Davao City, August 11, 2023 – The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and the University of Immaculate Concepcion (UIC) officially unveiled the Mobilizing Advanced Research and Innovations to Advocate Nation-Building (MARIAN) Technology Business Incubator (TBI) to help the startup landscape in Davao City and the region by focusing on healthcare technologies and bridging the gap between academic research and industry.

"Through our partnership with UIC, we are providing a platform for students, faculty, and researchers to transform their R&D outputs into impactful startups, especially in the healthcare sector, that benefit the community. This collaboration aligns with our vision of advancing technology and entrepreneurship to contribute to the nation's growth and development,” said Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ceasar Ian Benablo, the MARIAN TBI Manager, expressed his excitement for the inauguration of the TBI. 

“We are thrilled about the possibilities this incubator offers to the health technology startup ecosystem in Davao City. We envision an environment where brilliant business ideas and research outputs converge to address pressing societal issues through the development of cutting-edge ICT tools, including mobile and web applications.”

As part of the TBI’s plan, they will be conducting trainings and workshops with their targeted Regional Partners and mentors, to increase awareness about the local startup ecosystem of Davao and develop the best startups from their region through the TBI’s incubation program to which will be validated with the leading TBIs abroad and in the country.

The MARIAN TBI was funded by DOST-PCIEERD through its Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship Program (HEIRIT). 

The HEIRIT Program was developed to help universities meet the Council's TBI funding requirements and train managers to effectively run DOST-affiliated TBIs. HEIRIT seeks to address the growing demand for early-stage entrepreneurial support, particularly in various regions across the Philippines.

MARIAN TBI is among the 44 TBIs supported by DOST-PCIEERD. 

GMA-7 premier documentary show I-Witness trains its sights on Philippine Science Centrum Travelling Exhibit, a project funded by the Department of Science and Technology, as it brings exciting science experiments and learning to students and residents of Sitio Disigisaw of Aurora province.  

The initiative, which is being carried out by the Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology (PFST), has visited 26 Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) districts on the islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It has brought exciting science exhibits to 300,000 students on the value of science and instructed 4, 000 teachers in basic science experiments.

Sandra Aguinaldo, the program's host, a well-known journalist, and documentary filmmaker, joined DOST after an extensive journey of over nine hours by land and two hours by boat. In her journey, she met a bright Agta student named Efrean, a 14-year-old who is a gem in their class, gifted in math but lacking in science, and whose dreams are to leave his small community and pursue more through education.

It is a sad fact that Efrean, like most of his contemporaries in Sitio Disigisaw, cannot do this without assistance and access to other possibilities.

The touring exhibit, according to DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr., strives to promote and address issues that affect both the community and students like Efrean.  He explained that children's disinterest in math and science is what DOST would want to address through the Science Centrum’s Travelling Exhibit.

The innovation landscape has a lot of room to develop. Our initiatives like the Science Centrum’s mobile displays spark our kids' enthusiasm for math and science, which will lead to more researchers and innovators across the country,” he stressed.

Secretary Solidum emphasized that it was essential to teach science to these communities and to pique interest in it for students and educators, as well as to inspire both groups to pursue lifelong learning.

"During travel exhibitions, PFST takes the extra mile in training science teachers by using a module program the foundation created as part of the project. Complicated ideas are transformed into substantial knowledge that may be passed down through generations with the help of Prof. Cora Salumbides, a Balik Scientist”.

Recognizing the value of students' awareness of science in the area and how it influences the landscape of research and development.

"We appreciate GMA 7's I-Witness, for covering this endeavor. Through this partnership, we hope to reach out to more students and capacitate teachers, so that we can find our next generation of scientists, even among GIDA regions and indigenous tribes like the Agtas.  Thanks to efforts of organizations like PFST, he said.

The documentary program will air on Saturday, August 5, 2023, 10:30 p.m. at GMA Channel 7.

