Tuesday, June 26, 2007

WMSU’s JFC Member Shines at the 2006 PPSA International Conference

By Moy N. Edding
Zamboanga Star, Vol. 24, No. 122 (November 3, 2006)

The research work of Esnaen M. Catong, a WMSU faculty and a Junior Faculty Club (JFC) member, was chosen by the prestigious Philippine Political Science Association (PPSA) last June 26, 2006 for presentation at the 2006 PPSA International Conference which focused on the theme “Alternatives.” He presented his study entitled Active ‘Three-O’ Diplomacy: An Indispensable Alternative for Philippine Survival at the said international conference held on October 27-28, 2006 at the Grand Astoria Hotel, this city.

In the 58-page study, Prof. Catong contends that “it is in the best interests of the Philippines to take a closer look on the ‘Three-O’ (Oil, OFW, and OIC) for survival.” He argues that “ours is a ‘history of crisis’ hence the country’s leadership (present and future) should focus on coming up with decisive and clear-cut policies on ‘Three-O’.” “We should graduate from ‘reactionary policies’ on OFWs, Oil, and OIC,” he adds.

Notable, in his powerpoint presentation using data from POEA, BSP, DOE, and some foreign institutions as primary and secondary sources, he argues that “the Philippines cannot do away with main OFW-host countries who happen to be OPEC-key players, and also OIC influential members.” Finally, after discussing the challenges and prospects of ‘Three-O’ he offers recommendations to address ‘Three-O’ confronting the country. Among others, he offers visible solutions that include a “Comprehensive OFW Program (COFWP),’ how to “deal with OPEC for Oil aside from working for alternative energy sources,” and how to “engage with OIC for sustainable peace and development in the country.” And the way to do it, he said, is to have active diplomatic engagements herein referred as “Active ‘Three-O’ Diplomacy.”

Teng Catong, as his friends call him, teaches political science and history at the College of Liberal Arts of WMSU. His research interests include Philippine Foreign Relations, Diplomatic History (West Asia and Southeast Asia), Conflict Resolution, Islamic Studies, Ethno-history, Political Dynamics, and Migration. He has presented research papers in international and national academic conferences. Recently, one of his studies won in a research competition from the Research Fellowship Program for Young Muslim Scholars under the auspices of AMAN and the Rockefeller Foundation based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Prof. Catong is one of the founding members of the JFC whose main goal is to protect and enhance the interest of its members usually with a rank of Assistant Professor down to Instructor in WMSU. He joined the political science department of WMSU as a visiting lecturer in 1996 and became a tenured faculty in 1999. Teng is among the principled and respected young leaders/educators in the region and has always been working as a partner of WMSU in development. He was overwhelmingly elected president of the University Student Council and the 1st Student Regent of WMSU pursuant to the CHED Modernization Act (R.A. 8292) in S.Y. 1997-1998. Indeed, he is one of the admired faculty members that WMSU has produced. He earned his B.A. in Political Science in 1995 and Bachelor of Laws in 1999 at WMSU. He graduated an M.A. in History, Cognate in Political Science at UP Diliman, where he is also finishing a Ph.D.

The Philippine Political Science Association (PPSA) International conference is one of the most high profile academic events in the field of Political Science. PPSA is the Philippine Social Science Council’s (PSSC) leading Professional Association. This year’s gathering showcased scholars in the field of political science that include Prof. Felipe Miranda, Prof. Alexander Magno, Prof. Malaya Ronas, Dr. Olivia Caoili, Dr. Natalia Morales, Dr. Teresa Encarnacion Tadem, Dr. Amado Mendoza, Dr. Maria Ela Atienza, Dr. George Tigno, Prof. Raymund Quilop, Prof. Aries Arugay, Prof. Perlita Frago, Prof. Rolando Fernando, and Prof. Lusterio Rico, all from UP Diliman; Dr. Ronald Holmes of DLSU; and Dr. Macapado Abaton Muslim of MSU. Dr. Antonio Ledesma, S.J. of Xavier University was the keynote speaker.

Faculty members and scholars from leading universities abroad like Dr. Reynaldo Ileto of National University of Singapore joined other academics and researchers from non-academic institutions in infusing discourses from various perspectives with other research presenters in the country from UP Diliman, UP Visayas, AdMU, DLSU, WMSU, UAP, MSU, USM, USC, XU, AFP, IPD, AER, and SWS.

Foreign universities with research presenters include Cankaya University and Fatih University in Turkey, Flinders University of South Australia, Gadja Mada University, Humboldt University of Berlin, Kobe University of Foreign Studies, Kyoto University, National University of Singapore, University of Canberra, University of Florida, and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Former UP Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Political Science Dr. Olivia Caoili, former Dean of UP Institute of Islamic Studies Dr. Carmen Abubakar, and UP School of Industrial and Labor Relations Professor Dr. Virginia Teodosio were among the renowned academics present in the 2006 PPSA International Conference who responded with positive remarks on the study of Prof. Catong.

Meanwhile, Prof. Catong is “encouraging his colleagues at the premiere university in Western Mindanao to let their presence be felt in their respective fields of specialization through research. We should be proactive in producing research outputs to help our respective communities in line with the purpose of the university’s creation.” “This is my modest way of responding to the statement of WMSU and PASUC president Dr. Eldigario D. Gonzales during the opening ceremony of the WMSU Centennial Palaro that ‘the best is yet to come’,” he adds.

The WMSU president upon the recommendation of CLA Dean Dr. Agnes Duque also sent political science Professors Patrocinio Enopia, Edgar Araojo, Jofre Rasul, Lilibeth Macario, and Criselda Chou as participants in the recently concluded international conference which was co-sponsored by the Asia Foundation, USAID, City of Zamboanga, ADZU, and PSSC.

WMSU is celebration its centennial with the theme WMSU: A Century of Commitment to Excellence!