July to September 2006

 

 

NSTW 2006

 

This year’s NSTW underscores the key roles that the science community carries out in ensuring the nation’s economic strength, security, and overall quality of life.

The Department of Science and Technology led the science community in celebrating the annual National Science and Technology Week that ran from July 17 to 21 mainly at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.

The NSTW 2006 theme is “Saving Lives, Improving Lives through Science and Technology”, and featured Filipino developed technologies, research studies, scientists, and activities that cover environment and disaster management, health, energy, and academe and industry innovations.

‘It is high time that we underscore the key roles that the science community carries out in ensuring the nation’s economic strength, security, and overall quality of life”, DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro said “The work of scientists and researchers must be given the opportunity to thrive, as it is the precursor to new and better understanding, products, and processes that are invaluable to our national development,” she explained.

Disaster management
In a speech, Department of National Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz recognized the crucial role of S&T in “enhancing disaster preparedness and mitigation, and in generating increased public awareness and involvement in disaster mitigation and management.” He was keynote speaker during the opening ceremonies and also led the ribbon cutting of the S&T Exhibit with Sec. Alabastro.

“Upgrading the forecasting capability of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA), and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PhiVolcs) is one of the National Disaster Coordinating Council’s four-point action plan for disaster preparedness,” Cruz said. He emphasized the importance of reliable typhoon and disaster forecast and warnings in helping NDCC map out strategies to save people.
“The value of the warning and advisory services…has been demonstrated with countless lives saved through early identification of danger zones and the timely evacuation of people from these areas,” he said.

Technology fair and exhibit
DOST agencies, regional offices, research institutions, the academe, and other partner institutions from the government and private sector participated in the technology fair and exhibit.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony

It featured several booths, plus a centerpiece that showcased the agencies’ newly developed technologies or projects. Included in the centerpiece displays are early copies of the 100-year-old Philippine Journal of Science that was published by the then Bureau of Science in 1906.
Technologies on exhibit also include tree barks that remove toxic metals, Romblon-developed coco-methyl ester, information systems for interactive climate and weather queries, rapid earthquake damage assessment and alerts on severe weather conditions, and an operating system called Bayahinan Linux 4. There were also interactive audio-visual science and math educational materials, nuclear-based air pollutant analysis technique, lung fluke infection medical investigations, and nutrition-packed food products such as soybean gel and soy-peanut spread.

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute-developed soy-based ice cream which is “low-fat, low-sugar” was one of the exhibit’s biggest crowd-drawers.

Other activities
Meanwhile, the Technology Investment Forum held July 18-19 featured topics for investors and entrepreneurs who want to venture into technology-based businesses. Featured presentations included commercially viable products and technologies such as ampalaya tablet for Type II diabetes mellitus, Yerba Buena as analgesic, iodine test kit and meter, and natural dye extraction; mobile and foldaway emergency house called Mobile F-Shelter; bamboo tiles and laminates; bamboo veneer lathe; sugar production from coconut toddy; low-fat, low-sugar ice cream, and thermal processing by water spray retort.

Sessions on Good Manufacturing Practices, and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points were held to help businesses upgrade their systems to internationally accepted standards.
Parallel activities included roundtable discussion on “S&T Teaching Manpower Requirements in 2000-2010” held July 18 at the Traders Hotel, and the “Recognition of Outstanding DOST Scholars” held July 19 at the Heritage Hotel.

The scientific meeting held July 20 at the Philippine Plaza Hotel drew scientists, researchers, media, national and local government representatives, and others in a series of discussions on vaccines designed against mutating pathogens, alternative fuels, the PhiVolcs- developed Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment (REDAS) software, and the Los Baños, Laguna solid waste management success story.

DOST regional offices from CAR to CARAGA also held their respective S&T Week celebrations in July.The NSTW was capped by the conferment of various awards to 21 outstanding researchers, technologists, and journalists, including institutions and students on July 21, culminating the five-day celebration.

Dr. Eusebio Y. Garcia Awards
Dr. Rita P. Laude and Marni E. Cuenco of the Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Baños received this year’s Dr. Eusebio Y. Garcia Awards for Molecular Biology and Molecular Pathology. The award is in recognition of outstanding research on molecular biology and molecular pathology, particularly in the areas of originality, potential application, scholarliness, and uniqueness. They received a plaque of recognition and P20,000 prize.
Dr. Laude and Cuenco’s pioneering research resulted to gene discovery, isoform discovery, and establishment of an ontogenetic pattern of expression in coconut. These discoveries are important in establishing molecular-based coconut standard for the improvement of current coconut technologies and in standardization of virgin coconut oil production in the country, according to the National Research Council of the Philippines, which sponsored the awards.

Gruppo Medica Awards
UP Manila graduates shone this year in the Gruppo Medica Awards, which recognizes undergraduate students who successfully completed significant and innovative research work on herbal medicine with potential practical or commercial applications. According to the sponsor agency, Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, the criteria for selection in the awards include relevance - particularly on the appropriate use of medicinal plants, practical application, creativity and originality, scientific quality, and number of persons involved in the research process.

Two groups bagged the second prize for this year’s awards. Jerome dela Cruz and Jennifer Pineda, BS Industrial Pharmacy and BS Pharmacy seniors respectively during the selection time, got second place for the study “Healing property of Portulaca oleracea Linne (portulacaceae) gel on excised wound.”

