Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Greening science and technology to fight poverty

By George Robert Valencia III, S&T Media Service

The Department of Science and Technology goes green as it gathers scientists, researchers, and experts to talk about fighting poverty during the 79th General Membership Conference of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) today, March 6, 2012, at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza. The Council is the major policy-advising and planning body in the country on science and technology matters.

The event has the theme “Poverty Alleviation Through Green Technology Research and Innovation.” Atty. Christian Monsod, co-chair of the National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC) Committee of the Climate Change Congress of the Philippines (CCCP), will lead a plenary discussion on the role of green technologies in sustainability and poverty alleviation. Several workshops will also simultaneously run, with discussions on general topics of climate change, green technologies, and environmental remediation and safety.

Under the workshop on Climate Change and Ecorestoration, the topics to be discussed will be extreme weather events, hazard mapping, sea level rise, and Philippine forest and marine ecorestoration. Meanwhile, the Food and Health Security workshop will delve on green farming technologies, nutrition and food security, emerging diseases related to climate change, and the social dimensions of food and health security. A third workshop on Green Technologies will mainly focus on topics about pollution and “green” products, technologies, and processes.

DOST-NRCP will formulate recommendations out of the workshop outcomes that will be formally presented to country’s policy-makers to enhance guidelines and policies concerning the environment.

The conference and general assembly also showcased DOST-NRCP’s latest outstanding researches on poster exhibits, which will also give opportunity for guests to meet the scientists behind the researches.

Events on the following day, March 7, 2012, will include the announcement of winners of the poster competition, election of the council’s new set of officers, oath-taking of new associate and regular members, and the conferment of 2011 NRCP Achievement Awards.

DOST council honors outstanding Filipino researchers

By JoselitoAlonte-Carteciano, S&T Media Service, NRCP

The Department of Science and Technology’s scientific advisory body, the National Research Council of the Philippines, will confer achievement award to nineop Filipino researchers in its 79th General Membership Assembly to be held at the Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza on March 7, 2012.
The nine awardees include Dr. VicentitaMacuja-Cervera, Dr. Macrina Tamayo-Zafaralla, Dr. Ernesto M. Pernia, Dr. Roland V. Sarmago, Dr. Alicia M. Aguinaldo, Dr. ErlindaKintanar-Alburo, Dr. Edanjarlo J. Marquez, Dr. Remigio M. Olveda, and Dr. Joseph S. Masangkay.
DOST-NRCP recognized Dr. Macuja-Cerverafor her significant research contributions in psychology, guidance and counseling, and other fields.  A prolific author and editor of books and several official journals of professional organizations, Dr. Cervera also developed psychological tests that are widely used in the country today.  She is a member of the Philippine Team of the 2006 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). 
 Dr. Tamayo-Zafarallawas citedfor her quality scientific and technological outputs that significantly contributed to the abundantfish supply, leading to food security and poverty alleviation. Her efforts also contributed to reducing health risks in river bank communities. 
Meanwhile, Dr. Pernia’slandmark studies on population and development in the Philippines and Asia earned him the lofty award. Some of his studies had significant policy implications on urban poverty as well as on the economic impact on population change; migration and economic development; urbanization pattern of migration in India; population, nutrition, health, and economic costs of children. He also developed an empirical model of individual and household migration, and economic and social impact analysis of small industry promotion.

Dr. Sarmago’s research efforts in the field of superconductivity were likewise recognized by the Council, as well as the international scientific communitywherein his original contributions have been well cited. His works are extended to future applications.

Fromthe field of Chemistry of Natural Products; the Council acknowledged Dr. Aguinaldo’sinvaluable contribution to the structure elucidation of anti-mycotic substances from medicinal plants. She was also exemplary as a mentor, school administrator, and officer/member of professional organizations.

As well, Dr. Kintanar-Alburo’s significant contributions to the field of cultural research, specifically on Philippine literature and language, folklore, and history, were specially noted by the Council, Her researches on Cebuano studies inspired other researchers to undertake similar studies. The books she edited, including literary anthologies with translations and dictionaries of indigenous arts, have provided teachers with instructional materials.

From the field of earth science in the Philippines, the Council recognized Dr. Marquez for his outstanding work in the area of micropaleontology (radiolaria and benthic foraminifera).  His researches, published in local and international peer-reviewed journals, have contributed to the understanding of the geologic history of the Philippines. His mentorship to his students upheld the need for environmental awareness in the Philippines.

