By EDD K. USMAN
Twitter: @edd1819, Instagram: @bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital & Current Affairs
VALENCIA, Bukidnon, November 11 (SDN) — THE news media’s help is vital to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
ON the eve of his 70th birth anniversary, Science Secretary Fortunate T. de la Peña made this known as he appealed to journalists to help popularize science to the people.
He conveyed this during the opening of the Regional Science and Technology Week (RSTW) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) X here in Northern Mindanao.
As this developed, the Philippine Council on Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), organized its Cluster FIESTA on Biofertilizer and Biopesticide alongside the RSTW.
FIESTA means Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda. Of course, a fiesta in the Philippines is a celebration of prosperity and thanksgiving.
De la Peña conveyed four messages to the participants and guests at the RSTW, a yearly activity of the department in the country’s 16 regions to bring science closer to the citizens, and make them aware of the benefits they may enjoy from the results or products of research such as new technologies, inventions, and innovations.
First, the DOST sets direction and coordination in science and technology (S&T) activities.
Second, the DOST is not only PAGASA and PHIVOLCS. (PAGASA is Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. PHIVOLCS stands for Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology. They are both under the DOST.)
Third, the DOST really, really need media’s help because the department is not well known among Filipinos, the reason the RSTW is being conducted nationwide.
Fourth, the DOST appreciates the very vital participation of the private sector in the department’s activities, particularly the enterprises for they are the ones that have the biggest benefit from science.
“That’s why we gave them importance and awards today to show that there is benefit from (S&T) for our enterprises or economic sector,” the DOST chief said.
As he said this, de la Peña took time to cite the very important role of the DOST partners in higher educational institutions, universities, and other research institutions in other line agencies. He acknowledged that it is not only the department that has research institutions.
“For example, we are also funding with the Department of Agriculture (DA) the research in the Carabao Center, in the (International) Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in PhilMech. In the Department of Health (DOH), we are also funding the research in the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and others,” he said.
“Now, we value their role. So, let’s us remember that we are not the only one you may go to for your S&T needs, but also our partners. In fact, they are doing more research than us.”
Lamenting that only few people know about the DOST, de la Peña appealed to the members of the media to help the department in spreading the news about S&T.
“If we do not do this (RSTW conferences) the people will not have awareness (of the DOST).”
De la Peña noted that to get in the news, an agency has to do do bad things, but that is not the style of the DOST.
“So, help us spread the news about science and technology. Sometimes if you did not do something bad you are not going to land in the news. But we are striving to not do bad that is why we are not in the news.”
PCAARRD Deputy Executive Director Dr. Melvin Carlos said the Council conceptualized FIESTA “to show the complete sphere of (R&D) as it treats with equal importance the whole agriculture value chain from production to processing to technology mainstreaming.”
Carlos said through the FIESTA, PCAARRD brings out the best in the country’s agri-aqua technologies, products, and services, and make the provide awareness to the public.
In every FIESTA, he said the Council gathers all the various players of agricultural R&D, such as the technology generators, farmers, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to showcase regional technologies, innovations, products, and services in the agriculture, aquatic and natural resources (AANR) sector.
“We assist in the diffusion of technologies for better farming opportunities; and provide a true encounter of various R&D beneficiaries to maximize the benefits of particular products and commodities,” the PCAARRD second-ranking official pointed out.
“PCAARRD is facilitating the transfer and commercialization of technologies, which is now the goal of FIESTA,” said Carlos.
He added that PCAARRD has invested more than Php46 million over the years in R&D aimed at developing biofertilizers and biopesticides.
The DOST X PCAARRD FIESTA is its third edition. It falls under the stewardship of the Northern Mindanao Consortium for the Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (NOMCAARRD) in collaboration with the CARAGA Consortium for the Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (CCAARRD); Southern Mindanao Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (SMAARRDEC); Central Visayas Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (CVAARRDEC); and Ilocos Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (ILAARRDEC). (SDN)