Nat'l development lies in regional support – DOST official

Published May 12, 2022, 8:21 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Empowering stakeholders in the regions will make way for a progress on a national scale, according to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.

Igniting the passion to serve and deliver STI services to the region. DOST-NRCP Dir. Marietta Sumagaysay (from left), DOST Region VII Assistant Regional Director Marilyn Radam, Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, and DOST Region VI Regional Director Rowen Gelonga lights the torch signifying the opening of the Science for Change Program (S4CP) Summit. (Office of the Undersecretary/ MANILA BULLETIN)

She made the statement during the recent kick-off event in Bacolod City where various positive changes brought about by the Science for Change Program (S4CP) was highlighted.

“We have come a long way in our efforts to ensure change through accelerating R&D in the country. With S4CP, R&D transforms communities through the projects that our various stakeholders are undertaking,” DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said.

“Our summit aims to boast the impacts of our different R&D undertakings. You will hear success stories straight from the project leaders, industry representatives, and beneficiaries themselves,” he added. The summit is set to showcase the accomplishments of its four subcomponent programs: the Niche Center in the Region for R&D Program (NICER); the Collaborative R&D to Leverage the Philippine Economy Program (CRADLE); the Business Innovation through S&T for Industry Program (BIST) and the R&D Leadership Program (RDLead) in all the regions in the country.

For its first leg, the event featured programs/projects in the Visayas Cluster.

The four programs

Among the 42 NICERs is the establishment of the Eastern Visayas Center for Crustacean Research and Development at Samar State University (SSU). With the dwindling supply of crustaceans (crabs, shrimps, prawn), the center with now state-of-the-art facilities and technologies will immensely help the local government units (LGUs) of Eastern Visayas with the information and strategies for policy formulation in fisheries and aquatic resources management and sustainable utilization. Collaboration at this level guarantees socio-economic impact in the region.

For the CRADLE program in the Visayas, MCPI Corporation, a leading natural carrageenan manufacturer and exporter, partnered with the University of San Carlos (USC) to develop three product lines, namely Cold-soluble Powders, Bioplastic Sheets, and Bioactive Hydrogels. The results of the studies will help the industry design bioplastic with desired rigidity and strength, constitute powders that dissolve in tap water without heating, and prepare hydrogels for biomedical use.

For BIST, Herbanext, a 100% Filipino-owned company in Bago City, Negros Occidental, manufactures botanical ingredients, nutraceuticals, functional food products, herbal drugs and herbal cosmetics. The company received an interest free loan worth P11.7 million.

DOST said that through the fund, the company acquired premier art extraction equipment and modern pilot scale machinery that allows increase in potency and therapeutic quality and reduces issues in shelf stability and microbial load, a problem common in manufacturing herbal products.

“Now that we have set the foundation of the Science for Change Program, let us sustain its traction and encourage more R&D participation from the various sectors, more importantly from the industry,” DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Sancho A. Mabborang said.

On the other hand, Guevara said that the agency will continue capitalizing in R&D and emphasized the need to pass the S4CP Bill into law. She said that the bill intends to support R&D initiatives that address the needs of the people.

She added that with the extensive collaboration and efforts, DOST hopes to continue delivering S4CP-funded projects all over the regions and support from stakeholders will ensure lasting change happens.

 
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