DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Week 57 Report (as of April 30, 2021)
HIGHLIGHTS OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The Department of Science and Technology’s (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-PCHRD supports Aruga sa Batang may Cancer (ABC) Initiative to deliver palliative care services to pediatric patients
The DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) continues to support the “Aruga sa Batang may Cancer (ABC) Initiative program that aims to alleviate health burden among pediatric patients diagnosed with cancer through the development and implementation of a website focused on the delivery of palliative care services. The program addresses gaps in knowledge, expertise, and accessibility of palliative care services for pediatric patients, their primary caregivers, and healthcare professionals. It is implemented by the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), in collaboration with the following tertiary hospitals which serve as their deployment sites: Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), and Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
The program offers learning management systems (LMS) for healthcare professionals and primary caregivers of pediatric patients with cancer, pediatric oncology registry for health facility administrators, and telemedicine platform that may be used in Rural Health Units (RHUs), city health centers, and tertiary healthcare facilities in NCR (PCMC), Region V (BRTTH), Region VII (VSMMC), and Region XI (SPMC). It aims to reduce travel time and expenses for pediatric patients with cancer and their primary caregivers, as the technology allows them to avail of follow-up teleconsultations in RHUs/health centers nearest to their residence. It also seeks to enhance the knowledge on pediatric palliative care for healthcare professionals and primary caregivers of pediatric patients with cancer and increase clinical data on the course and management of pediatric cancer cases for health facility administrators and the Department of Health.
Since March 2019, there have been 3,153 unique visitors to the learning management system for primary caregivers of pediatric patients with cancer. On the other hand, there are 127 enrollees and 11 completers of the Pediatric Palliative Course for Physicians (PPCP). The course was re-developed into two parts for better student retention. There are 682 enrollees and 272 completers of the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) course. The project team is consulting PRC on possible accreditation of the said courses.
In 2020, the project team completed the development of the direct patient-to-doctor telemedicine mode, in order to ramp up patient enrollment and to address restrictions brought about by the implementation of community quarantine and other safety measures secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since pediatric patients with cancer are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and other infections, they are encouraged to stay home and to limit their exposure to other people. In this mode of telemedicine delivery, the pediatric patient and their primary caregiver may directly consult oncologists or palliative care specialists through the online platform, while at home.
A total of 24 healthcare professionals from the four tertiary hospitals and their partner RHUs and local health centers were trained in the use of the telemedicine platform. As of April 26, 2021, the telemedicine platform has served a total of 170 unique patients from CAR, Region 2, Region 3, NCR, Region 4A, Region 4B, Region 5, Region 7, Region 11, and Region 12.
Meanwhile, a pediatric oncology registry was also developed to gather data on, and monitor health outcomes and provision of clinical care to pediatric patients with cancer consulting in PCMC, BRTTH, VSMMC, and SPMC. The data of pediatric patients who availed teleconsultations were integrated into the hospital-based pediatric oncology registry. This is also in compliance with Republic Act No. 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act.
The telemedicine platform and the pediatric oncology registry will be licensed for free to PCMC, BRTTH, VSMMC, and SPMC. To date, the draft licensing agreement is being reviewed by the legal offices of the partner tertiary hospitals.
On the other hand, UPOU will manage, maintain, and continuously offer the Learning Management Systems (LMS) to primary caregivers and healthcare professionals of pediatric patients with cancer.
2. DOST Balik-Scientist develops Kadios as skin antibiotic
Dr. Doralyn Dalisay, a DOST Balik Scientist, embarks on the novel study of the development of Kadios as skin antibiotic entitled “Chemical and Biological Characterization of Pure and Bioactive Compounds from Kadios (Cajanus cajan) Seeds and its Topical Formulation Studies.”
The journey started in 2016 when Dr. Dalisay had a project with her undergraduate students from University of San Agustin to screen 20 beans in Panay Island. From the 20 beans that were investigated, only the Kadios gave very promising anti-bacterial activity. Further studies were undertaken which found particular compounds that are responsible for the anti-bacterial activity.
