DOST pushes future-proof technologies for the environment amidst the pandemic

Department of Science and Technology secretary Fortunato T. Dela Peña announces future-proof initiatives through research and development programs and private sector collaboration. . (Photo by Henry A. De Leon, S&T Media Service)
 In his latest weekly report to the Filipino people, Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) mentioned that the DOST’s new programs and initiatives are set to future-proof industries and the environment amidst the pandemic.

Among the programs the secretary mentioned are the Integrated Mapping, Monitoring, Modeling and Management System for Manila Bay or the IM4 Manila Bay Program and the Charted Dream.

The IM4 Manila Bay program aims to characterize Manila Bay and its watersheds and the link environments while the Charted Dream project aims to develop technology for the management and utilization of dredge materials from Tullahan -Tinajeros rivers system. The team from the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute and the Department of Public Works and Highways have already met to identify possible sampling sites and are already preparing initial laboratory analysis. 

These projects are said to complement the government’s current initiatives in cleaning up the Manila Bay and its adjacent rivers and tributaries. “Sa kagustuhan nating mapaganda ang tubig at ang mga tributaries sa Manila Bay, mangangailangan talaga yan ng dredging,” De la Peña explained. “Ngayon ano ang gagawin natin sa made-dredge na materials at yan ngayon ang proyekto ng DOST-ITDI, iaanalyze para malaman kung ano ang pwedeng paggamitan ng dredge materials na iyan.”

The Tullahan- Tinajeros River system is a 27-kilometer long river system and a major tributary of Manila Bay. It spans from La Mesa Water Reservoir in Fairview, Quezon City, all the way to Manila Bay. It is one of the most polluted waterways in Metro Manila.

The secretary also mentioned other DOST program such as the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage the Philippine Economy or CRADLE.

The program aims to help create collaborative research and development between the academe and the industry by working with the private sector in identifying problems while academe and other research institutions provide science-based solutions.

Currently, there are 18 new projects from 18 private companies that have partnered with 11 universities to work in the areas of new pharmaceutical products, research on the dietary fiber of sugarcane bagasse and the natural antioxidant on sugarcane, development of new materials from carrageenan, “soysage”, a sausage derived from okra, and nursery tanks for shrimp production.

Apart from that, research will be conducted on the development of tomography imaging devices, semiconductor packaging and electronics products, and home energy storage and energy management.

The DOST Report is a weekly broadcast of the Science and Technology Information Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-STII) highlighting the various initiatives and innovations of the DOST  aired live every Friday through the DOSTv Facebook and Youtube channel.

-30-

Diabetes management project wins the 3-Minute Pitch to Policymakers Competition 
 A hardworking researcher from Southern Philippines bagged the top plum in the recently concluded 3-Minute Pitch to Policymakers Competition held on 14 August 2020, for her entry on diabetes management.

Ms. Geraldine S. Ridad of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, representing Region 10, won the competition for her research study entitled, “Project DiabEHT: An Approach to Improve Self-care Management of Diabetes”.

Ms. Geraldine Ridad (right) pitches her research study entitled, “Project DiabEHT: An Approach to Improve Self-care Management of Diabetes” during the 3-Minute Pitch to Policymakers Competition.
Among the 11 competitors from different regional health R&D consortia across the country that presented online, Region 10 was hailed as the winner. Region 10 maintains the title since its launch in 2019.

The competition which highlights the importance of translating research findings into policy was conducted by the Department of Science and Technology–Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD). The initiative was also conducted to encourage researchers to submit their works on finding solutions to pressing health problems in the country, one of which is diabetes.

According to the Western Pacific Region of the International Diabetes Federation, an umbrella organization of over 230 national diabetes associations in 170 countries and territories, the Philippines ranks fifth behind China, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand in the number of diabetes cases

With a population of 100 million, the Philippines has more than five million diagnosed cases of diabetes and the rate of increase is becoming alarming.

With this in mind, Ms. Ridad’s research aims to increase a diabetic patient’s confidence in managing his/her diabetes. It has three components, namely: (1) weekly support group activities and lecture series on diabetes, (2) installation and use of the DiabEHT mobile app, and (3) installation of “diabooth” in a health center.

After six weeks of project implementation, the participants have shown significant improvement in their self-care activities in terms of general diet, physical activities, blood glucose monitoring, and foot-care. Their blood glucose levels were also significantly reduced, which means that the project has a significant improvement in the participants’ glycemic control.

Ms. Ridad is now reaching out to the Department of Health (DOH) to help her conduct a comparative study to better determine the effectiveness of the mobile application in attaining desired outcomes for patients with diabetes.

