(February 21)— A memorandum of agreement (MOA) was entered into by UP Diliman through Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through Secretary Virgilio R. Delos Reyes and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) led by its president Antonio Kalaw on February 15 at the DAR Office of the Secretary Board Room in Diliman.
The MOA aims to jointly develop a Master Program in Public Management, major in Rural Development (MPM-MRD) in the country that will enhance the institutional mechanisms, systems and procedures of the program, and empower the rural poor.
The MPM-MRD is envisioned to form “a pool of transformative leaders of rural development from the professional ranks of the three agencies” that are “adept in knowledge management, policy development and advocacy, capacity development, economic empowerment and social entrepreneurship, and integrator of development.”
DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said MPM-MRD “is targeting the field supervisors, technical/staff and administrators of National Convergence Initiative (NCI) agencies to provide relevant enterprise, political, managerial and technical skills for an inclusive and sustainable rural development.”
The MPM-MRD is a pioneering customized graduate program aimed at boosting the joint efforts of the three NCI agencies namely, DAR, Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The program aims to address the challenges “in the delivery of agricultural and rural development services by the DA, DAR and DENR due to distinct regulatory management.”
MPM-MRD takes a blended-learning approach while observing adult-learning principles for the course. The course will be a combination of face-to-face interaction between the students and faculty, as well as online learning.
MPM-MRD’s curriculum shall be conceptualized, developed and implemented by an Educational Consortium for Rural Development (ECRD) composed of DAP, the UP College of Social Work and Community Development, DILC, the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) and Xavier University (XU).
DAP, a government-owned and controlled academic institution created to carry out selective human resource development programs, shall assist the NCI in developing the MRD program. It shall also constitute a project team to coordinate with the point persons from the NCI in the management of project activities and delivery of outputs and will serve as the lead facilitator of the ECRD.
For its part, UPD through the Diliman Interactive Learning Center (DILC) shall provide the online platform and support services for the blended-learning component of the program.
The MOA also specified that “DAR will finance the cost of the Curriculum Development, online platform development and support services, Training Materials Development and Faculty Development of the project while the cost of the implementation will be sourced from the tuition fees of the scholars of the DA, DAR and DENR.”
Present in the MOA signing were Marriz Agbon, Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Corporation president; Bernadette Puyat, Department of Agriculture undersecretary (Usec.); representative of Usec. Demetrio Ignacio of the DENR, Dr. Peter A. Sy, DILC director; Dean Gloria Mercado of the DAP-GSPDM, Dean Antonio G.M. Lavina of ASoG, Dean Roel Ravanera of XU, Angelita Medel, ASoG faculty; DAR undersecretaries Jerry Pacturan (who delivered the opening remarks and program overview), Dennis Barrantes, Gerundio Madueno, Anthony Parungao, Herminia Fe San Juan, Atty. Justin Vincent Lachica of DAR, DAR assistant secretaries Felix Perry Villanueva and Mary Frances Aquino, and Dr. Cristine DLR. Villagonzalo, UPD Office of Extension Coordination director.
The project agreement takes effect on February 15 and lasts until December 30, 2014.—H.C.P.