trees in Tanjay, Negros Oriental. Known by his craft of effective extension programs and projects with rich experiences and scientific enrichment in the field of agriculture, Dr. Saz serves as the director of the VSU Extension at present.
“There are other things that we can also collaborate and other opportunities but certainly when we talk about research involving plants we can do something for you. I was conversing to Ma’am Sierra about exchanging of faculty where one of these days some of your faculty can go to VSU as guest lecturers or we can do seminar series for your professors to go there to deliver a seminar or our professors can come over to do the same and maybe for student collaboration because the more partners, the better. We are also planning to expand some sort of our programs as we have unique programs like Masters in Land Administration so there are many potential areas of collaboration. From the standpoint of the university although I don’t have the authority to speak but we always welcome to partnerships especially from other educational institutions because this is how we are supposed to offer; the business of producing the knowledge and helping our communities, and also in improving our instructions. All of us are supposed to meet our standards; you will deal with PAASCU and we deal with AACCUP and of course CHED tells us to standardize our curricula so we face the same music and dance with the music”, Dr. Saz said.
A school by the mountain and the sea, VSU is internationally recognized for agriculture, engineering, and allied fields, a premier university in the Visayas that became one of the top state universities in the country today. Known as proud Viscans, a lot of the growth of VSU is attributed to research in the national and international scene.
Coming together as a team bearing the Viscan expertise along with Dr. Saz includes the current director of the VSU Institute of Tropical Ecology and Environmental Management (ITEEM), Dr. Marlito Bande; ITEEM instructor, Mr. Jimmy Pogosa; program adviser from Yale University and ITEEM professor, Mr. David Neidel; program facilitator, Mr. Gary Fondren; science researcher, Ms. Angelita Orias; and assistant science researcher, Ms. Sheena Glayza Lou Gonzales. In addition, Mr. Rene Vendiola of Liplong Woodland, was also part of the meeting together with Ms. Merle Fondren and Ms. Joy Natividad. Mr. Vendiola is also affiliated with Siliman University for research.
Meanwhile the MHAM team was composed with the current research department director, Dr. Jose M. Oclarit, VP for Academics for the MHAM College Inc., Dr. Arlene M. Diaz; department of Pharmacology and Toxicology chairperson, Dr. Donny Jay E. Yu; department of Obstetrics and Gynecology chairperson, Dr. Marilou S. Viray; department of Biochemistry & Pharmacology faculty, Dr. Ma. Fidelis E. Quiza; Histology section head, Dr. Antoinnette T. Leuterio; ManCom secretary, Dr. Charles A. Cabataña; HR director, Mr. Pedro U. Pañares; AVP for administration, Mr. Francisco B. Bacalla; BS Environmental Planning assistant dean, Mr. Huberto C. Zanoria; BS Biology program coordinator, Ms. Patricia Mailed; legal counsel, Atty. Fillmore Gomos; and accounting section head, Ms. Flor Delicano.
In response with the realm of possibility and areas of potential expansion laid by the VSU visiting team, the MHAM research department director, Dr. Jose Oclarit, divulged to the group that MHAM, which is a member of the Philippine Association of Laboratory Animal Science, has been identified as an institution at the national level to tackle the research on chaya plant as antidiabetic where isolation of the bioactive compound is underway.
Moreover, the MHAM research department will establish four highly valuable laboratories at the new building in Banawa, Cebu City such as the DNA Forensic Laboratory, Cancer Research Laboratory, Tissue Culture Laboratory, and Medicinal Research Laboratory as significant contributions in the future.
“The way we look at it we can have an immediate collaborative program in the area of medicinal plant research. This year Ma’am Sierra had approved for our request for XPLC which costs 4M which is now already in our hands and which can now actually a first step in the isolation, however, we do not have the analytical so we need your laboratory. In collaboration with the Tuklas Lunas Center, we are really interested in collaborating with you because you have the well-equipped laboratory and all the needed equipment. Since MHAM is already plotted nationally in the area of chaya research, my immediate goal now is to isolate inactive compound, publish it, and of course in collaboration with your institution”, Dr. Oclarit said.
Since VSU has been identified as the PCHRD’s Tuklas Lunas Development Center (TLDC) for Visayas in recognition of its merit in the field of Natural Products Chemistry and Drug Discovery Research, the MHAM-VSU partnership will soon become a forefront endeavor approved and backed by Mrs. Sierra aside from the Tabango, Leyte area as an opportunity to model an environmental program wherein small partnership can grow and foster in the latter part.
Learning and knowing each other’s masterpiece with leading edge identity as educational institutions, a well-rounded promotional video presentation from VSU and MHAM highlighted the meaningful partnership towards a sustainable community-based expansion.
A paramount program that both MHAM and VSU can engage into, the collaborative meeting ended with a heartwarming agreement from both parties to officially sit down as soon as possible for general mutual agreement, standard procedures, and clear road map which are designed to cover for comprehensive partnership timetable. (Ana Liza Abao)