Ms. Ridad (right) is shown receiving her award of P30,000 (together with a trophy) as champion of the competition during the virtual awarding ceremony.
Other winners included the following: Dr. Hazel Anne L. Catublas from the National Capital Region (NCR) in second place, with her research study entitled “Bridging the Gap for the Improvement of Access to Healthcare of the Filipino Deaf Community”, while Mr. Michael G. Bacus from Region XI was awarded third place with his research study entitled “Healthy Nature for Healthy People”.

Dr. Ronnel dela Rosa from Region III won the People’s Choice Award after garnering 28.4% of online votes during the event. His policy pitch was entitled “Smoke-Free City Living and Tobacco-Free Generation in the City of Balanga”.

To view the awarding ceremony, you may follow the link below for the replay of the Video Competition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4iXj9_Eq-0.

For more information on the programs and projects of DOST Region X, kindly contact Ms. Julie Anne H. Baculio, Science Research Specialist I, (stpromotions@region10.dost.gov.ph, 0917-709-3706).

-30-

DOST’s SciCom efforts cited in international book, ‘Communicating Science’
By David Matthew C. Gopilan, DOST-STII
 A book chapter that appeared in the recently published book by the Australian National University on “Communicating Science” forever etched science communication or scicom products and services of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the country’s history and status of scicom.

The book “Communicating Science” describes that science communication has flourished in select 39 countries, including the Philippines. (Photo from press.anu.edu.au)
 The book chapter, “Philippines: From science then communication to science communication” traced the history of scicom in the country from the pre-Spanish times up to the modern period. It was authored by three scicom practitioners coming from the academe and industry sectors. They are Assistant Professor Garry Jay S. Montemayor from the University of the Philippines Los Baños; Dr. Mariechel J. Navarro, former director of Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology; and Kamila Isabelle A. Navarro, a graduate of Master of Science Communication degree at Australian National University.
Some works of the DOST that were cited in the book chapter are the annual National Science and Technology Week celebration which showcases the Department’s various S&T “through innovative scicom methods” and the digital library-in-a-box called STARBOOKS or Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks. Incidentally, STARBOOKS is one of the innovative products of the DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII).

The centerpiece of the 2019 National Science and Technology Week at the World Trade Center, Pasay City was a visual symbol of the thrust of the DOST to promote innovation for inclusive growth. (Photo by Gerardo G. Palad, DOST-STII)

Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks or STARBOOKS, is an S&T information pod that does not need the internet to operate. It contains thousands of digitized S&T materials in text and video formats. (Photo from stii.dost.gov.ph).
 Further, the Science Explorer Bus and NuLab, DOST-Science Education Institute’s (DOST-SEI) mobile science learning facilities for elementary and high school students were also mentioned. These facilities have interactive exhibits, learning materials, and laboratory equipment which give students from under-equipped schools a hands-on and fun experience in science.

NuLab (left) and Science Explorer (right) are mobile facilities that provide students with an interactive and fun learning experience in science. (Photo from sei.dost.gov.ph)
Also mentioned is Indie-Siyensiya, a filmmaking contest of the science agency administered also by the DOST-SEI. It aims to promote science culture among the youth and use cinema as a way to encourage more people to appreciate science.

Indie-Siyensiya was conceptualized to encourage the use of film as a medium to communicate science and entice the youth to engage in various fields of science. (Photo from facebook.com/indiesiyensya)
 Lastly, the official science and weather program of DOST was also cited. Called DOSTv, it airs science shows featuring Filipino scientists and their works, various programs and events of the Department, local technologies and innovations, weather reports, and science trivia. It is the Department’s way of fighting the “low profile of DOST and science in the national consciousness”, the book chapter reads.

DOSTv is the official science and weather program of the Department of Science and Technology. It airs Monday to Friday via PTV4 at 9:30 AM and various online platforms: www.dost.phwww.dostv.ph/youtube, and www.facebook.com/DOSTvPH. (Photo from dostv.ph)
 The book was edited by some of the world-recognized experts in science communication like Toss Gascoigne, Michelle Riedlinger, Bruce V. Lewenstein, Luisa Massarani, and Peter Broks. It featured the status of scicom practice in 39 countries, among which is the Philippines. The whole book and the book chapter on Philippine scicom can be downloaded for free on the website https://press.anu.edu.au/.

To learn more about the scicom products and services of the DOST, visit the Department’s information and marketing arm, DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute via http://www.stii.dost.gov.ph/ or follow the Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/dost.stii.