Last March 29, 2021, Dr. Merlyne M. Paunlagui presented her end-of-term report as Director of the Center for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies (CSPPS) of CPAf. The said presentation was held via an online platform and was attended by CPAf constituents.
CSPPS is one of the research centers at CPAf. Its mandate is to generate timely, objective, and science-based policy research programs concerning public policy and decision-making.
In her report, Dr. Paunlagui highlighted the accomplishments, activities, and programs of CSPPS in the past three years. According to her, CSPPS has been working diligently on linking policy and research encompassing three areas: Agricultural Policy and Sustainability, Water and Development, and Social Policy and Institutions.
Dr. Paunlagui also reported that CSPPS staff have been involved in various research projects based at and outside the center and the college. Among these are research on Technology Transfer Modalities and Compliance of Stakeholders to the Technology Transfer Act of 2009. Other CSPPS-based projects are being handled by CPAf faculty members, such as the assessment of policy constraints on the conduct of public R&D, and the development of innovation approaches for small island municipalities.
One of the major ways CSPPS does extension is by regularly hosting policy seminars. These events encourage and nurture public policy discourse.
Before, policy seminars were conducted once a month at the maximum. However, when the pandemic hit the country, the way seminars are held changed. These events, which can now be streamed via online platforms, have widened its reach.
Through the years, the center has also released several publications based on its research projects. These include working papers, training manuals, monographs, books, and policy briefs.
“We are really proud to share these publications to our stakeholders,” Dr. Paunlagui said.
According to Dr. Paunlagui, the research center does not really have a high annual budget; and thus, CSPPS usually relies on project funds for its daily operating expenses. Pooling funds from the central administration, the general fund, and research projects, CSPPS was able to acquire equipment and software that are helpful in research implementation.
As for administrative efficiency, Dr. Paunlagui had all office records (e.g., appointment orders, basic papers, service records) scanned to streamline administrative processes and immediately address the administrative needs of the CSPPS staff. Past survey questionnaires and CSPPS publications were also scanned.
In her concluding statements, Dr. Paunlagui wished for the continued advancement of the office. She also encouraged the CSPPS staff to pursue further studies. Furthermore, she reminded the research staff to be confident in handling their projects and publish their research outputs. She also thanked everyone who had been a part of her journey as the CSPPS Director.
Dr. Paunlagui, who also served as a faculty member in CPAf and handled various graduate courses under its Master in Public Affairs program, could be considered as one of the pioneers of CSPPS. She had been with the center even before it became what it is today, when it was still known as the Center for Policy Development Studies under the Office of the Chancellor.
Throughout her career of more than 30 years, she was able to build an extensive research experience through her various involvements in social science research and several impact assessment studies, baseline studies, and monitoring and evaluation studies, just to mention a few. She has also worked with different sectors in the country, among which include the urban poor, the fisherfolks, farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries, rural and urban women and children, migrant workers, families, and persons with disabilities. A personification of research and excellence, Dr. Paunlagui has cemented herself as one of the pillars of CSPPS, having served as its Director for nine years until her retirement last April 11, 2021.