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The Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT) during a test run in Metro Manila

With Metro Manila ranking 49th out 50 Asia-Pacific cities in the Urban Mobility Readiness Index conducted by the Oliver Wyman Forum and University of California, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) calls on government agencies to hasten the adoption of available mass transportation technologies.

DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST PCIEERD) Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit pointed out that Filipino researchers have come up with viable and locally-developed mass transport technologies that can ease the burden of commuting for residents in Metro Manila.

“We hope that these technologies be fully utilized by the riding public to ease their commute especially in the new normal.  We hope adoption of these technologies gather speed and accelerate to provide more options for commuters who traverse Metro Manila,” he said.

Hybrid Electric Train in Philipine National Railway (PNR) tracks

DOST has supported the development of vehicles made from locally available materials and were designed and fabricated by Filipino engineers. These are the Hybrid Electric Train (HET) and Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT).

With lower production cost than its imported counterparts such as the LRT and the MRT, the AGT also has slimmer dimensions and can be built along narrow streets. It is also electricity-powered and has zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Implemented with the goal of augmenting the number of trainsets currently being used by the Philippine National Railways (PNR), the HET is envisioned to be a long-term solution to heavy traffic congestions in many parts of the country, particularly in Luzon. The HET has already passed PNR’s testing and calibration. The HET is presently conducting free rides for testing passenger experience.

Meanwhile, HERT is a 40-meter long train-like bus that can be an alternative means of transportation in the country. It is now being used in Cauayan City, Isabela and General Santos City, South Cotabato.

Screenshot of Local Traffic Simulator software

DOST has also supported technologies on intelligent transport systems that can help increase urban mobility. One of these is the Local Traffic Simulator (LOCALSIM), a microscopic traffic simulation software, designed to be used by road and traffic engineers as a decision support system for traffic management.

LOCALSIM can be used for defining out transportation routes, traffic rules and ordinances, road improvements, and other transportation solutions deemed appropriate. It enables traffic managers to have evidence-based traffic analysis and evaluation of alternative schemes and minimizes the trial-and-error implementation of traffic schemes.

The Detection and Identification of Legitimate Public Utility Vehicles (DILAW) is a system that works by deploying handheld devices called ‘motes’ on the dashboard of PUVs. These devices then communicate through radio with the ‘base stations’ that are with traffic enforcers to allow them to detect if a passing PUV is colorum or not.

 

Screenshot of CATCH ALL: Contactless Traffic Apprehension software

The Contactless Apprehension of Traffic Violators on 24-hours Basis, All Vehicle Detection System CATCH-ALL is a camera-based traffic management system for traffic violations detection. The system uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) in analyzing CCTV videos in traffic management agencies.

Paringit said DOST PCIEERD will continue to find solutions to urban mobility in the Philippines through research and development and help ease the commuting experience in the country.

“As leader and partner in the development of innovations for the benefit of Filipinos, we at DOST-PCIEERD will be relentless in our pursuit of making innovations work for the people in these challenging times. We will continue to look for ways to make public transportation efficient, inexpensive, and easily accessible,” he said.

 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Monday, October 12, showcased innovations and tech solutions that can aid for seamless distance learning for Filipino students in the new normal.

In the webinar, DOST highlighted the use of television frequencies, digital television, and other cutting-edge technologies as the best solutions to the new education scheme that will be implemented in the country.

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit said that as leader and partner in innovation, the Council takes the lead in providing solutions and opportunities to address gaps in making distance learning in the new normal a success.

“DOST-PCIEERD is one with the education sector in contributing to the development of innovations for a more efficient distance learning experience for our dear students. I hope that the technologies, initiatives, and programs that are underscored in this webinar will be enough to inspire you to envision a brighter, more technologically advanced education system for all,” he said.

The initiative is done in response to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte during his State of the Nation Address "to come up with an integrated program and implementation mechanism to ensure that these TV frequencies are fully utilized by government through the facilities of PTV4 for the utmost benefit of the Filipino people.”

