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In 2017, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) opened a funding opportunity for startups to translate their early stage technologies into market ready products through research and development (R&D) activities. The Startup Research Grant Program was established to help startups overcome R&D roadblocks, strengthen intellectual property, establish initial market traction and refine their business model.

During its first call for applications, the PCIEERD received a total of sixty-five (65) startup applicants from various disciplines/sectors but only fifteen (15) out of the 65 applicants qualified and received the funding after a series of evaluation and assessment. The first batch of DOST Startup grantees are:

  • MachiBox: Developed an easy-build, easy-to-program and cost effective robotics kits called MachiBot which aims to increase interest in programming and robotics among students/beginners
  • Rurok Industries: A team of diverse individuals united by a common passion of riding bikes and the dream to do it by themselves. The team developed a performance bikes suspension technology that has the features of “antisquat” and “antirise”.
  • Easybus PH: A startup company that provides a total digital booking platform (single, centralized and synchronized system application) adaptable for all types of buses to address the inefficiencies brought about by the manual system of booking.
  • Retailgate: An AI Technology-based Retail Analytics and Market Research firm that provides tech-based consumer behavior tracking services.
  • Grayscale: Developed the Smart VISION system which is an artificial intelligence-guided system for the blind that provides information on physical objects around at any distance, allowing the user to perform things that most people do (texting, email, etc.).
  • Tactiles: A team of Filipino engineers and designers who developed the IQUBE, an app-powered educational toy that teaches kids about electricity. The IQUBE has been sold to thirty (30) different countries around the world.
  • EduSuite: Created a next generation campus management system that saves time and prevents costly mistakes by using Artificial Intelligence to co manage the campus.
  • Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise, Inc. (FAME): Has developed small-scale vessel trackers and monitors that also serve as communication devices, enabling small-scale fishers to participate in electronic Catch Documentation Traceability (eCDT) and establishing increased communication and safety at-sea.
  • Wela School Systems: Provides a cloud based grading platform for students, which includes a mobile application for parents and can also inform parents of the student's attendance and other school updates.
  • Kinovett Scientific Solutions: Developed biotechnology kits that teaches students basic scientific principles and at the same time provides the students the opportunity to learn through hands on activities. It also aims to build the capacity of STEM educators in the country and enhance scientific literacy of students in biotechnology through inquiry-based STEM kits.
  • Senti Techlabs: Provide social media monitoring services that is focused on understanding Filipino. To process social media posts better, they have developed a machine learning -based language classifier that automatically detect the language of any document. The product will allow the clients to view the market behavior on social media as well as the real time conversations about their brands.
  • Farmwatch Solutions Inc.: Offers a suite of remote monitoring system that connects farms to farmers and help them by providing information necessary to make informed decisions. Their goal is to uplift the level of agriculture technology by developing products that assists farmers by making farm work and management lighter.
  • Nanotronics Inc: Pioneered the production of cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) derived from indigenous crop for use in different industries in the Philippines. Their main product is Emtex and Emtex TP which are bio-based nanotechnology polymers that enhance the material properties of polymer matrices to which they are blended into.
  • Restograph: Developed a restaurant management software that connects directly with POS systems to provide real time sales analytics and granular views of daily operations, with elements descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive data analytics.
  • Smartfox Data Solutions Inc. A silicon IP and design services provider founded by experienced IC and embedded systems design engineers. They offer digital IC design services from RTL design and logic synthesis to physical implementation and specializes in hardware design.

Aside from the research grant, these startups also received support and assistance from the DOST-funded Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) through their services and programs.

We are happy with the milestones of the first batch of startup grantees and with the passing of the Innovative Startup Act, we see more Filipino startups getting government support” said Russell Pili, the Chief of the Technology Transfer Division of PCIEERD.

At the upcoming Philippine Startup Week 2019, all the fifteen startups will share their startup journey at the event organized by the DOST on November 20, 2019 called “ALL SET: The DOST Startups’ Journey”. The event will also feature a chosen partner or client of each startup who will give testimony about how their product/service of benefitted them.

