DOST highlights Pinoy-Made Technologies in Maritime Transport and the Blue Economy

by Admin-Phmp

By Allan Mauro V. Marfal

Last November 22, 2023, history was made as the country’s largest annual Science, Technology, and Innovation Week (NSTW) celebration opened at the Iloilo Convention Center in Iloilo City.

Spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), this marks the first time the NSTW has been held outside Metro Manila.

“Bringing the NSTW to Iloilo City this year indicates how the DOST values and prioritizes a whole-of-society approach by aligning our products and services to foster inclusive development, create more livelihood and career opportunities for Filipinos, especially in rural areas, and, most importantly, promote the blue economy,” Sec. Renato U. Solidum said.

Sec. Solidum shared that this year’s NSTW focuses on creating and protecting wealth for a sustainable blue economy.

“Our country, being an archipelago, is teeming with rich marine resources that contribute to employment generation, enhance the business economy, nurture our diverse cultural heritage and traditions, and promote inclusive growth in the regions.

Sec. Solidum said that the blue economy is one of the 12 key operational areas included in the Pagtanaw 2050 produced by the DOST-National Academy of Science and Technology in 2021.

He further explained that under this framework, the DOST takes an active role in developing programs that will ensure the protection, conservation, and sustainable utilization of our marine resources and related endeavors, including the use of alternative sources of power like wave energy, creating livelihood opportunities in the fisheries sector and shipbuilding industry, maintaining balance in our marine ecosystem, and promoting viable eco-tourism projects for sustainable development.

“This initiative is just the beginning of a new approach to fulfilling the DOST’s four strategies we call the four pillars namely; Human Well-Being, Wealth Creation, Wealth Protection, and Sustainability.

DOST projects in Western Visayas on Blue Economy

Sec. Solidum shared that the country’s science department has several programs and projects in the Visayas that address the blue economy, development initiatives that we implement together with our partner state colleges and universities (SUCs) and industry players.

“For one, we have the development of the hybrid trimaran, a sea vessel with multiple engines and an alternative renewable energy system using ocean wave energy. This is a collaboration of the DOST with Aklan State University, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), local government officials of Aklan, and Metallica Shipyard,” shared Sec. Solidum.

He also mentioned that the DOST-PCAARRD has contributed to the creation of the ARAICOBEH system, a cost-effective survey tool for assessing coastal benthic habitats. This system allows for faster and broader monitoring of both coral and non-coral sites.

Meanwhile, another noteworthy project mentioned is the Reef Baybe, a coral reef decision-making tool and primer. This software integrates quantitative data and expert knowledge through a Bayesian belief network model, offering a comprehensive perspective on ridge-to-river-to-reef systems. The Reef Baybe aims to assist marine protected area managers and other users in making informed, data-driven decisions for the protection of coral reefs.

“These are just a few of the many programs we have developed and are still developing that focus on sustaining the blue economy. With all the S&T interventions we are doing in the regions, we plan to continue this approach by holding future NSTW celebrations in the provinces,” said Sec. Solidum.

DOST Undersecretary Maridon O. Sahagun, on the other hand, shared that aside from the technologies developed by our Filipino scientists and researchers focusing on preserving, conserving, and protecting our marine environment, this year’s NSTW in Iloilo City definitely promises a very unique experience where we aim to marry science and tourism as interdependent, both necessary to boost inclusive and transformative socioeconomic development as we traverse the path towards the digital age.

“Holding the NSTW to the regions enhances the learning experience in science, technology, and innovation. It allows our visitors to enrich their minds with valuable information while immersing themselves in the captivating sights and sounds of the region, particularly in Iloilo,” said Usec. Sahagun.

She believes that this experience provides an opportunity to delve into the rich and colorful traditions and culture of the Ilonggos, renowned for the world-class Dinagyang Festival and Paraw Regatta. Additionally, there’s the chance to indulge our palates with the flavors of local food, especially considering Iloilo’s recent declaration as the Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO.

The 2023 NSTW takes place at four venues simultaneously, with the main location being the Iloilo Convention Center, or ICON, where forums will be held. Other venues include the Capt. John B. Lacson Training Ship and Museum of Philippine Maritime History for the Lawud: Maritime S&T Exhibit, the National Museum Western Visayas for the Hinabul: Natural Fiber and Textile Exhibits, and the Festive Mall for the Tek-Tienda

Bazaar. Here, visitors will have the opportunity to indulge their senses with unique products from DOST-assisted companies and communities.

“Through this event, we greatly acknowledge and embrace the vital role of science, technology, and innovation for socio-economic development and for achieving a thriving and progressive community,” said Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas.

He added that In Iloilo, they are committed to fostering innovation and sustainable growth through various initiatives aligned with our vision in making Iloilo City a smart city. (PR)

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