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Group photo of PCIEERD Personnel and GODDESS Program Grantees
 

New data science research and development projects that enable good governance will soon be implemented to improve operations of national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs) through the support of the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

Funded under the Good Governance through Data Science and Decision Support System (GODDESS) Program, these projects are geared towards addressing the gap in the country’s workforce for data scientists that enables and strengthens the government to adapt data-driven governance and evidence-based management.

DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit said the GODDESS program is aimed at utilizing data to create innovations in running government and serving the people.

“As a leader and partner in enabling innovations, we support solutions and approaches that move towards data-driven decision making and smart governance,” he said.

The seven new data science projects under the GODDESS Program are from the Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Isabela State University (ISU), Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U), Urdaneta City University (UCU), Lyceum-Northwestern University (L-NU), Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), and the Pangasinan State University (PSU).

Researchers from FSUU will be conducting the project "Development of Data Analytics and Information System: Support on Social Welfare Services for Senior Citizens of Butuan City. This is an initiative to discover new knowledge using the Knowledge Discovery to Data Base (KDD) model and to develop information system and data analytics that will aid in the formulation of policies, projects and programs for effective delivery of services to senior citizens in the city.

The PhilRice Data Analytics Initiative (RiceLytics) of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) intends to harness the power of data analytics to enhance baselining and forecasting of the status of the rice farmers and the rice industry. The project will develop an online analytics dashboard that can be accessed by the public especially the decision and policy making bodies at different government levels for decision and policy formulation.

ISU will be implementing the project Optimization of a Decision Support System for Effective E-governance (ODeSSEE) on pre-emptive evacuation for flood disaster amidst COVID-19 in the Cagayan Valley. This aims to apply data-driven process in generating safe and alternative evacuation areas for flood disaster while keeping the COVID-19 quarantine facilities and individuals uncompromised to prevent spread of the virus by combining profiling features of Health Guard PH and zoning monitored by Office of Civil Defense Region 2 (OCDR2).

ISAT-U is working towards the development of the Iloilo Province Employment Portal and Services (IPEPS) using data analytics. This will be a dynamic web-based application that has six (6) components: Job Seekers Registry, Employers Registry module, Employment registry module, Training registry module, Academe registry module, and Students’ registry module.

UCU researchers will be doing the project “Development of an automated collection system for trading hubs or bagsakan market”. They will create a cashless and contactless payment system with the use of mixed technologies such as Radio Frequency Identification and QR Code payment system.

L-NU aims to develop a smart garbage collection and monitoring system for Dagupan City. The system will generate necessary data where analytics can be applied to yield information essential for evidence-based decision making by the LGU to address its solid waste management needs.

DMMMSU is working on a vision-based traffic monitoring system for San Fernando, La Union. It will have a prescriptive navigation software based on real-time traffic data and will also analyze existing policy for traffic control.

PSU will develop the Hundred Islands National Park Management System that has a real-time motorized banca geolocation as an implementation of smart tourism.

Paringit said DOST PCIEERD will be relentless in pursuing new projects on data science to aid government in managing its data needs and craft data driven decisions.

“Through these projects, we will enable the development of appropriate capabilities, systems and technologies that can be adapted and used by national government agencies and local government units, specifically on urban mobility, energy management, e-governance and citizen services, waste management, and water management,” he added.

Tomato field in Brgy. San Juan, Botolan, part of the project site

 

Researchers from the Central Luzon State University has helped farmers from nine (9) lahar-laden barangays in Zambales find suitable crops for their land through research and development.

Funded by DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), the project aims to help in the rehabilitation of areas affected by Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales through science and technology based agricultural production technologies that enhance the productivity of the lahar-laden areas.

The research team assisted the improvement of four barangays in Botolan, Zambales, two barangays in Castillejos, Zambales, and three barangays in San Marcelino, Zambales, all affected by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991.

Farming households in the four barangays of Botolan, Zambales took part in the study to get an overview of their present farming system where in soil and farm resources were assessed.  The soil was analyzed with the help of experts from the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP NIGS).