With the seed’s potential, a collaboration with the local pharmaceutical company Maridan, University of San Agustin (USA), and DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) was pursued to further develop a topical formulation of Kadios against skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, a major pathogen causing skin diseases such as boils and cuts, and is now found to be resistant to most of the clinically available antibiotics such as erythromycin, clindamycin and vancomycin. The study is implemented under the DOST-PCHRD’s Drug Discovery and Development Program which is an identified priority thrust in the Unified Health Research and Agenda for 2017-2022.
Currently on the first year, the study continues to test and isolate natural products present in Kadios. Dr. Dalisay also stressed that they are not testing for only one panel of pathogen that can cause skin diseases but escalates to several panels of Staphylococcus aureus. Moreover, it continues to compare the resistance of natural products of Kadios to other available skin antibiotics we have in the market.
3. DOST-FNRI embarks on the production of functional food products with prebiotic properties
The DOST-FNRI has started looking into the prebiotic properties of functional food products. The research aims to develop food products with prebiotic properties using locally available raw materials.
In this study, the raw materials will be screened based on previous local and international studies and then subjected to chemical analyses to validate their functionality claims. The screened raw materials will then be used as one of the ingredients for food product development. Currently, the optimization runs and sample preparation of granola with prebiotic ingredient is being continued.
Prebiotics are a type of functional food which selectively enhance the activity of some groups of beneficial bacteria and provides health benefits in the large intestine, reduces risk of non-communicable diseases, and increases absorption of nutrients and minerals.
4. DOST-IX assists firm to develop other herbal food supplements
Green Nature Herbal Products started as a personal quest for alternative remedies for the owner, Mr. Magellan Unla. The development of his first product, the insulin plant capsule, is a result of his perseverance to look for alternative ways to address his diabetes mellitus, reduce his hba1c level, and minimize his intake of synthetic medicines. He began product development in 2018 with the help of DOST IX. Through the DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), the firm was able to acquire a manual capsulizing machine, a tray dryer, and grain grinder, which were needed in their product development. The firm also benefitted from the consultancy program of the DOST-IX.
The firm currently produces four (4) food supplement products namely: (1) insulin plant capsule; (2) malunggay, tanglad, and guyabano capsule; (3) Turmeric Capsule; and (4) mangosteen capsule. All products are locally available in the market.
5. DOST-ITDI licensed and accredited Lozada Machineries Corporation as the fabricator for acetator kit, wine kit, and ebulliometer
Lozada Machineries Corporation, a family-owned business engaged in fabrication has become the newly licensed fabricator for DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) food processing equipment namely acetator kit, wine kit, and ebulliometer. The President of the said corporation is Dr. Ernesto P. Lozada, a former Director of ITDI.
With the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed on February 24, 2021, Lozada Machineries Corporation becomes the second DOST-ITDI’s partner in the fabrication of the aforementioned technologies.
Fabrication of four units of acetator kit is currently ongoing. The DOST-ITDI acetator kit is designed to accelerate the traditional vinegar fermentation process from 15 weeks to 1-2 weeks only. This technology can convert most sugary materials of sugar palm, coconut water, pineapple waste, sugar cane, dried mango spent syrups, and many more into vinegar. In addition, it is easy to operate and requires a minimum processing area. The fabricated acetator kit by Lozada Machineries is now being evaluated and inspected by the DOST-ITDI technical team for deployment to different LGUs in Marinduque. Once deployed, the ITDI experts will conduct the training for the vinegar production using the ITDI Acetator Kit.
6. Five firms adopt DOST-ITDI developed technologies in the 1st Qtr of 2021
Bounty Harvest Farm (Cavite), Campfarms, Inc. (Pampanga), Maryland Manufacturing Corp. (Valenzuela City), CENMACO (San Juan City), and Lozada Machineries Corp. (Laguna) availed different technical assistance offered by DOST-ITDI under a Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) signed by these companies in the last three months.
