By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) urged the academe and researchers in the region to explore artificial intelligence and space technology in research and development.
According to DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, most researches and works in the region are focused on agriculture, fisheries, and marine science.
“If you talk of about Western Visayas, it’s more on agriculture, fisheries, and marine science that is being done here,” Dela Peña said in a press conference Monday on the sideline of ViScience 2019: Visayas Science Festival at the Iloilo Convention Center.
Dela Pena also underscored the strong presence of state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the region that continues to propel research and development (R&D) in Western Visayas.
“In Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U) for example, they are into engineering and metal working and sa Negros malakas din ang engineering. Naumpisahan din nung University of San Agustin (USA) yung pag-research sa pharmaceuticals that are derived from the sea. University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) is trying to do their best to upgrade the technologies needed for marine culture and aquaculture,” he said.
While Dela Peña assured that they will continue to support SUCs through research grants and involving them in R&D, he emphasized that the region should also look into new areas of science and technology (S&T).
“We have ongoing projects and research programs with the schools that I mentioned and tuloy ang support natin dyan, tuloy ang support natin sa pharmaceuticals and I think we should look at certain new areas like in the area of artificial intelligence, even involving them in space technology program that we have,” he said.
Dela Peña cited a recent private sector development in Capiz particularly in Pueblo de Panay where they dedicated a center for artificial intelligence.
“In Capiz, there was a new development in the area yung Pueblo de Panay and they have, it’s a private sector development where they allocated a certain area which they called Spring Valley. There is already one building there where they operate a center that is devoted to artificial intelligence. If you go there, you can find 10-15 young people employed doing software development and I think they are already conducting training in artificial intelligence,” he added.
AI and space technology are part of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. It also includes autonomous vehicles and the internet of things that merge with humans’ physical lives such as voice-activated assistants, facial ID recognition and digital health-care sensors.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF), coined the term during the WEF in 2016 and was also the title of the book he authored and published in that year.
Dela Peña keynoted the Visayas Science Festival which showcased knowledge and technology products generated by various universities from Region 6, 7, and 8 with support from the DOST.
Aside from recognizing the contributions of the scientific community to the nation, the event also served as a venue for more collaborations between the different institutions in the Visayas region.
Among the technology products that were presented are “Flood Hazard Mapping in Western Visayas” by UP Cebu, “Botanical Dewormer” of Capiz State University and several products from UPV, namely “Algal Paste”, “Remotely Operated Automatic Bottom (ROAB) Feeder, and “Mussel Sauce”.
“We at the University of the Philippines Visayas pride ourselves in linking and coordinating with SUCs in the regions. Dito sa Region 6, ang amon approach ay kung ano yung thrust ng region yun yung gusto naming pasukan at tinatry naming mamobilize kasama yung SUCs. For example Region 6, tourism bent daw sila at saka aggregates kaya recently napasukan natin yung food science industry, and fisheries,” said UPV Chancellor Ricardo Barbaran.