The Philippines can look forward to a better normal post-pandemic situation if science & technology is developed in the regions of the archipelago, according to the country’s second-highest official and S&T chief.
Philippine Vice President Leni G. Robredo and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña pushed for the promotion of the use of S&T to help the country bounce back better after the Covid-19 pandemic has passed.
VP Robredo encouraged everyone to embrace a strong culture of science and seek solutions through rigorous and empirical means as she joined Bicolanos in ushering the DOST Region V National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) pre-event celebration on October 12, 2021.
In her pre-recorded message, VP Leni shared her hopes that through the help of science and technology, “we can reimagine a more progressive, more inclusive, more sustainable tomorrow, it can help build a new, better normal, where no one is left behind.”
Drawing from the Vice President’s message, DOST Secretary de la Peña expressed his wishes for the Regional Office to strongly promote science, technology, and innovation (STI) in the coming years. He shared that he also hopes to see a more aggressive promotion of local inventions in the Bicol region.
De la Peña, likewise, expressed his wish for a more extensive promotion of homegrown inventions and its products to raise awareness on the importance of local technologies and innovations to come up with products and services that will help the region achieve a high level of economic growth.
“Maybe we can have a Bicol Invention Product Promotion para sa mas agresibong pag-promote at makakuha ng atensyon ng mga imbentor,” explained de la Peña.
The pre-event celebration is in line with the annual NSTW that will be held from 22-28 November 2021 that carries the theme, “Agham at Teknolohiya: Tugon sa Hamon ng Panahon.”
This pre-event also coincides with the launch of the Bicol Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (BRICE) on 12-14 October 2021.
The BRICE is the annual regional level invention contest organized by the Science Department’s Regional Office V. Incidentally, the RICE is being conducted by all the DOST Regional Offices, where all the winners will vie for the recognition to be awarded the National Invention Contest and Exhibit (NICE) plum, organized by the Technology Application and Promotion Institute of the DOST.
Aside from that, de la Peña wishes to strengthen the regional office’s assistance to the local Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) to enable them to recover from the pandemic.
He also relayed his intention to replicate the DOST’s Collaborative R&D to Leverage Philippine Economy or CRADLE to the region and to establish Niche Centers for R&D in the Regions or NICER, both under the umbrella program called Science for Change spearheaded by the Office of the Undersecretary for Research and Development.
The CRADLE Program is a collaborative program between DOST Research and Development Institutes (RDIs) and the local companies to attain technological advancement and innovation to support the growth of the Philippine Innovation ecosystem.
On the other hand, the NICER program was created to capacitate Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the regions to make a significant improvement in regional research by integrating its development needs with the existing R&D capabilities and resources. It also provides institutional grants for HEIs in the regions for R&D capacity building to further improve their S&T infrastructure.
Similarly, de la Peña expressed his plans of strengthening the disaster resilience efforts of the region by endeavoring into long-term disaster risk reduction and management programs geared at alleviating infrastructure damages and economic losses.
De la Peña further emphasized that the DOST Regional Offices are charged to diffuse knowledge and programs down to the grassroots level to effect positive changes and sustainable growth in the countryside.
The three-day celebration features several virtual tours of innovation centers and facilities supported and funded by DOST-V. Also featured are various webinars on food safety, mental health awareness, disaster risks reduction and management, training, and awarding of the BRICE winners, Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) Praise Awards, Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) Best Community, and the SINESiyensya filmmaking and essay writing contests.
“Ngayong 2021 pre-NSTW, ibabandera natin ang mga abilidad ng ating siyentipikong komunidad at mga programa, proyekto, at serbisyo ng aming ahensya sa pagpapaunlad ng agham at teknolohiya,” declared DOST-V Regional Director Rommel R. Serrano. “Ipapamalas natin ang kahalagan ng S&T sa pamamagitan ng mga online activities tulad ng virtual tours ng mga innovation centers at facilities sa Bicol, mga resulta ng mga pag-aaral sa rehiyon, webinars at online trainings at ilang mga kumpetisyon.”
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