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By: Sarah Hazel d.R. Maranan

The Department of Science and Technology Region IV-A (DOST IV-A) in its strong commitment to contribute to countryside development and poverty alleviation launched its 4th “Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology” (CEST) Program on March 26, 2015 at the Municipal Hall of Magdalena, Laguna.

DOST CEST Program is designed to empower the marginalized sector and to improve the quality of living thru science and technology. Packaged S&T interventions are focused to five (5) entry points: Health and Nutrition, Water and Sanitation, Basic Education and Literacy, Economic Enterprise and Development and Disaster Risk Reduction / Climate Change Mitigation.


Dr. Alexander R. Madrigal, DOST IV-A Regional Director, Hon. David O. Aventurado, Jr., Magdalena Municipal Mayor, and Engr. Samuel L. Caperiña, DOST Laguna Provincial Director signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the CEST project. Both parties (DOST IV-A and LGU Magdalena) agreed that DOST IV-A through PSTC Laguna shall provide technical and financial assistance, monitor the project implementation, document milestones, and identify other S&T gaps and areas of development for further assistance. On the other hand, LGU Magdalena shall implement the project in accordance with the approved plan and submit status reports quarterly, among others.

An earlier consultation meeting was held on March 12, 2015 attended by Director Madrigal, Mayor Aventurado, and key staff of DOST IV-A and LGU Magdalena. They have discussed matters and relevant plans for the successful implementation of the CEST Program focusing on the following entry points:

Health and Nutrition
The aim is to eradicate the prevalence of underweight among children 6 - 35 months old through the introduction of nutritious complementary food products developed by DOST Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI). A feeding program will be conducted as well as the conduct of nutrition education for parents and Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS).

Livelihood / Economic Enterprise Development
DOST IV-A will conduct technology fora to the municipality in order to identify the type of technical consultancies and technology trainings needed for livelihood opportunities.

According to Mayor Aventurado, LGU Magdalena’s promising industry is more on dairy products production (carabao’s milk, yoghurt and cheese). Dr. Madrigal believes that this commodity has a potential to generate high economic impact to the municipality.

The group visited LGU Magdalena’s current dairy processing area and Pasalubong Center. Through this, Dr. Madrigal identified the technology interventions needed to boost the production efficiency of their existing enterprise.

Dr. Madrigal also saw the potential of LGU Magdalena in rice farming, this is why he committed to give red and black rice seeds to the municipality for propagation, as well as a milling machine for processing.

Water and Sanitation
The DOST IV-A Regional Standards and Testing Laboratory (DOST IV-A RSTL) will conduct water sampling and testing in major water sources of the municipality to initially assess the quality of drinking water in the area. Tests will include microbial and physico-chemical analysis. The results of which will dictate the possible S&T intervention to improve water quality.

For sanitation, Dr. Madrigal proposed waste management techniques such as waste segregation and composting, wherein non-biodegradable wastes will be sold in junkshops which will generate savings and income. On the other hand, biodegradable wastes will be turned into compost / fertilizer. Dr. Madrigal said that DOST IV-A will teach the municipality how to do composting.

For basic education and literacy, a series of review classes for students who will take the DOST Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI)’s scholarship examination will be conducted. In addition, the DOST Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII)’s STARBOOKS (or the Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Stations) will be deployed to their current municipal library for the students and the general public’s easy access. STARBOOKS is a one-stop e-library for S&T and livelihood information.

Disaster Risk Reduction Management / Climate Change Mitigation
LGU Magdalena’s Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) capacities will be enhanced through the different technologies that will be provided by DOST IV-A. Real-time measurement of the amount of rainfall will be possible through the installation of Automated Rain Gauges (ARGs). DOST IV-A will identify strategic locations and will set up Early Warning Devices (EWDs) suitable to the needs of the communities in Magdalena which are frequently and directly affected by natural calamities.

Another S&T intervention to be provided is the deployment of the DOST IV-A-developed LGU Information Dissemination System (also known as LGUIDS). LGUIDS is an ICT-enabled system that enhances information dissemination and data collection of disaster-related bulletins from PAGASA, PHVOLCS, RDRRMC, MGB and other disaster/emergency advisory agencies. It also generates a visual representation of near real-time weather parameters from DOST hydrometeorological stations.

“Basta may S&T intervention, posible ang lahat para sa ika-uunlad ng bayan ng Magdalena,” Director Madrigal said.