In a proactive move towards community development, a meeting was convened between representatives from the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) and the esteemed Mayor of San Mateo, Rizal, Hon. Bartolome Rivera on 11 April 2024 at the Municipal Hall, Brgy. Guitnang Bayan 1, San Mateo, Rizal. The meeting aimed to discuss the forthcoming program, Leadership Innovation through People-centered and Accountable Governance and Digital Transformation (LIPAD) Barangay Certificate Program, under the larger research and public service agenda titled Community Inclusivity, Digital Transformation and Acceleration towards Sustainability (CIDAS).

The meeting was attended by key officials from the municipality, including Mayor Bartolome Rivera Jr. , Municipal Administrator Jose Enrique Desiderio, and other municipal staff. On the side of UPOU FMDS, Dean Joane Serrano led the delegation, accompanied by faculty members Dr. Maria Lourdes Jarabe, Asst. Prof. Lianne Angelico Depante, Asst. Prof. Regina Armiendo-Mendoza, Asst. Prof. Lorena Jean Saludadez, and staff Ms. Dona Lyn Piamonte and Ms. Janele Ebron.

The LIPAD Barangay Certificate Program is designed to equip barangay leaders with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary for effective governance, disaster risk management, and gender-responsive planning. The program will utilize a blended approach, combining online and in-person sessions to facilitate flexible learning and engagement among participants.

The CIDAS program focuses on various aspects of barangay digital transformation as well as  youth and children empowerment, women and elderly empowerment and transformation, sustainable livelihood innovations and digitally-transformed enterprise, community health education and well-being, climate education and justice, community improvement through land management, shared growth, employment and sustainable tourism, and application of research for community advancement. 

An action plan was presented during the meeting, outlining the timeline and responsibilities for the implementation of the LIPAD Barangay Certificate Program in San Mateo, Rizal. The plan includes activities such as participant selection, needs assessment, curriculum development, course delivery, and sustainability measures.

Other programs in the pipeline include Project LIKHA (Leveraging Ideas of Kinship in Harmony with the Arts), an art-based intervention that aims to address mental health, sociocultural, and environmental challenges. It provides a platform for youth interaction, exploration, and learning, with an emphasis on involving the youth, elderly, and women. 

UPOU and the Municipality of San Mateo, spearheaded by Mayor Rivera, will likewise embark on a collaborative project to promote the cultural heritage of San Mateo. This initiative will leverage technology and social media platforms to bridge the gap between generations. The project envisions a vibrant space where young minds can learn from the custodians of San Mateo’s history and culture – the senior members of the community. This will not only ensure the preservation of cultural heritage but also foster a deeper appreciation for San Mateo’s unique identity among its citizens.

Overall, the meeting marked a significant step towards enhancing governance and community development in San Mateo, Rizal, through collaborative efforts between UPOU FMDS and the local government. The LIPAD Barangay Certificate Program is poised to empower barangay leaders and contribute to the sustainable development of the municipality.

Written by: Dona Lyn M. Piamonte • Edited by: Larry N. Cruz

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