Nabua, Camarines Sur—The Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology, Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and the Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges (CSPC) officially launched the AI Research Center for Community Development o (AIRCoDE) on July 28, 2023, the first AI research center in the Bicol Region. 

DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit lauded the state college for putting up the facility and expressed hopes that it brings forth innovations for the regions.

"CSPC is gaining momentum in its pursuit in developing its research capabilities, and we have no doubt that AIRCODE will be another success story for them and for the Bicolanos,” he said.

Dr. Paringit also recognizes the crucial contribution of AIRCODE to the 49 labs set up nationwide as part of the Infrastructure Development Program (IDP) of the council.

"To date, we have poured P234.4 million on cutting-edge lab equipment, infrastructure, specialized software, and other crucial operational needs for our research and development firms, he shared.

Project Leader Joseph Jessie Oñate stressed the importance of this facility and how it will help the town of Nabua, a catch basin for floodwaters from Albay.

"The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) of Nabua's official report states that in 2020, not only was the Nabua school site flooded, but 18 of the 34 villages in the town were also waterlogged, and approximately 520 families, or roughly 2, 471 people, stayed at the evacuation camps, he said.  

As part of the facility, the research titled Project Apaw: Spatiotemporal Forecasting of River Flood using Deep Learning is also carried out.  

By August 2023, they also aim to install sensors in the affected areas, which will help them to fully utilize the center.

"This project will make a genuine difference by estimating flood levels and offering real-time notifications through websites, social media pages, and SMS in order to better prepare our community for calamities", explained Oñate.    

In addition to addressing the urgent requirements of Rinconada communities, AIRCoDE will also strengthen the research skills of AI enthusiasts, including faculty members and students, to identify answers to the ten-year flooding crisis in Nabua. This will be done by focusing on deep learning, computer vision, and other AI approaches. 

DOST Region V Director Rommel Serrano also shared how this facility is a game changer in the region. 

“The Bicol region is particularly vulnerable to typhoons due to its topographical features (the Mayon and the sea) and location (a typhoon corridor). Nabua won't benefit from the center alone, but this highly significant project has the potential to be adopted by other towns in the region in the future and set a precedent for how artificial intelligence might be used to our advantage, he stressed.

The Department of Science and Technology on Wednesday (June 28) hailed four (4) outstanding research institutions for their exemplary implementation of research projects in 2022. 

In line with the 13th Founding Anniversary of the DOST – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), the research institutions received the Excellence in Project Implementation and Completion (EPIC) Awards for successfully finishing their projects with 100-percent budget utilization, on-time with no extensions, and meeting its targets, completely. 

DOST Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr. congratulated the awardees and expressed hope that others will follow suit in ensuring that government funds are fully utilized. 

“As we accord accolades to our project implementers for doing the job well, we now face the challenge of translating these research outputs to technologies that will help the country in wealth creation. We hope our researchers will take on an entrepreneurial mindset and bring these research outputs from their academic drawers to supermarket shelves,” he said. 

DOST Undersecretary for R&D Dr. Leah J. Buendia also thanked DOST-PCIEERD for recognizing the efforts of project leaders in ensuring that researches are done efficiently and effectively. 

“We look forward to more EPIC awardees in the future as we work hand-in-hand with our project leaders in ensuring an efficient and effective implementation,” she said. “DOST’s support to industry-academe partnerships in the country through the CRADLE program and PCIEERD-funded projects has been very evident in the EPIC awards. There was a clear need for innovation and DOST programs answered the needs of Filipino companies.”

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit regard the 2022 EPIC awardees to be exemplars to other project implementers in the country. 

“May the EPIC awardees inspire other researchers and research projects supported and funded by the Council to deliver excellent science. These projects to be recognized demonstrate that given the right resources, publicly funded initiatives could be carried on target, and on time. They are truly bright beacons for the science, technology and innovation community.” he said. 

The Caraga State University will be receiving two EPIC awards with both projects coming from the public institution. The two projects were also funded by the DOST- Collaborative R&D to Leverage the Economy (CRADLE) Program.

