DAVAO CITY, Philippines – In efforts to strengthen the link between research and policy formulation in Mindanao, the creation of a knowledge, research, and policy center is being pushed to bolster policy-directed researches, as well as institutionalize development planning, and policy advocacy within the island-region.

The Mindanao Studies Consortium Foundation Inc. (MSCFI), the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the other higher education institutions (HEIs) are advocating for the establishment of the Mindanao Knowledge, Research and Policy Center (MKRPC), an institution that will engage the academe and research institutions in conducting policy-directed researches.

Part of the goal of MKRPC is to provide a common database of policy researches and experts on Mindanao and facilitate identified priority research studies among academic institutions, government agencies, and international organizations.

The center also aims to contribute to policy formulation and advocacy for Mindanao at the legislative and executive branches of the government, and will facilitate collaborative efforts in the conduct of research, studies, and other similar undertakings.

MSCFI President Lourdesita Sobrevega-Chan said there is a need to harmonize and align researches and policy studies with the thrusts and priorities of the Mindanao Peace and Development Framework Plan or the Mindanao 2020.

MSCFI is a research consortium established in 2003 that serves a clearing house of ideas and resources designed to provide solutions to Mindanao's socioeconomic needs through research and policy studies. Currently chaired by the Ateneo de Davao University, it is composed of 14 academic institutions and research organizations across the island-region.

"By aligning our researches with the goals and visions of Mindanao 2020, this will promote a culture of scientific research and development among key implementing agencies and will help us employ effective methods that will address the region's challenges and realities," Chan added.

The Mindanao 2020 is the 20-year roadmap for the socioeconomic development of Mindanao which sets the directions, strategies, and key initiatives necessary to achieve peace and sustainable development in the region.

"We recognize the fact that to effect inclusive growth in Mindanao, we must utilize holistic approach in development, which requires research tools and methodologies that will provide precise methods in carrying out development programs that will respond to the region's peculiar needs," said Janet Lopoz, MinDA executive director.

She added that Mindanao's academic institutions are a rich source of researches and studies that if harnessed, can evolve as key directives for the region's planners and policy makers.

"As the command center of a Mindanao-focused scientific research and development, MKPRC aims to provide a platform for effective knowledge management that will not only improve access to data and resource sharing, but eventually lead to the implementation of Mindanao 2020's key development programs," added Lopoz.

A joint undertaking of MinDA and the MSCFI, the establishment of the MKRPC will also improve Mindanao's knowledge networks with academic and research institutions abroad, as well as both local and international communities of academic scholars.

In 2013, the MSCFI in collaboration with MinDA completed the Ridge-to Reef capacity assessment of key partners of the MindaNOW! Nurturing Our Waters Program, MinDA's flagship environment program. Results of the study now serve as bases in strengthening the capacities of cooperating agencies in applying the river basin approach in planning and policy-formulation.

Other studies conducted by the consortium include the Annotated Bibliography of Mindanao Studies, Check-Points and Choke Points, and the Cultural Mapping Research and School of Peace Assessment.

Co-chaired by Father Saturnino Urius University in Butuan City, other MSCFI members include the University of South Eastern Philippines, the University of the Philippines-Mindanao, the Mindanao State University system, the Notre Dame University, the Western Mindanao State University, the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, the Dansalan College Foundation, and the Alternate Forum For Research In Mindanao.
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