Three weeks ago,I joined a FaceBook group whose members are University of the Philippines Alumni who were former residents of the Men's South Dorm in Diliman, Q.C. The dormitory is now known as the Narra Residence Hall. Thousands of alumni- known and unknown in Philippine political and social life had memories of their college life in the Dorm. I was one of the first residents of the dorm and had resided there from 1953 to early 1957. I was asked by several former residents, what have I contributed to my Alma Mater (UP) since graduation in Chemistry in the mid 1950's. This article is my response to the query from some members of the above FB group. .
I participated with the TOKTEN ( Transfer of Knowledge through Expatriate Nationals) United Nations Development Program( UNDP) in 1986 in the Philippines. My host was the University of the Philippines, Natural Science Research and Services Department, in Diliman, Quezon City. I volunteered for the short term program of 4 weeks during my summer vacation. It was a good experience and I was proud that at least I have contributed to ease the so called "brain-drain" phenomenon of the mid 1980's in the Philippines. The next year my contract was renewed but I did not have the time to get away from my private employment
Today, the program is known as the Balik Scientist program sponsored by DOST. So what is TOKTEN? Read on...
Transfer of Knowledge Through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN). I am # 15 in the List above. My subject of Expertise was Pesticide Residues.
The TOKTEN concept is a global UNDP mechanism for tapping on expatriate nationals, who had migrated to other countries and achieved professional success abroad, and mobilizing them to undertake short-term consultancies in their countries of origin, under UN aegis.
The TOKTEN approach is regarded as an added dimension of technical cooperation, which contributes to reducing the adverse effects of the "brain-drain", with several advantages as such as the shared language and traditions, relatively low cost and speed of implementation.
The TOKTEN program is based on a spirit of volunteerism, which means that TOKTEN volunteers are not paid direct salaries but are entitled to round trip air ticket and a daily subsistence allowance (DSA).
The highlights of this consultancy was the welcome lunch by the President of the University. At that time it was Ed Angara. The lunch was held on his residence in the Diliman campus. A big surprise during the lunch was when the Executive Secretary of to President was introduce to me. His name was Martin Gregorio. The last time I was with Martin was in 1951 during my weekend visit with his family in their residence in Manduriao, Iloilo. His older brother, Johnny Gregorio was my best friend in college at UPIC. At that time Martin I believe was only in his preteens. He used to follow me and Johnny and wants to join us in what we are doing. Johnny would sent him away and admonish him not to disturb us.
Today I learn that Martin has two adult children, Cecile(Ascalon) and Ryan. Ryan is a well-known PBA player and coach adored by millions of Filipinos. Lastly, I am still searching for Johnny. I heard that he has settled in Victorias, Negros Occidental. If you know anything about Johnny, I will appreciate hearing from you via this blog or in my FaceBook page. Johnny has an older brother, Dominador, an accountant and a UP graduate also.
Just recently I heard that Prof. Martin Gregorio had retired. His last post was the Vice President for Administration and Secretary of the UP and Board of Regents.