EPISODE 14: Weekly Report by Sec. Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña
and POST-SONA Special

DOST initiatives

A full month into the 2nd semester of 2020, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the leadership of Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña continues to put forth its initiatives to fight COVID-19 under the 4-Ks categories under Kalusugan, Kaayusan, Kabuhayan, and Kinabukasan.


Five important updates pertaining to health topped Secretary de la Peña’s list:

(1) Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) results were released which continued to show almost no improvement in nutrition among Filipino children five years old and below with 30.3% as stunted, 8.0% having chronic energy deficiency while 4.0% and 37.2% as overweight and obese for both children and adults, respectively; 11.6% women of reproductive age were anemic and 11.5% of school children were iodine deficient.

(2) Bill to create Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP)    

A joint online meeting among members of the House of Representatives (HoR) Committees on Science and Technology, Health and the “Defeat COVID-19” Ad-Hoc Committee (DCC) and eight other institutions was held to discuss the salient features of the Bill and the objectives of the Institute which include among others, addressing current and emerging viral diseases that are affecting humans, plants and animals.

(3) DOST nominates Filipino expert to the TWG for Vaccine Trials. Former dean of the UP College of Public Health Dr. Nina Gloriani was named part of the WHO COVID-19 candidate vaccine prioritization Working Group which aims to identify the vaccines to be included in the upcoming WHO Solidarity Vaccine Trials.

(4) Laboratory automation allows faster processing, reduces human interaction. The HYBrain Development Corporation, a DOST SETUP-assisted firm was commissioned by San Miguel Foundation to develop a Laboratory Information System (LIS) for San Miguel Molecular Laboratory to run COVID-19 Testing. The digitized procedure will need only six (6) minutes from the moment the health workers step inside the swabbing area up to the time that the specimen is collected. SETUP stands for Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program, one of the flagship programs of the DOST that provides financial and technical assistance to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

(5) DOST Region XI launches Pandemic Manual.  A procedures manual titled Prevention, Mitigation and Building Resilience to Epidemics and Pandemics was launched recently by DOST Region XI for personnel and its customers to ensure the continuous delivery of quality products and services despite past, ongoing, or anticipated epidemics or pandemics. The manual was turned over to the Regional Development Council, National Economic and Development Authority Office of Civil Defense, and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Region


TITAN AND OLAP apps to ease traffic and mobility

Two (2) new mobility applications seek to improve and ensure smooth travel experience through a more agile transport management system in Metro Manila and other regions. The DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) disclosed the Council’s support to De La Salle University’s TITAN: Vision-based Traffic Information and Analysis and the Optimal Locations and Allocation of Personnel (OLAP) projects that can reduce traffic congestion in the Philippines by using shared network systems with ample data on roads and highways.  


To open livelihood opportunities for all Filipinos, the following DOST assistance package are in place:

  • DOST Region IX earmarks P4.8M assistance to Conflict-prone communities. Six (6) identified conflict-vulnerable communities all over Zamboanga Peninsula and nine (9) barangays in Ilocos Sur were awarded grants to acquire S&T-based livelihood technologies and other S&T assistance aimed at providing sustainable, income generating opportunities for beneficiaries, and discourage poverty-driven recruitment campaigns by militant groups. Some of the facilities to implement the project include having a mechanical dryer and rice mill equipment, mechanically upgraded palay drying facility; food processing technology training; and rice and corn mill.
  • Catfish production in ponds of Southern Mindanao. The DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development consortium based in the University of Southern Mindanao in North Cotabato will oversee catfish production as one of the COVID-19 mitigating projects in Mindanao. With BFAR as implementer, and LGUs as collaborator, the project is set to kick off soon until December 2020
  • Series of Training modules on Halal food. To improve the halal food industry in the country, the DOST halal team will conduct a series of training programs that will serve as guide for halal stakeholders in the country. The trainings include: (1) Basic Halal-HACCP and its Prerequisite Programs for Personnel of Food Service and Manufacturing Industries; (2) Halal Concepts and Principles; (3) Halal Assurance System; and (4) Halal Management System.


While the directive of President Duterte in his State of the Nation Address to DOST touches on livelihood opportunities in remote areas for MSMEs, the move to adopt digitalization/electronic technology by using available TV frequencies for distance learning places this as a forward-looking initiative.

The DOST has started, through its Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) 4.0 and the Advanced Mechatronics, Robotics and Industrial Automation Laboratory (AMERIAL), initial project activities toward this direction. Meanwhile, the DOST invited the Philippine Space Agency (PSA) headed by Dr. Joel Marciano and DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute to work together to explore and maximize the use of TV frequencies in distance learning.

State of the Department Address (SODA)

Following President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address, Secretary de la Peña also put out DOST’s 12 notable and inspiring stories of excellence in science and technology, research and development, technology transfer, human resource development and other S&T services that counter the adverse effects of the crisis that the nation is currently facing.

The stories depict courage, perseverance and triumph of the human spirit amidst difficulties and countless challenges in order to rise above what seemed like helpless situations. The full story of the post SONA special may be viewed in the weekly DOST Report Episode-14, livestreamed over DOSTv Facebook page. 

Gandingan Awards

As recipient of the Gandingan award for Most-Development Oriented Science and Technology program via Siyensikat: Pinoy Popular Science Para sa Lahat over GMA News TV channel, Sec. de la Peña graciously accepted the honor but said that more important than this recognition is the fact that DOST was able to help our less fortunate people and communities who turned to science for practical solutions.

DOSTv: Science for the People, the broadcast platform of the DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute, which aired over PTV also won three (3) awards: 1) Most Development-Oriented Livelihood Program; 2) Most Development Oriented Feature Story for the episode “Bakery sa Jail” and; 3) the highest award Gandingan ng Kaunlaran: Most Development Oriented Radio/TV Station/Online Platform.

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