By: Juan Carlo M. Manas

The Department of Science and Technology, Region IV-A (DOST-CALABARZON) grabs the title as the top performing DOST regional office for 2014 in the recently concluded mid-year planning and review that was held in Clark, Pampanga.

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo announced on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 the turn-out of the performance evaluation of all offices in the DOST system.

Epitome of Quality

The organization provides highly competent laboratory services. The collection of labs in their arsenal include the Regional Standards Testing Laboratory (RSTL), the Cavite Water and Waste Water Testing Laboratory (CWWTL), the Regional Metrology Laboratory (RML) that gained ISO 17025, the accreditation standard for most laboratories in order to be deemed technically competent and be able to penetrate international market. The RVCL is the country’s first and only volumetric calibration laboratory to receive the international accreditation. Notably, RSTL is the only DOST lab with Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC), providing model and templates for other regions.

Moreover, with persistence, DOST IV-A was also able to maintain its accreditations from DENR-EMB, FDA and DOH. For more than 10 years, DOST IV-A strategized services that provide enough income leading to sustainable operations.

With the support from the organization, the CALABARZON is the first Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council to provide option for redundancy to information dissemination. DOST IV-A launched Project HaNDA (Hazard Notification Dissemination and Awareness) on September 14, 2011 complementing DOST’s Project NOAH (national level) which was launched last July 6, 2012. HaNDA has been continuously gathering and sending Weather Advisories and Severe Weather Bulletins from PAGASA, and Earthquake Bulletins and Taal Volcano Bulletins from PHIVOLCS. The Local Government Unit Information Dissemination System (LGUIDS) is the municipal/city version of HaNDA System but powered with more information dissemination capabilities. LGUIDS is installed and operational in 10 LGUs in CALABARZON, and 1 in Boac, Marinduque. According to LGU-Mulanay, Quezon, the system has made their officials and constituents more alert, prepared and coordinated, particularly, when typhoons are eminent. LGUIDS was presented in the National Convention on Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) on February 4, 2015. LGUIDS implementation and expansion for 6 LGUs is targeted this 2015.

The SENTRY, or the Sensing Environmental parameters using Telemetry, is the most recent addition to the systems that was developed by DOST IV-A, this will lend hand to the 24/7 online monitoring of water quality of the rivers of Taal Lake.

Harbinger of S&T Progress

Very recently, the organization has established an Ideation Design and Development Laboratory, the only government owned facility of its kind in the region that now acts as the “Creative Hub” in facilitating product developments, designing, and prototyping activities. The ideation laboratory provides 3D Printing Services and soon will offer Thermal Validation Services and Flow and Level Calibration Services.

In addition, DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) is now sweeping the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) of CALABARZON far to the brighter side of progress. Since the program was introduced in 2002, a total of 175 cooperating ventures from the food, metals and engineering, agriculture, furniture, and health and pharmaceutical sectors now revel in the advantages of high-impact technical assistance consist of trainings and fora, free consultancy on Manufacturing Productivity Extension (MPEX) program, Food Safety, Energy Audit and Cleaner Production.

Opportunity Provider

DOST IV-A passionately pushed for the conduct of the 1st Makapuno Summit thru Southern Tagalog Consortium for Industry and Energy Research and Development (STCIERD) and in partnership with the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy and Emerging technology Research Development (PCIEERD), Southern Luzon State University, Philippine Coconut Authority, and PhilHybrid. It was attended by 120 participants composed of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, State Universities and Colleges, National Government Agencies and Private sectors nationwide. The objective of the summit was to validate the data collected from various activities of the STCIERD and other government and private companies on Makapuno and identify solutions to arising challenges. The organization used the establishment of commercial Embryo Cultured Makapuno (ECM) laboratories for Embryo Cultured Makapuno capable of the yield from the traditional method with 25% to a range of 80-99% yield Makapuno nut. ECM laboratories were already established in the University of Rizal System and Southern Luzon State University. DOST IV-A also spearheaded the formation of a Makapuno Roadmap in 2012 that gave birth to livelihood opportunities, and has invigorated the Makapuno market. It also addressed R&D gaps and target expansion area to meet industry demands. In 2013, DOST IV-A has conceptualized and concretized the feasibility of making livelihood on fiberglass rescue boat production with standard design approved by MARINA Naval engineers while giving an alternative for a more resilient rescue boat that is sturdy, durable and affordable compared to rubber boats.

Top Producer of S&T Scholars in the Country

DOST IV-A contributed astounding figures to the national passers’ count with a total of 139 students for the Merit Scholarship Program and 665 for the RA 7687 Scholarship Program, an aggregate of 804 sharp-witted youngins who composed 15% of the “passers’ pie.” Region IV-A retains the number 1 spot as the region with the highest head count of qualifiers. In 2014, there are 573 in CALABARZON who made it over NCR’s 456 qualifiers. Consistently, CALABARZON region tight grips to the crown winning over National Capital Region who managed to secure the 2nd spot with 696 passers.

Czar of Green Technology

The organization continuously molds leadership in advocacy and promotion of clean environment through the provision of local Biogas technology to avoid the contamination of rivers and other bodies of water through a unique concept of communal biogas system wherein households are connected and benefitted with alternative source extracted from animal wastes.

An Advocate of Food Safety

DOST IV-A, the innovation leader in the south have spearheaded some of the country’s most notable developments. The organization is the shepherd region to assist the establishment of Food Safety Teams in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Region 1, Region 2, Region 3, Region IV-B and National Capital Region. Provincial Food Safety Teams are also designated in the provinces of CALABARZON. These events acted as the springboard in the formation of the Food Safety Inter- Agency Program (FSIAP) with eleven (11) member agencies including DAP and FDA.

In 2011, the organization started the use of the Webinar system, it is a modern technology that utilizes the internet for the conduct of meetings, fora, seminars, trainings etc. Through the use of webinar, the first and the only existing Webinar for food safety in the Philippines (provided by the government sector), endeavours of Food Safety Teams of every region towards the reduction of food & waterborne illness outbreaks are disseminated via live streaming.

In addition, the organization has offered to help the street food vendors to ensure that their products are safe for consumption. The municipalities of Los Baños, Laguna, Mulanay, Quezon Malvar, Batangas and Silang, Cavite already adopted the food hygiene practice as well as the cities of Calamba, Santa Rosa, Tanauan and Bacoor all with consistent trainings being provided with.

Performing Beyond What’s Mandated

Inspired by unprecedented acts trajected towards the nation’s growth, a plan backed with the strong desire to improve the quality of lives of the less fortunate was concretized. On March 28, 2015, DOST CALABARZON extends its willing arms and takes a step further in empowering the quality of living in the infirmed Purok Siete (Purok 7) of Barangay Timugan, Los Baños, Laguna. The organization offered the Purok a shot at progress by providing smarter solutions wherein the children of the community will be sent to daycare school.

Purok Siete belongs to the countless barangays in the country that suffer from the stings of poverty. DOST IV-A felt the strong need of the Purok since it is situated just a few distance away from where the DOST’s office is located.

To date, DOST IV-A stands firm as it prepares to hurdle modern-day challenges through adopting an excellence-focused quality management system that is expected to carry- out the best and the most delightful quality of service to its customers and “Boss”, the Filipino people.