FARMERS still are the poorest in the society, they are the sector who has no power to impose the price of their commodity unfortunately most of them do not have that spirit of entrepreneurship.

With this in mind, social entrepreneur Patrick Roquel, the Big Boss of RICHCORP believe in our farmers so the company’s heart is uplifting the lives of the farmers.

While some farmers plant their own crops and some are engage in contract growing, the farmers in RICHCORP is just like employees of a company with regular wages and benefits under the law.

In this manner, Roquel explains to Mj Balaguer of DZMJ Online, the farmer is empowered because he has some kind of financial independence especially the women and the indigenous because RICHCORP as a company employs people belonging to those sectors.

With a touch of inclusivity, more like a big family although merely starting the entrepreneurial journey, the company aims to expand and become an example in terms of herbal agriculture excellence to be emulated and copied which for the owners is not that big deal.///Mj Olvina Balaguer, 09053611058, and DZMJ ONLINE MAKABULUHANG JORNALISMO YOUR HAPPINESS CHANNEL


National Scientist Dr. Geminiano de Ocampo’s legacy lives on at the DOST-STII Library

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. (3rd from right) graces the turnover ceremonies of the Geminiano de Ocampo collection of books and written works to the Science and Technology Information Institute Library that will enrich the collection of S&T resources that are available to students and researchers. Also in photo are Taguig City Mayor Maria Larni Cayetano (2nd from right), DOST-STII Director Richard P. Burgos (far right), former DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena (far left), and the family of Dr. de Ocampo. (Photo: DOST-STII)

A National Scientist’s legacy lives on!

The family members of National Scientist Dr. Geminiano T. de Ocampo donated the entire collection of his books and memoirs to the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST – STII) Library located at the DOST Complex in Taguig City last September.

According to Victor Geminiano de Ocampo, the eldest son, his father wrote and collected his works in the span of 50 years, from 1934 to 1984. Included in his collection are his memoirs where he wrote about his family ancestry, family chronicles, childhood years, professional career, and all his life’s journey.

The good doctor also wrote about the life of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, who is also a national hero, and his role model as an ophthalmic surgeon. Aside from ophthalmology, he, too, included his socioeconomic and political views and vision for a progressive Philippines.

“The thrill of collecting and sharing knowledge with the joy of discovery about the human eye sustained my desire to achieve excellence in this field of my chosen career,” de Ocampo shared a portion of his father’s memoir. “And the motivating factor and inspiration to work harder to be of service to our countrymen, particularly to the poor and underprivileged Filipinos.”

Knowing his father too well, the younger de Ocampo shared more of his father’s testaments that reflected Dr. de Ocampo’s dedication to his profession as a true man of science with a vision and admirable aspiration.

“I realized that they could be benefiting the succeeding generation of students and ophthalmologists. The thought of they are worth preserving confronted me. The thought that national scientists have the obligation of leaving a legacy has made me zealous in arranging my collections,” he added.

Dr. de Ocampo was the leader and pioneer in the modern Philippine ophthalmology. A maverick during his time, he introduced corneal transplantation in the Philippines and designed a corneal dissector which was later manufactured by Storz and Co., USA. He also conceived and helped establish the Philippine Eye Bank (1950); the De Ocampo Eye Hospital – the first eye hospital in the country (1952); and founder and first president of the Philippine Ophthalmological Society (1958).

Meanwhile, aside from the turnover ceremony of Dr. de Ocampo’s collection, DOST – STII launched the Science and Technology Augmented Reality (STAR) Library App or STARLib.

It is a mobile application that adds a new creative dimension to the experience of DOST – STII library clients and visitors. This app also serves as a personal guide and map for library clients and visitors navigating DOST – STII, which is especially useful for first-time DOST – STII clients.

Augmented reality is a technology that adds computer-generated enhancements into a real environment in real-time to make the experience more meaningful by interaction.

DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr., former secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, and Taguig City Mayor Maria Laarni Cayetano attended the back-to-back event. “I’d like to use this opportunity to thank DOST – STII for your efforts in developing technology, to help us improve our learning methods making it easier for our students to learn through your innovations.” Mayor Cayetano said. “We are one with DOST and we fully support this campaign to provide our country with the best learning experience possible.”


1st Philippine university-built CubeSats Maya-3 and Maya-4 successfully complete mission tour

Welcome back, Maya-3 and Maya-4!