On-farm testing and pilot testing of the production of selected crops were conducted to evaluate and showcase their productivity.

The research team planted tomato, eggplant, sweet potato, green corn, soybean, and peanuts in two demo farms built within the four barangays of Botolan, Zambales. This was replicated in the other barangays in Castillejos and San Marcelino.

The researchers learned that the combined application of organic, inorganic and foliar fertilizer across locations and all kinds of crop produced better yield than the combined application of only organic and inorganic fertilizer.

Eggplant and soybean were also planted in pots of lahar soil and lahar soil where black sand was removed. It was found that the presence of black sand did not influence the performance of eggplant and soybean, and that yield increased when organic fertilizer application was increased.

The researchers identified potential crops and farming practices better suited to the areas including apt technologies.

Technology demonstration (techno-demo) farms were established to showcase the technology developed in Botolan for crop production. These farms were planted with various vegetables such as Diamante Max F1 Hybrid Tomato, Prolifica F1 Hybrid Eggplant, and F1 Hybrid Hot Pepper.

A total of 63 farmers and technicians from local government units (LGUs) were trained and a manual on crop production practices in ash-laded areas was developed to guide them.

The team also came up with two research papers already submitted for publication, and a 2-year off-shoot project was also approved starting this year, with P3 million funding assistance from the Department of Agriculture Regional Office III (DARFO3). This new project will focus on increasing the income of farms through promotion and adoption of

appropriate technologies.

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit sees the results of the project as a boost food security in the region especially with the scarcity of resources.

“We hope that this intervention can help our farmers in lahar-laden areas build back their lives better through innovations in agriculture.  We are optimistic that this can help our farmers provide food for their families and to the nation,” he said.

Paringit also enjoined industry players, agricultural groups, and other key stakeholders to engage with the council and help bring this technology to a wider populace.

“As leader and partner in enabling innovations, we hope that our industry players can help us reach more people.  We will be relentless in our pursuit of finding solutions and opportunities that can plant the seeds of innovation in our nation,” he said.

Ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding led by TikTok Philippine Public Policy Head Mr. Kristoff Rada (lower left) and DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit (lower right)
 

Filipino TikTok users will now learn more Filipino scientific achievements and developments as the Department of Science and

Technology Research and Development – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) partnered with TikTok to boost promotion of Filipino-made technologies.

During the virtual launch, DOST-PCIEERD inked a Memorandum of Understanding with TikTok to promote Filipino technologies through its science communication TikTok account @pinoyscience.

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit said this collaboration is a big boost for the scientific community as it continues to reach out to Filipino netizens and garner support to innovations developed by Filipino researchers.

“Communicating science to the public has always been a challenge for our researchers. As a leader and partner in enabling innovations, we are excited with this collaboration with TikTok as a new avenue for us to share distinctly pinoy innovations through this social media platform,” he said.

This partnership with TikTok is a six-month collaboration where TikTok will be providing training for researchers on how to use the platform for science communication, promotion of Filipino technologies, and conduct contests for the Filipino TikTok community.

 

Pinoy Science TikTok Account (tiktok.com/@pinoyscience)

The first contest is through the #PinoyInnovator hashtag challenge which intends to show how creative and resourceful Filipinos are. Through this challenge, common household items will be creatively used to develop a nifty innovation. The winners of the challenge will be hailed as the “Pinoy Science Innovator 2021.” They will be announced in April 2021.

Another contest that will be launched is the #PinoyScience hashtag challenge which challenges TikTok users to explain the science behind DOST PCIEERD’s supported scientific projects.

The #PinoyScience hashtag challenge will run from April to July 2021. Three winners will be announced every month starting May 2021.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the DOST PCIEERD to help promote awareness and understanding for science and innovation, as well as inspire the Filipino youth to discover their creativity and talents. Inspiring creativity and bringing joy is at the heart of what we do at TikTok,” said Kristoffer Rada, TikTok Head for Public Policy.

