(YEARENDER) DOST IV-A envisions Calabarzon as country’s S and T ecosystem super region

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Calabarzon and collaborating agencies here have envisioned the region to become the country's leading Science and Technology (S and T) ecosystem super region.

DOST Calabarzon Regional Director Dr. Alexander R. Madrigal disclosed this on Friday to media practitioners at the "Tambuli Media Network" Seminar Workshop on Science and Technology Journalism here.

For its 53rd milestone anniversary this year, DOST Calabarzon is empowering communities through S and T innovations especially in 23 poor, geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) and local government units (LGUs).

"It is an S and T ecosystem with human resources to improve business and industry given the support to scientists, engineers and technology experts and capacitating people through education," Dr. Madrigal underscored.

Dr. Madrigal said the Calabarzon region would gradually transform into a regional environment where systems-oriented thinking in S and T shall be applied, leading innovative pack of scientists, engineers and professionals and complemented by technology and facilities to uplift the lives of the ordinary Filipinos.

The DOST Calabarzon S and T ecosystem vision is in pursuit of President Rodrigo Duterte's socio-economic agenda which calls for the promotion of science and technology and creative arts to enhance innovative and creative capacities for self-sustaining inclusive development and globalization.

He explained that the ecosystem entails interrelation among the various sectors, S and T communities, business, economy even in health and agricultural innovations through active interaction of human resources, facilities, programs and projects and target beneficiaries.

Madrigal said the innovations focus on making S and T relevant and impact on the region's inhabitants especially those in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) and empower these communities.

"We bring the program to the LGUs, GIDAs taking into account the geographical distribution among clients with less access like in Quezon province rather than concentrate in Cavite or Laguna where industries abound," the DOST official said.

According to Madrigal, the DOST regional office's people-centric programs and projects through the Small Entrepreneurial Technology Upgrade Program (SETUP) support the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Calabarzon for registered small businesses.

The DOST regional director mentioned some 10,000 MSMEs that engage in handicrafts, gifts, decors, housewares, furniture, metal fabrication and those in services and retail stores.

However, Madrigal pointed out the S and T focus is not on services and retail business but in manufacturing especially in Quezon province where a great number of MSMEs engage in fisheries and food production.

"We expand our feedstock and support struggling industries by innovations like assisting Laguna food processors through the establishment of the Calabarzon Food Solutions Hub (CFOSH) in Laguna State Polytechnic University," Director Madrigal said.

To date, 14 MSMEs have advanced in their business ventures through completion from the DOST SETUP Program which enables them to address their technical problems through technology transfer and technological interventions, improving product quality and marketability.

For MSMEs' easier access to DOST programs, the One Store, One Lab, One Expert, SETUP and STARBOOKS, and the Harmonized e-Network to Yield Outcomes (HeNYO) are awarded to local government units (LGUs) here.

The first HeNYO Kiosk was deployed at the Go Negosyo Center in coordination with the DTI IV-A in Bacoor City, Cavite during the Science Nation Tour in midyear and subsequently to Laguna and Batangas.

HeNYO is an integrated kiosk station which provides information and services for MSMEs. This links the experts, suppliers, services provider in one click for easier and more effective business transactions.

He also disclosed the country's first big project at Southern Luzon State University (SLSU)-Lucena City campus as center for the production of layered and resource maps in collaboration with DOST, PHIVOLCS, NAMRIA, DENR and the University of the Philippines (UP).

According to Madrigal, the production of the maps using remote sensing and drones to analyze data will guide investors and industry sectors to check and locate the safest place where to invest and put up business.

He disclosed DOST's infrastructure projects in the region for innovation, ideation and design laboratories in four universities here to link with industries and business.

"In two to three years, we will introduce artificial intelligence, robotics, automation and data analytics by exploring Calabarzon universities with information technology (IT) capabilities," Madrigal said.

DOST IV-A also engages communities from the traditional products in coffee production like promoting the Batangas "barako" coffee after lagging behind in the production of the Robusta variety as well as in livestock and poultry.

A coffee Research and Development (R and D) Center is now established at the Cavite State University (CavSU) and coffee production will be in Lipa City, Batangas and parts of Cavite.

Madrigal divulged that the regional S and T agency innovations include enhancing compliance to environmental regulations, product development, packaging and promotion.

"Besides helping Batangas livestock industry, the DOST has now supported poultry producers using chicken eggs into "itlog maalat" (salted egg) instead of the traditional duck eggs and innovation on producing "liquid egg," explained Madrigal.

The DOST-developed technology now hastens incubation for salted production in one day instead of the usual weeks required.

Under the S and T ecosystem, DOST crafts modules, configures state-of-the art classrooms and laboratories in collaboration with DepEd to make these attractive for the K+12 senior high students to be design takers as innovators and designers.

"This will capacitate students given the creative, innovative and design-thinking framework and attract students in S and T courses through the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and STEAM (A for Agriculture) curriculum," Madrigal divulged.

He revealed S and T innovation in the production of macapuno coconut seedlings through embryo culture which speeds up growth to only six months instead of 10 months and the establishment of a R and D center.

DOST also is also grooming the Alabat Island in Quezon Province into a "Macapuno Island" where 20 hectares of the 100 percent macapuno variety of coconuts would be grown.

DOST partnership with Batangas State University has led to innovation and production of amphibious vehicle that could transport ambulance and its collaboration with the health department (DOH) and UP Diliman designed the RX box and has rolled out 1,000 units of the RX diagnostic and sensing device.

DOST STARBOOKS were also distributed to Quezon towns of Alabat Island, Buenavista, Burdeos, Jomalig, Panukulan, Patnanungan, and Polillo; and Batangas towns of Isla Verde and Tingloy.

The digital library units help communities in Quezon and Batangas to have access to reliable S and T and Entrepreneur academic resources for students, professionals and the public.

Source: Philippines News Agency