In just five years, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has sent three satellites into orbit—the Diwata 1 and 2, and Maya 1. And now, the department is widening its range of technologies and creating innovations that will provide solutions to common Filipino problems.
Just recently, DOST launched “Big 20 Technologies”, a list of the 20 most interesting projects being undertaken by the government’s S&T arm for the year 2020. “We in DOST strongly believe that socio-economic development will only be achieved by embracing science and technology,” DOST undersecretary and PHIVOLCS head Dr. Renato Solidum said at the media launch.
My Pope lists three of the 20 projects that will most benefit the common public.
Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit
In tropical countries such as the Philippines, it comes as no surprise that thousands of dengue cases are reported each year. A viral infection caused by mosquitoes, dengue is detected through blood tests which can cost hundreds to thousands of pesos—an amount that can’t be shouldered by all Filipino families. This led DOST to develop the Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit, a one-hour dengue test kit that will cost less than the ones currently being used in hospitals and health centers.
An anti-dengue drug that is herbal-based is also being developed and could be available to the public by the end of the year.
Hybrid Trimaran Maiden Voyage
Being an archipelago, the Philippines is surrounded by numerous bodies of water, which is why boats, ships, and other water transportations are used to travel from one island to another. DOST anchored the Hybrid Trimaran Maiden Voyage on this idea—a vessel that could serve as a form of mass transportation on water. This vessel emits less CO2—which has been a growing concern over the past years—and utilizes multi-engine technology to lessen the number of maritime accidents reported each year. The Hybrid Trimaran Maiden Voyage is modern, environment-friendly, and unsinkable.
Ginhawa or ReliefVent
According to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, 50% of ICU patients need a ventilator to live. However, in developing countries like the Philippines, there is not enough budget to provide enough ventilators for ICU patients—in fact, there is only one ventilator for every 10 ICU patients. This results in higher mortality rates, and DOST wants to address it as soon as possible. They have developed the Ginhawa or ReliefVent, a ventilator that can be used by both children and adults alike, which is projected to be 40% cheaper than commercially-available portable ventilators.
Importance of Science and Technology
For 2020, the DOST got a P20.1 billion budget (only 0.3 percent of the national budget), which has greatly disappointed DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña and Undersecretary Solidum. “The country is in need of vitamins, in need of nutrients and I think science can help address this,” Secretary de la Peña explains. He even compares the country to a person that looks healthy but really isn’t.
Over the years, government officials have been questioning people and organizations who give importance to research and science and technology. The latest one of which is Senator Cynthia Villar, who criticized the Department of Agriculture (DA) for allotting the majority of its budget to research. She was quoted saying, “Bakit parang lahat ng inyong budget puro research? Baliw na baliw kayo sa research. Aanhin n’yo ba ‘yung research?” which drew flak from netizens.
The “Big 20 Technologies” is just one example of how science and technology, and research, help improve the quality of living through new discoveries and innovations. With the changing times, the Philippines has to keep up with the rest of the world—whether it be in the health, engineering, or agricultural discipline—and it is science and technology that play a big role in this.