In time with the celebrations of the 500th Year of Arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, the Santo Niño de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc. (SNAF) and the Cebu Doctor’s University (CDU) signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Public Health Nutrition Online Practicum that may put flesh on the Quincentennial theme: Gifted to Give.
In a virtual signing ceremony on April 26, 2021, CDU President Dr.Philip Anthony S.D. Larrazabal and SNAF Executive Director Fr.Aladdin P. Luzon, OSA formalized a partnership that provides a venue for CDU students of Nutrition and Dietetics to grow closer with Christ as they partake of the missionary zeal of service through SNAF’s Journeying with the Homeless Project. In the process, it should help produce an appropriate and science-informed health and nutrition program for the benefit of SNAFs homeless clients.
On one hand, the agreement facilitates “expanded learning opportunities” for the students as part of CDU’s Learning Continuity Plan in overcoming hindrances to knowledge production amidst the pandemic. On the other hand, it elevates the programmatic interventions of SNAF among the street dwellers by grounding these in systematic study and comprehensive analysis of its clientele’s empirical conditions. In sum, the agreement sets a nexus wherein the students’ expanded online practicum intersects with the upgrading of SNAFs science-informed interventions in the interest of the vulnerable in this time of COVID19 pandemic.
As Dr. Larrazabal reiterated: “It is our hope that this practicum will equip and enhance the knowledge and skills of our student dieticians in the area of public health nutrition as we prepare them to become productive and contributing members of the society. This is always our goal for our CDU students that when they graduate, they will be a complete person, a complete human being—a person with character.”
The online signing was also timed with the 456th year-presence of the Augustinian Missionaries in the Philippines. The arrival of the Augustinian friars as pioneering missionaries in the Philippines ushered in the devotion to the Santo Nino with the finding in 1565 of the image of the Infant Jesus that Ferdinand Magellan gifted to Rajah Humabon’s wife Juana in 1521.
“This is our tribute to the Santo Nino, whose image reminds us of the presence of the Father. Let this touch the lives of the poor and remind them that they are not alone in their journey of life and faith,” said Fr.Luzon, OSA.
The virtual ceremony was witnessed by CDU faculty, namely: Maylen A. Licatan, Dean of CDU College of Arts and Sciences, John Rafael Aranas, Chairperson of CDU Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Eldie P. Gugudan, Coordinator of the Public Health Nutrition Practicum. Also present were SNAF personnel Dennis Abarientos, Guillermo Bagacay and Teresa Ceballos, RSW.###