The former secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) shared that in the last six years, the public awareness on S&T as well as on the programs of the country’s science department have gradually increased and he attributed it not only to the efforts of other government institutions but also the contributions of the private sector and media partners.

In a special virtual presser announcing the upcoming 71st PhilAAST Annual Convention, former DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña pointed out that we should keep in mind that promotions of science, technology, and innovation is not only in the hands of the academe and research and development (R&D) institutions but also part of the responsibility of the business and industry sectors as well as the non-government organizations and media outfits to cultivate a science culture in the country.

He said that with the data that DOST received from the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in recent years, the country’s science department is very thankful to their reliable partners for their significant contributions by providing them the opportunities, networks, platforms, channels, and venues to reach out to the public and target beneficiaries that allowed them to explain how the DOST flagship programs, products, and services could give them a chance to achieve a better life.  

“That is why I would like to give importance this time to the growing role of business and industry sectors in all areas, whether we are talking about agriculture, transportation, energy, health, or emerging technology, as well as our media partners,” said Prof. de la Peña.

And to the reliable partners that he mentioned, PhilAAST or the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology is one of them.

”PhilASST has been doing that (promoting science, technology, and innovation) since it was established up to now and we have actually sponsored and organized the activities that seeks to update our fellow Filipinos on what’s happening in the science and technology arena, not only here, but also internationally,” shared la Peña.

He also said that PhilASST has been focusing on the efforts that would encourage young Filipinos to take Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) related careers and become key contributors to the country’s aspiration for inclusive development.

The former science chief said that even he is no longer in the public sector, he will try his best, together with PhilAAST where he is serving as a board member, to work hand in hand, either in the public or private sector, in promoting the advancement of science, technology, and innovation in the country.

“I am confident that we have bright minds to be able to work on this to achieve in this area and we will set specific targets for this, and PhilAAST, will contribute in terms of its activities. Not only we will continue what we have been doing but probably expand on those areas that really count a lot,” Prof. de la Peña added.

Prof. de la Peña immediately pointed out that PhilAAST is also able to assist the local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises or MSMEs. He cited that it is very crucial to create more local enterprises so that it can provide additional employment opportunities. He sees that through science, a lot of new local enterprises can be established that could provide innovative products, services, and solutions to different areas and sectors in the country.

“PhilAAST through our pool of experts plus other activities, could help in the promotions and assistance to our local entrepreneurs and give them the access to individuals, researches, and facilities that would allow them to enhance their respective products, services, and marketability,” explained Prof. de la Peña.

71st PhilAAST Annual Convention

On September 09, 2022, from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, the PhilAAST will hold its 71st Annual Convention at the Manila Hotel with the theme “Accelerating Transformations for Sustainable Development through Science, Technology, and Innovation.

The highlights of this event will include the awarding ceremonies for the Dr. Gregorio Y. Zara Awards for Basic and Applied Researches, Dr. Paulo C. Campos Award for Health Research, David M. Consunji Award for Engineering Research, LEADS Agri-Award for Agricultural Research, Dr. Ceferino L. Follosco Award for Product and Process Innovation, Dr. Michael R.I Purvis Award for Sustainable Research, and Dr. Lourdes E. Campos Award for Public Health.

A series of presentations related to governance, food security, and entrepreneurship as well as the awarding of best posters will round up the whole-day event.

To drum up the celebration, PhilAAST conducted a series of weekly webinars that started on July 19 to August 25, 2022 where important issues and concerns on five sub-themes that represent some of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development were discussed.

The following were the topics tackled during the webinar series: Climate Resilience and Sustainable Communities held on July 19, Integrated Energy Solutions Addressing Security and Sustainability held on July 26, Health and Wellness on August 09, Sustainable Utilization of Water, Land, and Soil Resources on August 16, and Accelerating Transformations of Sustainable Development through STI in Digital Revolution held last August 25.

“Our ultimate goal here in PhilAAST is to promote and encourage scientific and technological studies, research and other related activities in order to contribute to the development of the country.  We really hope to attract more members to PhilAAST to share our advocacy of bringing science closer to the people, said DOST Assistant Secretary for Administration and Legal Affairs and PhilAAST President Diana L. Ignacio.