ROTARY International District 3850 signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the newest state university in the country, the Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST), last Tuesday, February 28, 2023.
ISUFST is a 65-year-old public higher education institution that serves 8,000 students and 340 faculty from five campuses in the fourth district of Iloilo. RI District 3850, on the other hand, is an international civic-oriented organization under the 188-year-old 1.2-million-member Rotary International. As a district, it covers 53 Rotary Clubs from Panay, Guimaras, Negros, and the Zamboanga Peninsula with about 1,500 members under its wing.
The historical signing rite was held at the Conference Room of ISUFST, formerly known as Iloilo State College of Fisheries (ISCOF), with District Governor John Michael Ng and District Secretary Gerald Jones Berondo representing RI 3850, and University President Nordy Siason Jr. and International Affairs Director Herman Lagon for ISUFST. Dr. Siason and Dr. Lagon are also Rotarians themselves.
Both parties agree to “support each other in any form of project, aid, assistance, research, extension, formation, and/or collaboration initiatives” for the benefit of the clients of ISUFST who are mostly residents of the northern and central portion of Iloilo.
“Initially, we commit to facilitate the processing of a grant from the Rotary Foundation that will improve the TVL (technical-vocational-livelihood) equipment of the university,” Gov. Ng said, adding, “we will be coordinating with the international affairs and industrial technology offices of the school so we would be able to work on this as soon as possible.”
“As we officially welcome Rotary to the ISUFST community, we also thank the men and women behind this service-oriented international institution for their generous effort to extend their help to improve our education services in school; it is providential to note that the school’s thrust on social justice fully aligns with that of Rotary’s,” says Dr. Siason, the first university president of ISUFST.
The agreement also includes the forming of the Rotaract Club, the youth component of Rotary, in the university, and the holding of additional support projects that will benefit the clients of the only fisheries university in the country.
To note, ISUFST has also forged a special MOA with the mother Rotary Club of Iloilo last Wednesday, March 1, at Hotel del Rio, Molo, Iloilo City. The signing ceremony was led by President Dr. Wilangelo Mana-ay and President-Elect Engr. Jesus Anayas for RC Iloilo, together with Dr. Siason and Dr. Lagon for ISUFST. Some of the initial plans are the adoption of a mangrove area in the brackishwater area of the school’s Tiwi Campus, professional assistance with the school’s medical missions to its adopted communities, and possible processing of an international grant for a joint extension project. (Photos by Mr. Ricky Ramos)