DOST FUND. The leadership of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has committed Php50 million to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Committee on Science and Technology (COST) for Human Resources Development (HRD). COST HRD is aimed at creating a sustainable socio-economic development, particularly in the field of engineering and the sciences for the benefit of the Philippines’ ASEAN neighbors. ASEAN graduate scholars (photo) of the Science and Education Institute (DOST-SEI) from Cambodia and Myanmar paid a courtesy call on DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña (not in photo) on January 15 in Bicutan, Taguig City. (All photographs via Ceajay N. Valerio of DOST-STII (Science and Technology Information Institute).
RESEARCHERS from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are coming to the Philippines to study.
One of the reasons is the availability of scholarships for Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) headed by Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña.
The DOST secretary, Fortunato T. de la Peña, in an animated mode.
On January 15, de la Peña reiterated before 12 graduate scholars from Cambodia and Myanmar his commitment of Php50 million for the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST) for Human Resources Development (HRD), the SDN — Science and Digital News learned from him, Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), and from DOST’s Facebook page,.
The COST-HRD program is aimed at creating a sustainable socio-economic development, focusing on fields such as engineering and the sciences for the Philippines’ neighbors in the ASEAN region. ASEAN established COST in 1978.
ASEAN is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Officials of the DOST, including, from left, PCAARRD Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora and Undersecretary Carol M. Yorobe, Secretary de la Peña, and SEI Director Dr. Josette T. Biyo.
To implement the scholarship offerings, SEI, an attached agency of the DOST, has forged a partnership with De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU-Manila), in Taft Avenue; University of the Philippines-Manila (UPM) in Padre Faura street; and UP Los Baños (UPLB) in Los Baños, Laguna.
Researchers availing themselves of the DOST funding can pursue their MS and PhD degrees in either of the three academic institutions.
With the stewardship of Director Dr. Josette T. Biyo, SEI is lead agency in the implementatio of various government scholarship programs under the DOST.
SEI said the 12 Cambodian and Myanmar graduate scholars who paid a courtesy call on de la Peña are the pioneer batch of the ASEAN CLM (Cambodia, Lao and Myanmar) scholars.
They are under the sponsorship of the Philippines through the DOST “for various advanced science and engineering degrees at DLSU and some campuses of the UP in what it describes as ‘truest sense of ASEAN and helping ASEAN’.”
The program is dubbed the “DOST Scholarship Offerings for ASEAN Researchers at Cambodia — Lao PDR Myanmar (CLM).”
Aside from de la Peña, Biyo, other DOST officials present in the meet-and-greet with the CLM scholarship beneficiaries included DOST Undersecretary for Scientific and Technological Services Carol M. Yorobe; Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation Dr. Leah Buendia, and Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora.
Universities engaged in the program also sent representatives.
SEI emphasized that the scholarship program is an exclusive offer to the CLM countries funded by DOST’s Php50 million commitment it made recently.
Likewise, SEI was the lead in coordinating with CLM embassies in the Philippines and the delivering institutions.
DOST executives at the meeting.
It can be recalled that SEI and representatives of the universities involved went to Cambodia, Lao and Myanmar in 2017 to interview applicants. A total of 14 masters and four doctorate students passed the screening.
They are now being hosted by DLSU, UP Diliman, UPLB, and UPM as they pursue their respective degrees in the fields of genetics, entomology, environmental science, environmental engineering, agronomy, public health, clinical medicine, electronics and communications engineering, energy engineering, and chemical engineering, among others, said SEI.
Lao PDR has no scholar yet under the program.
The DOST secretary described the program as “pioneering.”
“I think this the first time that the Philippines is offering graduate scholarships to ASEAN partners and we are happy to extend this assistance to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar,” said de la Peña.
“Through this effort, we will be able to bridge the gap between ASEAN member-states in terms of science, technology and innovation (STI).”
Buendia noted the significance of the initiative of the Philippines as quoted by SEI. “(It) is a big help in raising a critical mass of MS and PhD graduates in CLM, which shall ultimately help them address challenges in their areas.”
The dean of the UPLB Graduate School, Dr. Jose Camacho, Jr., described the program as “an important move for the Philippines especially in the internationalization of its degree programs.”
Some of the scholars from Cambodia and Myanmar (DOST-STII).
Camacho urged the DOST to further raise its scholarship programs to maintain the positive trend at the same time recommending sending Filipinos for joint dual degree programs in strategic countries.
De la Peña concluded the meeting with words of encouragement to the scholars to make sure they give back to their countries.
Spread the word about this program with your fellow researchers, the DOST chief said, and also invite them to have their graduate studies in the Philippines.
“We plan to extend this program and we invite you to serve as our promoters in your respective countries so that we can welcome more CLM scholars in the future,” de la Peña said.
One may recall that Filipino students have been recipients of scholarships from abroad.
Member-states of the ASEAN have a working cooperation on S&T.
“The current S&T cooperation in ASEAN focuses on nine programme areas, namely (i) food science and technology (ii) biotechnology, (iii) meteorology and geophysics, (iv) marine science and technology, (v) non-conventional energy research, (vi) microelectronics and information technology, (vii) material science and technology, (viii) space technology and applications, and (ix) S&T infrastructure and resources development,” per ASEAN.org. (EKU)