The Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Region I, in collaboration with DZAG Radyo Pilipinas Agoo, started up the first episode of Tekno PreSyensya 2022: Syensya ken Teknolohiya para kadagiti Umili featuring the accomplishments DOST-I for the Calendar Year 2021 and talking about the Innovation, Science and Technology for Accelerating Regional Technology-based Development (iSTART) program on 13 January 2022, via Zoom and DOST-I Facebook page.

The episode was attended by DOST-I Regional Director  Armando Q. Ganal, DOST- Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) Pangasinan Provincial Director Arnold C. Santos, and representatives from the two (2) beneficiary Local Government Units (LGUs) of Pangasinan namely, LGU Balungao Municipal Agriculturist Officer Marilyn Lilagan, and LGU Alcala Municipal Planning Officer II Michelle Retoria. 

Director Ganal highlighted the agency's accomplishments for the year 2021. He discussed the accomplishments of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) unit, RxBox Project, Scholarship unit, Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST), Regional Standards and Testing Laboratory (RSTL), Regional Metrology Laboratory (RML), Regional Project Management Office (RPMO), and Regional Science and Technology Promotion Program Center (RSTPPC). Director Ganal also gave an overview of the achievements of the 2021 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) and Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (RICE).

Director Ganal also discussed the iSTART program. He started on how it began through the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Provincial Government of Pangasinan represented by Governor Amado T. Espino III. He then staged the accomplishments of the program in the six (6) pilot municipalities of Pangasinan. 

The iSTART program aims to support the gains of Pangasinan in the different fronts of development through science, technology, and innovation (STI). Further, it will review existing plans and determine the development fronts, identify appropriate STI interventions in the various development fronts where necessary through sectoral groups, and package technology-based sectoral development plans. 

The program which is currently being implemented in the six (6) local government units by the office of the Governor, as pilot municipalities, focuses on disaster resilience, alternative energy, livelihood and enterprise, business, and waste management. 

Provincial Director Santos reported the program's varied outcomes in the towns of Balungao, Alcala, San Fabian, Malasiqui, Bugallon, and Sual. When asked about the program's timeline, he stated that the agreement will go until March, but that he is optimistic that the program will continue to benefit other LGUs in Pangasinan.

Ms. Lilagan and Ms. Retoria, representing the towns of Balungao and Alcala, respectively, expressed their gratitude to DOST 1 and explained how this program might benefit their communities. With the aid of iSTART, they hope to make even more improvements in their communities.

Director Ganal hailed the towns for their cooperation in the effective execution of iSTART and encouraged them to use the program's benefits for the improvement of their communities in his closing message. He also remarked that the region's efforts to enhance science, technology, and innovation are incessant. (By Carla Joyce B, Cajala, DOST-I)

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