S and T Post Banner
Vol. XXVI, 2nd Quarter
April–June 2008

History in photos

SinAg coffee table book depicts DOST’s 50-year history

When Dr. Frank Co Tui told members of the Philippine Medical Association in an assembly at the historic Manila Hotel on April 14, 1952: “I propose to initiate with your help, the Science Foundation, to promote scientific research and development and to train an adequate personnel for this infant Republic,” he basically drew a rough sketch of the country’s desirable development trajectory.

Apparently, he had in mind a compelling reason.  “In this atomic age, science is no longer a cultural matter like the arts.  It is one of the indispensable pillars of the modern state.”

Such words must have reverberated with poignant anticipation, just a few years away from the devastations wrought by World War II.

Dr. Co Tui migrated to the Philippines with his family at eight where he was raised and completed his medical education at the University of the Philippines in 1922, then went to Chicago and later New York where he had successful medical practice.

He came to the Philippines on invitation from Pres. Ramon Magsaysay to do a survey of scientific condition in the country.  His report along with recommendations was submitted to Pres. Carlos Garcia because Magsaysay died while Dr. Co Tui’s survey was in progress.

In 1958, Congress passed RA 2067 or the Science Act that led to the creation of the National Science Development Board, forerunner of the Department of Science and Technology.

The next 50 years saw the valleys and peaks of the country’s national S&T program, in a saga that features a running struggle between bubbling potential at one end, and apparent political snobbery at the other.
Such perceptible mismatch between the country’s S&T intellectual capital and political barons mirrors the state of S&T in the Philippines—whatever it is—and its place in the DOST’s continuing development mission.

For the first time, a picture-history of DOST is told in a coffee table book titled “SinAg”, a 120-page visual account that attempts to present the people, signal events, and developments that shaped the country’s S&T development path since 1958.

Sinag is an amalgamation of the Filipino words sining [art] and agham [science].  It is also a Filipino word that means light.

It features rare photos of the first bursts of geothermal energy in the country in a pioneering achievement of then Commission on Volcanology, forerunner of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, which made the country the world’s second largest geothermal energy producer.

NSDB has also put together the platform for researches on endemic plants in the country for their curative attributes, some of which are presently commercially successful medicinal products that cure some common illnesses.

The Philippine Atomic Energy Commission developed the high-yielding rice variety called Milagrosa or PARC-2 that eased the rice production shortage during the ‘70s.

Sinag was presented June 4 during the launching program of DOST’s 50th anniversary celebrations at G Hotel along Roxas boulevard.  DOST Secretary Estrella Alabastro and key DOST officials, other government dignitaries, and guests attended the kickoff activity.