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Balingoan Civil Society Volunteers Association (BCSVA) members attend the Food Safety Training conducted by the Department of Science and Technology – Region 10

Health and safety are paramount in this time of the pandemic, when there are numerous cases of health concerns that impede the capacity of people to maintain optimal health and nutrition. This is also emphasized by the Department of Science and Technology - Region 10 (DOST-10), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Municipality of Balingoan, who heed the call for safe and healthy foods in this time of the COVID-19 crisis.

To upgrade the knowledge and skills on food safety, 11 members of the Balingoan Civil Society Volunteers Association (BCSVA), formerly known as the Federation of Micro Business Entrepreneur of Balingoan, were trained on the basic principles and guidelines on Food Safety. This training was conducted on February 4, 2021, at the Conference Hall of the Municipality of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental as support from DOST-10 to the local meat processors through the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) Program.

Dr. Meriam B. Mondia, Science Research Specialist II and one of the pioneering members of the Food Safety Team of DOST-10, emphasized the importance of basic food hygiene, particularly sanitation and proper food handling in compliance with the standards of Good Manufacturing Practices.

Dr. Mondia also discussed the basic concepts of the Gender and Development (GAD) Mainstreaming Program, where gender sensitivity and some common GAD issues like gender bias and unequal livelihood opportunities were highlighted. DOST-10 considers it very important to address these by providing equal access to resources and equal opportunities for both men and women through income-generating activities in the community. The GAD orientation was also essential for the members of BCSVA because it could widen their knowledge on how they could work as a team and not be constrained by any societal and occupational expectations set for men and women.

The BCSVA shared that they were very satisfied with the training because it served as capacity-building for their members and helped them improve their operations as an organization. The Municipality of Balingoan, headed by Mayor Aaron Paul S. Unabia, also expressed their gratitude for the science and technology support of DOST-10 through the efforts of DOST Misamis Oriental for the livelihood of the local meat processors in the municipality. He said that “dako usab ang pagpasalamat sa Lokal nga Pangagamhanan sa Balingoan sa DOST ug TESDA.”

True to its mandate, DOST-10 continues to capacitate the local entrepreneurs, and ensure that equal opportunities through science, technology, and innovation are within reach for sustainable development amid the pandemic. (Karen Grace A. Lacerna, DOST-Misamis Oriental)