Bounty Harvest Farm which availed the training on vacuum frying technology of Langka had already tested the product in the market. As a result of the market test, they have already signified to avail of technical assistance on product improvement. On the other hand, the DOST-ITDI research team assisting Campfarms, Inc. and Maryland Manufacturing are finalizing the calamansi processing plant lay-outs. Lozada Machineries Corporation already started the fabrication of acetator kits. Finally, the assistance on the setting up of start-up operation of trickling system for CENMACO, Inc. commenced this April. CENMACO, Inc. is a family-run enterprise known for its quality beverages, purees and extracts.
7. DOST-FNRI technologies adopted by Nutridense Food Manufacturing
Nutridense Food Manufacturing is the biggest technology adopter of numerous nutritious food products of DOST–FNRI. One of the products it adopted is the enhanced nutribun with squash and recently, the new variant of enhanced nutribun with carrots. To date, DOST-FNRI has 79 signed licensing agreements for enhanced nutribun.
The enhanced nutribun is a bread with natural fiber, no artificial flavor and color, and it provides energy, protein, vitamin A, iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc in significant quantities recommended for children. It has zero trans-fat and no cholesterol. It can last up to 4 days in room temperature and 14 days when stored in the refrigerator.
The use of agricultural products like squash and carrots is one way to improve the nutritional status of children and thereby avoid socio-economic losses from undernutrition. It also helps increase the income of farmers and bakery owners, as well as provide more jobs with the heightened demand for their products.
8. DOST- FPRDI signs pact with technology adopter
The DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) has signed a Technology Licensing Agreement (TLA) for the FPRDI Bamboo Flattening Machine with LAMBS Agri-Mechanicals, a Laguna-based company that retails biomass equipment integrated with agricultural processing machines such as flatbed dryers, threshers, corn shellers, transplanters and water drilling rigs. Established in July 2004 and formerly known as Agrotech Engineering, LAMBS first partnered with DOST-FPRDI in November 2014 when it became the exclusive manufacturer of the Institute’s charcoal briquettor, charcoal grinder/crusher and charcoal binding mixer. In October 2020, it was also named the sole accredited fabricator of the DOST-FPRDI finishing spray booth.
Compared to the very tedious traditional method using an adze or bolo, the DOST-FPRDI Bamboo Flattening Machine is an efficient and profitable way of producing flattened bamboo. The resulting material can be converted into engineered bamboo components for high-value furniture, handicrafts and building materials. With an output of 200 square meters of flattened bamboo a day and a fabrication cost of Php 1.2 million, the machine is expected to boost the growth of the local engineered bamboo industry.
The flattened bamboo may also be used in the manufacture of nonwoven bamboo textiles, face masks and filter, and school chairs and desks. The government requires the use of bamboo for at least 25% of desks and other furniture requirements of public elementary and secondary schools, and prioritizes its use in furniture, fixtures and other construction requirements of public facilities.
9. DOST-PCAARRD to link fruit farmers and food processing firms
The DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) explores the possibility to link fruit farmers and food processing firms through the project, “Rapid Market Appraisal for Underutilized Fruits in the Philippines (RMA Fruits).” The project, which focuses on guava, soursop, sugar apple, and tamarind, aims to strengthen the potential of the identified underutilized fruits.
To jumpstart this initiative, the project team met with NutriAsia, a leading producer of condiments and sauces in the country, and the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PPSA) on March 22, 2021.
A Farmer’s Database will serve as a link to the farmers to food processors and prospective buyers. This solution hopes to address the issue of limited market outlets for the underutilized fruits. The database will include socio-demographic information of farmers, farm profile, type of underutilized fruits grown, size of area allocated for planting, number of bearing trees, estimated age, average yield, frequency of harvesting per year, output per harvest, and farmgate price of the four underutilized fruits. It will be accessible to both public or private entities by April 2021. The outcome of this database will be monitored by SERD-PCAARRD to recognize the collaborations established among the farmers and their key customers.
