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We’re all in this together.  Secretaries from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Department of Information and Communications Technology join hands after signing a Memorandum of Understanding which outlines a five year roadmap in supporting technology startups in the Philippines.  From left to right: DOST Undersecretary Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara, DTI Undersecretary Nora Terrado, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña, DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio, DICT Undersecretary John Henry Naga, and former DICT Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim. 

In  a  bid  to  strengthen  government’s  support  to  technology  startups  in  the  Philippines,  the Department  of  Science  and  Technology,  Department  of  Information  and  Communications Technology, and Department of Trade and Industry forged an agreement that will synergize their assistance to the community for the next five years.

At  the  2nd  National  Technology Business  Incubation  Summit  held  in  Manila,  DOST  Secretary Fortunato T.  dela  Peña,  DICT  Acting  Secretary Eliseo  Rio,  and  DTI  Secretary Ramon  Lopez signed  a  Memorandum  of  Understanding  that  lays  the  ground  for  a  five-year  roadmap  for technology business incubation in the country.

Recognizing  the  different  efforts  of  DOST,  DTI,  and  DICT  to  nurture  technology  business incubators (TBIs) in the country, the MOU binds the three departments to harness their programs and projects in putting up a conducive business ecosystem for startups.

“The Parties commit to come up with projects, events, and/or endeavors by way of tie-ups, joint program activities, or cost matching to be reflected in their future MOAs to succeeding activities and events that will promote and assist Philippine startups,” the MOU read.

At present, DOST, DTI, and DICT implement a variety of programs for startups in the country. DICT, through the ICT Industry Development Bureau, implements the seedPH Program which aims to boost the ICT ecosystem in the countryside and advocate the promotion and development of  local  ICT  startup  businesses  throughout  the  country.  On  the  other  hand,  DTI,  through  the Startup  Ecosystem  Development,  provide  means  for  startups  to  scale  up  by  giving  them opportunities   to   participate   in   Outbound   Business   Missions   and   international   pitching competitions.

DOST, through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), provides financial assistance to TBIs.  At present, DOST- PCIEERD  implements:  TBI  Establishment  Assistance -  a  program  for  HEIs  and  SUCs  in jumpstarting a TBI. The assistance mainly covers the first two (2) years of operation cost for the TBI; Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship (HEIRIT) – a preparatory  program  for  HEIs  and  SUCs  interested  in  establishing  a  TBI.  The  program  is implemented in partnership with UP NEC; and TBI 4.0 - which aims to enhance or elevate the capabilities of existing TBIs (e.g. from 1st gen to 2nd gen, 2nd gen to 3rd gen, etc.), co-develop programs with local and/or international accelerators, co-incubate with senior international or local partners, and to expand their reach to an international level.

DOST-PCIEERD Deputy Executive Director Engr. Raul C. Sabularse expressed optimism for the TBI community with the signing of the MOU.

“The bonds we built today with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding among DTI, DICT, and DOST strengthens our resolve to be responsive to the industry’s needs.  We believe that TBIs provide a unique opportunity for economic growth in the country and its development and will mean better lives for our people,” he said.

DOST’s  TBI  Program,  spearheaded  by  DOST-PCIEERD,  aims  to  to  promote  innovation  and technopreneurship for the country’s socio-economic development in a knowledge-based world economy. It hosts startups and offers business development services, office space, as well as technical facilities to get their business established.

Sabularse  said  that  DOST-PCIEERD  remains  unwavering  in  its  commitment  to  nurture  the technology  startup  industry  in  the  country  and  be  at  the  forefront  of  providing  a  conducive environment for it to flourish.

“We at DOST-PCIEERD will continue to listen to you and provide you a space to be heard and recognized. We believe that with all hands on deck, we can turn the gears of innovation and put forward the Startup Ecosystem in the Philippines,” he noted.

H-IIA F4 rocket at the Tanegashima Space Center, Kyushu, Japan (Photo from JAXA)

Diwata-2, the Philippines’ second microsatellite, was launched into space on October 29, 2018 hitching a ride via H-IIA F4 rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan at exactly 12:08 p.m. (Manila time) and started orbiting in space at 12:51 p.m. (Manila time).

Officials from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), University of the Philippines - Diliman, Japan Embassy in the Philippines, Office of Senator Bam Aquino, researchers, students, reporters/journalists gathered in the GT Toyota Asian Center Auditorium in UP Diliman to witness the launch of Diwata-2 from a livestream from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) YouTube channel. The actual launching in Kyushu, Japan was also witnessed by DOST Secretary Fortunato De la Peña, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, Philippine Deputy Chief of Mission to Japan Eduardo M.R. Meñez, PHL-MICROSAT Program Leader Dr. Joel Marciano as well as PCIEERD Officials, Ms. Edna Nacianceno and Engr. Ermie Bacarra.