DOST- PCIEERD intends to develop a program that demonstrates and executes a community LTE network and digital TV for distance learning in remote regions with poor internet connectivity. Through the Science and Technology for a Resilient Community against the Pandemic or STRAP Block Grant, the Council will allot up to PHP 60 million to support research initiatives that is aimed at helping Filipinos to cope and manage to the new normal.

Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Director General Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. discussed the development and proliferation of digital datacasting through terrestrial and space segments.

DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute Senior Researcher Officer in Charge Engr. Calvin Hilario discussed the development and deployment of community LTE network in the Philippines.

On the other hand, DOST - Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) Science and Technology Manpower Education, Research, and Promotions Division Chief Dr. Ruby Cristobal spoke about the DOST-SEI Teaching and Learning Materials for Distance Learning while DOST Science and Technology Information Institute Director Richard Burgos bared the agency’s educational interventions like the Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated KioskS (STARBOOKS) and DOSTv.

Paringit said that DOST PCIEERD will constantly find innovative and practical solutions to close the gap between the learner and their educational goals.

“As leader and preferred partner in enabling innovation, DOST-PCIEERD will remain committed to elevate the lives of many Filipinos and recover from this crisis using various S&T interventions and solutions,” he said.

Moving from classroom interaction to distance education is a challenge among teachers, students, and parents because of poor internet connection, no electricity or power interruption, and gadgets are only for more privileged households.

This digital divide was evident in the National ICT Household Survey 2019 conducted by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), in partnership with the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute (PSRTI) participated by 43,000 household nationwide.

The study highlighted that 5% households do not have electricity in their homes, less than half of the households have communal radios, around 82.7% of the households have television at home, only 8.2% have their own fixed telephone line, 24.0% have communal cellphones but only two out of ten have communal computers; and only 17.7% of households have their own internet access at home, majority of which use the internet for social media and communication.

Another challenge that the Philippines face is that 87%, 48%, and 16% of public elementary schools, public high schools, and public health centers, respectively, and most of the government agencies and units do not have broadband or internet connection based on data from the National Telecommunications Commission. (NTC).
 

In celebration of the World Space Week, the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) and the Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) Program showcased on Thursday various opportunities for startups and industries delving in the field of space technology and development.

Dubbed “Start Up in Space: Opportunities for R&D and Commercialization in the Field of Space S&T Applications,” this webinar seeks to create awareness of space, enable startups, and to orient and guide individuals in preparing and submitting proposals on R&D and technology transfer through available funding mechanisms of DOST and PhilSA.

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit said space technology is the new frontier that Filipino startups and industry players can conquer.

“With the growing demand of space technology but only few key players in the industry, there is a need to strengthen the country's space capability and build more local and international partnerships. This is how startups and industry players come into play as they contribute to economic prosperity by creating jobs, spurring innovation, and generating competition,” he said.

PhilSA Director General Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano Jr. also emphasized the importance of value creation in the Philippines’ space sector, not just in data utilization or the downstream segment, but also in the upstream segment, such as the design, manufacture and testing of satellite subsystems or components.

“Obtaining knowhow in upstream space technologies and cascading them to local design and manufacturing services will help put us on a path of building stronger industries in aerospace, semiconductor, electronics, mechanical and materials, among others, that enhance our country’s global market position and competitiveness. We want to help create more high value jobs.”

Among the opportunities that were presented in the webinar are the DOST Grants in Aid (DOST-GIA) Program and the Startup Grants Program.

The DOST-GIA Program provides financial grants to higher education institutes and research and development institutes to conduct programs and projects attuned to the Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA).

The Startup Grants Program is a partnership program with startups that need financial support for product research and development and market validation studies. The grant covers the strengthening of the startup’s knowledge of Intellectual Property (IP), overcoming research and development (R&D) roadblocks, establishing initial market traction, and refining the startup’s business model.

