DOST’s Engr. Sancho: As a leader, as an influencer

Newly appointed Undersecretary for Regional Operations of the Department of Science and Technology Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang (left) was recently shown in to office by Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña.
Leadership refers to the quality of leading people, whether in groups or individually. Leaders have this trait that allows them to clearly and concisely communicate their intent to the people. They also have this wit that motivates those around them in order to reach greater heights of achievement. 

Working in DOST Region II, I have observed these characteristics in one of our leaders and I had the privilege to work with our director, Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang and here are his notable characteristics.

As a leader

As the regional director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region II, Engineer Sancho A. Mabborang leads by example and not by mere commands. He is known to be a strong frontrunner, being the first to always take action in every event, program, or trainings. In simply words, he is the ‘take-charge guy’ in the regional office. Not only is this apparent to his colleagues in the DOST but also to the members of other major organizations in the region. Thus, making him a notable and respected leader in Cagayan Valley.

He is the brains behind some of the notable activities of DOST Region II. His competency resulted in the highly recognizable accomplishments by him in Cagayan Valley.

One of these accomplishments is the, an online marketing portal. The OneSTore team, led by him, started with only five members and is continuously growing even beyond the region. From concepts, ideas, and a purposeful vision, OneSTore now stands as the only government-managed e-commerce platform in the entire country. This innovative marketing hub carries the many products developed and produced by micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that were assisted by the DOST under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP.

In fact, his excellent implementation of the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) in Region II warrants emulation. With the improved implementation of SETUP in the region and introduction of innovations, more MSMEs were provided with S&T interventions that helped them improve their productivity and competitiveness. This, resulted in the increase in their gross sales and contributed in employment generation of the assisted firms that led to the improvement of the economic status of Cagayan Valley.

Also, under his leadership, the following Research and Development (R&D) Centers were established: Cagayan Valley Small Ruminants R&D Center, Citrus Resources Research for Development in Cagayan Valley (crr4dcv), Cagayan Valley Freshwater R&D for Ludong and Eel, Cagayan Valley Cacao Development Center, Regional Yarn Production and Innovation Center, Smart Water and Infrastructure Management R&D.  Furthermore, worth mentioning here were the four SETUP beneficiary firms that were got ISO 9001 Certified through his efforts, namely: AMCC, AgriComponent, ACT Machineries, and Northern Asia Sales Corporation. 

As an influencer

From his stance and area of influence, he has shown us that we should take up space and amplify voices when it comes to local, national and international issues and policies. As a leader and influencer, he contributed much in the attainment of the agency’s strategic goals that included the accumulation of significant savings as a result of more efficient operations and implementation of relevant programs and administrative reforms. Despite this, he still remains the humble person that he is, with the traits that serve as a good example to his co-workers in government and colleagues.

In the office, he is a person with ethical values. His integrity in work stands out as he maintains transparency in all his activities. He loves to work with both his supervisors and subordinates and he gives them equal and fair treatment.

His charisma, style, and tone make him more relatable to the public. He speaks in front of teachers, farmers, agriculturists, professionals – all with words of reinforcement, making them realize that each of their contributions play a significant role in improving our society. Usually, Engr. Mabborang seizes every opportunity to speak in front of the people because he knows, given his position and responsibility, his words can somehow create a positive effect on people. He is the kind of leader that will help you realize that even you, no matter how small or big your work may be, can become a good leader to others.

SAM of both

They say, what makes a person a good leader is the sum of all his characteristics and beliefs. In the life of Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang, or SAM as we fondly call him, we can see that his brave exterior and honest heart are what make him an effective leader.

Truly, he is the SAM [sum] when you add the moral values, charisma, integrity, and good management skills of this humble public servant. And now that he has been appointed as the new Undersecretary for Regional Operations Services, we are certain that he would lead the regional offices of the DOST with the same amount of zeal and integrity he had during his time in Region II. (S&T Pen_Dave)

DOST’s COARE supercomputing facility continues to support
COVID-19-centric initiatives

By: Dyan Delos Reyes–Lamando

It has been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the world, affecting the global economy and altering lives. The Philippines was not spared, and the nation has been hit hard. With the virus claiming more than 20,000 lives and the total number of cases is still climbing past the one million mark, there is a need to intensify our efforts in battling this highly infectious disease.  
Since March 2020, the Computing and Archiving Research Environment (COARE), the supercomputing facility housed at the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ASTI), has been instrumental in expanding our knowledge about the virus. Through the continuous allocation of its supercomputing resources, the facility did not only aid a plethora of research institutions in their high-computing and data storage needs, but it also helped propel the nation’s collective efforts to shed light on COVID-19. 
Here is a look at how COARE’s supercomputing facility contributed to the efforts of the  government and research institutions regarding their COVID-19-centric research initiatives from the dawn of the pandemic up to the present. 

Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (FASSSTER) for LGU Epidemiology Surveillance Units  

FASSSTER was officially turned over to the DOH in September 2020. It is a pandemic intelligence monitoring platform that aids national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) in their real-time decision-making processes, making interventions and implementing programs to address COVID-19 cases in the country. FASSSTER has a fast and secure data warehouse that features multiple modules used for collating, storing, and filtering real-time information sourced from various health records, reports, and parameters. Since March 2020, the COARE facility has been of crucial help to FASSSTER, providing access to its virtual cloud services to help them in their mathematical models and data warehouse needs.

The COVID-19 dashboard of FASSSTER. 

Safe, Swift & Smart Passage (S-PaSS) 

COARE has provided large storage and compute resources to the Safe, Swift & Smart Passage application or S-PaSS, a web-based system developed by the DOST Regional Office VI to manage the travels of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs), and Emergency Travelers (ETs). To manage travel and mobility in and out of the country and across provinces and regions, the IATF, LGUs, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) adopted the said travel management system. With the expected scale-up of the application, COARE is ready to provide additional compute and storage resources to support its nationwide adoption. 

The interface of the web-based S-PaSS system. 

COVID-19 Operations Center Monitoring Dashboard & Data Platform: Department of Science and Technology – Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) and SyCip Gorres Velayo & Company (SGV & Co)

DOST-ASTI, in cooperation with SyCip Gorres Velayo & Company (SGV & Co.), developed the the COVID-19 Operations Center Monitoring Dashboard and Data Platform to help LGUs in managing, tracking, and monitoring COVID-19 cases. The system consolidates COVID-19 data that LGUs can view through an easy-access dashboard. It includes visualization features like heat maps and charts for monitoring, designed for municipality up to the barangay level. It also includes modules for encoding patient information and assigning patient records for contact tracing. COARE has assisted the COVID-19 Operations Center Monitoring System in storing and analyzing their data through the provision of virtual servers.  

The COVID-19 Operations Center Monitoring Dashboard & Data Platform. 

SafeTravelPH: University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and Department of Transportation (DOTr) – Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board

This collaborative research aims to enhance the quality and safety in public transport through the deployment of SafeTravelPH, a crowdsourcing app and dashboard that provides an integrated system for real-time fleet monitoring and evaluation of public transport services. Through the establishment of an information exchange platform, this app aims to set up parameters and performance indicators for fuel-efficient public transport operations through the promotion of eco-driving practices and safe commuting through real-time data feeds and commuter-contributed alerts. COARE assisted in the SafeTravelPH research through the provision of Science Cloud services

CovCheck Application: University of the Philippines Cebu (UPC)

The Department of Computer Science and the FireCheck team of the University of the Philippines Cebu has developed the web application called CovCheck. It enables LGUs in Cebu to manage and respond to the transmission of COVID-19 through the collection of data from people who have self-assessed and self-reported for COVID-19 symptoms. CovCheck also features Quarantine Buddy, an application that allows the LGU to monitor residents who are admitted to their quarantine facilities. At present, COARE has helped UP Cebu’s CovCheck by hosting their web application in its virtual servers. 

The COVID-19 web application of UP Cebu’s CovCheck. 

COVID-19 Analysis; COVID19 Assembly; Evolutionary analysis of SARS-CoV-2 : UP Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC)

The Philippine Genome Center of the University of the Philippines-Diliman is a genome-focused institution that currently prioritizes research pursuits on COVID-19. The PGC’s current activities center on phylogenetic analysis, computational studies, evolutionary analysis, molecular biology, and in silico detection of COVID-19. From the onset of the pandemic, COARE has given support to the PGC by providing its researchers an access to the facility’s supercomputing services.  

Screenshot from the Philippine Genome Center’s virtual conference, “OnePGC”,
held on December 10, 2020.

Advancing Antivirals thru Combined Computational Design and Emerging Omics to Leverage Repurposed and Natural Drugs for SARS-CoV-2 Therapeutics (ACCELER8): UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences (UPM CAS) / UP-PGC Mindanao / De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila

Faculty members and scientists from the University of the Philippines-Manila, Philippine Genome Center-Mindanao, and the De La Salle University Manila are working on the ACCELER8 research project to be able to identify antiviral inhibitors of SARSCoV-2 from repurposed, commercially available drugs and Philippine natural product compounds. COARE has given ACCELER8 researchers an access to its supercomputing services to help them conduct simulations and data analysis on computational drug design and omics, supported by in silico and in vitro screening. 

The research and resource portal of De La Salle University that lists the research works, activities, and initiatives related to COVID-19. 

Telemedicine Network of the Philippines (TNP) 

Aside from the resources provided by COARE, DOST-ASTI’s high-speed network, PREGINET, has been a crucial tool for COVID-19-related activities, especially in advancing telemedicine initiatives. The only national research and education network of the country, PREGINET has been working closely with the Telemedicine Network of the Philippines to facilitate and support online events and educational webinars significant to healthcare practitioners in the local and international scenes. Since the pandemic started, the activities conducted related to telemedicine focused more in expanding useful knowledge about COVID-19. 

