Professors Jeremaiah Opiniano and Alvin Ang (left) receive the award after winning the Global Development Award research competition in Bogota, Columbia. Photo courtesy of CommsConsult (UK)

TWO THOMASIAN researchers clinched the country’s first Award for Outstanding Research on Development last January 14 at the Global Development Awards and Medals Competition in Bogota, Colombia.

Faculty of Arts and Letters professors Alvin Ang and Jeremaiah Opiniano, who are both under UST’s Research Cluster on Culture, Education, and Social Issues, won the top prize for their research proposal titled “Remittance Investment Analysis in Rural Hometowns (Ricart): a piloting tool to determine where Overseas Filipinos from two rural hometowns can best invest their money.”

The proposal contained general guidelines on how the remittances of overseas Filipinos from two fourth-class municipalities can be best utilized for investment and development finance.

“Maybe we won [because] nobody in the world has talked about doing this research that analyzes the investment friendliness of a hometown in the eyes of overseas migrants. There were studies made before [related to this one but] all in the context of the people living [in the hometown],” Opiniano said.

“Basically, Ricart is a means to attack the root causes of migration because what happens now is that Filipinos are pressured to go abroad, like there is no other option,” Opiniano added.

Ang and Opiniano bested around 248 participants from developing countries. The Philippines beat Bulgaria and India for the top prize.

The study is set to be pilot-tested in the municipalities of Magarao in Camarines Sur and Maribojoc in Bohol.

The Global Development Awards and Medals Competition is an international research contest organized by the Global Development Network (GDN) for developing-country researchers and policy research institutes.

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The two professors, and the other finalists from different categories and awards, presented their researches before a panel of judges and over 500 practitioners in the field of development at the GDN’s Annual Global Development Conference last January 13 to 15.

Opiniano and Ang received $30,000. The grant was sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Finance. The last time the Philippines placed in the Medals competition was in 2000, when economist Lorelei Mendoza of the University of the Philippines-Baguio won second place in the first competition.

Ang, an economics professor, heads the research cluster, where Opiniano, who teaches journalism, is a research associate. Opiniano is a former sports editor of the Varsitarian.

Last year, Ang and Opiniano also made it to the top three of the competition for a research proposal dealing with the impact of the economic crisis on overseas Filipino workers. Rommel Marvin C. Rio

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