Environment advocate Senator Loren Legarda together with Science Secretary Mario G. Montejo led the opening ceremony of ExpoScience 2013, the yearly celebration of the National Science and Technology Week at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
In her brief message, Legarda commended the brilliant Filipino scientists who have tirelessly devoted their time and resources in doing researches and studies resulting in innovative technologies that the Department of Science and Technology is now implementing in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, health, education, information and communications technology and climate change.
In particular, Legarda mentioned the important accomplishment of Project Noah, the national program that serves as a tool for disaster risk reduction and mitigation. “We are making headway with Project Noah with the creation of the multi-layered mapping in Metro Manila expected to be completed by 2014 and the geohazard mapping by 2015 in 28 hazardous areas,” Legarda said.
Likewise, she shared her personal experience in Iloilo where the residents were relocated in a much earlier time due to the early warning system of Project Noah and the responsiveness of the local government officials who heeded the advisories, thereby resulting in zero casualties.
Legarda also commended the hardworking science secretary for his unrelenting efforts to pursue development initiatives to promote science and technology and for the milestones that the DOST generated with its recent accomplishments like the Admatel Testing Laboratory and the Automated Guideway Transit or AGT.
On the other hand, Montejo stressed the importance of this year’s theme that anchored on the idea of a “Smarter Philippines.” He said the efforts of the department are all geared toward improving productivity in agriculture and aquaculture, industry competitiveness, countryside development, poverty alleviation and inclusive growth.
“By smarter we mean that there has to be a mindset of keeping on improving, like with Project Noah where smart technologies were used like the sensors to process data to come up with useful information to reduce risks… smarter agriculture, that is to identify where to plant and when to plant to increase productivity,” Montejo said.
The secretary also mentioned the example of Admatel, which will enable the country to move up the value chain of previously providing service to some 10 percent to a remarkable 40 percent of the market by including not only testing of semiconductor parts and electronic components but also design and production.
3 awards of distinction
Thereafter, Legarda and Montejo together with Science Undersecretary Fortunato de la Peña and National Academy of Science and Technology president William Padolina conferred three awards of distinction to Filipino scientists for their contributions.
Amelia W. Tejada, PhD, executive director of the Food Development Center, was given the Outstanding Science Administrator Award. Tejada was instrumental in the development of the Centralized Contaminants Laboratory at the FDC-NFA.
Waren N. Baticados, PhD, a scientist at UP Los Baños, was given the Outstanding Research and Development Award for Basic Research. Baticados’ work involved molecular researches and diagnostics of national priority protozoal and bacterial diseases of livestock and companion animals that resulted in the development of highly sensitive diagnostic method in local research for disease surveillance.
Lastly, Teresita J. Ramirez, Susan A. Sedano, Arsenia B. Sapin, Maria Teresa M. Perez and Reynaldo V. Ebora, all from the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from UP Los Baños, received the Outstanding Technology Commercialization Award for the successful commercialization of patented Salmonella DASTM (DNA Amplification System), a PCR-based kit for the rapid and definitive detection of the salmonella microorganism in foods and animal feeds.
This year’s ExpoScience, which ends today, has more activities like the Setup Forum featuring successful micro, small and medium enterprises assisted by the DOST; the Smarter Kids, Smarter Scientists at the Manila Ocean Park and the launch of the Starbooks and LEAP program for education.