A telemedicine initiative during the Philippine Association of Laparoscopic and Endoscopic Surgeons (PALES) Virtual Congress 2020. Amid the availability of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide and the ceaseless plight of the medical community in giving assistance to COVID-19 patients, the end is still far from sight for this virulent disease. However, through the support of supercomputing facilities such as COARE, researchers are empowered to create data-driven systems, platforms, and applications, and work on research initiatives that allows us to get closer to uncovering the facets of this virus. About COARE The Computing and Archiving Research Environment (COARE) is one of the services offered by the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). It fosters collaboration among institutions by enabling multiple data integration between ASTI-initiated programs and other collaborative projects with other agencies that have considerable requirements for data storage and high-performance computing. The COARE facility provides a platform for easy storage, analysis, and sharing of scientific data by providing the following services: High-Performance Computing (HPC), Science Cloud, and Data Archiving. About PREGINETPREGINET is the only Research and Educational Network (REN) in the Philippines, that interconnects and catalyzes research among academic, government, and research institutions. PREGINET has links to several overseas RENs including the Asia-Pacific Advanced Network (APAN), Asian Internet Interconnection Initiatives (AI3), and Trans-Eurasia Information Network 3 (TEIN3). ————– Do you have questions about the supercomputing facility? You may send inquiries through e-mail at For more information about the Computing and Archiving Research Environment (COARE), interested parties may visit our wiki and Facebook

DOST’s AMCEN, the new face of Phl manufacturing
By Joy M. Lazcano, DOST-STII

In celebration of the Metals and Engineering Week on 14-18 June 2021, the Department of Science and Technology- Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) will launch its Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCEN) on 14 June 2021.
AMCEN, poised to put a new face to Philippine manufacturing, is DOST’s top-of-the-line advanced manufacturing facility and state-of-the-art prototyping laboratory aims to push the country’s manufacturing sector’s competitiveness to a higher level by increasing its technological readiness, business sophistication and innovative capacity.
AMCEN, a facility that will also serve as an innovation hub for advanced manufacturing, will offer industrial design and development and rapid prototyping.
DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña explained that rapid prototyping is ideal as “design alterations can be done quickly and efficiently.”
Rapid prototyping is the fast fabrication of a physical part, model or assembly using 3D computer aided design (CAD). The creation of the part, model or assembly is usually completed using additive manufacturing, or more commonly known as 3D printing.
The facility will also enable the country to develop sophisticated products and technologies in the fields of aerospace, defense, health and medical services, biotechnology, automotive, and electronics and semi-conductors.
“AMCEN cuts the production time especially in the prototyping stage,” elaborated de la Peña. “Which means more savings and we can now develop more complex designs at a shorter, more efficient way as additive manufacturing is better than the conventional subtractive manufacturing.”
Just a year after DOST announced its initial run, AMCEN has received a handful of requests from different private and public organizations for its prototyping services. One of these institutions that has availed of the services of AMCEN is the Philippine Army.
The Philippine Army’s Research and Development Center (RDC) tapped the Center for the development of the prototype for the Improvised Explosive Device (EID) Distractor
project. The distractor is a device that disarms an explosive device by enabling it to explode inside its contraptions without destroying its parts and circuitries.
The project was able to develop the materials that aim to “protect the soldiers from direct contact with the IED,” said RDC Director Lt. Col. Crisanto Prado.
Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry Region VII Director Ma. Nannette Arbon said that AMCEN will be the catalyst of innovation for DTI’s 30 existing fabrication laboratories (Fablab). She shared that AMCEN will enhance the Fablabs located in select universities in the country by providing capacity building on 3D printing, design, and testing. “We partnered with AMCEN and conducted 20 webinars on 3D printing,” shared Arbon.
On the other hand, the Center also collaborated with the STAMINA4SPACE or the Sustained Support for Local Space Technology & Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement program to design and develop prototype parts for cube satellites under the PHL50 project.
Under the project, AMCEN is tasked to develop a microsatellite bus system containing the electronic and structural parts. The group collaborated in developing metal enclosures, frames for cube satellites, and camera baffles. According to Dr. Marc Caesar Talampas, Porject Leader of STAMINA4SPACE PHL50, “malaking tulong ang facility ng AMCEN para makapag-prototype ng mabilisan gaya ng mga part(s) like the antenna deployment mechanisms, camera baffle, and makapag-fabricate pa ng iba’t ibang parts at i-test ang mga ito.”
The celebration will be attended by various industry partners such as the Aerospace Industries Association of the Philippines, Metalworking Industries Association of the Philippines, Mechatronics and Robotics Society of the Philippines, PDMA, Inc., and the Philippine Welding Society. Aside from the launch, there will be several webinars on metal productions and 3D printing for the entire week.
Meanwhile, Secretary de la Peña agreed that the new facility in the DOST S&T Complex will enable the manufacturing sector face up to the emergence of the Industrial Revolution 4.0. “We are proud of AMCEN as we believe that this is one of the many significant facilities that intend to increase the knowledge and capabilities of our manufacturing sector to make us more globally competitive and advanced.”