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The flashflood that killed and harmed hundreds of people in the northern Mindanao and southern Visayas areas was aggravated by the reported collapse of dams along the Cagayan de Oro River, according to the Department of Science and Technology Secretary Mario G. Montejo. Montejo was with the presidential party devastated by flashfloods wrought by Tropical Storm Sendong.
“It is most likely that the flashflood in Cagayan de Oro was caused not only simply by the high volume of rain that fell in the watershed of rivers in said places but essentially of the reported collapse of dams at the upper parts of the rivers,” Montejo announced.
Reports from the field that reached the presidential party regarding the collapse of the dams are being investigated, per instructions of Pres. Benigno Aquino III.
“Pagasa had been doing its job conscientiously,” Montejo assured. “In fact, places such as Bohol, Surigao, and Camiguin that heeded Pagasa’s warning and took appropriate actions had mitigated the effects of Sendong.”
To further improve its weather forecasting and hazard mitigating capability, Montejo said that Pagasa in 2012 will upgrade monitoring systems.
“We are set to install 1,000 water level sensors in selected major river basins in 2012,” Montejo revealed. “Since the 1980s, only four rivers were installed with sensors to measure water-level rise. The President has given instructions and allotted resources to fast-track our river monitoring system nationwide to aid in forecasting potential floods.”
“To enhance rainfall and weather forecasting, we will also improve the integration of data from Doppler radars, satellites, automated weather systems, and rain gauges through numerical model WRF,” he added.
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The Gawad Jose L. Guerrero (DOST Media Award) is an annual event organized by the information arm of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – the Science and Technology Information Institute (STII) to recognize outstanding Filipino science communicators for their concern and involvement in the promotion of science and technology information either as an individual or as an institution; whether public or private sector.
The DOST Media Award is named in honor of Dr. Jose L. Guerrero, first Director of the DOST-STII, who served from 1990 to 2004. He exemplified a genuine desire to promote S&T information through various means. As a science communicator himself, Dr. Guerrero has actively spearheaded advocacies and projects that helped science and technology reach a wider audience particularly the masses and the grassroots through vigorous information and communication campaigns.
Inspired by the example of Dr. Guerrero as a science communicator, the Gawad Jose L. Guerrero aims to encourage science communicators and their institutions to contribute significantly to the growth of a culture science in the Philippines using the power of S&T information.
The award is given in recognition of the important role of media practitioners (print, radio, television, and cyber), government and private, in the promotion of science and technology information in the country through outstanding science reporting and coverage.
2.Professional Award (Media Practitioners in Print, Broadcast, and Cyber)
3.Outstanding Information Officer Award
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The Department of Science and Technology affirms that a successful pilot testing of jatropha’s viability as an alternative fuel source should have been conducted before going into large-scale production. Thorough testing on a pilot scale should have included planting and harvesting, production of jatropha oil, and converting then blending these to become bio-fuels. This is something that the previous administration failed to do.
DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo is reacting to news reports quoting DOE Sec. Rene Almendras as saying that the past administration wasted money and resources in planting thousands of hectares of land with jatropha to produce raw materials for bio-fuels.
The DOST recently-concluded pilot production and testing of bio-fuel from jatropha and proved the technical feasibility of producing jatropha oil and converting it to methyl ester.
Methyl esters, or fats from animals and vegetables, were found in previous scientific studies to be suitable as blend for diesel fuel.
“However, technical feasibility is sometimes different from commercial viability because it involves other issues.” explained Sec. Montejo.
“Thhe proper scientific protocol in programs involving new technologies such as this is to conduct first a pilot-test and a thorough evaluation of its results to prove its viability before rolling it out,” Montejo said.
At present the DOST is not keen on further studies on the processing of jatropha but would still complete the review and evaluation of past data and results. (S&T Media Service. For queries, pals contact: Raymund E. Liboro 09175839733)
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Department of Science and Technology Secretary Mario G. Montejo, in his address during the launching of the Philippine Genomics Center in Shangri-la Hotel Makati City, last November 28, 2011, said that DOST will focus its genomics program on health, agriculture, livestock, fisheries and biodiversity.
Genomics, a flagship program of DOST, can be a “game-changing tool that could offer enormous rewards to our people,” according to Secretary Montejo.
Genomics is a science concerned with the study of the genomes or the complete set of genes in an organism. A goal in genomics is the sequencing of the genome of the whole organism which may lead to applications in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and bio-processing.
Sec. Montejo said that DOST will provide funding support on health researches on diseases such as dengue, TB, AH1N1, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and genomic studies on endemic crops, staples, bio-products fisheries and livestock to significantly enhance agricultural production.
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Researchers in the country can now program their research activities in emerging science with the setting up of the sector’s research and development roadmaps.
Led by the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology (DOST-PCIEERD) last October, the crafting of the R&D roadmaps involved stakeholders in the fields of genomics and nanotechnology.
“One important thing that you should consider in crafting the roadmaps is the final outcome of the research activity,” Sec. Mario Montejo advised the stakeholders during the workshop. “In the end, the final product that comes from research should uplift the lives of the Filipino people.”
Genomics refers to the study of genomes, or the complete set of genetic material of organisms. Getting down to gene level leads to a better understanding of living organisms and how they can be improved. In the country, genomics R&D are commonly in the areas of agriculture, health, nutrition, Filipino ethnicity, nutrigenomics, biotechnology, biodiversity, and forensic.
Meanwhile, nanotechnology, also called the “science of small,” involves the study of things at the atomic level. At this level, there are properties and functions not present in larger dimensions but can be designed and controlled at the level of atoms and molecules. Nanotechnology researches in the country are in the areas of biotechnology, materials science, and information and communications technology.
In the field of health genomics, R&D will focus more on the development of diagnostic kits for commonly-encountered diseases. This effort leads to a “Filipinized personal medicine” that addresses unique conditions of Filipinos in infectious, lifestyle, and cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Also set in the pipeline are functional and designer foods that can treat ailments, molecular marker studiers, deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA fingerprinting, novel enzymes development, sustainable drug discovery, and bio-energy production, among others.