Dr. Aleli B. Bawagan, the new Director of UP ISSI and, concurrently, a Professor at the UP College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), brings with her a different perspective in development to the Institute, with her expertise in community organizing, community training, program evaluation, and community development programs with indigenous peoples and children.
Dr. Bawagan advocates for helping people with modest means to be productive contributing members of the Philippine society through entrepreneurship. With her at the helm of the Institute, she aims to provide ample assistance to micropreneurs through advocacy research, training, and extension programs.
“I advice and influence the division heads to find ways on how to help the micro. I really want UP ISSI to be of help to them, as it is my life in CSWCD: helping the poor.”
Working together as a team
Dr. Bawagan initiated a project amongst different divisions of UP ISSI. The collaboration of the different divisions for a study aimed to assist a small-scale, community-based coffee farm in Benguet as a pilot project of the Institute, with plans of further research once it becomes successful.
“Let’s do work together, on a common project, where we can research together, do extension work together, and mentor together. We can start with the coffee project. “
Giving voice to the small sector
She also thinks of ISSI as helping the micro and small enterprises have a voice in policy – making, such as reviewing the impacts of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, or the Republic Act No. 10963, to MSMEs.
“We know TRAIN has tremendous effects to ordinary jeepney and tricycle drivers, even carenderia owners. What are the impacts of TRAIN on their income? With the policy research, we will provide policy recommendations to government agencies like DTI, DOST and DOF.”
Moving the Institute forward
Dr. Bawagan expects that UP ISSI will revisit its mandate, its VMG, and core values. Her participatory management style has encouraged the Executive Committee members to reflect and develop what innovations could be introduced with the improved thrust of the Institute.
Beyond her directorship, Dr. Bawagan hopes that ISSI will continue to help the micropreneurs, innovate on training and extension programs, produce researches and policy papers and be responsive to the challenges being faced by the MSME sector.
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