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The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) in partnership with the Development Academy of the Philippines has launched the Freedom of Information (FOI) 101 course as part of Smarter Philippines through Data Analytics Research and Development, Training and Adoption or Project SPARTA, an online training program that aims to upskill 30,000 Filipinos to efficiently handle big data for the benefit of the country.

Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit revealed the inclusion in the course as the PCOO and DAP ink a partnership for the course offering.

Paringit said the new FOI course can be accessed by SPARTA scholars as an elective course that tackles freedom of information and good governance.

The course is now available and will teach the learners about the acquisition of government data and information as well as personal and public safety protection. 

 “We hope that the course will give a new dimension in good governance as we equip our data scientists with concepts on transparency and freedom of information,” he said.

PCOO Assistant Secretary Atty. Krisitian Ablan said that he drew inspiration in crafting an FOI course at the start of the pandemic after enrolling in Project SPARTA. 

He said his team then met with DAP and to develop the FOI course development plan, course outline, and learning design blueprint.

“Through the new FOI course, we focused our attention to citizens so that they can become smart citizens and exercise their democratic right to participate in governance,” he said.

DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert Caronan Jr. said that Project SPARTA learners who will pursue the course will not only be equipped with statistical and research concepts and different data analytics tools, but also be provided access to data sets that they can use for crafting research and playing a part in building a data-driven sector to maximize data in policy making, service delivery, organizational management, and foster more innovation.

“This partnership recognizes the importance of data transparency in the commitment of our government to a future-ready nation. In line with this, the growing consensus of the value of publicly available information is evident in the variety of data initiatives across government agencies and non-government organizations,” Caronan said.

Project SPARTA supervising fellow and special assistant to the DAP   on emerging technologies Mr. Allan de Venecia warmly welcomed the addition of the FOI 101 course to the SPARTA library of courses for the relevance it brings to our learners as they embark in their data science and analytics journey.

“We look forward to the expansion of our PCOO partnership to hopefully bring more courses and activities that will enrich the learning experiences of SPARTA scholars,” said De Venecia.

Interested Filipinos may still apply for a Project SPARTA scholarship. Visit https://sparta.dap.edu.ph/ to learn more about it. Project SPARTA was established through a collaboration between DAP, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), and Coursebank.
 
 
 

Game-changing innovations in the industry, energy, and emerging technologies are set to take centerstage as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) feature its latest technologies in the upcoming 5th National Research and Development Conference (NRDC).  

Happening virtually on November 9 to 11 and with the theme “Research and Development: Making Change Happen,” the 5th NRDC will present the latest researches and technologies that the DOST and other government agencies have produced, including those developed in response to COVID-19. Updates on the Harmonized National R&D Agenda will also be highlighted in the event.  

DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit encouraged partners from industry, government, and academe to join the 5th NRDC and know the latest about the innovations happening in the country.  

“May our partners in the industry, government, and academe be inspired on how our local researchers are answering to the challenging times.  We enjoin everyone to be with us in this three-day conference and meet the researchers who generated these technologies,” he said.  

Technologies that will be featured under the industry, energy, and emerging technology sectors are:  

  1. USHER GoClean - the first locally made disinfection booth in the country which can be installed at the entrances of hospitals and buildings to sanitize and disinfect the whole body of a person. Developed by USHER Technologies, Inc., the booth provides sanitation thru misting of electrolyzed saline solution or Anolyte that takes up only to 5 to 10 seconds per person. 
  1. Project RAMDAM or Resource Allocation Management, Distribution, and Monitoring  - a system developed by Geographic Innovations for Development Solutions, Inc. (GrIDS)  to serve as a platform for community citizens and the government to share accurate information regarding relief distribution activities, contents of relief packs, schedule of distribution, and feedback from the recipients.It can be accessed via a mobile app or through a website.
  1. The Tracing for Allocation of Medical Supplies (TrAMS+) project - an online geographic system for tracking information about health facilities’ medical resources. It relies on crowdsourced data to aid in the proper allocation of medical resources needed by healthcare facilities. 
  1. The 3D-printed face shields for frontliners produced by BPSU through the Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory (AMREL).  The AMREL serves as a facility for the BPSU community to do research, share and create their ideas, essentially serving as a playground for generating new products and world-class research projects. 
  1. The MATDEV 3D-printing initiatives which mass produced over 2,000 pcs of 3D printed face shields that were donated to 21 hospitals in Metro Manila and other nearby cities. The team has also produced more than 1,800 pieces of 3D printed ear relief bands to alleviate ear pain caused by prolonged wearing of face mask. 

They have facilitated the 3D-printing of venturi valves (also called the respirator valve) to 4 hospitals. They also produced various 3d printed devices such as prototypes of N95 mask, multiple patient ventilator splitter, modified oxygen concentrator mask, doorknob handle, and mechanic ventilator. 

  1. The Swab Collecting Booths designed by Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise, Inc. (FAME) to mitigate the exposure of frontline health workers to the virus. Using the technology, people with coronavirus symptoms can get tested without being in direct contact with the medical staff. 
  1. The Egg White Powder of Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative’s (BEPCO). This product has a longer shelf-life than raw eggs, making it easier for bulk transport and storage without losing its functional properties and nutritional benefits.  The project is under DOST’s Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) Program. 
  1. The Platform for Assessment and Tracking of Urbanization - Related Opportunities (PATURO) which aims to formulate a smart index that can reliably and accurately capture the city’s “health” such as the diverse interactions between the city’s people, land, transportation system, and various economic activities. It intends to build a data hub allowing real-time and interactive access to data for simulation modeling to support decision making 
  1. The Infrastructure Monitoring Petrography which aims to provide in-depth analysis and assessment of the health of concrete used in constructions, roads, bridges, and buildings. 

Paringit urged the public to join the 5th NRDC and express their support to the Filipino researchers who harnessed their talents and expertise in coming up with these technologies.  

“We look forward to meeting you in the 5th NRDC as we showcase the latest technologies that we have here in the Philippines,” he said.  

For her part, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara stressed the importance of investing in R&D to uplift the country.  

“We at DOST believe that research leads innovation and innovation drives sustainable economic growth, even in the face of a pandemic. Innovation offers avenues to overcome challenges halting normal operations and offers the possibility of new products or business disruptors that will succeed in the new environment.  The 5th NRDC is a platform for our researchers and scientists to tell the world how R&D can make change happen.  It is therefore imperative for us to continue to invest and prioritize R&D for the betterment of our economy, our community, and our country,” she said.  

The NRDC is spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). 

Register now at http://nrdc.dost.gov.ph/ to know more about these government-supported R&D projects and programs that will help us recover and adapt to the new normal.

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.