SorSU – Office of Extension & Training Services initiates ‘‘Participatory Community Dialogue’ with community partners — exchange insights & feedback; explores potential, relevant projects for local stakeholders

As part of the three-day 6th Sorsogon Research, Development, and Training Conference (SoRDECon), Sorsogon State University – Research, Extension and Training (SorSU-RET), through its Office of Extension and Training Services, headed by Dr. Ana Cristina G. Fortes (Director, Extension and Training Services), engaged its community partners — local government units (LGUs) across the province, academic institutions, government agencies & private institutions, farmers & fisherfolk organizations, cooperatives, and student extensionists — in a collaborative ‘Participatory Community Dialogue’ with the aim to exchange insights, perceptions, and feedback for effective launching/implementation of SorSU’s projects aligned to the needs and interests of the local communities it serves, held at the SorSU Old Boardroom, Sorsogon City Campus, on March 07, 2024.

SUC President III, Dr. Geraldine F. De Jesus, warmly welcomed the community partners from various institutions, organizations, and cooperatives, expressing the University’s strong commitment to supporting the community dialogue to promote inclusive multisectoral development in Sorsogon.

“We cannot implement worthwhile projects without initiating dialogues to discuss the needs of our community partners. In this way, you will be aware that your perspectives and feedback are important to us during the planning and implementation of such projects. This is what participatory community consultation is all about — we want to hear your voices so that we can launch projects that are truly effective and sustainable.”

“May I also add that as we continue growing as an academic institution, we are currently streamlining the university along global standards but at the same time ensuring that our commitment to our local stakeholders and institutional partners remain strong as ever. Habang kami po ay nangangarap na makilala sa buong mundo, hinding-hindi po namin kalilimutan kung saan kami nanggaling. At kayo po yun na binibigyan namin ng halaga.”

The SorSU President concluded her message by expressing her appreciation to all the attendees. She remarked, “We fervently hope that our partnership will continue to grow and bring greater benefits to all Sorsoguenos and the entire Filipino nation.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Ana Cristina G. Fortes (Director, Extension and Training Services) provided the Overview and Flow of the Activity, where she also introduced the SorSU Extension Lead Team, including campus/college extension coordinators & SorSU faculty extensionists.
“Ang Extension Services saro po siya na mekanismo para makaheras ang saro na pamantasan san mga proyekto sa mga komunidad.”
Dr. Fortes stated that the University has organized 33 extension projects across the Province of Sorsogon in 2023, along with skills training, literacy development, and technical assistance & services relative to ICT, Engineering, Foods, Agriculture, & Fisheries.

“Sa loob ng isang taon, nagkaroon po kami ng 8,952 na beneficiaries or na-train, base po doon sa aming data naging beneficiary po sila ng aming mga training. At meron po kaming 49 na MOA. Ibig pong sabihin nito, ang aming university ay meron pong 49 na active partners at kasama po kayo doon.”

“Sa niyan po na adlaw, magkakaroon po tayo ng participatory community dialogues. In this activity, saro po siya na milestone sa amo office na makibagat, makiistorya, makipag-connect sa iyo para po sa mga kadahilanan na ini. Una, sa participatory dialogue mas lalo mi masasabutan ang sistema san mga pangangaipo, resources, opportunities, asin kaburut-on san mga tawo sa community. Ikaduwa, tangani ang Sorsogon State University, makapagpartisipar san paagi sang paggibo sang mga proyekto na magiging kasimbagan san inmamaw-ot san ato komunidad – and that is the Sorsogon Province. And lastly, Sorsogon State University wants to know more partners, strengthen our relations, and establish strong connections sa indo tabi gabos. Our partnership does not end when the project ends. We can always start a new one.”

Meanwhile, the participating community partners of SorSU likewise introduced themselves and shared how the institution has immensely helped them in their respective communities. Significantly, Mr. Rolando Jarilla, a Pili/Root Crop/Tiger Grass Farmer, is one of the beneficiaries of the extension project of the institution.

“Saro po ako sa natabangan na beneficiary kan Castilla Campus na naki-partner sa community. Kaya po ngunyan, mamati po ako ki marhay para po masabutan ko po ang ipapasabot po sa muya na mga farmers, para po maadalan, para mai-share ko po sa samuyang komunidad. Salamatunon po ki maray.”

The highlight of the event — the focus group discussion (tagged as Connecting Communities, Uncovering Disparity, Bridging Gaps), where the participants were divided into different groups in line with their sectors/fields (Group 1: Education, Group 2: Industries/Business, Group 3: Agri-Fisheries, Group 4: Administration and Community Development, & Group 5: Technology), enabled the community partners to recognize and share current community issues, problems, needs along with different fields/aspects; formulate solutions; and as well as analyze & assess possible collaborations between/among SorSU and its partners in order to proactively address the identified problems and needs for the betterment of the communities.

After the FDG, the ‘Re-establishing the Vision with Self as Main Actor’ and ‘Goal Setting’ activities followed alongside respective group presentations.

The community dialogue culminated with the awarding of the certificates to the community partners and stakeholders, facilitated by SUC President III, Dr. Geraldine F. De Jesus; Dr. Ryan V. Dio (Vice President for Research, Extension and Training); and Dr. Ana Cristina G. Fortes (Director, Extension and Training Services).

Together with the campus/college extension coordinators and faculty extensionists across the four campuses of the University, the community dialogue was well represented by key individuals, government agencies, institutions, and cooperatives from Castilla, Bulan, Bulusan, Magallanes, and other community partners of the University. Among the attendees were Hon. Michael G. Guysayko (Municipal Mayor, Bulusan), Hon. Wennie Rafallo Romano (Vice Mayor, Bulusan), Hon. Philip G. Bartilet (Councilor, Bulusan), Ms. Veronica B. Gallanosa (MENRO, Bulusan), Sr. Maria Elisa B. Barranco (SLMCS – Bulan), Hon. Edwin Divina (Brgy. Chairman – Buhatan, Sorsogon City), Atty. Marilyn D. Valino (Castilla), Ms. Mariel Marantal (Castilla), Marie Rose Tiamson (Castilla), Mr. Rolando Jarilla (Farmer, Castilla), Engr. Ma. Evans Marana (Magallanes), Hon. Shirley P. Guarina (Brgy. Chairperson – Biga, Magallanes), Margielina Nelitate (Magallanes), Mr. Raul Delabajan (Fisherfolk/President of the Bigani Association Inc. – Magallanes), Engr. Eden D. Audal (IIEE), Ms. Lyndra A. Villareal (DSWD-RRCY), and other key individuals.

The University is steadfastly committed to providing expertise, technical assistance, support, and other relevant services to its equally dedicated community partners through proactive collaborations and partnerships that seek to uplift and transform the lives of Sorsogueno stakeholders. (SorSU PIO)