By: Athena Colline L. Verdey, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office
        Ma Josefina P. Abilay, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office

Virginia Centurione Bracelli School was jam-packed with attendees from all walks of life during the Opening Ceremony of the 2017 Changing Lives Through Science


As part of the celebration of the annual National Science and Technology Week, DOST-MIMAROPA, once again, held “Changing Lives Through Science”, a celebration of science and technology, its advances, and new vistas of opportunities in the MIMAROPA Region.

This year, the province of Romblon played host to “Changing Lives through Science” from August 15-17, 2017 at Virginia Centurione Bracelli School in Odiongan. Changing Lives through Science event highlighted breakthrough technologies developed by DOST, researches and innovations by MIMAROPA inventors, technology fora, and an interactive exhibit by the Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology (PFST).

The three-day celebration was done in partnership with the Provincial Government of Romblon, Municipal Government of Odiongan, Philippine Science High School- MIMAROPA Campus, Romblon State University, and the Department of Education- Romblon. The event marked the first ever S&T week celebration conducted in the province. It was attended by people from all walks of life including government employees; micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and community-based enterprises (CBEs); organized groups such as senior citizen organizations, farmers associations, marble artisans, and 4Ps beneficiaries; academe; media; and the industry. A total of 13,100 people registered in the event.



DOST-MIMAROPA programs, services, and assisted products are part of the exhibit during the Changing Lives through Science


During the opening ceremony, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director, Dr. Ma Josefina P. Abilay elaborated on this year’s advocacy “Science for the People” and stressed out that S&T is an immense part of a Filipino’s life.

“Nais naming ilapit ang siyensya at teknolohiya, ang mga bagong kaalaman at kagawian sa mas maraming tao, mas maraming komunidad, hanggang sa laylayan ng ating lipunan. Nais ng DOST-MIMAROPA na iparamdam na ang siyensya ay para sa lahat, AS IN SA LAHAT! The daily goal of this celebration is to give our audience a take away that it has indeed changed, and is changing lives around the world”.


DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena, who served as the keynote speaker during the event, introduced various DOST programs and services that aim to contribute to poverty alleviation, reduce vulnerabilities, and improve lives of the people. Secretary de la Pena shared that various efforts are now being undertaken in improving the mobility or transportation in island regions like MIMAROPA.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Pena, Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo, Odiongan Mayor Trina Alejandra Firmalo-Fabic, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Ma. Josefina Abilay, Undersecretary Renato Solidum, Assistant Secretary Gatchalian, Director Edgar Garcia, and Director Richard Burgos during the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Also present during the opening ceremony was Odiongan Mayor Trina Alejandra Firmalo-Fabic, Odiongan Vice Mayor Mark Anthony Reyes (to represent Cong. Madrona), representatives from different local government units in Romblon, directors and representatives from various DOST agencies, presidents and representatives of state universities and colleges, private institutions, media, and of course,  the Governor of Romblon, Governor Eduardo C. Firmalo, who was named as a Science Ambassador for his continued commitment and invaluable contribution and support to S&T endeavors in Romblon.

Governor Eduardo C. Firmalo as he receives his Science Ambassador Award

The launching of the third volume of the MIMAROPA STARS, Signing of Partnership Agreement between DOST-MIMAROPA and Benito & Catalina Yap Foundation, and the discussion on the National ICT broadband Plan was also conducted during the press conference following the opening ceremony.


Changing Lives through Science featured exhibits by DOST-MIMAROPA and other DOST agencies and  seminars and forums on marble product design; PHL-Microsat program; zero carbon footprint and climate change as well as its effects on fisheries and aquaculture; environment-friendly septic tank (eco-sep);

Marble Artisans from Romblon as they learn new techniques and ideas in designing marble products during the Forum on Marble Product

investment opportunities on coconut; and on various DOST programs and services including the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP); Complementary Baby Food and Ceramic Water Filter; and the Solar Energy Systems.


DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, Governor Firmalo, Mayor Firmalo-Fabic, and DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Abilay visits the RICE exhibit after the ribbon-cutting ceremony

Concurrent to the exhibits and technology fora, the Regional Invention Contest and Exhibit (RICE) was also held during the S&T week celebration. A total of 71 entries vied for the regional winner title under four categories: Outstanding Utility Model (UM), Outstanding Creative Research (LIKHA), Outstanding Student Creative Research for College (SIBOL-College), and the Outstanding Student Creative Research for High School (SIBOL-HS). RICE was organized in close cooperation with the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI).


Furthermore, to give the audience, most especially students and teachers, an exciting, educational, and stimulating atmosphere to learn science, DOST-MIMAROPA brought the Sci-fun Caravan: Travelling Science Centrum to the province. A total of 42 interactive hands-on exhibits was enjoyed by over 6000 participants. The caravan aims to promote a better grasp of S&T concepts and processes through attractive displays to inculcate curiosity and love for science among the younger generation.

Colored Shadows is among the 42 exhibits in the Sci-Fun Caravan: Travelling Science Centrum

The “Changing Lives through Science” event came to a close with MIMAROPA 5th Best Technoprenuer Awards and RICE Awarding Ceremony. Six (6) MSMEs and CBEs from different MIMAROPA provinces were recognized during the Best Technopreneur Awards for their contribution to the regional economy in terms of business productivity, profitability, and employment.

The winners of the 5th Best Technopreneur Awards (Core & Non-Core Category)


Secretary Fortunato de la Peña and DOST officials with the DOST scholars from Romblon State University and PSHS-MIMAROPA

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Pena also took time to meet the MSMEs from the different municipalities in Romblon and see first-hand how they’ve grown throughout the years through a meeting and project visit conducted during the first two days of his stay. Also, he visited the on-going construction of the Philippine Science High School-MIMAROPA campus located in Odiongan and there, rubbed elbows with the DOST scholars of the province.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Pena during the project visit in assisted marble firms in Romblon, Romblon

This year, DOST-MIMAROPA also celebrated its 10th year anniversary through an event called “DEKADA MIMAROPA”. DEKADA MIMAROPA served as a prelude to the Changing Lives through Science event that celebrated DOST-MIMAROPA’s proven track record of positively impacting the MIMAROPA community and the society at large through different S&T endeavors.

DOST-MIMAROPA with Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo, Odiongan Mayor Trina Alejandra Firmalo-Fabic, DOST officials, partner agencies, and other guests during the DEKADA MIMAROPA Celebration