CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Pampanga—Volumes of research studies and innovations continue to come out of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). One critical thing is to bring the outputs to the country’s 17 regions—to make them useful.
As far as the DOST—headed by Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, and its 18 agencies and 17 regional offices—are concerned, nothing is being left to chance.
One of the ways to do transfer of technology to users—small and medium enterprises (SMEs), individuals, organizations, etc.—is the holding of conferences or fora in the provinces.
“This is important because, first, it helps in the development of the countryside; second, the technology that should benefit our citizens is utilized,” said Engineer Sancho A. Mabborang, regional director of DOST Cagayan Valley. Mabborang spoke with this journalist during the Luzon Regional Scientific Meeting (RSM) at a hotel here last month.
The DOST’s National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Philippines organized the RSM. It will soon conduct similar RSMs in the Visayas and Mindanao, precisely to communicate to local government units (LGUs), SMEs and individuals the gains out of research and development (R&D) studies and innovations funded by the government.
Mabborang cited the vital importance of holding RSM “because we are showing here and presenting the various issues and concerns of the scientific community.”
Besides that, he added, the DOST is showing its achievements, citing the presentation at the RSM on Smart City made by architect and urban development planner Felino A. Palafox Jr.
Discussions were also made on the presentations on sustainability and resiliency, smart city, water quality and wastewater management, information and communications technology (ICT) ecosystems, competition, railway development and sustainable water resources.
From the presentations, the DOST Cagayan Valley chief noted that the citizens, not only the scientific community, would know and understand modern concepts, which can be expanded and communicated to the society’s various sectors.
“In our case, we have the here the LGUs, academe, businessmen, SMEs, who, through this opportunity [in the RSM], would know about the latest developments, cutting-edge technology that can help in their respective localities, and respective fields.
“It is important that we have this kind of assembly so we can further improve the condition of our nation,” he said.
Mabborang seemed to have embedded in his mind one speaker’s “menu for success:” a visionary leader armed with political will, and not involved in graft and corruption.
Meanwhile, de la Peña noted that the DOST has one specific activity or program that has really been generating opportunities.
“I’m referring to the human-resource program. Our scholarships, which have been expanding over the years, are really creating opportunities, particularly for the very poor in the different regions,” he said.
The DOST head said for 2018, around 7,000 new scholarship slots were opened under the program being implemented by the Science Education Institute.
“By this time, we are already covering 97 percent of all municipalities in the whole Philippines. Now, there is already a scholar in almost all municipalities, except in 52 municipalities.” The Philippines has a total of 1,489 municipalities as of December 2017.
Just how important is the scholarship program?
“We have already established the fact that when you are able to graduate a poor student from a DOST scholarship, [the scholar] is able to lift his family from poverty,” de la Peña said.
The Luzon RSM, through two academicians, seven regional directors, another DOST executive and a university professor, issued a resolution containing their eight-point recommendations to hasten the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Strengthen the fundamentals, including better institutions and governance, growing stocks of human capital, skills and knowledge;
- Localize and concretize the application of the SDGs at all levels of the government, from the national level to the local government units;
- Leverage scientific and technological advances, which lead to higher productivity, economic growth, higher incomes and clean government;
- Strengthen the competition policy as it is the key to removing uncompetitive market practices that harm people’s welfare and prevent growth;
- Shift the transportation systems away from oil toward sustainable, clean and renewable energy. Design pedestrian- and person with disability-friendly mass transportation systems, such as urban and intercity railways;
- Harness the tools of information and communication technology (ICT) ecosystem that promotes collaborative innovation. Expand the use of ICT in planning, monitoring and decision-making;
- Provide efficient management of water supply and wastewater treatment with strict quality controls to minimize human-health risks and environmental pollution; and
- Use innovative and holistic approaches to smart cities, which consider multifaceted strategies: visionary, progressive, green and sustainable, digital and inclusive.
Meanwhile, the Vitune: Virtual Instrumentation Technology for Ultrasonic Nondestructive Evaluation of Concrete, a poster presented by Albatross Amante and Tirso A. Ronquillo from Batangas State University, won the Luzon RSM Poster Making Contest.