Wednesday, April 8, 2009

FRD’s launching of a KASC Project …and battle of the sexes in KASC

by Marciano A. Paroy, Jr.

At Guru Press where I serve as the Associate Editor, we have taken seriously the observance of Women’s Month this 2009. We featured articles that celebrate the multi-faceted ingenuity and indispensability of women in different fields.
We cap it all this week with the front page photo of Governor Floydelia R. Diasen visiting the Kalinga-Apayao State College to formally launch the latest money-making venture of the Institute of Entrepreneurial Arts, under Dean Edna Yumol: taro-based products, through the use of a machine that was donated by the Provincial Government – a feat that can be credited to the brainchild behind the project, Dr. Virginia Petang and her research partner Zorayda Gavino.
Taro, of course, is that root crop we seldom give attention to – galyang. Reading the rationale in the research work conducted by Ms. Petang and Ms. Gavino, taro (or gabi), as one of the most common root crops in the Philippines, is commonly planted in areas not really suitable for its culture since traditional staples and vegetables are given priority to occupy good production areas. Although gabi has the ability to grow in marginal and sub marginal areas, it normally grows well and produces high yield when cultivated in more suitable areas favored with the right soil and rainfall needed by the crop.
According to Ms. Gavino, “We have observed that galyang or “lucia” (in Kalinga) is locally abundant but underutilized because it is commonly used as an ingredient in cooking “Nilagang Baboy/Baka” and as feeder for pigs in the locality. It is from this realization that we have come up with the thought of putting galyang into good use – considering that it is rich in starch, calcium, phosphorous and potassium.”
KASC has actually sent Ms. Petang and Ms. Gavino – along with Research Director Jovita Saguibo (there, another woman) – to compete in the Regional Symposium for research and extension undertakings in the Cordillera in 2007, with their research on Taro Flour. They won second place. Coincidentally, they were bested by yet another lady researcher from KASC – Dr. Helen Bais, with her winning research work on basidiomycetes (kurat, kudit and laplapayag).
Perhaps inspired by their success in said regional symposium, the researchers decided to go full blast and focus their new-found energies into actual production of foodstuffs made from taro. There was one setback, though: the purchase for the machine needed for the venture.
Of course, when Dean Yumol, Ms. Petang and Ms. Gavino lobbied for the Governor’s support to the project by requesting assistance for the purchase of the machine, the Governor may have stamped her approval over the request not because the request was coming from her KASC family (where she last served as the Dean of the Institute of Health Sciences prior to her joining the world of politics), but because she may have seen the viability and profitability of the undertaking.
KASC – as a state-run institution – is not exempt from on-going measures called for by the government on various agencies to become creative in coming up with ideas that could increase the financial base of the agency concerned. President Eduardo Bagtang (himself an honorary woman as a lecturer on Gender and Development) has been non-sop, in fact, in his quest for tie-ups, collaborations and financial linkages with other institutions and organizations – aside from intensifying the existing production capabilities of the school – some he inherited from past administrations, some devised under his leadership. With this taro production, KASC has further broadened its potentials in thickening its financial resources.
The Governor, aside from her last post in KASC as the Dean of the IHS, also served as the Director for Student Affairs and Services (DSAS). I was still a student then, and as one of the student leaders that time (as the Editor-in-Chief of the student publication – a post given me by both her and her Student Coordinator at that time, Dr. Edgar Naganag, another expert on Gender and Development), I found it rather hassle-free to approach her and have something approved. Whenever she viewed a proposal as really catering to the needs of the students, she would be expected to say “yes.”
I have always noted that it was during her turn as the DSAS that student organizations were asked to undergo accreditation by the administration, before they can be officially recognized. As a result of this call, out came many student organizations that are now enjoying recognized status.
During her last days in KASC as the Dean of the IHS, the Governor shared the distinction as a lady dean along with Dean Yumol (Institute of Entrepreneurial Arts), Dean Joy Grace P. Doctor (Institute of Arts and Sciences), and Dean Elsie Coyoy (Institute of Teacher Education), thereby outnumbering the male deans then – Dean Joseph Aguilar (Institute of Agriculture and Forestry) and Dean Amado Imper (Institute of Mathematics, Engineering and Applied Technology).
IHS is now under Dean Christine Ammakiw, while Dean Aguilar has given way to Dean Aurea Calubaquib. Dean Coyoy, on the other hand, has transferred the reins to Dean Raymond Balbin.
So, the scales are still tipped in favor of the women as far as deanship is concerned in KASC. Move on to the Directorship level and you have the same picture: Ms. Rosalina Gunaban is Director for Administration and Finance, Dr. Adoracion Taguba is Director for Student Services and Admission (the renamed version of DSAS) Dr. Jovita Saguibo is Director for Research – while Dr. Maximo Garming is the sole male director, for Extension. Three is to one – that’s the ratio among the directors.
Well, we also have Mr. Tomas Carabbacan as the chief of Business Affairs. He, originally, was from the high school department – which is now under Principal Corazon Osdeg.
Then we have Vice President for Academic Affairs: Dr. Carmelita T. Ayang-ang. The total number of female key-players in KASC clearly gives the edge to women.
Throw them all in the conference room for a planning session – with President Bagtang at the helm – and it is easy to imagine how the female officials can out-maneuver the men. One can almost imagine the women applying all the tactics they could think of so that, at the end of the day, the men will eventually relent and be pressured into submission.
Fortunately, that is not the case. The men in KASC (well, it’s the academe) regard the women as their counterparts in all aspects. So… minds meet, and the best decisions are hammered out, regardless of the gender of the one pitching-in an idea.
Dijay lang ah ta napigpigsa ti boses dagiti babbai. Ah, women…

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