The Department of Science and Technology Region V (DOST-V) through the Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) – Camarines Sur, partnered with the Office of the Vice President’s Angat Buhay Program and the Local Government Unit of Pamplona for the community-based project “Upgrading the Production of Value-Added Farm Products of Golden Parauma Producers Cooperative (GPPC)”. Through the Angat Buhay Program—of which GPPC is a beneficiary—the cooperative was able to link with the DOST that provided the appropriate S&T interventions.
Under the project, one unit of PORTASOL Multi-Purpose Thermal Drying Trays was recently awarded to GPPC at Tambo, Pamplona, Camarines Sur (CamSur). PORTASOL is a portable and lightweight solar dryer composed of aluminum thermal trays that can be laid down on an open field or assembled into racks with a plastic sheet cover as protection from pests and fungus. Developed by Francisco Pagayon, the equipment’s affordable and simple design provides two- to three-times faster drying rate than conventional pavement drying.
The PORTASOL is seen to greatly improve the quality of GPPC’s products that include chili powder, vegetable-based chips, and products from soya bean, pili, corn, rice, coconut and other high-value crops. The equipment will address the need to decrease post-harvest losses and increase product quality during drying that were perennial problems of the cooperative’s farmers and producers before.
As CamSur Provincial S&T Director Patrocinio N. Felizmenio remarked, DOST knew that the PORTASOL is the right technology to address the cooperative’s post-harvest losses while minimizing production cost, ensuring product quality, food hygiene, and safety.
LGU-Pamplona Acting Mayor Ronaldo Franco professed his support to the project and willingness to embark on more initiatives with DOST to improve the agricultural sector: “Simula pa man ay akin nag prayoridad ang patuloy na paunlarin ang ating agrikultura, kaya makakaasa ang lahat na nais magpaabot ng tulong sa suporta ng LGU-Pamplona.”
On the other hand, Babet Lavadia, OVP & Angat Buhay representative, expressed her appreciation to DOST, LGU-Pamplona and GPPC for their untiring work and support; further adding that Angat Buhay aims to deploy more DOST programs and technology to the program’s so-called Omasenso farmers.
The leadership of GCCP and its members expressed their appreciation and full commitment to the project that they know will greatly improve their livelihood. As GPPC Chairperson Anita Fernan puts it: “Hindi namin alam ang aming ginawa upang mapasama sa mga programa at proyekto ng DOST at Angat Buhay Program, subalit makakaasa po kayo na lahat ng proyektong ipinapaabot sa amin ay aming pangangalagaan at pauunlarin.” (DOST V PSTC-Camarines Sur)
DOST’s Position on the Use of Ivermectin for Treatment of COVID-19
Experts in the scientific and medical field have already spoken. In the case of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), our most common involvement is the development of diagnostic kits, disease models, drugs and adjunctive therapies which include clinical trials.
Clinical trial projects will require a minimum of 6 months and can extend to years. That is how long we have to wait to have results and conclusions. Considering, however, that there are almost 20 completed and 40 ongoing clinical trials around the world as reported in clinicaltrials.gov exploring the use of Ivermectin formulations against COVID-19, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) is of the position that there is no need to conduct another clinical trial in the Philippines.
As most ongoing clinical trials have already been implemented since 2020, it would be appropriate to await the results of these studies that are already significantly advanced in terms of data collection and conducting interim analyses.
DOST, DICT, DTI to seal collaboration in support of PH innovative startups
Sharing the commitment to support innovative startups as a way to boost national socioeconomic development, especially at this time when the government moves towards the new normal, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has joined hands with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to work together and help Filipino innovative startups get their bearings.
This multi-agency collaboration is expected to be sealed via virtual presser on 22 March 2021 at 3:00PM through an official signing of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) by the three Department Secretaries: Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña of the DOST, Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II of the DICT, and Secretary Ramon M. Lopez of the DTI. The virtual signing can be viewed live at the DOST-Philippines Facebook page.
The signing of the JAO underscores the commitment of the three Departments to pursue the objectives of the Innovative Startup Act or Republic Act No. 11337 (RA 11337), to aid in the growth of the innovative startup companies and business ventures in the country.
The Innovative Startup Act shall provide incentives and remove constraints, aimed at encouraging the establishment and operation of innovative new businesses —businesses crucial to growth and expansion — that will strengthen, promote, and develop an ecosystem of businesses and government and nongovernment institutions that foster an innovative entrepreneurial culture in the Philippines.
The Act also aims to streamline government and non-government procedures to help ease constraints for startups and encourage more creative minds to start their own enterprises in a more conducive innovation environment.
Under the Act, a Startup Grant Fund (SGF) shall be created under DOST, DICT, and DTI. Each agency, on the other hand, shall use its respective SGF to provide initial and supplemental Grants-in-Aid (GIA) for startups and startup enablers that have passed the selection and application process.
The JAO is being issued to create a Steering Committee (SC) that will provide strategic guidance and oversight in the formulation, implementation, and development of the program.
The Steering Committee per Section 1, Rule 2, Chapter 1 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 11337 is to be constituted by DOST, DTI, and DICT for the implementation of the IRR and the management of the Philippine Startup Development Program. The SC will be composed of nine representatives from the DOST, DICT, and DTI as designated by their respective Secretaries.
This accord is truly beneficial as it is aligned with the other innovation-related programs of DOST like the Science for Change Program with its four sub-programs CRADLE, NICER, RDLead, and BIST; Technology Business Incubation (TBI) Program; Technology Innovation for Commercialization Program (TECHNICOM); the Startup Nation Program; and the Young Innovators Program (YIP), to name a few.
In concretizing this collaboration, it is expected that the startups that will be supported will eventually contribute to the overall goal of the government to ignite economic activity, nurture a robust innovation ecosystem, enhance productivity, and heighten global competitiveness. (S&T Media Service)