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Vol. XXVI, 3rd Quarter
July –September 2008

Kabayan brings spotlight to S&T achievers

Vice President Noli de Castro, popularly known as “Kabayan,” brought the spotlight on a government R&D unit and a university professor by conferring the national science and technology awards in the closing ceremony of this year’s National Science and Technology Week held July 7-11 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

“The celebration’s theme, Making Science Work for You, is meaningful in more ways than one. Indeed, science has to work for us and we are counting on the wisdom of the scientific community to guide us,” he said
The Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute’s Packaging Research and Development Center received the Outstanding Technology Commercialization Award for its successful commercialization of “Retort Pouch Technology in the Development of Shelf Stable Rice Meal, Meat and Traditional Snack Food Preparations.” 

On the other hand, De La Salle University’s Dr. Alvin Culaba received the Outstanding Science Administrator Award for successfully initiating and promoting environmental systems management at DLSU and other universities in Visayas and Mindanao since 1997.

Meanwhile, the Gawad LIDER (Leadership and Innovations for Development Relevant to Science Education) Award went to the Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology, and the University of the Philippines’ National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development [institution category] and Dr. Flordeliza Mayari and Virgil Samonte [individual category].

Each winner received P150,000 and a medal.

According to DOST’s National Academy of Science and Technology, the ITDI-PRDC’s retort pouch technology is considered the most advanced since the metal can and shows potential as feasible alternative to metal can and glass jar. This technology made a strong impact to the food and packaging industries creating business opportunities and expanding the market of Philippine foods. It is also a cheaper alternative to current packaging materials and shows high energy input for freezing to extend product shelf life.

Dr. Culaba’s efforts led to enhanced competence of engineers, environmental awareness, and increase in graduate degree holders. His capacity building and institutional development initiatives also complement the country’s similar ongoing programs.

PFST, known for its Philippine Science Centrum project, is a pioneer in promoting S&T to students and teachers through programs such as Young Scientists’ Quiz and the award-winning Sci-Art Contest.

The PSC itself features interactive learning showcases and improvised novel science kits and equipment, making it a haven for children who learn about science through various game-like activities.

UP NISMED, meanwhile, conducts classroom impact studies using practical work approach, develops and models mentoring schemes, and leads the ongoing development of the Scientific Curriculum Framework, focusing on scientific literacy. It also aired the Titser’s Iskul on the Air, a radio program for mathematics teachers in elementary level.

Dr. Flordeliza Mayari, former Assistant Schools Division Superintendent of Marikina City received the Gawad LIDER for exemplary leadership in educating the public on S&T through the Batang Imbentor/Batang Scientist segment at DZMM’s Bago Yan Ah! program, and Sineskwela, a television program for children.

Virgil Samonte bagged the award for his innovation called Circuit Board Trainer designed to teach students basic and easy construction of electronic devices. He is a Physics teacher at the Don Eulogio de Guzman Municipal HighSchool in La Union.

 VP de Castro compared scientists and journalists in their work habits. “Scientists and journalists arrive at conclusions in different ways.”

He said scientists work with established systems and procedures while journalists think out of the box, work around bureaucracies, and defy procedures, if needed. “Scientists avoid the limelight, but journalists are trapped in the limelight,” he adds. “Moreover, a scientist is like a farmer, while a journalist is like a hunter.”

“But in a similar way, scientists and journalists are both fascinated by discoveries.” He congratulated the science community as “you have done much to create awareness in the region as to what we are doing in the field of S&T.”