“TikTok is committed to helping facilitate education and learning in the Philippines. Through our #LearnOnTikTok series, we will be working with creators to produce more educational content on the platform,” he added.

Follow DOST-PCIEERD at tiktok.com/@pinoyscience. For inquiries on this partnership or request for collaborations, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Watch the event livestream through: https://fb.watch/3fgsedJysD/.

Dr. Alan Cajes is the Vice President, Senior Executive Fellow and Project Leader of Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP)

With love and devotion for his country and its citizenry, this Filipino expert find what Leonardo da Vinci called “the joy of understanding” in a bulk of data.

Born in the banana capital of the Philippines, Davao del Norte is the hometown of this prolific and versatile Vice President and Senior Executive Fellow of Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) and Project Leader of the Smarter Philippines through Data Analytics R&D, Training and Adoption or SPARTA, Dr. Alan Cajes.

For Cajes, being a data scientist was more of necessity as his job requires him to deep dive into the huge volumes of data including Framework Formulation and Study of Spatial Development, Forecast-Based Emergency Preparedness, and Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment, which according to him use some degree of data science.

“This happens when we collect data the best way we can and allow such, using an acceptable method, to reveal to us new information that leads to new insights, and then new knowledge that can be used to improve the way we do things in the public, business, and civil society sector,” he shared.

In an email correspondence, Cajes revealed that his typical workday as a data scientist often involves reviewing literature and previous projects; discussing and framing questions with colleagues and project team members; designing, pre-testing, and enhancing the data collection instruments; printing the final version of these instruments and training the enumerators on how to administer such; as well as data cleaning that includes detecting, removing or correcting errors. Next is tabulating, interpreting, analyzing, and presenting the data, putting together the findings, reflecting on the recommendations, writing, and presenting the report. Then, celebrate success in project task achievement that contributed something new to the body of knowledge, and hopefully helps, no matter how little, to improve the Philippine society.

He virtuously described Filipino data scientists as keen observers, able to swim in an ocean of data, and find timely as well as reliable patterns among them. He continued, “they are artists who are creative in presenting their discoveries so that the intended users will appreciate and make informed decisions, be it in the form of policies, products or services that create public and customer value.”

“Filipinos can benefit from data science through employment opportunities for our data scientists and harnessing their expertise in solving socio-economic problems at the national and local levels, as well as creating public and customer value through new products, improved services, and evidence-based policies,” he said.

Recognizing the high demand for data scientists, he urged all Filipinos to seize this exceptional opportunity to become SPARTA scholars and live out the core values of Dangal (honor and integrity), Galing (smart and innovative), and Tatag (stable and future ready).

“But more than turning raw data into valuable insights,” Cajes says “data scientists are expected to have the skill set (e.g., data mining, data visualization, among others), mind set (e.g., curiosity and synoptic thinking) to provide meaningful and useful insights to decision makers and executives, and a patriotic calling of using data science to solve some of the challenges that we are facing such as infectious diseases, limited access to potable water, poverty, climate-related disasters, corruption, inefficiencies in the delivery of services, and many more.”

Recalling these traits that a data scientist must possess, he was reminded of an experience he had long ago with some of his trailblazing projects that the DAP conceived, designed, and implemented in the 70s including the Social Indicators Project (1974-75) that gave birth to the idea of the Social Weather Stations (SWS), and the Population, Resources, Environment, and the Philippine Future (PREPF), a forward-looking project in 1975-77 that explored historical trends in Philippine society and their implications for the future – 2000 A.D.

“Our pioneer data scientists showed us that there is an alternative way of probing the future – evidence-based analysis,” he explained. “That is why in 2016, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) tapped the DAP to design and implement a project like the PREFP. This is a Framework Formulation and Study of Spatial Development under the new normal with the idea to explore data and analyze their implications on safer settlements in the future.”

