DOST drives developments in CALABARZON
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) CALABARZON has driven developments for the so-called science and technology (S&T) regional ecosystem in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon through various programs, projects and services.
Dr. Alexander Madrigal, DOST CALABARZON Regional Director, said that S&T developments are taking place in various sectors such as disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), education, health, enterprise, livelihood, tourism and industries.
“Through our vicious cycle of innovation we have sustained to serve as living engines of science and technology who function to adapt to this speedy-transforming society in the region,” Madrigal said during the DOST Calabarzon’s 54th founding anniversary celebration of the regional office on Dec. 11.
He outlined smart systems they have developed in making CALABARZON disaster ready region such as a system that standardizes data gathering, monitoring and sharing practices from all DOST Regional offices known as Data Analytics-Ready Info Unified System (DARIUS).
The Center for Hazard and Environment Resource Mapping (CHERM) has been established which provides mapping services and a composite picture of communities for surveillance, monitoring, resources assessment, and emergency response to local government units (LGUs), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), line agencies and other groups.
Madrigal also reported that other related projects included the adaptation of the Tsunami Early Warning Systems (TEWS) in partnership with Batangas State University and in collaboration with Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) and Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), which monitors potential tsunami occurrences.
Also, the regional S&T agency has developed the Infrastructure Audit Manual which capacitates local government units to assess buildings, bridges and public structures’ resilience and integrity against earthquake and natural calamities.
To strengthen international and local linkages, the agency has established functional Regional and Provincial Food Safety teams and the institutionalization of international linkages with Temasek Foundation International (TFI) and Nanyang Polytechnic International (NYPi) in Singapore.
Local linkages with Nestle Philippines established in 2016 resulted in the partnerships with several DOST Regional Standards and Testing Laboratories (RSTLs) microbiological testing, now on its finalization stage.
The inauguration of the Halal Verification Laboratory (HVL) that uses the most advance technology in detection of haram (forbidden by Islamic law) and mushbooh (doubtful or suspect foods in Islam) food products, highlighted the 54th anniversary celebration.
The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) has financed the project in a bid to strengthen and promote the Halal industry in the country as well as the international market estimated at USD 2.3 trillion.
The DOST’s Enhanced Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (ECEST) Program also resulted in the development of the Value Chain Approach on Island Economy, as approved by Regional Development Council (RDC) through Resolution No. IV-A 112-2017).
This strategy aims to develop island economy to uplift communities among municipalities with the highest poverty incidence in 23 Local Government Units (LGUs) classified as geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) , especially in Quezon province.
“The DOST footprints have made its way into the far-flung islands and poor municipalities of Quezon,” Madrigal said.
In addition, the town of Alabat in Quezon has been established as “Makapuno Island” and with the application and grant of the Makapuno Trademark, opened trade opportunities for “makapuno” products to the international market and trading expositions.
These products were showcased during the 20-day Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Outbound Trade and Business Mission in Canada and United States in November and December this year in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) CALABARZON and MSMEs in the region.
Likewise, the CALABARZON Food Solutions Hub (CFosH) has been enhanced through the acquisition of freeze drying technology and equipment from Thailand and now serves local entrepreneurs in strengthening their production capability and pave ways to commercialization of newly developed products by the food MSMEs.
The food hub project was developed through the DOST CALABARZON’s partnership with DTI CALABARZON, Association of Laguna Food Processors (ALAFOP) and Laguna State Polytechnic University-Sta. Cruz.
On health and education sectors, Madrigal said that the agency has deployed and supervised RxBox Telehealth devices to health care-services-deprived communities since 2016.
DOST also initiated a PHP 12 million project that transformed traditional classrooms with innovative learning modules and advanced technologies equipped with laptops and computers, tablets, and smart TVs for student learning outcomes known as 21st Century Skills Upgrading and Enhancement Learning Abode (21stSkUELA).
The agency has awarded the Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Stations (STARBOOKS), which are one-stop repositories for science and technology and livelihood information, to 27 institutional beneficiaries.
Madrigal, who heads the Los Baños Science Community Foundation Inc. (LBSCFI, also forged a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Education (DepEd) regional agencies for the promotion of tourism industry of this town through science and technology under the brand “Science Tourism”.
For its continuous commitment to public service, DOST CALABARZON was awarded Very Innovative Person Award from the Career Executive Service Board (CESB); Gawad Kalasag Award from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD IV-A); and PAGASA Award.
In its “payback” to various stakeholders, the DOST CALABARZON also acknowledged the contributions of the various regional sectors, media and project beneficiaries through the Tambuli Media Awards, Best Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) Adoptors and SETUP Graduates; and Science Documentary Contests for students.
Madrigal upheld the commitment of the agency towards bringing science and technology and innovations closer to the people citing “behind all these, the root is science practiced by human nation through pro-people programs, projects and services.” (PNA)