During the “local viewing”, the Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara expressed optimism over the future of space science and space technology applications with the launch of Diwata-2.

“The reason why we are doing this is not just because we can launch a microsatellite, but more because we would like to develop the human resource needed in order for us to actually put up a Philippine Space Agency and for the Filipinos to benefit using the data received from the satellites,” she said.

Similar to Diwata-1, Diwata-2 will capture images for the country’s environmental monitoring and post-disaster assessment. It has the same payloads but more refined and improved, namely the Wide Field Camera (WFC), Middle Field Camera (MFC), High Precision Telescope (HPT) and Spaceborne Multispectral Imager (SMI) with Liquid Crystal Tunable Filter (LCTF).

The second microsatellite differentiates itself from its predecessor with its longer lifespan of five years or more compared to Diwata-1 which flies at a lower altitude where there is more atmospheric drag. Its orbit is “sun synchronous,” enabling fixed revisit intervals, allowing environmental monitoring in specific areas.

Further, major features of Diwata-2 include two locally-made experimental modules: Amateur Radio Unit for emergency communications and a Satellite Orientation Module for increased pointing accuracy and future satellite development initiatives. It also has deployable solar panels for increased power generation output and additional payloads namely the Enhanced Resolution Camera (ERC) and Spaceborne Multispectral Image (SMI).

Solar Array Panel Deployment Test of Diwata-2 Flight Model (Photos from PHL-Microsat)

Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-MICROSAT) Project 5 Leader Dr. Gay Jane Perez said Diwata-2’s launch bolsters the government’s move to create space technology industry in the country.

“More than building and launching satellites, the Philippines is also committed to starting a healthy and sustainable ecosystem for space technology,” she said.

Perez said that the creation of the Sustained Support for Local Space Technology and Application Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space), an offshoot of the PHL Microsat program, aims to build a local industrial base and enhance local space science and engineering expertise, paving the way as the country prepares the establishment of the Philippine Space Agency.

The development of DIWATA-1 and DIWATA-2 was funded under the DOST Grants-in-Aid program titled, “Development of the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-MICROSAT),” in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Diliman, DOST-ASTI and the Japanese partners from Hokkaido and Tohoku Universities with the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) as the monitoring agency.

The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) will be hosting the 2nd National Technology Business Incubator (TBI) Summit at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel this coming December 19, 2018. This event aims to showcase the government's support for startups through its firm plans and programs, foster communication between startups and public/private agencies, as well as share the best practices from other ASEAN countries related to business incubation and supporting startup communities.

The TBI Summit would be gathering together all DOST-funded incubators and other government innovation agencies, including key officials from these national government organizations, along with private incubators and accelerators with some international incubator managers, to explore topics related to the entrepreneurial and innovation community through various panel sessions.

Program of 2nd TBI Summit

Diwata-2 Flight Model (Photo from PHL-Microsat)

The second Philippine microsatellite, DIWATA-2, is set to be launched into space on October 29, 2018 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan via H-IIA F4 rocket.  Its flight model was handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) last August 30, 2018.

The development of the DIWATA-2 as well as DIWATA-1 was funded under the DOST Grants-in-Aid program titled, “Development of the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-MICROSAT),” in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Diliman, DOST-ASTI and the Japanese partners from Kyushu Institute of Technology (KyuTech), Hokkaido and Tohoku Universities, with the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) as the monitoring agency.  

Both microsatellites are capable of capturing images of the Earth for environmental assessment and for monitoring the country’s natural resources. Similar with its sibling microsatellite, Diwata-2 will also carry specialized cameras but more refined and improved, namely the Wide Field Camera (WFC), Middle Field Camera (MFC), High Precision Telescope (HPT) and Spaceborne Multispectral Imager (SMI) with Liquid Crystal Tunable Filter (LCTF).

 

Figure 1

Figure 2

Solar Array Panel Deployment Test of Diwata-2 Flight Model (Figure 1) and Diwata-2 Flight Model in Vibration Test Platform (Figure 2)

(Photos from PHL-Microsat)

Diwata-2 brings total improvement from its predecessor. It will orbit at a higher altitude more than 600 kilometers above the Earth level compared to Diwata-1 which only orbits at 400 kilometers. With this, its orbit will be “sun synchronous” which will enable fixed revisit intervals, allowing repeated environmental monitoring in specific areas. Moreover, Diwata-2 is 5 kilograms heavier than its sibling satellite, thus weighing approximately 58 kilograms.

Major features of Diwata-2 are two locally-made experimental modules as follows: Amateur Radio Unit for emergency communications and a Satellite Orientation Module for increased pointing accuracy and future satellite development initiatives. Other features include deployable solar panels for increased power generation output and an Enhance Resolution Camera (ERC) which increases the resolution of images taken by Spaceborne Multispectral Imager (SMI).

