By Joseph B.A. Marzan
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Region 6 celebrated the best in scientific and technological innovations of the region, as well as the best practices and efforts to promote the same, during the launch of the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) on Thursday, Nov 17, 2022.
Gracing the event were representatives from the regional science and technology (S&T) community, beneficiaries of S&T projects, regional line agencies, and state universities and colleges (SUCs) from across the region, among others.
This is the first NSTW celebration to be held physically in three years after the 2020 and 2021 editions were held virtually due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The regional theme for this year’s NSTW is ‘Agham at Teknolohiya para sa mas Masigla at Maunlad na Rehiyon’ (Science and Technology for a Livelier and more Progressive Region), the regional celebration aims to highlight the role of S&T innovations in the socio-economic gains of the region.
It is also in line with the national theme of ‘Agham at Teknolohiya: Kabalikat sa Maunlad at Matatag na Kinabukasan’ (Science and Technology: Partner in a Progressive and Stable Future).
DOST Secretary Renato Solidum was the keynote speaker of the event and addressed the event via recorded video, where he said that the region is firmly committed to advancing S&T as well as research and development.
“Western Visayas is home to the first Regional Yarn Production and Innovation Center or RYPIC outside of Metro Manila. Their efforts to create a sustainable local weaving industry are among the many feats that deserve recognition,” Solidum said.
“We can see that Western Visayas exhausts all efforts to put research and development, as well as innovation, at the forefront. These developments are truly a testament to how passionate the DOST-6 and other affiliated institutes and organizations are about improving the lives of provincial residents,” he added.
Solidum also mentioned the creation of S&T groups including the Western Visayas Laboratory Network (WV LabNet) and the Regional Geographic Information Network (RGIN).
The WV LabNet includes six major laboratories in the region, in recognizing the importance of laboratory and testing services in socio-economic development, located within the DOST-6, University of the Philippines Visayas, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-6, Department of Agriculture-6, Environmental Management Bureau-6, Department of Environment and Natural Resources-6, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, and Negros Prawn Producers Cooperative.
The RGIN, which is comprised of local government units, national government agencies, and SUCs in the region, will be a venue for sharing best practices in the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and building and maintaining the GIS capability of members.
DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Sancho Mabborang, who also joined virtually, said Western Visayas was one of the foremost areas in the advancement of science, technology, and innovation in various industrial fields.
“In the face of challenges, DOST-6 continues to extend its initiatives through special projects that provide technology-based solutions that will be showcased [in the NSTW],” Mabborang said.
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and Lone District Representative Julienne Baronda also thanked the DOST-6 for its local contributions through S&T, centering on economic benefits to the community and to the people.
Defensor said that the adoption and application of S&T initiatives help Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises adapt to technological changes and match bigger businesses in fostering local investment and growth.
He cited the DOST-6’s partnership with the provincial government’s Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion (LEDIP) Center to promote community empowerment programs in towns.
“We have been urging our municipalities to embrace digitalization in making them attractive to investors. The provincial government of Iloilo is looking forward to future collaborations with the [DOST-6] in achieving a progressive province through the use of [S&T],” the governor said.
Treñas highlighted how the DOST partners itself with local governments, and how S&T is helping the city’s local economy to grow, particularly in recovery from the fiscal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today, we are helping our local startups and technopreneurs to take advantage of technology in maximizing their marketing potentials which will later be converted into sales. Fairs like this also play a big role for the economy to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, since MSMEs are the backbone of the economy,” the mayor said.
Baronda said that the region benefits heavily from S&T projects which allow for economic opportunities for the public.
“[S&T] raises awareness on initiatives that address local issues and opportunities, focusing on our regional experience to generate interventions and solutions that are appropriate and relevant to Western Visayas.”
Members of the media who have reported extensively on DOST and other STI projects in the region were also honored with plaques as tokens of gratitude for their support.
The NSTW is an annual celebration of the country’s achievements in the field of science and technology, highlighting the scientific and technological projects and innovation nationwide and at the regional and local levels.
Throughout the NSTW celebrations, which will culminate on Sunday, Nov. 20, there will be physical and virtual activities, including S&T webinars, technology tour vlogs, virtual bazaars, and an awarding ceremony, to name a few.