EPISODE 16: Weekly Report of Sec. Fortunato T. de la Peña and CRADLE Program: “Expanding Business Horizons Through R&D”

14 August 2020


Vaccine development is still amajorconcern as COVID-19,to this day,continues to be a threat in the Philippines and around the world. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) leads the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for vaccine development and manufacturing in the country and meetings with pharmaceutical companies had been held.

Vaccine candidates from China and Taiwan will be up for clinical trials and the embassies of Russia and the United States are also directly discussing with the Philippines about clinical trials. Meanwhile, the WHO Solidarity trials are waiting for the final list of vaccine candidates since many countries are also conducting screening. Phase 3 of clinical trials will still need the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. Trials might begin by October and is expected to last for six (6) months after which a vaccine may be available in the months of May, June or July 2021.

The DOST spokespersons for the vaccine development initiatives are Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara for IATF, Asec. Leah J. BuendiaforInternational Relations and Dr. Jaime C. Montoya for Health.

KABUHAYANMechanization, Training and Agricultural Activities provide livelihood opportunities that can ease the huge burden in our economybrought about the pandemic ad the initiatives from DOST show promising sources of income for Filipinos.

  • Seaweed farmers in Region IX’s coastal communities had been given seaweed dryers amounting to PhP700,000. The donation made through the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur and the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) – Center of Agri-Fisheries and Biosystems Mechanizationwill benefit around 150 local seaweed farmers using the dryers to producebetter quality and higher valued dried agar-agar seaweeds.
  • Three (3) community-beneficiaries in NCR, namely: BarangayCAA in Las Piñas, Barangay BF Homes, Phase 3 in Paranaque, and Barangay 412 in Sampaloc Manilawere given materials by the DOST-NCR and DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development’s (DOST-PCAARRD)GulayansaPamayanan project to jumpstart vegetable gardening using urban gardening technologies such as the Enriched Potting Preparation (EPP) and Simple Nutrient Addition Program (SNAP) Hydroponics.Further, 18 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) engaged in the food business participated in a webinar titled “Food Trends and Opportunities during the Current Pandemic” to help retailers and manufacturers adjust to the new normal by improving operations and handling challenges.
  • The iFWD project of DOST meant for Overseas Filipino Workers has accepted 70 out of 118 applicants already whose business interests include food processing and agriculture products. The accepted applicants were already notified and requested to attend the orientation on 20 August2020 and the Technology Pitching Sessions on 24 August 2020.
  • Halal Industry competency gets a boost with the conduct of four (4) training modules which will serve as guide for personnel inthe food service and manufacturing industries. Following this are trainers’ training sessions for DOST Food Safety Team members and stakeholders (MSMEs, etc.) set for October this year.

To date, the DOST Halal S&T Program already produced 55 Halal lead auditors who were certified by the International Halal Integrity Alliance (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and 31 Halal trainers who were trained and given certificates of achievement by the Malaysia Halal Consultation & Training Agency (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). There are also two universities in the Philippines that are including Halal studies in their curriculum.


  1. After the launch of the DOST and UP PLANADES Settlements Development Model for New Growth Areas last 10 August 2020, capacity building activitiesconsisting of eight (8) modules will be held by remotely identifying new growth areas, pinpointing suitable requirements, and planning the spatial development of these growth areas.
  2. The Enhanced Tracing for Allocation of Medical Supplies (TrAMS+) being supported by DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) had been deployed in 16 Metro Manila hospitals. The TrAMS+ project is an online geographic system for tracking information regarding health facilities’ medical resources which aims to produce a supporting tool to the Department of Health’s COVI-19 tracker to help in the proper allocation of medical resources. The project aims to expand to 70 hospitals in the regions.

Incidentally, Cabinet members were recently assigned to oversee thecontact tracing in Metro Manila and Sec. Fortunato de la Peña was assigned in Valenzuela.

Promising CRADLE Programsinthe Food Industry

Proponents of two R&D activities under the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) program of the DOST shared their successful partnershipswith the academe and private sector.

  • Value-added eggs through R&D– Determined to manage the current oversupply of eggs in San Jose Batangas, Ma.Cecille Virtucio of the Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative (BEPCO) and the rest of the egg producers in the provincevowed to make Batangas live up to its name as the “Egg Basket of the Philippines”. Going through many challenges in the business, the cooperative linkedwith the DOST and the University of the Philippines to develop a technology that will process the eggs into liquid chilled egg, frozen pasteurized egg and now with the prototype product of chicken egg white powder that has numerous benefits in terms of their prolonged shelf life, ease of transporting the goods and in ensuring food security in the country. Dr. Ma.Patricia Azanzais the R&D expert that assisted BEPCO in processing the eggs.
  • Delicious Healthy lce Cream now possible through R&DGood news for ice cream lovers who prefer to eat healthier desserts and confectioners without guilt.An entrepreneur in Zamboanga, Clarice Angela Hauof Sugar and Ice partnered with Prof. Bryan Rey Oliveros of UPLB inenhancing the quality of the food product. Termed as “Synbiotic” ice cream, this favorite dessert has a mixture of pre-biotic and probiotic bacteria which offers a healthier option for consumers. Purple yam or ube has been known to possess very good prebiotic properties that can fight diabetes and other illnesses.

The research and development initiative for this productprovides promising and fruitful results and Ms. Hauplans to introduce the food innovation in all of their existing flavors or variants. The project is an example of how the smart food value chain that covers from farm to packaging to online ordering or retailing to consumption, can provide a better livelihood opportunity particularly during the time of pandemic. (Mona E M S&T Media Service)

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