DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Week 42 Report (as of January 15, 2021)
HIGHLIGHTS OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The DOST interventions to address the COVID-19 pandemic, help rebuild the economy, and respond to pressing concerns through science, technology and innovations have been highlighted by a number of accomplishments, such as the following:
1. DOST Regional Offices prepare for deployment of RxBox units for telemetry monitoring
With a total of 368 devices delivered to regions NCR, VII, IV-A, III, XI, VIII, and UP-PGH, the DOST Regional Offices are now preparing for pre-deployment activities such as coordinating agreements with beneficiaries and logistical preparations in preparation to the deployment and training. In addition, out of the 244 units newly inspected, 120 units have passed based on the results of the inspection findings submitted to DOST-CALABARZON, UP, and Ionics.
DOST-CALABARZON presented the accomplishments and status of the RxBox during the 109th PCHRD Governing Council meeting on projects in relation to the COVID-19 response held last January 7, 2021. A Zoom meeting with UP, DOST Regional Offices, and Ionics was conducted last January 11 to discuss clarifications on the endorsed Clinical Acceptance Test (CAT) procedures.
2. Updates on WHO Solidarity Trials on Vaccines
The Philippine team is currently recruiting the additional manpower needed, preparing the sites, and coordinating with relevant government agencies and LGUs, pending release of final detailed SOPs and protocol from WHO. The DOST has also submitted a request to the DBM and Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. for additional funding in response to the request of WHO for the Philippines to expand the trial in the essence of the study objectives to conduct a rapid, community-based enrollment in hotspot areas. This would cover the additional personnel and operational expenses for the project.
3. DOST-CAR provides assistance to four MSMEs thru SETUP
The DOST-CAR thru its PSTC-Benguet signed a Memorandum of Agreement with three manufacturing firms from the City of Baguio, namely MAKK Builders, GQB Apparels, and Chokkos Bakeshop for the implementation of the approved Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) interventions. The MOA signing was conducted on January 8, 2021 at the PSTC-Benguet, Gov. Pack Road, Baguio City.
The three (3) projects will be funded under the CY 2021 SETUP Fund with a total funding requirement of PhP 3,197,446.25. Likewise, the projects aim to enhance the production efficiency of the MSMEs through the provision of equipment and other applicable technical assistance such as trainings, packaging and labeling and laboratory analyses.
Meanwhile, the delivery of One-unit Double Head Seamless machine to Kimro’s Iron Works, a SETUP beneficiary in CY 2020 was finally completed on January 8, 2020 after the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The firm is involved in the production and installation of uPVC windows, doors and other building components made of uPVC.
4. DOST-X provides S&T livelihood,health and nutrition assistance to Indigenous Peoples (IP) Community in Cauyunan, Opol, Misamis Oriental
The lives of the IPs in the depressed barangay of Cauyunan, Opol, Misamis Oriental are expected to be transformed through the S&T interventions provided by the DOST-X through its Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) program. On 7 January 2021, the said IP community, through its local government unit, received S&T assistance amounting to Php550,000.00 as support for the development of a sericulture farm and the establishment of a banana food processing facility in the area. The banana processing facility and the sericulture project are aimed at eradicating hunger and poverty in the community. The banana processing facility is a support to the existing 100 hectares of banana plantation managed by the Cauyunan Farmers Association (CFA). These livelihood projects are a collaborative effort of the LGU Opol, the CFA, and the DOST-PTRI.
In addition, a financial assistance amounting to Php595,006.00 for health and nutrition interventions was also provided to the IPs in Cauyunan. Said amount will be used in procuring enhanced nutribuns, iron-fortified rice, and iodized salt for the residents.
5. How Compliance Testing Put Lechon on the Table for Members of a Homegrown Micro Enterprise
In late September of 2020, an enterprise in traditional weaving and bamboo craft from Cavite, Likhang Maragondon (LM), decided to participate in the supply needs for PPEs, in particular, for community face masks using handwoven fabrics. To ensure that their masks will adhere to the guidelinesfor cloth face masks for community use as recommended by the WHO, and the DOH-PHST, DOST-PTRI, LM submitted its products to the test with DOST– PTRI for water-repellency, water absorbency, fiber composition, and air permeability. The fabric type, mask shape, and the number of layers were similarly evaluated, and in consultation with the PTRI’s Technical Services Division, their locally-made handwoven masks were found to successfully conform to the requirements.
The face mask, branded as Habing Maragondon, consists of multi-layers of fabrics with the outermost layer making use of the cloth handloom-woven by the weavers of Maragondon.
6. DOST-CALABARZON developed Contactless Attendance System (CAS)
The inhouse-manufactured device is intended to automate the sampling of personnel temperature and allow the answering of the health screening questionnaire without touching any computer peripheral or input devices. It is meant to integrate with the existing Human Resource Management System (DOST-CALABARZON HRMIS) and Health Screening Information Systems (HSIS). CAS was developed using an Arduino microcontroller to interface with sensors and serve as user input or interface and a computer to serve as the host that interacts with the information systems.
7. Twelve new communities join “Gulayan sa Pamayanan contra COVID-19” project bringing the total to 19 project sites as of end of December 2020
Twelve (12) communities joined the Gulayan sa Pamayanan project bringing the total number to 19 communities with 350 families benefiting from the project as of end of December 2020. It has also engaged 132 community garden workers/volunteers. Implemented by DOST-NCR since June 2020, the DOST-PCAARRD project aims to provide S&T-based livelihood and increase vegetable availability in Metropolitan areas to alleviate community situation during COVID-19 pandemic.