The CYANanobot: Miniaturized Boat-assisted Data Acquisition for Automated Cyanide Monitoring in Wastewater using Optical Nano-sensor, which is a DOST-CRADLE funded project, is used for the continuous and real-time monitoring of the cyanide concentration in the mining tailings pond. It is an automated system using a nanotechnology-enabled module called CYANanobot Sensor for a remotely controlled automated detection and monitoring of cyanide. The project was led by Dr. Alexander T. Demitillo of Caraga State University – Main (CSU) in partnership with Apex Mining Co. Inc. 

Also, another awardee from the CSU and a CRADLE project as well, is the Systematized Mining Operations using Automation and Real-Time Telematics Platform towards a Paradigm Shift in Surface Mines of Caraga Region or SMART Mines. The project team developed automation and telematics platforms that monitor and analyze the surface mines' operations. SMART Mines addresses the issues encountered by mining industries in data acquisition and inventory management which dictates how a mine would perform in terms of its profitability and efficiency operations’ flow. The project was also led by Dr. Alexander T. Demetillo in collaboration with Cagdianao Mining Corp.

Meanwhile, Haynayan AR: An Augmented Reality-Based Lesson for the Improvement of Learning Achievement in Cell Biology for the STEM Curriculum was developed to teach complex lessons for Grade 9 and 10 students in the field of science by using AR. The team was able to have a prototype testing of Haynayan AR application and assessed its effectiveness in terms of academic achievement of the students. Haynayan AR was implemented by DOST-Philippine Science High School (PSHS) led by Mr. Joel T. Bautista. 

Lastly, a project that transpired from the CRADLE Challenge 2020: Community-level Functionalization of Handwoven Cordillera and Mindoro Textiles for Creative Protective Clothing led by Mrs. Zailla Flores Payag of DOST – Philippine Textile Research Institute has successfully developed a community-based functionalized Philippine handwoven textile solutions for non-medical face masks. This project was in partnership with Custom Made Crafts Center Inc.

Through the CRADLE Program, Filipino companies, including small-to-medium enterprises, find value through innovation by partnering with universities or research and development institutes to solve their problems. The industry partner defines the problem to be solved and the academic institutions or R&D Institute undertakes the research. Funding amounts to P5 million, over a period of one to three years, is given to the academic institution or R&D institute. The industry partner contributes 20% to then project, in cash or in kind; and promises to adopt the research output.

All four projects were funded by the DOST Grants-in-Aid program.

The 2023 Women-Helping-Women: Innovative Social Enterprises (WHWise) National Innovation Challenge - The Search for Innovative Entrepreneurs in the Regions of the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), showcased the exceptional talent and innovation of women-led social enterprises from across the Philippines. The program aimed to recognize and support women entrepreneurs who are driving economic growth and sustainable development in their communities, June 23-27, Bellevue Hotel, Alabang. 

A total of 45 social entrepreneurs presented their stories and entrepreneurial journeys during the pitching sessions on June 23-24. These enterprises were carefully screened and nominated by the DOST Regional Offices from Regions I, Cordillera Administrative Region, National Capital Region, MIMAROPA, VIII, IX, X, XI, and CARAGA. 

During the event, Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, the Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD, emphasized the importance of empowering women for both social justice and economic growth. He stated, "At DOST-PCIEERD, we believe that empowering women is not just an imperative for social justice, but also a driver of economic growth and sustainable development. Through our S&T interventions, including the WHWise Program, we strive to foster wealth creation, protect our natural resources, ensure human well-being, and promote sustainability."

Ms. Russell Pili, Program Manager of the Women-Helping-Women: Innovating Social Enterprises Program of the DOST-PCIEERD, emphasized during the event that the regional search is the effort of the council in widening the reach of the WHWise Program to find women in the countryside worth supporting through the program. She stated that “That the first 15 women entrepreneurs supported by the WHWise was still short of the targets that we envisioned for the program which aims to support at least 10 women-led social enterprises yearly. The Regional Search is our way of expanding our search to more regions in the Philippines to look for women entrepreneurs that really need the help”.

