PNoy to pitch for sci-tech at Expo Science 2011

by Caroline J. Howard, ANC

Posted at Jul 22 2011 02:29 PM | Updated as of Jul 22 2011 10:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III is expected to make a pitch for the country's scientific community 2 days after his State of the Nation Address.

On July 27, the President will deliver the keynote message at the Expo Science 2011 and the SMX Convention Center at the SM Mall of Asia Complex in Manila.

The event, hosted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in celebration of National Science and Technology Week, carries the theme "Nasa Siyensya ang Pag-asa" (Science is the Hope).

The Science Expo 2011, set from July 27 to 30, will feature the latest initiatives in the science and technology industry: researches, technologies, and services in the areas of food, agri-/aqua-culture, health and pharmaceuticals, disaster management and mitigation, information/communication technologies, bio/nano-technology, manufacturing and engineering, electronics and alternative energy.

Some 80 exhibitors have committed to take part in the event.

On July 28, different schools will take part in a robotics competition and a science quiz show.

"The solutions to many of our problems in the country could be addressed by proper application of science and technology," said Raymund Liboro, Director of the Science and Technology Information Institute.

Notable successes

Liboro said there have been notable successes in the young field of genomics--what he calls 20th century biology for national development.

"In material science, 'nano' is breaking down the form of a specific material and improving on it to become a better product, and these are evolving technologies. We can compete against our neighbors. Hindi pa sila masyadong malayo dito. Puwede tayong makisabay o makihalo," Liboro said on "Dateline Philippines" on ANC recently.

He added the Philippines has made advancements in fighting dengue and malnutrition, and improving access to potable water.

Scientists, he noted, have rolled out an ingenious ovicidal-larvicidal attractant which also acts as a larvicidal, and developed baby food formula that helps address malnutrition in the countryside.

Soon, he said, potable filters using nanotech will also be rolled out on a large scale in areas lacking in water, at the cost of a mere P300 each.

"This year, we're going to concentrate on our agricultural sector. We're looking into technologies that can increase farm yield and give food security to our country," he said.

Research is also ongoing to help solve the fishkill and red tide phenomena.

Government support

Liboro said the Aquino administration is giving much-needed support and attention to the field of science and technology and its potential impact on the country's growth.

"We have a President looking at engineering as a platform, a vehicle to push this country forward," Liboro said, adding the government is also looking at tapping the potentials of information technology for national development.

This week, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the University of the Philippines for a prototype of a Filipino-made monorail [].

"For the very first time the DOST has been included by President Aquino in the economic team. That just shows how he looks at the DOST as a direct contributor to our economic development through technology validation, or helping set the roadmap through economic development through science and technology," said Liboro.

Adopting a sci-tech paradigm

Filipinos are known to have a penchant for gadgets. But while high on the techie scale, Filipinos, said Liboro, still need to adopt the science and technology paradigm.

He noted, there is a need for Filipinos to educate themselves on patents and other tools, as well as to taking up science and technology courses.

"The President wants continued education and science and technology to be the bedrock in the country," he said.

Liboro added that while the DOST has 12,000 science scholars under any given time, the agency is looking to expanding its scholarships in the coming years, with 500 new entrants.

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo is looking at improving infrastructure for the Philippine Science High School to encourage scholars to take up further studies to help sustain the field.

The Philippines has overtaken India as a leader in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

Liboro said, by harmonizing all efforts on ICT, the government may yet become more transparent.

"Even a 24/7 government is not far-fetched," he said.