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The Philippines to Develop More S&T Interventions in Remote Areas

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Fuga Island residents in Aparri, Cagayan, will anticipate more science and technology (S&T) interventions, according to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña. He announced in a report that the agency has collaborated with the Philippine Marines, the Department of Education, and the Aparri local government to make this happen.

He indicated that Fuga is a geographically isolated and disadvantaged barangay and that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) wishes to bring hope to the community by broadening various science, technology and innovation interventions through Community Empowerment with Science and Technology (CEST) programmes.

The purpose of DOST’s collaboration with those agencies is to generate economic opportunities. It also intends to give farmers and fishermen optimism by allowing them to better dry their produce using multipurpose solar drying trays. The provision of safe drinking water is also in the works.

On a previous visit, De la Pena said, “I appreciate the locals because, despite the island’s remote location, they were able to make it progressive and orderly. They were able to improve their life by utilising natural resources.”  He then added that he admires the youth, as they strive to attain a good education.

The DOST aims to strengthen Fuga Island’s resources. They will be able to use a solar-powered STARBOOKS (Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Station) to access a variety of books and educational resources.

The DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute developed STARBOOKS, a digital library that can be browsed without internet connectivity. It is a stand-alone information source designed to bring S&T information to the grassroots. It aims to provide S&T-based educational and learning resources in various formats to geographically isolated schools and LGUs throughout the country, as well as enhance the educational competence of students in its beneficiary schools.

In Mindanao, DOST and DOST-STII work together to pave the route for science and technology. The delivery of STARBOOKS to enable recipient schools and students to learn the finest of science, technology, and innovation narrows the scope to the academe sector.

Other measures being pursued by the Philippines government to increase the country’s resources include a robust and well-targeted research and development (R&D) programme which is a critical component of a country’s long-term success. R&D is important to society’s growth. It provides scientific expertise for the development of innovative products, services, and solutions.

OpenGov Asia reported that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has allocated over PHP208 million for the six virtual niche centres. In response to the government-led efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, they are establishing six new R&D centres in agriculture, livestock, and natural resources. These R&D centres will “open facilities, devise new strategies, and ramp up initiatives and efforts toward food resiliency in the new normal.

The DOST’s Niche Centres in the Regions for R&D (NICER) programme allows higher education institutions (HEIs) to significantly improve regional research by integrating development needs with existing R&D capabilities and resources.

The DOST provides institutional grants to HEIs in the regions through NICER for them to conduct high-quality research that will catalyse and promote regional development and industrial competitiveness.

The industry is working to enhance the country’s semiconductor and electronics manufacturing index by identifying customer needs, understanding suppliers’ baselines, developing relevant capabilities, matching industry supply and demand, and conducting periodic performance assessments. Furthermore, the industry suggests that the government maintain its scholarship programme for operators and technicians, improve the country’s business environment, conduct R&D capability development, and aggressively promote local industries and SMEs through investment missions abroad.

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