In the celebration of the International Women’s Month, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) gave the spotlight to eight Filipina scientists who made significant impact in improving the products and services of different sectors in the country.

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During the department’s celebration of Women’s Month held on 19 March 2019 at the Hotel Jen in Pasay City, DOST recognized the efforts and contributions of Dr. Lucille V. Abad, Dr. Anabelle M. Briones, Dr. Maria Leonila P. Bautista, Dr. Josette T. Biyo, Dr. Esperanza O. Cayanan, and Dr. Lilia T. Habacon.

Dr. Abad is currently the chief of Atomic Research Division of DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. Among her major projects were on Carageenan as Plant Growth Promoter that could help in increasing the yield of rice and other crops, and Hydrogel Wound Dressing for burns, wounds, and bedsores.

Meanwhile, Dr. Briones is the newly-appointed Director of DOST-Industrial Technology and Development Institute. She spearheaded the development of various innovative technologies focusing on the use of carageenan from Philippine Eucheuma species for pharmaceutical, medical and industrial applications, development of DOST Mosquito Ovi / Larvicidal Trap System, studies on adrenergic drug and dietary fiber from calamansi wastes, biofuels and alternative energy, and on cloning and sequence analysis of cDNAs encoding precursors of starfish asterosaps.

The other awardee is Dr. Bautista, a chief science research specialist from DOST-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology who led the collaborative disaster risk management projects and the conduct of PHIVOLCS-developed software training called Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment System (REDAS)

Dr. Cayanan, chief of Weather Services Division of DOST-PAGASA, is also among the list of awardees. Some of her studies were Study of Heavy Rainfall Events during the Southwest Monsoon Season in the Philippines, Seasonal March Patterns of the Summer Rainy Season in the Philippines, Abrupt Climate Shift in the Mature Rainy
Season of the Philippines, and Tropical Cyclone Influence on Long-term Variability of Philippine Summer Monsoon Onset.

The other two women awardees were vital in promoting science education in the country. They are Dr. Biyo, director of DOST-Science Education Institute, who is responsible in the implementation of the DOST human resource program for students and teachers and Habacon, the current executive director of DOST-Philippine Science High School System who initiated the incorporation of STEM in the PSHSS curriculum to produce graduates equipped with 21st century skills.

The two awardees who were not able to attend the ceremony were; Dr. Zenaida P. Hadji Raof-Laidan, regional director of DOST XII, wherein she pushed the establishment of the Philippine National Halal Science Center in Koronadal City, South Cotobato on 25 February 2019 and Dr. Imelda A. Agdeppa, a chief science research specialist from DOST-Food Nutrition and Research Institute, wherein she spearheaded several studies on probiotics and fiber in milk, Vitamin D status of Filipino Adults, nutrient intakes and food sources of Filipino infants, toddlers and young children.
In his speech, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña shared the department’s commitment to create an environment where our Filipina scientists would be encouraged and inspired to look and develop innovative solutions to some of the country’s pressing problems.

“For many years, we have been recognizing the efforts and valuable contributions of our Filipina scientists, particularly towards providing better livelihood and career opportunities for many Filipinos” said de la Peña.
More than 300 officials and employees of DOST have gathered in Hotel Jen to celebrate the crucial roles of women in the field of science, technology, and innovation. Some of the highlights for this event were; dance and singing competitions, zumba, and raffle prizes. (By Allan Mauro V. Marfal, DOST-STII)