UP Open University (UPOU) Chancellor, Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, talked about sharing and empowerment in the message she delivered during the launch of the 2nd Phase of the Ifugao Satoyama Meister Training Program (ISMTP) on 28 June 2017 at the Ifugao State University (IFSU) in Lamut, Ifugao.

ISMTP is a three-year project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), collaboratively implemented by Ifugao State University, University of the Philippines Open University, Kanazawa University, Ifugao Provincial Government, and the Ifugao Municipal Local Government Units. The first phase of the project started in 2013 and concluded last 26 January 2017 with the graduation of the third batch of trainees. As the first of its kind in Ifugao, ISMTP is firm to its commitment in helping capacitate stakeholders in the GIAHS Ifugao Rice Terrace landscape

ISMTP Phase 2 aims to further strengthen the capacity building activities of the project and to expand the exchange program by immersing participants from Japan to the rich culture present in the Ifugao Rice Terraces region.

“Talk of what we do, share in virtual space, share about the processes and results... Announce to the world that this is what we are doing, tell them that they can replicate and share this with everyone. Because we believe that sharing is empowering.” Chancellor Bandalaria was one of the key partners of the project to give messages during the launch, along with IFSU, represented by its President, Dr. Serafin Ngohayon, who also delivered the welcome remarks as the host of the launching program; Atty. Pedro G. Mayam-o, Governor of Ifugao; Mr. Masuhiro Izumiya, Chairman of the Ifugao GIAHS Support Committee; and Mr. Suzumo Ito, Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperating Agency, which funds the project. Prof. Koji Nakamura, Kanazawa University Visiting Professor and Executive Director of the ISMTP-Phase II shared what second phase is all about including the expected outcomes for this second run.

Chancellor Bandalaria is thankful for the opportunity of serving the people and the country through this project. According to her, “This is our malasakit para sa susunod na henerasyon ng Filipinos.” She declared UPOU's commitment from beginning to end “para sa Pilipinas nating mahal.” (Anna Canas-Llamas)