Tiburcio Villamor Marcos at DZMJ Online

Mr. Tiburcio Villamor Marcos’ activity recently at the Quirino Grandstand witnessed by DZMJ Online.

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NAST PHL’S SECOND VIRTUAL SYMPOSIUM FOR THE YOUTH VISITS NUEVA ECIJA

NUEVA ECIJA – After launching its pilot episode in CARAGA, the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), in partnership with Department of Science and Technology Region III, will conduct the second episode of ScienTeach: A Virtual Symposium for the Youth on November 16, 2020 at 9:00 AM with a live broadcast on the NAST PHL and DOST Regional Office III social media accounts. The virtual symposium is open for all junior and senior high school students from the region.

For the second episode, the resource speakers of the virtual symposium are National Scientist Angel C. Alcala, Academician Rafael D. Guerrero III, Academician Arnel N. Del barrio, and Corresponding Member Francis L. de los Reyes III. Dr. Richard S. Lemence, 2014 Outstanding Young Scientist, will serve as Master of Ceremonies and Moderator.

The event will also be participated by NAST PHL President, Academician Rhodora V. Azanza and DOST Regional Office III Regional Director Julius Caesar V. Sicat.

In the past years, the Symposium for the Youth with NAST Scientists was held in various provinces of the country in partnership with the DOST Regional Offices.  Due to the pandemic, the symposium will go virtual this year with a new concept.  ScienTeach is an adaptive effort of NAST PHL to continue serving its stakeholders.  It is a collection of episodes that will highlight varying topics and feature NAST Members and awardees who are accomplished in their respective fields. It will utilize online platforms while obtaining the objectives of the traditional lecture series, which are to: 1) promote science and technology, 2) bring our scientists closer to the youth, and 3) inspire and encourage the students to pursue a career in science.

NAST PHL is an attached agency of the DOST and serves as the country’s premier recognition and advisory body on Science and Technology. (Dhan Michael L. dela Peña/NAST PHL)

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UP researchers develop low-cost air quality monitor

 Researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), has locally developed a low-cost, high-quality aerosol monitors to help find ways in minimizing air pollution in the cities.

Spearheaded by Dr. Len Herald V. Lim, the Robust Optical Aerosol Monitor or Project ROAM was initiated to measure particulate matter concentration in the air. It provides crucial information to create policies and programs for environmental protection.

“ROAM units use a different method in detecting particles that does not require the manufacture/fabrication of specialized parts typical of contemporary commercial instrumentation. This allows a much lower production cost, smaller maintenance requirement, and an exclusive research chain” said Dr. Lim.

The team has already produced 10 optical aerosol monitors. Four of these have been verified for performance through collocation experiments with aerosol equipment used by the DENR-EMB while the remaining six are being tested for performance and will be subject to stricter collocation experiments when conditions permit.

The ROAM team is now exploring the creation of a spin-off company through DOST-PCIEERD’s Funding Assistance for Spinoff and Translation of Research in Advancing Commercialization or FASTRAC program to help advance the commercialization of their technology and bring this citizen science project to the community.

DOST-PCIEERD executive director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit expressed hope that the technology can be adopted by local government units who want to improve their area’s air quality through scientific means.

“As leader and partner in enabling innovations, we encourage our researchers for coming up with cutting-edge solutions to solve major environmental and societal issues. This technology is one significant stride in our path towards improving air quality.  Now is a good time to cooperate with our innovators, adopt this solution to protect our future,” Paringit says. (30)

Tourism workers trying to cope amidst impact of COVID-19 The jobs and livelihood of at least 15.3 million workers in the tourism sector in 14 countries, including the Philippines are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). Of those affected 6.4 million are women and 8.9 million are men.

Locally, a survey of 247 decision makers, conducted last May 2020, by the Price Waterhouse Cooper, and the Department of Tourism, shows that across the different subsectors investigated on the impact of COVID-19 in the country’s tourism industry, 97% say that COVID-19 can potentially impact on their business operations, and this poses major concern.

Given the travel restrictions and closure of businesses, 88% of the respondents expect losses of over 50% of their 2020 revenues. To cope with the low demand and restrictions, majority of the respondents say that they temporarily stopped offering a service/product, reduced their level of operations, and reduced the employee headcount.

In a webinar on “Ecotourism in the Time of Covid-19 Pandemic: A Rapid Assessment of the Impact of the Pandemic on Ten Ecotourism Sites in the Philippines,” presented by Dr. Belinda F. Espiritu, a professor from the University of the Philippines-Cebu, during the sixth KTOP-COVID (Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya – COVID) and organized by the Department of Science and Technology – National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP), one ecotourism site reported that during the pandemic, 70% of their service staff were terminated after two months, job order’s work was reduced to 10 days, and staff was no longer allowed to work (no work, no pay).

Professor Belinda F. Espiritu, presenting the results from her research on “Ecotourism in the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic,” which studies the impact of the pandemic to 10 ecotourism sites in different part of the Philippines.
 
Espiritu researched on the 10 ecotourism sites located in Laguna, Bataan, Isabela, Sorsogon, Rizal, Davao, Bohol, Iloilo, Surigao del Sur, and South Cotabato, and looked into the impact of COVID-19 on the management and operation of the ecotourism in the different parts of the Philippines.
 
The study found that except for the very few, most tourism sites had no contingency plans for epidemic outbreaks. On a positive note, though, the quarantine succeeded in bringing out people’s resiliency as exemplified by urban and rural agriculture, cultivation of ornamentals plants for sale, entrepreneurship development, creativity in creating products that sell, and development of livelihood skills.
 
Another good thing is that the management spent the quarantine period improving the facilities and making COVID-19 responses.
 
The research suggested that the regional offices of the Department of Tourism should work hand in hand with the local governments units to guide and require tourism industries nationwide to formulate contingency plans in cases of epidemic outbreak, which should include plans for alternative livelihood projects and backup funds for crisis situation like the COVID-19.
 
According to Espiritu, the lockdowns brought tourism operations to a grinding halt during the community quarantine period, until some sites reopened to residents or local tourists. The cessation led to the laying off of some staff, reduced working hours or days, and work-from-home arrangement, with the skeletal workforce reporting on specific working days.
 
Based on the report from the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, the unprecedented global travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders are causing severe disruptions of the global economy since World War 2. Tourism largely ceased in March, with the international travel bans affecting over 90% of the world’s population and wide-spread restriction on public gatherings and community mobility.
 
The webinar is a part of the 2020 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). For more information and updates regarding the 2020 NSTW and NRCP’s webinars, please visit the www.nstw.dost.gov.ph and its Facebook page or at NRCP’s Research Pod page on Facebook. (S&T media service, Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin)