CPAf marks 23-year milestones by honoring partners, staff members

On its 23rd Founding Anniversary Celebration, CPAf recognized its partners and personnel whose collective efforts enabled the College to continue its mission of developing human and institutional capacities.

Themed “Forging Partnership for Stronger Communities and Institutions in the New Future,” this year’s Anniversary Celebration was marked with a series of online activities. It started with a program in the morning of January 29 followed by an alumni forum in the afternoon. The recognition program for the 2020 CPAf graduates in the morning of January 30 concluded the celebration.

The theme reinforced the need for partnerships, especially in these trying times. “As the pandemic clearly illustrated, the world is highly integrated, and solutions are better when people and organizations work together,” Dr. Rowena DT. Baconguis, officer-in-charge (OIC)-Dean of CPAf, said in a recorded video.

“As we celebrate the 23 years of CPAf’s achievements, we bank on our collective competencies and partners to move forward, and face head on the challenges of the new future,” Dr. Baconguis added.

Anniversary Program

UPLB Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr., guest speaker of the CPAf Anniversary Program, recognized the tireless efforts of the College over the years to establish its “relationship” with local government units and civil society organizations.

“Moving forward, UPLB hopes to harness those relationships to further our knowledge dissemination, our research, and public service efforts, and partner them with the resources and experience of the local government units,” he said.

He further expressed his hope for CPAf to create more institutional and community linkages.

According to Dr. Baconguis, CPAf brings in more partners in its public service and research programs by tapping alumni and personal networks of CPAf faculty and staff.

Dr. Evelie P. Serrano, OIC-Director of the Institute for Governance and Rural Development (IGRD), also mentioned in a recorded video that CPAf has established partnerships with local academic institutions and some leading universities in Japan and South Korea. With the current remote learning setup, CPAf has also invited experts from different parts of the country to give class lectures.

“Our upcoming virtual international conference proves that our international contacts can be tapped in different roles as board members, speakers, and lecturers and that they are more than willing to share their knowledge and resources,” Dr. Baconguis also shared.

“With the strengthened CPAf research and extension framework that capitalizes on the strength of its faculty, staff members, and students, we will be able to expand our portfolio of research and extension interventions,” she said.

Recognizing the collective competencies of its people, CPAf honored its faculty and staff who exhibited outstanding performances. Plaque of appreciation was given to each of the following awardees: Atty. Damcelle T. Cortes (Assistant Professor) as Outstanding Teacher; Dr. Maria Ana T. Quimbo (Professor) as Outstanding Senior Researcher; Mr. Francis John F. Faderogao (University Researcher) as Outstanding Junior Researcher; and Dr. Aileen V. Lapitan (Assistant Professor) as Outstanding Extension Personnel.

Likewise, the research team led by Dr. Lapitan who conducts the research project titled “Development of Innovation Approaches in the Context of Selected Small Island Municipalities in Southern Luzon” bagged the Outstanding Research Team. Meanwhile, the “Developing Strategies Towards More Resilient Fishing Communities Amidst Climate Change: The Case of Major Lakes in Luzon” project received the Outstanding Extension Project award. Dr. Miriam R. Nguyen led the project.

Plaque of appreciation was also given to Vice Chancellor for Administration Rolando T. Bello (Associate Professor) and Dr. Jaine C. Reyes (Associate Professor) for serving as CPAf Dean (1 August 2018 – 31 October 2020) and iIGRD Director (1 October 2017 – 30 September 2020), respectively. Dr. Josefina T. Dizon (Professor) also received a certificate of recognition for her appointment as UP Scientist 3 (2019-2021).

Moreover, CPAf honored its staff members who retired in 2020 for their years of service to the University. They were Administrative Assistant Rosemarie A. Cornista (29 years) and University Research Associate Rosita L. Velasco (42 years). Both received a plaque of appreciation.

Lastly, the book titled “Reflections from R&D Managers” was also acknowledged during the program. Dr. Reyes is one of the editors and author of two chapters.

