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To maximize the utilization of health and health-related researches in the region, the Eastern Visayas Health Research and Development Consortium (EVHRDC), through its dissemination arm, the Research and Utilization Committee (RUC), will craft a policy that will provide incentives to researchers in the region who the Consortium funds.

In a virtual meeting held on March 29, 2022, it was noted that there are already several papers completed and reviewed for the past three years, but only a few of these consortium-funded projects were published.

The RUC will hold several meetings to develop said policy, and intends to submit the draft for presentation and further deliberation with the EXECOM in the Second Quarter.

Sherrie Ann Cananua-Labid, the RUC Chair, hopes that more researchers will be encouraged to package their outputs with publication incentives.

“I am hopeful this will be visible to a broader audience, and expect greater utilization by various stakeholders,” Labid said.

Among those who were present during the RUC First Quarter Meeting were Ms. Marivic Cuazon (NEDA), Dr. Frances Ann Sy (SLSU), Ms. Esther Banar (ESSU), Dr. Elsa N.Gerona (DepEd), Dr. Jovy Saniel (BiPSU), Ms. Gemma Tabao (PIA), and Mr. Jake Margallo (EVHRDC Secretariat).

The RUC activities lined up for 2022 include the conduct of Training on News Writing and Reporting, Stakeholders’ and Dissemination Forum, Regional Health Research Symposium, and Review meetings for terminated projects’ potential for a patent, UM, trademark and copyright, among others.


A total of 94,349 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered throughout Eastern Visayas during its implementation of the recently concluded National COVID-19 Vaccination Days,
Bayanihan Bakunahan: March to Vaccinate campaign. This is equivalent to roughly 115% of the 81,779 targeted doses for the massive vaccination period.

Initially scheduled on March 10-12, the region has delivered maximum efforts to meet the demands of the vaccination drive even until its extension period on March 18. With the cooperation and full support of all partner agencies and organizations from both the public and private sectors, the region scored above its target, vaccinating those individuals with due second doses, missed second doses, remaining priority group A2 or Senior Citizens, remaining adolescent population aged 12-17, and booster doses in the health and economic sector.

With the region’s participation to this initiative, the province of Biliran has administered a total of 2,667 doses, Eastern Samar with 6,832, Leyte with 28,895 doses, Northern Samar with 11,306 doses, Western Samar with 16,503 doses, Southern Leyte with 9,095 doses, Tacloban City with 3,325 doses, and Ormoc City with 3,156 doses.


The Department of Health Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development, thru the Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center, commenced its implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-11 on February 14, 2022 at the Eastern Visayas Medical Center.

Dr. Salvador Evardone, EVMC Chief, welcomed the guests and participants to the launching program highlighting this milestone for the region’s vaccination campaigns. Regional Directors and representatives of other partner agencies showed their support to reinforce the vaccination drive for the said age group. Dir. Evelyn R. Fetalvero of DepEd RO8, Dir. Lord Byron Torrecarion, as represented by his Chief Operations Officer, of OCD RO8, SUPT. Joelito S. Sabandal, Deputy Regional Director for Operations of the BFP, COL. Carmelito Pangatungan, Deputy Brigade Commander 801 Brigade 8ID of the AFP, and PBGEN. Joel B. Limson, Deputy Regional Director for Administration of the PNPRO8 were present to embody the whole-of-government approach towards the vaccination activity. Dr. Teresita Gerlia Narciso, President of the Philippine Pediatric Society RO8, Dr. Rodolfo Antonio M. Albornoz, DOH EVCHD Assistant Regional Director, officials and staff of the EVMC, DOH EVCHD, DepEd, OCD, PNP, BFP, and media partners also attended the launching activity. Also, the PIA, DICT, DTI, and other RVOC member-agencies also extended their support to the success of the vaccination activity.

Different provinces and Local Government Units in the region have also manifested their support to this roll-out. Child-friendly vaccination venues decorated with colorful balloons where children received snacks and goodies after getting vaccinated were some strategies posted by health care workers and LGUs to give the kids a fun experience while getting the protection they need. The children who participated were accompanied by their parents, and authorized guardians where necessary consent forms were processed along the vaccination steps.