Spacecraft electronics designed in the Philippines. The Philippine Flag and the Diwata name in Baybayin were inscripted. (Photo from PHL-Microsat)
 

With these more refined instruments carried by Diwata-2, higher resolution images can be beamed down to the ground receiving station located at the DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) in Quezon City. This can also further spark the country’s continuous efforts for the attainment of space technology undertakings towards the establishment of the Philippine Space Agency.

Another significant milestone of the PHL-MICROSAT program to look forward to is the completion of the country’s first ever microsatellite laboratory located at the University of the Philippines Diliman called “University Laboratory for Small Satellites and Space Engineering Systems (ULyS3ES),” which is targeted to be inaugurated before the end of 2018.

A launch viewing through live stream is being organized by the PHL-MICROSAT team on October 29, 2018 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Everyone is enjoined to watch another momentous event as the country’s second “Diwata ng Kalawakan” sets into space. Further details will be announced through the PHL-Microsat Facebook account at https://www.facebook.com/PHLMicrosat/.

Likewise, JAXA will also have a live stream of the rocket launch in its Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/jaxachannel.

It is the Filipinos’ joy and pride as we again go to space but this time higher and better.                                    
The 2018 Young Innovators Program awardees with DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peňa and DOST-PCIEERD HRIDD Chief Engr. Ermie M. Bacarra
 
 

31 AUGUST 2018 – The second batch of Young Innovators Program (YIP) awardees officially sealed their partnership with the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) through the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) held at the Heritage Hotel Manila.

Launched in 2017, YIP recognizes promising researchers under the age of 30 to further encourage them to delve into scientific research through provision of financial assistance. This year’s YIP awardees, who were announced last July 18 during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW), consists of six (6) aspiring young innovators out of 55 who submitted their research proposals. The six (6) YIP awardees, the academic institutions they represent, the title of their research projects, and the names of the members and mentors, are as follows

  1. Gerardo Martin D. Quindoza III

Mentor: Mr. John Kenneth A. Cruz

Department of Mining, Metallurgical, and Materials Engineering – University of the Philippines Diliman

Project: Synthesis of Nanocellulose reinforced Chitosan Hydrogel as bioink for 3D printing of artificial articular cartilage

  1. Jeremy C. De Leon

Mentor: Engr. Febus Reidj G. Cruz

Mapua University

Project BAGWIS: A low-cost micro wind turbine system for lighting, charging, and electrifies floodwater detection

  1. Janina M. Guarte

Mentor: Dr. Joyce A Ibana

Institute of Biology – University of the Philippines Diliman

Project: Capitalizing on microbial interactions for improving shelf life and gut-health benefits of Carabao’s milk product (NICE4GUT)

  1. Neil David C. Cayanan, Shaira C. Gozun, and E’van Relle M. Tongol

Mentor: Ms. Lolita G. Bautista

Angeles City Science High School

Project: Hibla: An alternative sound absorption material

  1. Jether M. Arenga, John Angel C. Blancaflor, Kyle M. Enorio, Greg Norman C. Millora, and Jericho T. Portez

Mentor: Mr. Jimmy E. Unilongo, Jr.

Philippines Science High School – SOCCSKSARGEN Region Campus

Project: Fortified Trees: Real-time data logging and analysis machine

  1. Joshua K. Pardorla, Christian Lawrence C. Cantos, Joefer Emmanuel T. Capangpangan, Dorothy Mae M. Daffon, and John Harold R. Abarquez

Mentors: Mr. Wilfredo K. Pardorla, Jr. and Ms. Almida Plarisan

St. Cecilia’s College – Cebu, Inc.

Project: Design and development of low-cost, high-performance hybrid rocket for Can Satellite deployment applications

 (Read more on their research projects: http://pcieerd.dost.gov.ph/news/latest-news/319-dost-pcieerd-awards-2nd-batch-of-young-innovators)

Opening the program for the MOA signing, Engr. Ermie M. Bacarra, DOST-PCIEERD Human Resource and Institution Development Division (HRIDD) Chief, congratulated the young innovators for being YIP finalists. She also added, “I would like to congratulate their parents for raising such talented and creative children, and praise the officials of the academic institutions that our young innovators represent, for continuously giving them support to follow their aspirations.”

“As a big part of the country’s population is composed of young people, it is only justifiable that we in the DOST, through PCIEERD, also give opportunities to our country’s young minds, hopefully inspiring students to pursue careers in science and technology,” says DOST Secretary Fortunato De la Peňa after commending the second batch of young innovators for their love for Science.

The signing of the MOA means that the grant may be released so that the YIP awardees can now start with their respective researches, with the guidance of DOST-PCIEERD.