The other winning group is composed of Jeanne Constantino, April Guevarra, and Rosenda Monette Samonte, all BS Industrial Pharmacy graduates of UP Manila, for the research “Burn wound healing property of cream from Portulaca oleracea Linne (portulacaceae).”
The groups received plaques and a group cash award of P28,000. The groups’ adviser, Prof. Jocelyn Bautista Palacpac, received P8,000 while UP Manila got P4,000.

Winning third place are Dan Adriel Q. Ebona, Christine Marie L. Garcia, and Benedict E. Radoc for the research “Anti-inflammatory property of the tablet from Hibiscus rosasinensis linne (family malvaceae)”. The research was undertaken by the then senior BS Industrial Pharmacy students at UP Manila.

The group received a plaque and P14,000 cash award, while Prof. Jocelyn Bautista Palacpac received P4,000 as adviser, and UP Manila received P2,000.
There are no first prize winners this year.

Dr. Elvira O. Tan Memorial Awards
The Dr. Elvira O. Tan Memorial Awards for best published paper is in recognition of outstanding fisheries publication, particularly in the areas of marine fisheries and aquaculture or inland fisheries. Sponsored by the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research Development, criteria for the Dr. Elvira O. Tan Memorial Awards include contribution to industry and science, technical quality, and sustainability.

The awards’ two categories are marine fisheries and aquaculture/inland fisheries. Bagging the best published paper in marine fisheries is the group of Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan of the Dela Salle University for the paper entitled “A Decision Support Model for Determining Sizes of Marine Protected Areas: Biophysical Considerations”, which was published in The Philippine Agricultural Scientist, Vol. 89 No. 1 - March 2006.

His co-authors are Dr. Porfirio Alino and Marie Antonette Menez of UP-Marine Science Institute, Dr. Wilfredo Campos of UP Visayas, and Dr. Gem Castillo of PEG. Dr. Licuanan’s group received a plaque of recognition and P25,000.

Meanwhile, the 2006 Dr. Elvira O. Tan Memorial Awards for best published paper in aquaculture/inland fisheries went to Dr. Arnil C. Emata of the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center. Dr. Emata’s winning paper is entitled “Reproductive Performance in Induced and Spontaneous Spawning of the Mangrove Red Snapper, Lutjanus argentimaculatus : A Potential Candidate Species for Sustainable Aquaculture” published in Aquaculture Research 2003, Vol. 34, pages 849-857.
Dr. Emata received a plaque of recognition and P25,000.

Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Award
Recipient of the grand Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Award for Aquatic Technology Enterprise is Paul Philip Cruz of the Cruz Aquaculture Corporation for his technologies that show big potential in making a significant impact to the economy and society. Cruz developed the Kinetic Fish Feeder and Aquaranch Sea Cage, an all-weather sea cage that allows the growth of fish in deeper seas.

According to PCAMRD, the sea cage has higher carrying capacity and greater efficiency in feeding and harvesting, low maintenance and depreciation costs, and more environment-friendly than other sea cages.
Cruz received P500,000 and an 18-karat gold medallion.

DOST Media Awards
Excellence in science reportage was also given distinction in print, radio, and cyber media in both professional and institutional categories.

Professional award was given to media practitioners whose published S&T articles made a significant impact to the lives of the people and the country. Institutional award is given to radio or TV stations, publication companies (broadsheets and tabloids), which made continuous and sustained coverage on S&T issues and concerns from June last year to May 2006.

In the professional category, winners include Melvin Calimag of Manila Bulletin Online for cyber, Julieta Cruz and Meliza Maluntag of DZEC’s “Una sa Lahat Pinoy!” for radio, and Maria Matilde Sabater of Manila Bulletin for print. The winners received P50,000 each. Cruz and Maluntag split the prize as co-hosts of their program.

In the institutional category, the awards were clinched by Manila Bulletin Online for cyber, ABS-CBN’s DZMM for radio, and Manila Bulletin for print. Special citations were given to Marou Sarne, host of DWIZ’s “Womantalk”, and People’s Balita. The institutional and special citation awardees received plaques of recognition.

Future science champions
Meanwhile, Gil Anthony E. Aquino, a first year BS Chemistry student of the Ateneo de Manila University emerged champion in The Great Science Debate held during the NSTW. He received a certificate of recognition and cash prize of P3,000. Consolation prize of P1,000 and a certificate of recognition went to runner up Orland D. Tubola, a third year BS Electronics Communication Engineering student of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Kanlouise Nielsen P. Tejada of the Quezon City Science High School came out as grand champion of the Pinoy SciTek Challenge, winning against quizzers from five other schools. He received a certificate of recognition and cash prize of P3,000. Tejada’s coach is Isal O. Kulong.

Consolation prize went to Zheanne Kyle C. Ganancial of the Manila Science High School who received a certificate of recognition and cash prize of P1,000. Ferdinand S. Bautista was Ganancial’s coach.

Reflection of S&T in the country
The NSTW is an annual event highlighting the science community’s technology development efforts in support to disaster mitigation, entrepreneurship, poverty alleviation, human resource development, and other national concerns.

For many years, the event showcased S&T milestones and accomplishments in the country and designed to spark public interest and appreciation, and promote vibrant science culture in the country. STP