The national innovation challenge resulted in the selection of the top 20 women-led social enterprises that impressed the judges with their innovative ideas and impactful initiatives. These enterprises will be invited to submit proposals for the 2024 call, providing them with an opportunity to receive further support and funding for their ventures.

The list of winners includes:

  • Leah F. Yu of Liana's Food Products Manufacturing from Region IX, focusing on expanding chocolate production and branding in Zamboanga del Sur.
  • Paula Nikole Q. Prado of Iconik Travel Services from MIMAROPA, aiming to showcase the world's best island through visual and culinary experiences.
  • Sharon Q. Abdon of Cnellej Souvenir Shop from MIMAROPA, transforming a native plant into functional products with intricate designs.
  • Teodula Forones of Mother Crucifix Caputo Academy Inc. from Region VIII, specializing in sustainable and responsible food production.
  • Romae Chanice B. Marquez of Hibla Textile Fabrics Wholesaling from the National Capital Region, promoting the cultural heritage of Philippine weaves and fabrics through immersive technology.
  • Vilma E. Solilap of Mavil's House of Mushrooms from Region XI, focusing on waste utilization and mushroom strain stability research.
  • Leah Hiangan of Todoc's Special Native Delicacies from Region VIII, showcasing the diverse culinary heritage and traditions of Abuyog, Leyte.
  • Donna Marie Lecaroz of Island Harvest Agriventures from MIMAROPA, empowering farmer families through an integrated model of agriculture, technology, and tourism.
  • Iloisa R. Diga of Northern Roots Session Groceries Inc. from the Cordillera Administrative Region, providing a platform for farmers to market their produce and ensure a sustainable food supply.
  • Nenita M. Tan of Bestfriend Goodies from Region X, manufacturing Pasalubong Treats, Ready-to-Eat Food Products, and Enhanced Nutrients.
  • Anita Ogrimen of the Basey Association for Native Industry Growth (BANIG) from Region VIII, empowering weavers through training, fair compensation, and market linkages.
  • Angela E. Duldulao-Regis of Dream Wide Awake Company from the National Capital Region, promoting transparency and honor in the beverage industry.
  • Liezel Salera-Manabat of Buoyancies Business Accelerated Inc. from Region XI, supporting the growth and resilience of enterprises.
  • Camille Rose D. Albarracin of Everything Green Trading and Consulting from the National Capital Region, empowering communities through sustainable agri-waste transformation.
  • Gay S. Pia of PHD Spicy Food Corporation from Caraga, producing spicy-healthy food products while supporting local farmers.
  • Marivic B. Aguirre of Aguimangan Agro-Eco Tourism Farm from the Cordillera Administrative Region, promoting Yapayao culture through fabrics and handicrafts.
  • Melda Tumaneng of Vintar Mango Stakeholders Association Inc. from Region I, sustaining mango production and improving the socio-economic well-being of farmers.
  • Anna Paula S. Chiong of Mama Nene's Homemade Delights from Region X, championing Lumad communities through pineapple food products.
  • Jane M. Vitorillo of Kusina University Online Tutorial Services from Region XI, providing food business owners with essential skills and management training.
  • Ana Maria R. Lao of J5 Lao Organic Fertilizer Producer from Region IX, sharing vermicast-making technology with farmer organizations and students.

The success of the 2023 WHWise National Innovation Challenge, in partnership with Villgro Philippines, Bayan Innovation Group, and the Philippine Commission on Women, reflects the immense potential and creativity of women entrepreneurs in the Philippines. The selected winners have not only demonstrated their exceptional capabilities but have also presented innovative solutions that address societal challenges while promoting sustainability. As the top 20 winners move forward in their entrepreneurial journeys, they serve as an inspiration and catalyst for aspiring women entrepreneurs throughout the nation.