Secretary Fortunato de la Peña on Tuesday, July 13, assured that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will continue to pursue efforts that would bring science and technology (S&T) closer and more beneficial for the people.
“I would like to assure the public that the DOST, through its mandate and capacity will continue to find means and create initiatives for the application of science and technology for the benefit of the people,” de la Peña said during his opening message at the 43rd Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) of National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST PHL).
“DOST will continue to ensure that we will work hard in making and realizing our readiness into our reality,” de la Peña added.
De la Peña said that through the years, the DOST has “continuously brought science closer to the people and improved lives and livelihood through science, technology and innovation (STI).”
Rallying behind the mantra “Science for the People,” de la Peña said that the DOST is “able to magnify the aspirations, enthusiasm, and hope of every Filipino researcher and scientist to prove the value of their work not only to our fellow countrymen but also to the rest of the world.”
De la Peña noted that this year’s ASM theme, “COVID-19 Pandemic: Learning from the Past, Coping with the Present, and Moving to the Next,” is very timely and relevant as nations around the world not only continue the battle against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) but also “embark on strategies to prevent future pandemics from happening again and creating long-term or perhaps even irreversible damage to people, our society and the world.”
DOST said that the ASM is an annual activity of the NAST PHL that serves as the leading forum for the presentation of scientific and policy research.
NAST PHL, an attached agency of the DOST, is the country’s premier recognition and advisory body on science and technology (S&T).
The ASM, DOST said, is also a venue where policy recommendations on appropriate interventions will be submitted to the Philippine government and the private sector for their “consideration and appropriate action.”
The 43rd ASM of NAST PHL is scheduled from from July 12 to 15. It was officially opened on July 13 with White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci as a keynote speaker.
De la Peña said that during the ASM, distinguished experts will discuss the country’s journey to address this global health pandemic, including existing gaps and problems in healthcare delivery and health infrastructure.
During the event, De la Peña also discussed the major achievements of DOST – including the completion of the country’s Science-Technology-Innovation (STI) Foresight document entitled PAGTANAW 2050 by NAST PHL and the Future Earth Philippines (FEP) – among others.
De la Peña also shared that the DOST is currently implementing “high-end and big-ticket” programs and projects such as the GenAmplify™ which is the first locally-developed rRT PCR detection kit; the FASSSTER which is an epidemiological modeler being used as a decision tool by the Department of Health and the IATF; local development of ventilators; personal protective equipment; participation in clinical trials on herbal drugs; supplements and WHO solidarity vaccine trials, and S-PaSS; and a travel management system used by LGUs among others.
DOST, de la Peña said, also started its additive manufacturing projects and established state-of-the-art facilities to accelerate R&D and help industry become more competitive. It also ramped up our its “Science for Change Program” that includes the Niche R&D Centers in the Regions or NICER; the CRADLE, BIST, and the RDLead.
“What I have just mentioned is just a portion of the various initiatives spearheaded by the DOST in bringing science closer to the people and making it visible by uplifting the lives of Filipinos,” de la Peña said.
Meanwhile, De la Peña also commended the NAST PHL for organizing the ASM. “I am one with NAST PHL in hoping that this year’s ASM will provide us and our decision makers with new insights and guidance in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.