The Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA) recently showcased its programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) and discussed various policy advocacies to the House of Representatives at the online campaign entitled “Changing Lives through Science-driven Measures: An Online Legislative Policy, Information, and Advocacy Campaign Webinar” last June 9, 2021.
The two-part webinar is a joint activity of the DOST-MIMAROPA and the DOST-National Capital Region (DOST-NCR) in partnership with the DOST Legislative Liaison Office (DLLO) and the House Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives.
Also attending the webinar were other DOST regional offices, PSTCs, and agencies, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and Local Government Units (LGUs).
DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay highlighted four (4) of the regional agency’s priority science, technology, and innovation (STI) programs and initiatives such as the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST), Palawan International Business Incubator and the Solar Energy Systems.
Following Dr. Abilay’s presentation, the discussion on DOST-MIMAROPA’s legislative agenda centered around the Provincial Science and Technology Office (PSTO) Bill, creation of science and technology (S&T) officers’ position at the municipal level, and institutionalization of holistic STI interventions to include physical structures like buildings. Also tackled was the National Budget Circular 461 which constitutes the updating of the compensation and position classification plan for faculty positions to encourage faculty-researchers in the region to venture into research activities and innovation led by Atty. Joselito Alisuag, the regional director of the Commission on Higher Education-MIMAROPA (CHED-MIMAROPA).
The House Committee Secretary on Science and Technology Donaldo Amado Caballero said that they are now keen on learning about other impactful initiatives of DOST after they have seen its crucial role in the pandemic response and recovery.
“Noong una kasi (Before), it’s always been said that nasa back door lang parati ang DOST (DOST was always a backdoor agency). They are not the ones who are in front of everything. But during the time of the pandemic, especially now that we really need research and development, I think we really need to highlight the different developments pertaining to science research and development,” said Caballero.
In addition, DLLO Director Lita Suerte-Felipe further emphasized the significance of the activity in her opening remarks. “It is indeed a happy opportunity for us that the DOST is showcasing its significant programs to our colleagues at the House of Representatives not only in preparation for the budget season for the SONA (State of the Nation Address), but also for promoting the importance of science, technology, and innovation legislations”.
According to Dir. Felipe, the webinar was conducted to bat for the passage of the Provincial Science and Technology Office (PSTO) Bill which seeks to convert the present Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) into Provincial Science and Technology Office (PSTO), elevate the position of Provincial Science and Technology Directors (PSTDs), and upgrade the number of required staff at the provincial offices.
In his message, the newly appointed DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations and the former regional director in Cagayan Valley Engr. Sancho Mabborang attested to the dedication of DOST regional offices in reaching the different sectors of society starting at the grassroots level through varied PPAs and technologies.
“Undeniably, the regional offices have contributed much to identifying and providing appropriate solutions to the unique needs and challenges of our communities,” said Usec. Mabborang.
He also said that it is his goal to sustain the gains of all DOST Regional Offices, further improve the agency’s performance, and expand and strengthen its services as the DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations.
“I believe that those can be attained if we invest more in the development of our scientific and technical capabilities, increase our pool of experts, provide ready access to resources for our STI programs, projects, and initiatives, and of course with the supportive policies and legislation in place. These are investments for our future, investments that can have a tremendous impact on the basic quality of our lives,” he said.