Through this grant, startups have access to funds for the growth of their business, access to science and technology networks like testing and R&D centers, and access to the services and facilities in DOST-assisted Technology Business Incubators (TBIs).

Paringit urged the participants to take part in the opportunities presented and be a game-changer in the Philippines in the space industry.

“As leader and partner in innovations in the country, we hope our startups and industry players engage us in making innovation work for the people,” he added.
 

UPLB's HormoGroeTM

Good news for Filipino farmers and plant lovers - a new, chemical-free plant product that stimulates root growth will soon be available in the market!

Scientifically proven and tested, HormoGroeTM, an innovative root growth enhancer, can speed up seed germination, induce rooting, enhance shoot growth and flowering in plantation crops, high value ornamentals, fruit trees and vegetables.

Researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) established MakilingTek, a spin-off company that caters to the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of HormoGroeTM, through the Funding Assistance for Spin-Off and Translation of Research for Advancing Commercialization (FASTRAC) Program of the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

HormoGroeTM is made up of naturally occurring microorganisms that are nano-encapsulated to increase its utilization rate and reduce impact of environmental risks.

Project leader Dr. Lilia M. Fernando stressed that this nano-formulated plant growth regulator is cost-effective and environment-friendly.

“Unlike other products available in the market, HormoGroeTM is not synthetic. It is naturally produced by bacteria and is nano-formulated,” she said.

Meanwhile, PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit expressed optimism that HormoGroeTM can increase production of good quality crops.

“As leader and partner of innovation, DOST-PCIEERD remains committed in delivering excellence to Filipino people through technologies that  foster vibrant production, food safety while ensuring care for the environment.Making HormoGroeTM available and accessible to Filipino growers will enable them to contribute to food production in a sustainable manner.,” he noted.

This plant stimulant yielded a positive result after being tested in coffee, cassava, banana, vegetables and some ornamental plants such as gumamela and bougainvillea. The team revealed that HormoGroeTM will become commercially available by 2021 and it will be initially introduced and sold to farmer cooperatives and plantations as well as to retail stores through distribution channels.

The project team currently needs potential investors and partners for product distribution and testing to other crops. For inquiries, please contact project leader Dr. Lilia M. Fernando at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +6349.536.1620.

 

The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) on Friday launched web and mobile mathematics apps to aid Filipino students better adapt to online and blended education in the new normal.

The Mathplus apps, introduced during ADMU-School of Science and Engineering’s webinar series titled “Senso Eskwela Pilipinas at Iba pa,” are free, run on moderate system requirements in laptops, tablets or cellphones, and are now readily available for teachers and students.

These apps are research-based, aligned with the Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs) of the official Grade 1-11 Mathematics Curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd) and are designed to promote mathematical reasoning and visual thinking so that Filipino children can learn to think by and for themselves.

The Mathplus Resources team consisting of ADMU mathematicians, mathematics educators, and software developers headed by Dr. Ma. Louise Antonette N. De Las Peñas, a Professor at the Department of Mathematics and the associate dean for Research and Creative Work of Loyola Schools initially developed these apps to create a digital mathematics learning environment where Filipino students can learn mathematics, and think by and for themselves in solving mathematical problems which evidently became an essential aid to learning in response to the unprecedented urgent need for educational adaptations in the Philippines driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

De Las Peñas’ team accomplished this through the project “Technology Innovations for Mathematical Reasoning, Statistical Thinking and Assessment" funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

“We are confident that this project can help students to manage their own learning, monitor their progress, think creatively and critically, and solve real-life problems. With that, no one will be left behind as students from isolated community will also have access to these learning resources,” said DOST-PCIEERD executive director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit.

During the webinar, ADMU officially sealed their collaboration with DepEd schools' divisions in Mandaluyong and Marikina through a memorandum of understanding (MOU). 

For any concerns/inquiries, you may reach Raissa Ancheta at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0915-3044422.