Violence against women (VAW) and girls is not just a major public health problem but also a grave violation of human rights. It extremely manifests gender inequity, targeting women and girls because of their subordinate status in the society. The United Nations define VAW as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” Violence and the threats of violence can be experienced by every woman of any age, skin color, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, disabilities, economic, and social status.

Global estimates by the World Health Organization indicate that about 1 in 3 women (35%) worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence from intimate partner or non-partner in their lifetime. In the Philippines, the National Demographic Health Survey 2017 released by the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed that 1 in 4 Filipino women, aged 15-49, has experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence from their husband or partner.

Because VAW appears as one of the country’s pervasive social problems, various measures and mechanisms have been employed and implemented to address it. One of which is the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW, an advocacy campaign that is observed annually from November 25 to December 12 as mandated by Proclamation 1172 s. 2006.

 

The Campaign

The 18-Day Campaign to End VAW supports the Philippine government’s goal of protecting the human rights of women and girls by upholding its commitment to address all forms of gender-based violence as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. By virtue of Republic Act 10398 or the Act declaring November 25 of every year as the National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of VAWC, government agencies are mandated to raise awareness on the problem of violence and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Globally, the 16-day action against gender-based violence has been acknowledged to support the international campaign that originated from the first Women Leadership Institute at Reuters University, New Jersey, USA in 1991. The observance of this campaign started in November 25, which is the International Day to Eliminate VAW up to December 10, which is the International Human Rights Day, to emphasize that VAW is a human rights violation and to ensure better protection for survivors and victims of violence. In 2002, the Philippine Government, through the Philippine Commission on Women and key stakeholders joined the global campaign, initially to push for laws and the establishment of institutional mechanisms to address VAW. 

In 2006, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation 1172, extending the national campaign to 18 days, thereby including December 12, a historic date that marked the signing in the year 2000 of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, to supplement the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crimes.

The campaign was further strengthened in 2008 when the United Nations Secretary General launched the UNiTE to End VAW Campaign, which envisions a world free from all forms of violence against women and girls. For the UN, this vision can only be realized through meaningful actions and ongoing political commitments of national governments, supported by adequate resources.

 

2019 Campaign Theme and Objectives

The Philippine Commission on Women, in coordination with Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and Children (IACVAWC), is tasked to lead, monitor, and evaluate the annual nationwide observance of the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW. Adopting the theme “VAW-free community starts with Me” for year 2016 to 2021, the campaign emphasizes everyone’s commitment and contributions on ending VAW, and presents an ideal picture of a VAW-free community, thus inspiring the general public to make a personal commitment to end violence against women and children.

This year’s campaign continues to underscore the significant role of individuals, especially the youth, in fighting violence against women and girls within various institutions. It focuses on Primary Prevention to reduce incidents of VAW across the country, which can be achieved by empowering individuals to know and claim their rights, and to educate them where to seek help in cases of violence.

This campaign aims to:

  • Promote awareness on the forms of violence women and girls experience;
  • Provide information on laws protecting women and girls;
  • Feature VAW-related services that people can access and avail; and
  • Gather public support for the campaign

 

Starts with Me

 

18 Things that We Can Do to Help End VAW

Woman/Girl

1. Empower yourself. Know your rights and available courses of actions in case these rights are violated.

2. Speak out and report to the authorities in case your rights are violated.

3. Encourage others to fight for their rights.

 Man/Boy 

4. Respect women and girls in your home, workplace, and community.

5. Join male groups promoting Anti-VAW efforts and participate in discussions to broaden your awareness on the advocacy.

6. Enlighten/advise perpetrators to seek help and join the male Anti-VAW supporters.

 Government Agencies

7. Equip yourselves with apt trainings and capacity development sessions to improve service delivery for your clients.

8. Develop monitoring and evaluation strategy to assess the service to  your clients supporters.

9. Let people know that you provide the services! We need to inform the public that there are government offices that they can turn to and trust to assist them towards healing and seeking justice.

 Barangay

10. Ensure that your Barangay VAW Desk is functional. You can use the Barangay VAW Desk Handbook developed by PCW and DILG with partner agencies to guide you on what to do.