NutriAsia acknowledged the importance of this initiative as this will be helpful in promoting local sources of raw materials. As the majority of their supplies are imported, this initiative will help them establish a direct market linkage with local farmers. They also suggested to include in the database the seasonality of the fruits and the geographical areas where the fruits are available. This information will aid in sourcing off-season supply of fruits.
10. DOST-MIRDC licenses Tikog Presser to Cebu-based machine fabricator
The DOST–Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) once again demonstrates its commitment to intensify technology transfer. The DOST-MIRDC recently awarded certification to Ralds Trading & Electro-Mechanical Services Corporation, a fabricator of food processing, mechanical, and industrial machines based in Cebu City.
The most recent technology licensed by Ralds Trading is the Tikog Presser. This machine is designed and developed by the DOST-MIRDC so that accredited equipment fabricators may tap into the handicraft industry. Tikog is a kind of grass whose leaves are used to make mats, bags, baskets, and many others.
Before licensing the Tikog Presser, Ralds is already a licensee of the DOST-MIRDC’s food processing equipment namely, LPG-fired spray dryer, modular water retort, and vacuum fryer. As a licensed fabricator of these locally-developed technologies, Ralds is serving clients outside of Cebu.
The DOST-MIRDC encourages more metalworking businesses to license home-grown technologies and take advantage of vast business opportunities in the local and even foreign markets.
11. DOST – PTRI steps up yarn innovation systems for highest all-natural textile fiber blends
The DOST – PTRI is proud to have within its capacities, the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) which has produced, since 2016, over 15,000 kilos of spun yarns of blended natural textile fibers servicing 350 clients in the last 6 years. The ICYT employs the cotton or short staple spinning system.
Another yarn spinning system, the long staple system, which can spin both short (cotton) and long (lyocell) yarns has been completed at both the R&D and pilot scales. The semi- automatic R&D spinning assembly can process batches of a minimum of 1kg to a maximum of 5kg per day of abaca, pineapple leaf, banana pseudostem, ramie, bamboo, water hyacinth, among others for rapid yarn prototyping and in support of yarn R&D. The facility was completed partially through DOST-PTRI Bandala for Textile R&D Program funded under PCAARD-GIA and augmented by PTRI GAA project funds. The rapid R&D for new yarns are compatible for both long and short staples and can provide the highest possible blending of 100% cellulosic yarns at the shortest time possible.
From the R&D scale, the DOST-PTRI also recently refurbished the pilot-scale long staple spinning facility. It can process 15 kg of blended spun yarns/day. Through the long staple spinning system, the DOST-PTRI was able to develop natural textile fiber (NTF) blended yarns with as much as 80% of pineapple leaf and ramie fibers. The spinning facility can produce blended yarns containing up to 50% of abaca, bandala, and banana pseudo stem fibers. The facility can be accessed by interested stakeholders with smaller yarn requirements under a technology business incubation (TBI) model. Below is the R&D Spinning Assembly which includes a mini-pretreatment equipment developed at the Institute.
12. First OFW Technopreneur supported by DOST’s iFWD PH to launch software development enterprises
After approving the first project for the Innovation Funding Phase of the Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines (iFWD PH) Program, the DOST NCR held a virtual fund release for the Bermudez Software Labs owned by former OFW Ruel Bermudez marking the start of his project under the second phase of DOST's iFWD PH program.
The Bermudez Software Labs was provided with a total innovation funding amounting to P210,329.00 for the acquisition of hardware, cloud hosting subscription, and vulnerability assessment and penetration testing for the development of the eBarangayPH System. Mr. Bermudez’s counterpart covers web development, marketing and trainings, and rent and utility expenses.