Ten months after their deployment into orbit, Maya-3 and Maya-4 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere on 04 August 2022 at 10:01 p.m. PhST, and 08 August 2022 at 4:09 p.m. PhST respectively, ending a successful mission. Maya-3 and Maya-4 were the first Filipino cube satellites (CubeSats) built in a local university setting, designed and developed by the first batch of scholars under the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) project of the STAMINA4Space Program.

“Maya-3 and Maya-4 were pivotal in the development of the local space industry. These CubeSats are experimental and educational platforms, and while all low earth orbiting satellites will eventually fall to earth, what matters more are the lasting intangibles that the project brought – knowledge, skill, partnerships, and confidence that we can do it,” said Dr. Maricor Soriano, program leader of STAMINA4Space Program.

Maya-3 and Maya-4’s bus systems are fashioned after Maya-1’s bus heritage, with enhancements in the antenna board. One of the missions of both satellites is to carry a commercial off-the-shelf APRS-Digipeater Payload Demonstration (APRS-DP mission), which uses packet radio technology to transmit information over amateur radio. The CubeSats are identical except for a near-infrared camera mounted on Maya-4, which made the only difference in their missions. 

Both CubeSats were able to transmit APRS beacons to ten countries on different occasions. Different amateur radio operators from 8 countries were also successful in “digipeating” short for digital repeating through the satellites.
“Maya-3 and Maya-4 showed that the country is capable of building satellites locally. We have successfully transferred the knowledge and know-how acquired abroad by virtue of foreign studies and proliferated those lessons locally,” said Engr. Renzo S. Wee, one of the engineers who developed the satellites.
Engr. Renzo was joined by Engr. Gladys Bajaro, Judiel Reyes, Derick Canceran, Marielle Magbanua-Gregorio, Lorilyn Daquioag, Bryan Custodio, and Christy Raterta in the development of the satellites.

Maya-3 and Maya-4’s engineers also looked back to the challenges they faced during the development of the satellites.

“It was a great challenge to be the first to do such a project locally. Being the pioneering batch to have a local project for satellite development was not easy since expectations were high. We had a vague map of where we were going, but we were tasked to navigate it in a local setting. But it became our greatest achievement, we were able to build the satellites and successfully deployed them into orbit,” said Judiel Reyes.

Engr. Gladys Bajaro also recalled the larger lessons she learned from developing the satellites.

“I learned a great deal about the different concepts in nanosatellite development and testing. Properly defining the design & test requirements and habitually revisiting these criteria are important as they will be the foundation when making critical decisions throughout the development phase of a satellite. But aside from that, it also helped me develop trust with my team members and nudge them to meet the project goal,” said Engr. Bajaro.

STeP-UP Project Leader Engr. Paul Jason Co said that the Maya-3 and 4 engineers are anticipated to be part of the country’s local space industry. He also laid out future plans for the space industry. “With Maya-3 and Maya-4, we proved that we can build our own cube satellites locally.  We can locally develop the necessary expertise for our budding space industry. Now, Maya-5 and Maya-6 are on the way which will be continued by the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) through the Advancing Core Competencies and Expertise in Space Studies Nanosat Project (ACCESS).”

The CubeSats were launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on 29 August 2021, aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s Dragon C208. On 6 October 2021, the CubeSats were deployed into orbit via Kibo Laboratory Module, along with Binar-1, developed by Curtin University in Australia. The next day on 7 October, beacons from the CubeSats were immediately received and decoded during their 9:00 AM PhST pass remotely through the Philippine Universities Ground Archiving and Data Reception (PUGAD) station in UP Diliman.

The Maya-3 and Maya-4 were built under the STeP-UP project of the STAMINA4Space Program, which is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and is implemented by the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and the DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). The nanosatellite development track under the Master of Science (MS) or Master of Engineering (MEng) program of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD-EEEI) is also implemented in collaboration with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan and with scholarship support from the Department of Science and Technology’s Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).

One of STAMINA4Space Program’s thrusts is to cultivate the local space industry which can be achieved through building cube satellites locally. The experiences and learnings during the Philippines’ participation in the BIRDS Project which was in partnership with the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan led to the development of Maya-3 and Maya-4. Currently, the second batch of scholars of the STeP-UP Project is currently developing two more CubeSats, Maya-5 and Maya-6 which are built after the Maya-2 heritage and are slated to launch in 2023.