DOST forum clears up issues on Manila Bay rehab

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) forum on “Our Collective Vision for Manila Bay: From Cleaning to Healing Across Ecosystems” served as a venue to clarify issues involving the Manila Bay rehabilitation where over a thousand viewers from the academe, government, and civic organizations were able to listen to the experts’ discussion on the legal, environmental, social, and even psychological issues.

The situation in Manila Bay is rather complicated because it is situated in one of the most urban cities in the country where roughly 1.47 million live in poverty. Consequently, the discarded solid wastes that are not properly managed, presence of open dump sites, and low diversion rate somehow contributes to the problem in the bay.

This present condition may lead to other adjunct problems that can include exposure to constant flooding; decreasing area as natural habitat, human settlements are in hazardous areas; and it’s not meeting the SB guidelines – meaning it is not suitable for propagation of shellfish or milkfish, eco-tourism, and other recreational activities.

“Our main concern is the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay, and in rehabilitation, we need to address the garbage problem and the water quality,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Jonas Leones.

Under Administrative Order No. 16 issued in 2019, “Expediting the Rehabilitation and Restoration of the Coastal and Marine Ecosystem of the Manila Bay and Creating the Manila Bay Task Force,” the DENR and other concerned government entities are mandated to fast track the Manila Bay’s rehabilitation.

However, even before the creation of the Task Force for the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, there was already the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan (MBSDMP) drafted in 2018, which became the basis for much of the activities of the ongoing rehabilitation program that covers three regions: NCR, Region 3 and Region 4, and 187 LGUs.

The recent Beach Nourishment initiative of the DENR is just one of the five geo-reengineering components of the said program. The other four are trashbooms (structures designed to catch and hold trash materials like debris, branches, leaves), silt curtains, dredging and desilting, and sewerage treatment plants.

Usec. Leones further explained that beach nourishment is a coastal restoration and enhancement activity covering a particular area done to maintain the beach area nourished. The area that has been the subject of discussion recently, because of dolomite, comprises only up to 120 meters.

“We have not done anything yet, nor changed the configuration of the area. We merely removed the filth and dirt, and made it safe and beautiful for the public,” Leones explained.

The beach nourishment program merely relied on the beach nourishment models from other countries and limited the study under the existing conditions of the Manila Bay. There was no long-term impact assessment done.

“If the current trend in the relative sea level continues, which is actually rising quite fast, then in the long run it would definitely affect the beach nourishment,” Karl Queaño, an assistant professor from Ateneo de Manila University and member of NRCP, pointed out.

Queaño also emphasized that in any development, there is an attendant impact. The important question is that – what is the acceptable level of risk for everyone?

Given the many issues arising from the discussion, Leones informed the audience that the DENR policy is dynamic, and that they welcome comments from the other sectors to improve the policy.

“Since beach nourishment has been an issue, perhaps in our policy change we can consider the beach nourishment to be one of the activities to have a full-blown TIA,” Leones assured the viewers. TIA refers to total impact assessment.

At the end, the webinar-forum made more people understand the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program of the government, helped clarify some issues, and consider possible courses of action that can be taken for an effective and sustainable rehabilitation and preservation of Manila Bay.

The virtual event was a collaborative activity of the DOST-National Research Council of the Philippines, Geological Society of the Philippines (GSP), and the University of the Philippines Los Baños School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM). (S&T Media Service, Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin)


DOST health council holds Online Research Camp for Region X HEIs

Online Research Camp Tarp Design The Department of Science and Technology–Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) conducted the HERDIN PLUS Online Research Camp for the three member-institutions of the Northern Mindanao Consortium for Health, Research, and Development (NorMinCoHRD), namely: Iligan Medical Center College (IMCC), Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), and Liceo de Cagayan University (LDCU) on 15-17 September 2020.

The Health Research and Development Information Network Platform of Unified Research Information Management Systems or HERDIN PLUS is an online portal that provides easy management and access to health and health-related research information. It features a system that gives a single entrance for viewing, submission, updating, and managing health research information.  Furthermore, it is a tool to streamline health data collection to support policy and decision making of health research stakeholders.

The research camp’s objective is to generate a comprehensive report on health and health-related research information from PNHRS implementing institutions, consortia member-institutions, research-generating institutions.

“It is great to know that we have this kind of platform to help institutional researchers reach more audiences,” one participant said.
The primary participants were composed of the institutions’ research directors, research office staff, researchers, and IT staff attended the training.

Through this system, access to health and health-related research information will be highly improved. Reports generated from the HERDIN PLUS will also be the bases for assessing the health of the Philippine National Health Research System. For more information about HERDIN PLUS, you may visit


Trilogy books tell of success stories using science and technology

Many are inspired at the modest stories of technology giants such as Apple, Facebook and Microsoft and how it overcame almost insurmountable circumstances to reach the top through sheer hard work and of course science, technology and innovation.

With that being said, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has its own success stories to tell as it launches a series of books that celebrates the many success of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through innovations.

Dubbed as Science For The People, the book series which DOST secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña claims “present the very essence of Filipinnovation that put into reality Science for the People which is our ultimate goal,”—features a trilogy of books namely Science For Scale, Science For Success, and Science For Social Change.

The books are set to be launched on 24 September 2020 and will highlight how technological innovations have turned things around for the various enterprises, communities and ultimately the lives of Filipinos.

In the book, Science For Scale, author and digital technology expert Winston Damarillo shares how scientists and entrepreneurs worked together in coming up with practical technologies and applications that provide solutions to various technological problems for local entrepreneurs. These solutions paved the way to more product enhancements and became the key driver for success for some SMEs that have embraced science and innovations.

The book features various DOST assisted companies that achieved growth using innovative technologies and capabilities developed by DOST’s technology experts. 

The second book carries the title Science For Success. Written by two of the country’s second-generation industrialists and premier entrepreneurs, Maret Follosco- Bautista and Robina Gokongwei- Pe—the book dives into the stories of small to medium enterprises and explores how they leaped into huge success by employing the science, technology and innovation strategy, a formula that created many global companies out of small firms across different industries.

Finally, the last book installment is on the role of science and technology or S&T in enriching the lives of many Filipinos.

Titled Science For Social Change, the book captures the life-changing effects of many developmental initiatives and interventions brought by DOST especially in the countryside. The Science For Social Change tell unique stories that reflect the impact of disruptive technologies on the lives of select Filipinos as told by the well-respected columnist, Dr. Segundo Joaquin E. Romero Jr.

“These are the very reasons why we put together our aspirations, inspirations and stories to present the human side of science,” explains Secretary de la Peña. “In the pages of the books, we see the positive changes in communities and how people learned to help themselves through what we call social innovations.”

The book series aim to inspire and encourage more collaboration between DOST and the private sector in creating value adding technologies and capabilities in developing the local industries’ competitiveness as the world enters the era of the fourth industrial revolution.  (S&T Media Service)By Joy M. Lazcano, S&T Media Service