VCRI Lauds SDRC as “A Model for Other Centers” in Anniversary Program

Based on the projects it is currently conducting, the Social Development Research Center stands as a model for other University research centers to emulate.
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This was the observation made by Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Raymond Tan in the opening remarks he delivered for the Center’s 35th Anniversary Program, held on April 28, 2014 at the European Documentation Center of the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall. He pointed out that while DLSU has celebrated its centennial, it has only been a university for 39 years, and SDRC has been in existence for 35 of those years, as one of the first two research centers established on campus. Further noting that the Center is among the few that still celebrate their anniversaries with a theme (“SDRC @ 35: Crossing Boundaries, Advancing Beyond Change”), Dr. Tan acknowledged that the challenge now is for it to continue to go beyond boundaries and to engage in research partnerships with other colleges.

The theme of “crossing boundaries” was made evident in the nature of the projects presented during the program. The program began with a discussion on the initial findings in the project “Yolanda Aftermath: Immediate Effects of the Typhoon among Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Families in Leyte” by University Fellow and Sociology Professor Dr. Exaltacion E. Lamberte. Emphasizing the need for the Center to work along the line of reconstruction efforts as a means of exiting from poverty, she acknowledged that recovery and rebuilding were more essential at this point than relief and rehabilitation. She cited the study’s points of interest as being the level of resiliency of those affected by the typhoon, their sense of optimism, their perception of the role of national and local governments, and the disaster reduction management processes adopted.

The second presentation on the project “Adapting to Climate Change in Peri-Urban Southeast Asia” was made by project researcher Alexie Basileyo, in a move toward empowering members of the research team. The three-year project, as explained by study director Dr. Antonio Contreras, is being conducted in selected peri-urban areas in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. Mr. Basileyo explained that the research project aims to know the presence of climate-induced water stresses (identified as severe flooding, water shortage, and water contamination/pollution), and to strengthen and build the capacities of the public sector. After providing a profile of the project’s partner city of Santa Rosa, Laguna, he presented photos of the project sites as affected by floods. He further identified problems with water distribution due to the unregulated extraction of water by “privileged” institutions in Santa Rosa, resource limitations (time and budget), and transaction costs.

Findings in the occasional paper study entitled “Security of Tenure, Capital Accumulation and Quality of Life for Poverty Alleviation” were presented by co-author and SDRC Ph.D. apprentice Crisanto Regadio, Jr.,  The study aims to understand the relationship between land titling provisions, property rights and security of tenure among selected informal settlers in Malabon, Parañaque, and Laguna. To do so, it looks into the social history and life condition of the informal settlers; their attitudes on land title, security of tenure and property rights; the relationship between the government and the informal settlers in the process of land titling; the benefits of providing land titles to informal settlers; and the attitudes, government relations and benefits that influence the informal settlers’ concept of property rights, security of tenure and benefits of land titling provisions. Mr. Regadio discussed initial findings of the study based on the coding of focus group discussions, the T-test for dependent samples, and regression analysis.

image 2The afternoon session of the Anniversary program was highlighted by the launching of Dr. Roberto Javier, Jr.’s Ikaw ang next iskolar! Mga Publicly-Funded Scholarships, StuFAP, SUCs at mga Batayan sa Batas.  The primer by Dr. Javier, Psychology Department faculty member and project director of the AusAID-funded “Comprehensive Study on Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program in the Philippines”, seeks to assist deserving students by providing information on how the government finances education through publicly-funded scholarships and student financial assistance. During the launching, SDRC Director Dr. Melvin Jabar presented the first copies of the primer to guest beneficiaries Stepping Stone Learning Center Executive Director Dayal Nandwani, Arlyn V. Carandang of the Quezon City branch of the Persons with  Affairs Office (PDAO), and Teresita L. Sikat, chairperson of Barangay 662, Paco, Manila.

After the book launch, two more research disseminations were presented: The first by researcher Klarizze Valdoria on the study “From the Margins to the Mainstream of Society: Transforming the Lives of Workers with Exceptionality, their Co-workers, Business, Corporate Practices, Policies and the Workplace,” and the second by project director and Psychology Department faculty member Ma. Angeles Lapeña on the study “Health Facility Assessment on Zuellig Family Foundation’s Donated Barangay Health Stations and Birthing Units.”

Ms. Valdoria explained that in the study, the experiences of families and the workplace (co-workers, employers, direct supervisors) have provided a picture of what it is like to employ persons with intellectual disability. She presented initial findings of the study in its four components: Clinical, in which data from FGDs revealed observed improvements in the PWDs’ adaptive functioning, specifically in the areas of social development and communication;

Business, in which the traditional model is biased toward the typical worker, since standards were designed for “normal workers”—there are no formal policies and programs for inclusivity in place, and companies deal with challenges involving persons with mental disability only when a situation arises; the Work Environment, a social context that is fostered on the development of social relationship through time allocation, socially desirable behaviors, PWDs’ experience of social dynamics in the workplace, actual engagement with co-workers  in routine tasks, and interaction of co-workers with PWDs; and Policy, in which it was found that legal frameworks provide guidelines for the integration of PWDs in work organizations, that government offices and corporations are mandated to hire PWDs, and that advocacy groups mainly focus on raising awareness on disability and network with industries/businesses.

In her presentation, Ms. Lapeña delivered a progress report and initial assessment of the Zuellig study, the goal of which is to reduce maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate by the year 2015. Apart from presenting significant findings in the areas of physical and social environment, health service utilization/perceptions and responses, program implementation, critical success factors, the contributions of the ZFF to the communities, and behavioral changes, she also cited additional insights that surfaced in the assessment. These insights were: Partnerships with other NGOs involved in development projects have the potential to complement ZFF’s projects; monitoring from the ZFF was reported to encourage the mayor and health workers to sustain health programs; health workers that are regular staff are more involved and motivated in their tasks; there is a need to train new mayors and new municipal health officers with respect to the health facilities; and midwives are concerned that they might lose their Philhealth accreditation, since the size of the birthing facility does not meet DOH and Philhealth standards.

Ms. Lapeña was later joined by research team members Dr. Jabar and researcher Dominique Monido and by Ms. Valdoria in sharing memorable experiences in the field, for the benefit of student researchers and other members of the audience.

image 3The Anniversary program was capped by a ceremonial signing of the Partnership Agreement between SDRC and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Data Sharing by Dr. Jabar, CLA Research and Advanced Studies Director Dr. Feorillo Petronilo Demeterio III, and DSWD Director Rhodora Barbaran. The 4P’s Program is being implemented by the DSWD to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty by fostering change in the behavior of the poorest of the poor, through conditional cash transfers. SDRC will be conducting an analysis of the impact, outcomes, and implementation of the Program as Pantawid Pamilya-related research.

The SDRC 35th Anniversary Program was attended by stakeholders from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Plan International, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST), the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA), the Autism Society of the Philippines Laguna Chapter, Filipino Deaf Women’s Health and Crisis Center, Inc., the Likhaan Center for Women’s Health, the University of Santo Tomas, and various departments of DLSU.