11.Establish linkages with local and national government agencies, as well as other organizations near your barangay where you can refer victim-survivors of VAW for needed assistance which the barangay is not able to provide.

12. Promote harmonious family and community relationships in your barangay which is grounded on mutual respect for human rights, and take proactive steps to attain a VAW-free community.

 Private Sector

13. Support the Anti-VAW efforts of the government and your immediate community.

14. Establish your own Action Desks where employees and clients can go to in case VAW happens.

15. Develop internal rules to proactively ensure that your workplace is VAW-free.

 Academe/Training Institutions

16. Include concepts of VAW and women’s human rights in lesson plans/lesson guides of your teaching staff

17. Continually conduct/spearhead anti-VAW advocacies in your campus, and if possible, to your immediate community through extension programs.

18. Setup a Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) where students and employees can seek help

 

2019 Campaign Activities

The following activities are spearheaded by the PCW in partnership with key partner institutions:

  • Cine Juana Digital Shorts Competition (Deadline of submission of entries: November 4, 2019, 5:00 PM PST; Awarding Ceremony: November 25, 2019).
    This competition recognizes film as a powerful tool in raising awareness on violence and inspiring action to prevent it. Open to Senior High School and College students in the Philippines, the competition has the following categories: #JuanParaKayJuana (Male Point-of-View), #LabanJuana (Female Point-of-View), and #LigtasJuana (Promoting Safe Spaces).
  • 2019 Youth Forum on VAW (November 25, 2019 l 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM l PICC, Pasay City)
    The PCW, in collaboration with the IACVAWC members and other partners, shall hold a forum involving youth participants. The forum shall serve as a venue to promote the concept on non-violence and positive masculinities, and to raise awareness on VAW and other laws protecting women and girls through age-appropriate core messages.
  • 18-Day Campaign Online Advocacy
    Everyone is encouraged to share their advocacy activities online through the following:
    • Use of official hashtag: #VAWFreePH and making their posts public to generate traction online
    • Use of 18-Day Campaign to End VAW Facebook Profile Frame available through the PCW FB page
    • Feature the 18-Day Campaign to End VAW in agency websites and social media accounts
    • Sharing the social media cards that PCW will release through its official Facebook and Twitter accounts

A portable interactive screen developed by researchers from the University of the Philippines Diliman will soon hit the Philippine market as a spinoff company enters its final phase for technological commercialization.  Dubbed Smart Surface Technology and developed by Dr. Nestor Tiglao and his team from the University of the Philippines Diliman Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (UP-EEEI) has created a spinoff company named Adapsense Inc. which will now take on the commercialization of the technology.  This is a locally-made system converts virtually any flat surface into an interactive interface, for applications in education, food service, advertising, and consumer electronics. Smart Surface offers unique features such as multi touch and wireless connectivity that can compete with the already existing products in the market. The system is portable, easy to install, and affordable, with speedy after-sales support in cases of replacement, repair services, or technical help. Its content can be customized according to the client’s preference.

Through the FASTRAC program or Funding Assistance for Spin-Off and Translation of Research for Advancing Commercialization Program of the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), the team is establishing a spin-off company to improve their system and offer an end-to-end solution to clients. The funding covers the improvement of the prototype, tests the prototype, secure product certification, and market the technology to potential clients. The output includes a technology licensing agreement and SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) registration for the spinoff company. Prior to the FASTRAC funding, the technology was funded by the Technology Innovation for Commercialization (TECHNICOM) Program of DOST which covered the development of an industrial grade prototype, conduct of the pilot testing and market validation of the technology.

With the increase in the number of events and marketing activities in the country like trade shows, bridal fairs, baby fairs, book fairs, car shows and other types of expositions, the Smart Surface technology of Adapsense Inc., will address the challenges in providing meaningful data to those activities/events. Currently, event organizers find it difficult and costly to bring different kinds of exhibit materials like tarpaulins, posters, television, LCD screens in the venue. Data gathering and analytics on exposition effectiveness and results which can be useful to evaluate consumer and market impact are also not available. The features of the Smart Surface technology, such as portability, data analytics, robust and customizable content, are designed to bridge those gaps.

Currently, the team is already processing the requirements for the SEC registration for Adapsense Inc. and has completed the design of the Smart Surface V2. A software application is in the works which can be partnered with the Smart Surface system, enabling users to design interactive content such as quizzes and customer survey. They have also met with and demonstrated the technology to potential clients. The team also won a gold medal award with jury distinction during the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva (Geneva Inventions) on April 11-15, 2018.

 

(Top) CharM EV Chargers; (bottom) CharM charging station in Cauayan City, Isabela

With the increasing number of e-vehicles used as both private and public transportation, the researchers from Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP EEEI) headed by Dr. Lew Andrew Tria,Engr. Leo Allen Tayo, and Engr. Rovinna Janel Cruzate have developed “CharM”, a fast charging system for electric vehicles. The technology provides an alternative solution for conventional charging that takes up to 4-6 hours to get a battery fully charged.  With CharM, fully charging an e-vehicle battery can be done in 30 minutes. CharM comes with an in-vehicle electronic management unit that performs battery protection, monitoring, and vehicle-charger communications.

Through the Funding Assistance for Spinoff 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), the project team was able to conduct validation for e-vehicle charging system and set-up a CharM charging station in Cauayan, Isabela. More clients were obtained by direct communications with e-vehicle manufacturers and operators.

Travelling long distances using e-vehicle requires charging stations that are placed on strategic locations. Thus far, there are only a few number of electric charging stations. The fear of being stuck if an e-vehicle ran out of battery has been a concern of every e-vehicle user. Also, the tedious process of charging an e-vehicle is a major problem especially for those who use it as public transportation. With CharM, e-vehicle drivers can maximize the usage of their e-vehicles as the technology will significantly lessen the charging time especially those operating as public mass transport vehicles. With the adoption of CharM by private firms, numerous e-vehicle charging stations can be established. CharM will help develop public acceptance of e-vehicles as it addresses the concerns that inhibit the growth of e-vehicles.  

CharM has already manufactured two types of chargers which are the Basic fast charger and Coin-operated AC Charger. The technology was also showcased during the Electric Vehicle Summit and National Science and Technology Week. CharM already applied for a license for Utility Model and Industrial Design. Apart from that, they have also applied for SEC registration under the name of CHRG EV Technologies Inc.

 

The FISH-I Technology, developed by Dr. Prospero C. Naval Jr. of UP Diliman’s Department of Computer Science and Dr. Laura T. David of UP Diliman’s Marine Science Institute, is a cost-effective and efficient method of performing fish census using a camera and fish video software. Similar to a fish census, it generates data on fish count, biomass, fish size, and population. Using a hardware-software tandem, it semi-automates the process, allowing for rapid reef fish assessment, saving on time and resources.

Through the Funding Assistance for Spin-Off and Translation of Research for Advancing Commercialization Program (FASTRAC Program) of the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), the team has improved their technology into a market ready product and has established their own spin-off company under the company name “Fish i, Inc.” The funding from the program covered the improvement of their prototype, testing of their prototype in the intended environment, data collection and market validation to potential clients. Included as the output of the project is a Technology Licensing Agreement and SEC (Security and Exchange Commission) registration for their spinoff company. The FISH-I Technology was also previously funded by DOST TAPI (Technology Application and Promotion Institute) under the TECHNICOM Program (Technology Innovation for Commercialization Program).

With over 1,600 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and a few fish experts in the country to conduct the fish census, the FISH-I Technology can allow Local Government Units (LGUs) to obtain fish diversity and population faster and easier. This will help empower local coastal communities to conduct the reef assessment themselves, making them more conscious of their marine resources. In addition, the data collected will provide guidance on the best time to fish and declare open and close season for reef fisheries.

Currently, the team has completed its SEC registration under the company name Fish i Inc. The team has also serviced more than 16 LGUs with their technology and are currently working on other clients who wish to avail of their services. The FISH-I Technology also won the National Grand Prize of the 2017 Alfredo M. Yao (AMY) Intellectual Property (IP) Awards – Professional Level, at the 43rd Philippines Business Expo last October 18, 2017 at the Manila Hotel.