The Eastern Visayas Health Research and Development Consortium (EVHRDC) hosted, in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila-School of Health Sciences (UPM-SHS) and the Visayas State University (VSU), the Balik Scientist engagement of Dr. June Bryan I. de la Peña, a Postdoctoral Research Scientist of the University of Texas.

Dr. de la Peña’s engagement was made possible through the Balik Scientist Program (BSP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Pursuant to the state’s policy to support the participation of science and technology or innovation experts of Filipino descent in research and development initiatives in the country, the program encourages Filipino scientists, technologists, and experts to return to the country and share their expertise to promote scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development, including the development of the country’s human capital in science, technology, and innovation.

With the primary objective of conducting capacity-enhancement activities for EVHRDC member institutions, Dr. de la Peña hosted a lecture and a forum relating to his expertise in neuroscience. The two activities were available via Zoom and Facebook Live to all interested parties.

On 12 January 2022, the Lecture on the neuroscience of pain: role of the peripheral nervous system and the discovery of a novel analgesic was conducted. The lecture sought to explain chronic pain and the novel strategies and treatment options available—among which were the results of Dr. de la Peña’s study on chronic pain.

Moreover, a forum entitled, How I became a neuroscientist: challenges and opportunities for aspiring Filipino neuroscientists was also conducted on 13 January 2022. The meeting was conceived to inspire faculties, researchers, and students to pursue a career in neuroscience. In his lecture, Dr. de la Peña explained that proper education and training are crucial to becoming a successful neuroscientist. He shared his experiences working at the Uimyung Research Institute for Neuroscience in South Korea, where he published over 30 research papers. These publications then allowed him to land a career in the United States, where he is currently doing his post-doctoral fellowship.

During his short-term engagement, Dr. de la Peña also mentored the UPM-SHS in the updating of its Nursing Curriculum and the revision of its Research Agenda for the Midwifery program, where he recommended the establishment of a course focusing on the study of recent advancements or trends in the fields of midwifery, nursing, or medicine. The said course aims to enhance students’ understanding of the current state of knowledge in a specific area while providing a foundation for analytically reviewing articles and interpreting scientific data, among others.

The Balik Scientist also assisted the VSU in establishing its neuropharmacology research laboratory and updating its Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Protocol. On the former, Dr. de la Peña recommended focusing on locally available natural products to treat or manage prevalent neurological and psychiatric disorders in the region. He explained that natural product research is presently gaining traction and that researchers are now trying to find alternatives to traditional pain medication. On the latter, he provided strategic recommendations and relevant documents for the standardization of the IACUC protocol of the VSU so that it could be at par with international standards.

In his Exit Report Presentation on 30 January 2022, Dr. de la Peña proposed to the EVHRDC the facilitation of more BSP engagements in the future to accelerate the attainment of its vision to become a transformative health research consortium in the region. He expressed that such engagements also serve as a venue for creating multi-institutional research proposals and collaborations. He added that his visit showed the capability of the consortium to maximize the benefits of the Balik Scientist Program.

Dr. de la Pena obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing at the Western Leyte College in Ormoc City. 


With the pursuit to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination activities in Eastern Visayas, the Department of Health Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development together with the Regional Task Force against COVID-19, and the Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center, launched the Regional Vaccination Days- a massive vaccination campaign all over Region VIII starting January 31 until February 2.

The simultaneous implementation of the said vaccination drive in all six provinces aims to vaccinate at least 1 million individuals in three days; facilitate the vaccination activities and expedite vaccination of individuals with zero dose, those with due/missed second doses, and booster doses by devoting three days solely for vaccination activities regionwide.

As the Omicron variant looms in the region, this initiative is conducted while the region is currently under Alert Level 3, except for Northern Samar which was declared by the NIATF under Alert Level 4 until January 31. With the continued support of all partner agencies and private sectors, this is a window of opportunity for the Local Government Units (LGUs) to inoculate as many as possible, especially those coming from the vulnerable groups- the elderly, those with comorbidities, and those from indigent populations. The LGUs are ensured that there are enough supply of vaccines, vaccine logistics included, in the region to support this campaign. While the region has received a total of 6,345,060 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, necessary allocation and distribution has been processed by the DOH EVCHD and the RVOC to accommodate the vaccine supply of each province and/or LGU.