Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation, University of Santo Tomas


Greetings to everyone!

Why do we keep on repeating or doing the same activity time and time again? I can think of two reasons: The first is that the activity’s objective has yet to come to fruition, so we keep doing the same until the set objective has been achieved. The second is that the activity itself is significant and worth repeating. The conference that we hold today on adult literacy is already in its third installment. The two reasons that I outlined above apply to your conference.

Regarding the first reason. You might have achieved the objectives set for the previous conferences, but, just like any genuine and noteworthy endeavor, the irony is that the further you achieve your goals, the more you realize that more things must be done. We do not need to conduct a rigorous survey to find out that in our country, there is still a significant number of the adult population who might be willing, when given an opportunity, to take advantage of informal education to equip them with skills and competencies that they can employ as they labor to improve the quality of their living conditions. Also, it is expected that as you have become familiar with the issue of adult literacy, you realize that there are still aspects you haven’t yet explored or have previously escaped your consideration, which you need to reflect on further if you are to respond to such concern more appropriately and effectively.

Now, regarding the second. Being a significant and relevant activity, its conduct is its justification. The frequency of the conduct of a noble endeavor should not be limited. In fact, it should be multiplied as much as it is allowed. To organize and discourse about literacy for adults who have not been blessed in their youth with the opportunity of education so that they can play a more significant role in their personal growth, becoming catalysts of social transformation in the process, is not just needed but must be demanded.

I want to express my profound appreciation for the tireless efforts of the organizers of this conference, namely, The Graduate School and Research Center for Social Sciences and Education (RCSSEd) of the University of Santo Tomas, and the Transformare: A Network of Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning Advocates, Manila, Philippines, with their partner institutions, the UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation in University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. You have once again demonstrated your commitment to the cause of adult literacy and social transformation.

The need for adult literacy to effect social transformation is an ongoing challenge, and your work is far from over. I would not be surprised if you gathered again at a conference next year to discuss it.

Ma. Lourdes P. Domingo-Maglinao, MD

Dean,  UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery


On behalf of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, I express my warmest congratulations on this momentous occasion – the Third Gender, Adult Literacy, and Active Citizenship for Social Transformation International Conference. We gather today, united by a powerful theme: “Empowering Communities Through University Partnerships in Public Health.”

The journey towards a just and equitable society begins with recognizing all individuals’ unique strengths and contributions, particularly the third-gender community. By fostering gender and adult literacy and promoting active citizenship, we equip them with the tools to advocate for themselves and their communities.

This conference serves as a catalyst, forging vital partnerships between universities and the communities they serve. We can create innovative solutions that address critical public health needs through collaboration.

Let this program be a reminder of the powerful impact we can achieve when we work together. The knowledge exchanged, the connections forged, and the voices amplified within these halls have the potential to transform lives and build a healthier future for all.

We are the change-makers. We are the empowered community.

May you carry the inspiration and knowledge gained here to make a lasting difference in the world.

Prof. Michael Anthony C. Vasco, Ph.D.

Dean, UST Graduate School


In a post COVID-19 pandemic landscape, communities and societies realized the importance of collaboration among the different sectors of the nation-states. The record breaking response of the scientific community, the health sector, the academe, the industry sector and governments, made us hurdle the difficulties and challenges that ensued during and after the pandemic. Thus, it is imperative that this coordination and collaboration should continue to makes us better prepared in any future health challenges.

Public health concerns should be given priority, since any challenges and problems in public health greatly affects the day to day functions of society. It may disrupt our economic, political, social and academic functions which affects the stability of nation-states. In this regard, steps should be made to continue the collaboration of the various sectors of society to address these challenges.

Thus, it is but timely to organize the conference: GALASCTS 3: “Empowering Communities Through University Partnerships in Public Health.” May this conference effect developmental change in our communities, the academe and the public health sector.

Congratulations! Thank you.

Assoc. Prof. Jeremaiah M. Opiniano, Ph.D.

Director, UST Research Center for Social Sciences and Education



The Research Center for Social Sciences and Education (RCSSED) beams with pride that it has again hosted the third edition of an international conference carrying the acronym GALACST, that is, the Gender, Adult Literacy and Active Citizenship for Social Transformation.

More than five years ago, GALACST began as a product of a series of funded research projects to the University. UST is fortunate to be an implementing partner of literacy projects ran by the University of East Anglia (UEA), with support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The first conference was staged in 2019, while a purely-online second conference happened in 2022.

This time around, GALACST 3 is going hybrid (i.e., both in-person and online) – embracing the Zoom era and moving forward from the Covid-19 pandemic. GALACST 3 tackles university-community partnerships in public health. Such event is staged as the world has realized the need to be ready for forthcoming heath outbreaks; for fallouts by universal health systems when they’re overburdened; and for universities to remain grounded and alert in responding to community needs. Developing countries like the Philippines all the more need to have responsive health systems.

Lessons from GALACST 3 will leave reminders of how health challenges need to be overcome, and how health systems need to become better than the pandemic era. We let empirical public and social health research findings relay those messages forward for health policy reform.

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