8. BanaTech mobile app determines harvest date of Lakatan and Saba bananas, gives timely advice on cultural management practices
Crop yield forecasting is of considerable significance to global food supply. To improve national food security, policymakers rely on specific forecasts to take timely import and export decisions. Another important feature of knowing the crop yield is the timely information for optimal management practices. In response to this, a new mobile app has been developed by the UPLB SARAi team to help banana farmers plan their harvest. Aside from calculating the harvest date, the new app also features advices for timely cultural management practices.
The primary objective of the application is to determine the total number of days to harvest from a selected bunch development phase. In this app, stages of bunch development are presented through pictures of selected and monitored sample plants during SARAI phenological studies on Lakatan and Cardaba/Saba. The SARAi team is currently developing an added feature which is the harvestable bunch yield of Lakatan.This will be released through the Google Playstore for field testing to banana growers to enhance its reliability.
9. Three licensing agreements signed under PCAARRD-Supported Agri-based TBIs, 2021 plans bared
In 2020, PCAARRD and its partner-agencies have strengthened its efforts in technology commercialization, food security, and agricultural livelihood in the midst of the pandemic. Under the DOST-PCAARRD Agri-Aqua Technology Business Incubation (ATBI) Program, three (3) licensing agreements were signed and issued with Fairness Opinion Report in 2020 for the transfer and commercialization of different PCAARRD-funded technologies. The Isabela State University (ISU) signed two licensing agreements with DV Boer Farm to commercialize Chevon Valley and SemEx. Chevon Valley is a line of native dishes applied with the university’s goat processing, product storage and stability, and canning technologies. SemEx is an artificial insemination technology used to prolong the life span of buck’s sperm cells for animal breeding.
Furthermore, the Capiz State University (CapSU) signed a licensing agreement with BDOZ Veterinary Products Trading to commercialize Ethnobotanical Dewormer, a formulation of ipil-ipil and betel nuts to treat internal parasitism in native chicken and other poultry species. The Chevon Valley, SemEx, and Botanical Dewormer are products of PCAARRD-funded R&D projects. Likewise, PCAARRD, through its ATBIs in ISU and CapSU, supports the start-up-incubatee DV Boer Farm and spinoff-incubatee BDOZ Veterinary Products Trading.
PCAARRD will continue its contribution to the innovation ecosystem and the agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources sector. From hosting 91 incubatees in 2019 to 154 incubatees in 2020, PCAARRD is expected to support more agri-based startups/spinoffs and level up its ATBI operations for the recovery of the country from the COVID-19 pandemic.
10. Updates on Advanced Satellite for the Philippines (ASP) project
As part of DOST’s priority agenda under the emerging technologies sector of providing space technology applications to public services, the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) announces the start of building next-generation satellite under the Advanced Satellite for the Philippines (ASP) project of the STAMINA4Space Program. The ASP project funded by DOST and implemented by the University of the Philippines and the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute in coordination with PhilSAis partnering with Surrey Space Technology Ltd (SSTL) for the design and manufacture of a multispectral satellite capable of imaging an approximate area of 100,000 km2 of the country daily. SSTL is a leader in developing commercial-grade earth observation satellites as well as delivering a Know-How Transfer and Training (KHTT) program that can aid in our capacity building efforts.
On December 14, 2020, the Phase 1 of the activity commenced with the remote delivery of the Satellite System Design course by the University of Surrey attended by a pool of 30 Filipino Engineers. Another set of courses and lectures on systems engineering will be delivered by the SSTL this January to further equip engineers with theoretical knowledge needed to build our next satellite. Thirteen out of the 30 engineers will then be deployed to SSTL in the UK for full immersion on the design and manufacture of our next satellite.
11. DOST supports scholars on Space Technology
Since September 2020, eight (8) DOST-SEI scholarshave started their program at the National Graduate School of Engineering (NGSE) of UP Diliman and has started reviews of the BIRDS-4 Cube Sat that will be used as the reference for the next generation of Maya satellites, Maya-5 and Maya-6.
The scholars Gio Asher Tagabi, Joseph Jonathan Co, Ronald Collamar, Chandler Timm Doloriel, Genesis Remocaldo, Anna Ruth Alvarez, Angela Clarisse Chua, and Khazmir Camille Valerie Macaraeg were introduced to the public in an online event on November 6, 2020.
For the second batch, 11 applicants out of the 50 applications received made it to the shortlist and were recommended to pursue their applications to the NGSE.
The scholarship program is under the Space Technology and Applications Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) Project which aims to develop a pool of space technology researchers and scientists.
12. PhilSA has new Deputy Director General
The Philippine Space Agency (PhiLSA) welcomes the appointment of Dr. Gay Jane Perez as Deputy Director General.
Dr. Perez brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the PhilSA through her work in building and leading various national space science & technology and applications programs and international scientific collaboration activities. She is the Program Leader of the DOST-funded STAMINA4Space Program.
Dr. Perez is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Meteorology and Scientist II, University of the Philippines Diliman and an awardee of The Outstanding Women in the Nation's Service (TOWNS) and the ASEAN-US Prize for Women. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.