Saturday, October 6, 2007


By Marciano Paroy Jr.

Mr. Ryota Okazaki, part of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) Batch 127, has recently completed his two-year stint at the Kalinga-Apayao State College where he was stationed as an expert-consultant on environmental and mapping concerns.
Arriving in 2005, he was taken in as part of the KASC’S on global information system (GIS) – an undertaking initiated by Dr. Jovita Saguibo and Engr. Manuel Bilagot during Dr. Venus Lammawin’s last year as president of the state college. The GIS project uses satellite technology in accurately delineating territorial boundaries and topographical features of all land types – and come up with a mass of technical data that would be useful in planning and implementation of projects.
Mr. Ryota, a holder of a degree in forestry, shared his expertise in furthering the outputs of the GIS project. With the other members of the GIS team, Engr. Bilagot and JV Flores, he had been busy roaming the hilly and forested terrain of the province. After two years of collecting data on-field, and storing these data into the computer database, he had accomplished what he has originally intended to attain for KASC.
The Japanese volunteer, who hails from the city of Kyoto, is part of a Japanese team that included Ms. Aya Monoi (in physical education); Mr. Takeshi Mori (in computer technology); Mr. Koichi Nakamura (in welding technology); and Ms. Hiromi Tanaka (in education). Like Ryota, these young men and women were turned over to their respective local partner organizations (LPOs) last 3 May 2005. And now that the volunteerism contract expired, they are now ready to leave the Philippines. Fortunately, they will be replaced by other visionary young people.
JOCV Resident Representative Mr. Katsumi Yoshida and Joselito C. de Vera Executive Director of the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) are behind the scheduling of the volunteers. The major areas of assignment of the volunteers are education, social work, youth counseling, aquaculture, environment conservation and protection.
As part of their preparation, JOCV and PNVSCA adopted a cluster-based culture and language learning that is geared toward easier and faster adjustments of the volunteers. And Ryota did learn to like a lot about his host province: he came to love binungor, pinakbet, lauya, and basi which according to him is not that different from their native sake (Japanese for wine).
Ryota was given a formal send-off party by the KASC administration during which College President Eduardo Bagtang expressed his sincerest appreciation for Ryota’s work – which the school benefited from. For free.

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