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Vol. XXVI, 1st Quarter
January–March 2008

PCIERD bares S&T priorities for 2008

The Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) lays down its specific areas of focus for 2008. Some areas are continuing but most were identified from last year's consultations with industry and from PCIERD's planning activities. These areas respond to the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), particularly on economic growth, job creation, and energy.

Energy
PCIERD's role in the promotion of the use of biofuels has been emphasized in the Biofuels Law. The positive result of the pilot coco-methyl ester (CME) commercial plant in Romblon strengthened PCIERD's endorsement for the use of 1% CME blend with diesel.

PCIERD developed the roadmap on all research and development (R&D)-related activities for the development of biofuels. The Biofuel R&D program PCIERD forwarded to the National Biofuel Board (NBB) involves S&T infrastructure support for the Biofuel Act, such as biofuel technology search, assessment, validation and documentation, alternative feedstock identification and development, feedstock raw material and biofuel analysis, performance testing of biofuel from different feedstocks, techno-economic viability assessment of biofuel production plant, technology promotion and transfer.

PCIERD will likewise sustain its activities on the development of renewable energy such as micro-hydro, solar, wind, natural gas and marine. PCIERD has shown the viability of micro-hydro in communities far from the grid, solar power for irrigation, wind turbines in Pagudpud and Basco, Batanes, and the 180 natural gas-fueled buses that ply the South Manila Corridor.

PCIERD's promotional activities also aims to make energy conservation a way of life of the Filipinos.

PCIERD S&T priorities for 2008
 

Biotech
PCIERD continues to develop new products and technologies using the country's abundant food sources through the application of biotechnology. Currently, it is concerned with food biotech, functional foods, and natural and wellness products for the health-conscious.

Environment
The past two years saw very erratic weather conditions in the country and elsewhere in the world. The El Niño and La Niña phenomena, and the increased number of super typhoons literally wrought havoc to the economic activities of the country. With the pressing issues and concerns on climate change, DOST through PCIERD will continue to address these concerns on the environment. It also intends to educate the public on these issues, including disaster management. One of the critical areas affected by variable weather conditions is water. Either there is over supply of water that dams need to be released, or there is water shortage that dams almost get dried up. Both conditions affect our power supply. As such, PCIERD plans the development of a sustainable water management program.

Special programs
While PCIERD will generate more funds to implement the above plans on food biotech, energy and environment, it also makes sure that continuing programs are sustained. Its special programs include the upgrading of testing laboratories, packaging, food safety, the virgin coconut oil (VCO) program, and high impact programs such as coco coir, tropical wines, and carbonated beverages.

Other priority areas (OPA)
To cover all its sectoral areas, PCIERD will continue to provide technical support to medium scale and micro-enterprises (MSMEs), give color to natural dyes, make ethnic foods become popular, develop indigenous materials, and come up with more indigenous housing designs and materials.

DOST's budget allocation for these plans and programs will not be enough so PCIERD continues to firm up its linkages and the twinnings. PCIERD is considering collaborative activities with the private sector, the international science community, and the academe and other government agencies to come up with at least P250 million to implement the said activities.