Alumni Forum

One of CPAf’s established partners is the CPAf Alumni Association (AA). For its 23rd Anniversary Celebration, the College and CPAf AA hosted the “Forum on Education, Development, and Governance: Experiences of the 2020 CPAf Alumni Awardees” with Mr. Bon Ian D. Dela Roca as resource speaker.

Mr. Dela Roca was one of the four alumni awardees last year. He was the recipient of the 2020 CPAf Distinguished Alumnus for Agri-Entrepreneurship and Cooperative Management. He was a graduate of Master in Public Affairs major in Strategic Planning and Public Policy in 2007.

Mr. Dela Roca talked about cooperative management and governance from his 17 years of experience. He is currently the Vice President for Return of the Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative in Batangas, President of the League of Cooperative Managers of Batangas, and Private Sector Representative to the Regional Development Council (Region IV-A). He is also the Director of the Global Academy on Migration and Development, Agripooler of the Agriterra Philippines (Netherland), and consultant of various local government units.

Forum reactor and CPAf AA Auditor, Ms. Rowena Yap-Bernal highlighted the “intrinsic oneness of different sectors” as noted by Mr. Dela Roca in his presentation. They are integrated; the development in one area serves as the building block for the other areas, according to Ms. Yap-Bernal.

Recognition Rites

The virtual Recognition Rites honored 42 graduates of the Academic Year (A.Y.) 2019-2020. The Master’s degree programs had the highest number with 24 graduates. It was followed by PhD programs with 13 graduates, and lastly, MS programs with 5 graduates.

During the program, CPAf also presented the Best Field Study, Thesis, and Dissertation; Student Service; Student Leadership; and Academic Excellence Awards.

Best student research awards were given to the following studies: “Utilizing Augmented Reality as Instructional Strategy for Generation Z Learners” by Mr. Peter Tee Jay L. Alvarez (Master in Public Affairs [MPAf] major in Education Management) as Best Field Study; “Women’s Participation in the Transformation of Smallholder Agriculture in Casabauc, Covalima, Timor-Leste” by Ms. Octaviana F. Agostinho (MS in Community Development) as Best Thesis; and “Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship: Attitudes, Behaviors, and Life Plans of Filipino Women Migrants in Italy” by Dr. Manuela Prandini (PhD in Extension Education) as Best Dissertation.

Meanwhile, Ericson N. Dela Cruz, PhD in Community Development graduate, received the Student Service Award. Another PhD graduate, Paul Jersey G. Leron (PhD in Development Studies) bagged the Student Leadership Award. Both also received a certificate of appreciation for serving as officers of the CPAf Graduate Students’ Association.

Moreover, Mr. Azareel A. Sumaya (MPAf major in Education Management) received an Academic Achievement Award. He generated 1.125 general weighted average (GWA), the highest among Master’s degree graduates of A.Y. 2019-2020. Among PhD graduates, Dr. Prandini generated the highest GWA of 1.04 and thus received an Academic Achievement Award. She was also the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award for being the class valedictorian.

In her valedictory speech, Dr. Prandini shared what education offers and emphasized its mission.

“It [education] provides us with a mission towards critical change and transformation for improvement and social betterment,” she remarked.

She reminded fellow graduates to apply the lessons learned from UPLB and share them to serve people.

“As we go back to our families and institutions and we continue our life journey, we should remember that our mission is to contribute to improve social living, work for a better future for our fellow citizens and a more cohesive and collaborative world,” she noted.

The Recognition Rites was graced by Dr. Pheak Sothea, guest speaker and CPAf alumnus. He is currently the Deputy Director General and Head of One- Window Service, General Department of Administration of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction in Cambodia. Dr. Sothea was a graduate of MS and PhD in Community Development in 2006 and 2010, respectively.

During the program, a tribute in the form of audio-visual presentation was also shown. Graduates also took their oath as new members of the CPAf AA.

Together with its students, alumni, and other partners, the College will be able to “forge a path that will solidify its leadership in governance and development.” Dr. Baconguis expressed this optimism in her welcome remarks during the anniversary program.

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