Balik Scientist assists MMSU on its climate change resiliency program

MMSU has started its food-water-renewable energy self-sufficiency efforts through the guidance of Balik Scientist Guillermo A. Mendoza in order to strengthen its resiliency in coping with the Ilocos region's vulnerability to the effects of climate change.


These initial efforts helped propel MMSU as front-runner in climate change in the Ilocos region. The university now houses the Regional R&D Center for Climate Change Studies.


This year, MMSU re-engaged Dr. Mendoza to help enable the university in different dimensions of climate-change resiliency. This was done through trainings on suitability assessment for locating small farm reservoir, diversion dams and small water impoundments using various computational models, and on watershed hydrologic modeling.


MMSU President Shirley C. Agrupis also asked Mendoza to look into MMSU's mapping of nipa plantations, in connection with a bioethanol project, which is an offshoot of another Balik Scientist engagement with Dr. Fiorello B. Abenes and Dr. Sergio C. Capareda.


In this activity, Mendoza assisted MMSU in obtaining high-resolution planet data from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the coordination with the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority.


Mendoza gave advice, as well as developed mapping protocol and sampling design, for the field survey of nipa plantations using statistical tools, and joined in the actual field survey.


He recommended that MMSU pursue the establishment of Geomatics Center and proposed a web-based application of small-scale irrigation system in Ilocos region.


Dr. Agrupis said the Balik Scientist Program (BSP) greatly contributed in the development of MMSU, adding that the university was able to receive more grants in renewable energy from the DOST, Department of Energy (DoE) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the DOST (DOST-PCAARRD) on climate change.


Likewise, the university was able to network with various universities abroad because of the interventions made by the Balik Scientists.


"I am personally very satisfied with the contributions we made in this BSP stint. I am sincerely hopeful that the initiatives we started can be continued and brought to fruition," Mendoza said during the recent Exit Report Presentation of his accomplishments at PCAARRD in Los Baños, Laguna last month.


"I can't think of better ways to spend my 'retirement' as emeritus professor of the University of Illinois than to be a Balik Scientist working with colleagues in the Philippines in advancing S&T in agriculture, forestry and natural resources," he beamed.


BSP is being implemented by DOST-PCAARRD together with DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, which covers in the health industry, and the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development for engagements in the industry, energy, emerging technology and special concerns.


Mendoza first came to MMSU in 2010 as a Balik Scientist and helped establish its baseline information that eventually led to the development and application of climate-change information systems for agriculture, forestry and natural resources.