The eBarangayPH will merge usual individual information systems into one including comprehensive resident, household, certificate, and crisis management systems. Being cloud-based, the data may be interconnected, verifiable, and downloadable. The company already created a website for eBarangayPH as one of its marketing activities which can be found at https://www.ebarangayph.com. Currently, the system is hosted in a shared server with high-end specifications. The company plans to migrate this to a dedicated server to accommodate high throughput and concurrencies, alongside the development of a mobile application for both android and iOS users.
A technology-based enterprise advisor (TBEA), who was also an expert in developing management information systems, will also assigned to provide technical assistance for Mr. Bermudez’s starting company.
Mr. Bermudez worked in Cambodia as an IT Project Manager and Senior Web Developer, and was repatriated in 2020. He plans to stay in the Philippines for good to manage the Bermudez Software Labs.
13. DOST explores collaboration on food safety, other areas with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise
The DOST, through the assistance from the Philippine Embassy in Singapore, has initiated exploratory talks with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) on 23 April 2021. DOST, led by Undersecretary for S&T Services Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr., met with Mr. Eric Lee, Director for Southeast and East Asia of SCE to discuss areas of common interest and collaborative mechanisms that both institutions can jointly undertake.
SCE leads the public-sector collaboration and partnerships of Singapore with foreign governments and generate economic spin-offs from Singapore’s private sector. It scopes out and tailors possible solutions to match the needs of foreign governments and help meet their development objectives.
One of the highlights of the discussion was the possible cooperation on food safety where DOST has several ongoing projects and programs. With the vast opportunities for cooperation, and the many actors actively playing key roles in ensuring food quality and safety, a framework for cooperation may be drafted to harmonize efforts among DOST agencies as well as key Philippine government institutions. With Singapore’s stringent food safety standards, the SCE has expressed interest to support the Philippines’ efforts to strengthen its food industry.
Also attending the meeting was the Philippine Embassy in Singapore Consul General Adrian Bernie Candolada, who expressed support in the budding collaboration between DOST and SCE. Initial information and coordination regarding SCE and its areas of expertise were coursed through the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Joining DOST Undersecretary Solidum in the meeting were Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation Dr. Leah Buendia, PCAARRD Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, FNRI Director Dr. Imelda Agdepa, DOST-NCR Director Mr. Jose Patalinjug III, DOST IV-A Officer-in-Charge Ms. Emelita Bagsit, and other technical staff from DOST.
14. Eighty-three provinces, HUCs and ICCs now adopt DOST SPaSS
Eighty-three provinces, highly urbanized cities (HUCs) and independent component cities (ICCs) are now adopting S-PaSS or the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage developed by DOST-VI. This is an online system designed to improve travel coordination by providing a common and unified platform for communicating travel policies and requirements set by the provincial LGUs, HUCs and ICCs. The use of S-PaSS was institutionalized by IATF under IATF Resolution No. 101 as a one-stop-shop communication and coordination platform for travelers and LGUs.
As of April 27, the S-PaSS registrations have reached 685,884.
15. DOST-X SETUP beneficiary JRED food processing featured during the 2021 World IP Day
The success story of JRED Food Processing (JRED)’s use of intellectual property (IP) rights to turn ideas into business opportunities was among the fourteen (14) nominations selected by WIPO from all submissions around the world to be featured as one of the case studies during the 2021 World IP Day. The feature article on JRED, entitled “When Ideas Percolate,” tells the story of how the assistance from the government and the use of IP rights helped improve and expand their business.
JRED was assisted by the DOST-X through SETUP. Aside from equipment acquisition, the firm also benefitted from the consultancy services of the agency. Through the S&T interventions under SETUP, JRED was able to secure a License to Operate (LTO) from the Food and Drugs Administration.
16. DOST-III provides teaching aids to Aeta Schools in Pampanga
The DOST-III provided solar powered teaching interactive multimedia teaching aids to three indigenous people schools in Pampanga province namely, the Calapi Negrito Elementary School in Mabalacat, Marcos Village Elementary School also in Mabalacat City and Nabuclod Integrated School in Floridablanca.
