DOST bolsters role as provider of S&T-based solutions to save lives and address the nation’s pressing problems

A June 29, 2011 press release by the Department of Science and Technology

The Department of Science and Technology, since the term of President Benigno S. Aquino III, has focused on providing solutions that address the country’s pressing needs. For a country that frequently bouts with disasters, outbreaks, and other events that threaten the people’s safety and the economy, solutions that work assure the people that the government is on top to protect them.

During Typhoon Juan (International Code: Megi), for example, weather forecasters were on a 24-hour shift observing changes in the typhoon’s path, intensity, and other dynamics to issue warnings that were proven helpful in saving lives and properties in Isabela and Cagayan provinces. The DOST’s Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA), with Sec. Mario Montejo himself who cleared every weather update, issued bulletins every hour to give accurate reports to the public.

The DOST’s Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology likewise was on monitor 24/7 for every geological movement that may affect the country. After the Japan earthquake in March, Phivolcs issued alerts to some provinces in the Visayas region that might possibly be affected by an incoming tsunami triggered by the quake. The timely alerts prepared the communities along the affected seashores and mitigated any possible danger.

The DOST’s Philippine Nuclear Research Institute was also on its toes as the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan acted up following an earthquake-triggered tsunami. Nuclear experts and Sec. Montejo were quick to assuage the public  after the reported nuclear trouble, explaining in layman’s terms the effects of the nuclear crisis in Japan. Daily bulletins and press conferences also assured the public that the meltdown had no significant effect to the country, crushing hoax messages that circulated in many parts of the country.

The DOST also addressed the mounting dengue problem with a simple technology solution called the Mosquito Ovicidal Larvicidal Trap, a three-part contraption that attracts female mosquitoes to lay their eggs on its wooden stick, then kills the eggs and larvae in its organic solution. The DOST’s OL Trap, which is just one of its various technologies developed to address dengue, is part of the government’s multi-pronged approach to give solution to dengue. The DOST’s dengue program is now a full-blown research and development initiative that covers early detection diagnostics, the search for affordable anti-dengue medication and dengue outbreak early warning systems.

The agency is also in the forefront of combating red tide and addressing fish kills using locally developed technologies. The DOST’s Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development and Advanced Science and Technology Institute developed the robot equipment and sensors, respectively, that can be used for mitigation and response.

The DOST recommends solutions that went through the rigorous process of research and development, which ensures their effectiveness in responding to problems. Currently, the department is open to working with other government agencies and private organizations to find rapid and effective science-based solutions to society’s problems. Such an approach not only paved the way to practical resource-sharing, but also to the development of a proactive science community determined to help in solving the nation’s problems and save Filipino lives.