Author: Renz Hillary P. Reyman - Project Assistant II - PSTC-Zambales

The current pandemic has caused drastic reduction in the livelihood opportunities and well-being of thousands of families around the world. Though it is basically seen as a health concern, the covid pandemic also translated to a crisis for food security and economic stability that affects the lives of many people, especially those in marginalized and depressed areas/communities who have little or no access to new technology/information and communication. To ease the effects of the pandemic in the GIDA communities in Zambales, the Department of Science and Technology III through its Provincial Science and Technology Center Zambales (DOST III-PSTC Zambales) forged a partnership with the President Ramon Magsaysay State University (PRMSU) through a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to undertake the project entitled, “2021 Expanded Implementation of CEST: Implementation of S&T based programs for Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development in Zambales.”

The project will focus on providing assistance to GIDA communities wherein 20 families of NPA rebel returnees are stationed. These families are specifically located at Sitio Lumibao, Brgy. Buhawen, San Marcelino, Zambales. Also, four (4) farmers group from marginalized communities in San Marcelino, San Narciso, and Subic, Zambales will be supported through the project. In addition, assistance to identified women’s groups in Subic, Zambales will also be provided under the project.

The identified NPA returnees who also reside in the IP community will be empowered through the conduct of different S&T trainings & seminars related to best agricultural practices and the establishment of livelihood opportunities. To achieve a sustainable source of food, the community will be taught livestock production through free-range chicken & Community-Based Gulayan sa Pamayanan so that no member of the family/community will suffer from hunger in this time of pandemic. The solar watered pump will also be provided to supply year-round water for domestic use, crops, and livestock production. The community will also be equiped to process their own palay produce through the Compact Impeller Brown Rice Mill (CIBRM) and have access to nutritious brown rice. The establishment of livelihood through the provision of sewing machines for women’s groups is also included in the project.

With access to these technologies, it is foreseen that livelihood and economic condition of the beneficiaries will be uplifted. Moreso, the acquisition of tools and equipment will raise the agricultural productivity and resiliency of the communities through achieving food sufficiency and economic recovery towards sustainable community development.

DOST formalized partnership with PRMSU during the signing of MoA for the 2021 eCEST Project in Zambales. Pictured from left to right: Mr. Roberto C. Briones (University Accountant), Dr. Elizabeth N. Farin (VP for RET), Dr. Roy N. Villalobos (University President), Bernardita D. Montevirgen (PSTD), and Renz Hillary Reyman (PCEST Staff)