The life of a data scientist is quite like a roller coaster ride and even the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP) and Coursebank recognized that one must face the challenges in exponential growth of data and the limited number of data literate workforce.

"The estimate this year is that every person generates about 1.7 megabytes of data per second. This trend will increase with the emergence of smart city initiatives nationwide. If we don’t have the appropriate infrastructure support, big data warehousing and data mining won’t be easy," Cajes remarked. "APEC estimates 340,880 data science and data analytics workers will be needed in the Philippines by 2022. So, we have a huge demand compared to the supply, which is likely less than 20% of the demand."

He supported the claim of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) about scarcity of DSA competencies in the current workforce and a misalignment between the demand and supply of DSA professionals in the country. Specifically, it revealed that the 10 DSA-related programs in the Philippines produced 176,597 graduates but only 38% or 62,583 workers were considered fit for the DSA field. Also, the International Labor Organization concluded that there is a risk posed by automation on about 49% of the workforce in the BPO industry.

This Filipino data scientist holds the notion that the country can become one of the “high potential” and then “leading” nation with the right policies and investments in appropriate infrastructure despite the World Economic Forum declaration that the Philippines fall under the “legacy” archetype in relation to Industry 4.0. Bold, albeit cautiously optimistic, he uttered that it is possible to become one of the global leaders in data science.

"Although we are about two years behind Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand in preparing for data science, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) remains steadfast in providing the required support. We have a good number of schools that offer degree programs in statistics compared to other Southeast Asian countries. We have a younger generation that we can train on data science and be mentored by experienced data science academics and practitioners," Cajes expressed.

Supported by the DOST, through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), and led by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), the Project SPARTA seeks to produce 30,000 data scientists through a massive online training program in data science, analytics and its related fields. It creates necessary online education, R&D mechanisms and infrastructure enabling data science and analytics to strengthen smart governance practices.

“We encourage them,” he says referring to the SPARTA scholars “to learn as much as they can on their own (through e-learning modules), and with their fellow scholars (through hackathons). They are the new breed of knowledge workers who can handle big data and provide useful ideas for new products, services, or policies to continually improve Philippine society.”

With experiential knowledge coupled with great fervor and incessant desire to solve complex problems, Dr. Alan Cajes becomes particularly adept at finding trends and obtaining insights from meaningful data.

“We look forward to the day when our SPARTA scholars become valued assets in their respective organizations, as well as coaches and mentors to a new generation of knowledge workers,” he says.

 

 

The latest version of aerosol monitor unit developed by the University of the Philippines Diliman

Researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), has locally developed a low-cost, high-quality aerosol monitors to help find ways in minimizing air pollution in the cities.

Spearheaded by Dr. Len Herald V. Lim, the Robust Optical Aerosol Monitor or Project ROAM, was initiated to measure particulate matter concentration in the air. It provides crucial information to create policies and programs for environmental protection.

“ROAM units use a different method in detecting particles that does not require the manufacture/fabrication of specialized parts typical of contemporary commercial instrumentation. This allows a much lower production cost, smaller maintenance requirement, and an exclusive research chain,” said Dr. Lim.

The team has already produced 10 optical aerosol monitors. Four of these have been verified for performance through collocation experiments with aerosol equipment used by the DENR-EMB while the remaining six are being tested for performance and will be subject for stricter collocation experiments when conditions permit.

The ROAM team is now exploring the creation of a spin-off company through DOST-PCIEERD’s Funding Assistance for Spinoff and Translation of Research in Advancing Commercialization or FASTRAC program to help advance the commercialization of their technology and bring this citizen science project to the community.

DOST-PCIEERD executive director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit expressed hope that the technology can be adopted by local government units who want to improve their area’s air quality through scientific means.

“As leader and partner in enabling innovations, we encourage our researchers for coming up with cutting-edge solutions to solve major environmental and societal issues. This technology is one significant stride in our path towards improving air quality.  Now is a good time to cooperation with our innovators, adopt this solution to protect our future,” Paringit says.