by:  Patricia O. Calora, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office

The regional S&T Week Celebration at Xentro Mall, Calapan City was kicked off by an Opening Program followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony. From Left to right: Dr. Arthur Ylagan (Vice President for Research and Extension of RSU),Dr. Jesse Zamora, President of MinSCAT, Dr. Anthony Sales (DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations), Mr. Nelson Melgar (Provincial Administrator), Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay (DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director), Mayor Roberto Madla (Marinduque), Mr. Jojo Perez (Board Member, 1st District of Oriental Mindoro)Mr. Wendell Formalejo (DepEd IVB representative)

Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro – Science has changed, is changing, and will continue to change our lives. That is the message that DOST-MIMAROPA delivered during their recently concluded regional celebration of the 2016 Science and Technology Week, which was held on July 22 to 25.

The S&T Week Celebration is an annual event hosted by the DOST to showcase the latest innovations in science and technology. This year, for the first time since its inception, the celebration was held simultaneously in different locations by all the DOST regional offices, and major science hubs in Bicutan, Taguig City, Quezon City, Manila, and Los Baños, Laguna. In this way, the DOST was able to widen its reach and inform more people about what science and technology has done, is doing, and can do to contribute to the country’s socio-economic development.

The four-day celebration in the MIMAROPA region, dubbed “Changing Lives through Science,” was done in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro, City Government of Calapan, Department of Education (DepEd) IVB, and Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology (MinSCAT). The event marked the first time a regional S&T week celebration was held in Calapan City. A total of 727 registered in the event.

During the opening ceremony, Dr. Maria Josefina P. Abilay, regional director of DOST-MIMAROPA, stated that aside from increasing awareness, knowledge, and appreciation, the event also aimed to make people less afraid of Science and Technology so that they may become more receptive to S&T solutions or innovations – one of the reasons why they decided to call this year’s regional S&T week celebration “Changing Lives through Science.”

“We want to help our people form a positive attitude about it, we want to bridge the value chasm between science fans and non-science fans, we want to show that science and technology can solve real-life problems, that we can relate science concepts to our everyday lives, and manifest the application of science and technology in addressing the problems facing us as a society today,” said Dr. Abilay in her opening remarks.

Usec. Sales gives his keynote address during the Opening Ceremony of the regional S&T Week

Also present during the opening ceremony was the incoming DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations, Dr. Anthony C. Sales, who served as the Keynote Speaker. Though DOST has been successful in developing new technologies and know-how, he acknowledged that this is not enough, and emphasized the need to address the gap in getting these S&T solutions to people in need.

“We need to ensure that these technologies do not just remain on the shelf but rather, make their way to those who need it most. DOST must guarantee that its technological advances discover its way to the intended beneficiaries.”

The S&T Week celebration can help in this endeavor, Dr. Sales added.

“By simply showcasing the astounding advances we have made in S&T, may this be a great opportunity to promote and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth through innovations for the benefit of even those who are in, as what our new DOST Secretary said, the outskirts of development, or as what our vice president calls them laylayan ng lipunan.”

(Left) Dr. Carl E. Balita gives MSMEs practical advice during the Ugnayang Tekno-Negosyo
(Right) Dr. Abilay briefs the press about Changing Lives through Science Regional S&T Week Celebrations.
Participants listen intently to PSTC Bernardo Caringal of PSTC Marinduque as he gives a talk on renewable energy.

“Changing Lives through Science” featured various fora and exhibits, as well as a seminar and an orientation, all of which showcased the different programs and services of the whole DOST system. The topics for the activities spanned from enterprise development, disaster risk preparedness, health and nutrition, human resource capability development, and agriculture. The exhibits featured the Food Innovation Center, One Stop Shop Laboratory Services for Global Competitiveness (OneLab), Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) Program, and High Impact Technology Solutions (HITS).

Each day, the venue was filled to the brim as people from different walks of life – students, teachers, researchers, businessmen (both aspiring and established), farmers, OFWs, barangay health workers, government employees, and even indigenous people – eagerly lined up in order to gain more knowledge.

About 32% of these attendees were government employees from the different LGUs and government agencies of Oriental Mindoro while around 26% were government-assisted MSMEs. About 20% were composed of teachers, students, and researchers from SUCs, while near 13% were composed of representatives from organized groups such as farmers’ associations, OFWs’ associations, and Women’s groups. Members of the press comprised approximately 7% of the attendees, and 2% were indigenous people.

DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Ma Josefina P. Abilay, and resource speakers Mr. John Atienza and Mr. Fortunato dela Peña Jr., with a group of Mangyan IPs during the Seminar on Product Design for Handicrafts and Furniture
Sec. Fortunao T. Dela Peña gives his message as Provincial Administrator Mr. Nelson Melgar, and Regional Technical Evaluation Committee members listen on.

Through this event, DOST-MIMAROPA was able to once again enhance awareness and appreciation for DOST programs, services, and initiatives oriented towards building a progressive society.

DOST’s newly-appointed secretary, Prof. Fortunato T. Dela Peña, also graced the event. He awarded the outstanding assisted technopreneurs of the SETUP Core and Non-core categories during the 2016 Best Technopreneur Awards, which was held on July 24. Before this, Secretary Dela Peña also conducted a project visit, and observed how the assisted MSMEs have grown through the years. He reaffirmed DOST’s commitment to helping the country achieve sustainable development by making sure that the DOST’s services are available and within reach of all, especially to those in the countryside. At the same time, Secretary Dela Peña also asked for the participants’ assistance in making DOST more known by sharing what they learned and experienced through DOST.

Sec. Dela Peña views the exhibit with Dr. Abilay

“Ang atin pong focus ngayon sa administrasyon na’to ay para mapapabilis ang pag-unlad sa mga probinsiya kaya po ang aming mga gagawing mga programa ay nakatuon sa mga probinsiya,” he said.

As the “Changing Lives through Science” event came to a close on July 25, many of the participants conveyed their gratitude, and wished to attend more activities in the future. Mr. Jesse M. Pine, Provincial Science and Technology Director of Oriental Mindoro, expressed his appreciation for all of the support from the participants and the partner agencies, and welcomed them to other events of DOST.