“We would like to change the public’s usual impression of our tribal brothers. That they are lazy. That they are ignorant. No. (…) Thank you, DOST for enhancing our school’s teaching and learning environment.” Thus spoke Carlo Fernando Y. Data, School Head of the Calapi Negrito Elementary School and a vocal indigenous people’s rights advocate as he received the teaching aid from the DOST thru its Pampanga provincial office.
The provision of the teaching equipment was made possible through the DOST-3 Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program in cooperation with the Department of Education and the technology provider, Frontliners, Inc. Since it is solar-powered, the equipment is especially suited in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas where electricity is absent. It contains teaching and K+12-aligned learning modules in science and mathematics designed to enrich the classroom experience of both learners and teachers.
Meanwhile, Mawacat Elementary School also an Aeta school in Floridablanca received a set of Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly-Operated Kiosk Stations or STARBOOKS, a digital library that can be accessed without internet connectivity. It contains thousands of digitized S&T resources in various formats. School principal Mary Joy Q. Biag accepted the equipment together with Brgy. Capt. Marilou S. Bacani.
Aside from the provision of STARBOOKS, the package of assistance also involves a supplemental feeding program and the establishment of a Pangkabuhayang Gulayan sa Barangay. DOST-III provided FNRI-formulated food products to the said community and assisted them in the establishment of organic farming as means of livelihood.
17. DOST-PCIEERD unveils 100 completed innovative projects
As the Philippines commemorate the National Innovation Day, the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) unveiled on April 22, 100 completed innovative projects aimed at helping Filipinos through research, development, and innovation.
At the virtual opening ceremony of the 2021 Philippine Research, Development, and Innovation Conference (PRDIC), the Philippines’ first massive, online public presentation of research, development, and innovation projects in the industry, energy, and emerging technology sectors, DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit expressed elation over the feat of Filipino researchers who were able to come up with game-changing innovations amid the pandemic. The event was initiated to keep the public abreast about the development of cutting-edge solutions that help usher in the next wave of growth and prosperity. It is through science and technology that the country can recover from today’s crisis.
During his presentation, Paringit shared that for the past 10 years, DOST and PCIEERD funded 2,546 projects across the different regions which amounts to more than P17 billion. This covers R&D projects on artificial intelligence (AI); biotechnology; construction; creative industries; disaster mitigation; electronics technology; energy; environment; food; genomics; human security; information and communications technology (ICT); information dissemination and promotion; infrastructure development program; institution development program; material science; metals and engineering; mining and minerals; nanotechnology; photonics; process; space technology; and transportation.
Among these, the top five sectors the council has supported are space technology applications utilizing 29.14 percent of PCIEERD’s Grants-In-Aid (GIA) Program, followed by food (9.62 percent), disaster mitigation (8.57 percent), process (6.82 percent), and material science (4.69 percent).
The DOST PCIEERD executive director also mentioned some of the council’s completed projects, which includes ready-to-eat retort foods, spray-dried powder dextran and high fructose syrup, halal chicken and chicken by-products, and severe weather amphibious navigator using local abaca, which showcased the country’s homegrown technologies and innovation.
“We are doing this to win the hearts and minds of our fellow Filipinos towards leaning on our own locally developed innovations. With greater technology adoption, we can enhance citizen experiences, help them overcome challenges and together further advance science, technology, and innovation (STI) in the Philippines,” he said.
But Paringit emphasized that there is much to be done, especially in terms of technology adoption and transfer for some particular sectors, hence, thus imploring stakeholders, to continue collaborate with the science and technology community.
“We hope that stakeholders to see PCIEERD as a valued and leading partner in enabling innovations, PCIEERD will continue to champion and support worthy research projects and capacity-building activities all for our collective aspiration for economic growth, social progress, and environmental equilibrium,”.
For more updates follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DOSTph