The Council ctedDr. Olvedafor being the principal investigator of two prestigious research grants from the World Health Organization/TDR-Rockefeller Foundation North-South for schistosomiasis; and the Tropical Medicine Research Center grant from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) for schistosomiasis, malaria, and leprosy.  Under his leadership,  the first Good Manufacturing Practices Certified Vaccine Production Plant at RITM  was established. The plant can produce locally-affordable and high quality vaccines.

Dr. Masangkay. meanwhile, had significant contributions in the field of veterinary medicine, specifically on laboratory animal genetics and wildlife animal pathology in the Philippines. His researches on these groups have provided valuable information on the protection, conservation and proper use of animals as laboratory models in biochemical research.

The NRCP, which was established in 1933, is now considered as theoldest scientific collegial body in the country and in the Asia Pacific.  From the 144 pioneering scientists, NRCP how has 2,809 member researchers, scientists, and technologists spread over the 13 NRCP Scientific Divisions, based in the official and latest tally on membership here and abroad.

Tablea manufacturer gets help for expansion from DOST SETUP

By Luisa S. Lumioan, S&T Media Service

METRO MANILA—Life proved to be sweeter for chocolate manufacturer Lulu Panopio when she acquired a manufacturing equipment for her business through the assistance of the  Department of Science and Technology (DOST)  Science and Technology’s Small Enterprise Technology and Upgrading Program (SETUP).

Panopio's company named JAMLA produces the local cacao chocolate brand, Alfonso's hot chocolate tablea, named after the family patriarch. The tablea is cooked to make the Spanish-inspired drink tsokolate-a and Filipino merienda champorado.

The popularity of Alfonso's chocolate tablets has earned it a reputation from being one of the best tablea products in Cavite and is often part of the “One Town One Product” (OTOP) exhibits of the Department of Trade and Industry.

According to her, the company was able to lease a rotary tablet press, a twin screw mixer and a seal and ribbon coder from DOST SETUP three years ago.

The rotary tablet press can mold the chocolate tablets in a uniform size and weight than better and faster manual molding, said Panopio.

Meanwhile, the twin screw mixer improved the consistency of the chocolate powder mixture before this is filled up into the tablet press.

The acquisition of the vertical form fill seal and ribbon coder helped improve the company's production efficiency than when it was doing contract packaging.

The efficiency came in terms of better quality control and lesser overhead and time expenses on transportation of the product from the packaging company and back to JAMLA, explained Panopio.

Under the SETUP lease agreement, the company has the option to buy the machine as the contract ends this year.

Panopio expressed interest to buy the equipment after seeing improvements in production time. Prior to the acquisition of the machine, tablea makers traditionally peel the skin of the cacao fruit  by hand and mold the chocolate mixture, a tedious process that produce inconsistent size of the tableas.

“The machine allowed the company to increase production at a lower the cost.  More importantly, the program gave us the courage to invest on the factory,” said Panopio.

SETUP is an agency under DOST that aims to encourage and assist micro-, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt technology innovations for the improvement of their operations. The program provides assistance through technology transfer and interventions.

NCR regional director Dr. Teresita Fortuna said that the priority sectors that SETUP plans to assist include: food processing, furniture; gifts decors and handicrafts, marine and aquatic resources, horticulture and agriculture, and metals and engineering.

Interested parties may submit a letter of interest to DOST SETUP in the region where the business is located, contact hotline (02) 837-3162 or email

SM City Baliwag gears up for disasters

Everyday, thousands of people visit shopping malls to spend quality time with their loved ones. In the events of emergency situations like earthquake and fire, customer safety is a top priority.

In partnership with the Bureau of Fire Protection, SM City Baliwag joins the nation in the observance of Fire Prevention Month with a Fire and Earthquake Drill happening on March10, 2012.

An earlier Seminar on Fire Safety Measures was likewise conducted on March 6 which educated mall tenants, agency personnel, security force and staff on evacuation procedures and their roles in emergency situations. Held at the Event Center of the mall, points discussed include Nature of Fire and Earthquake and its PreventionWhat to do during Emergency SituationsRoles and Duties of Emergency Response Group and First Aid Treatment.

Unlike the previous drills where the participants were pre-informed, this year’s exercise will be conducted in a real-life scenario where the building occupants and employees are unaware when the emergency drill will occur.

Expected to observe and assess the exercise are guests from the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) led byMs. Liz Mungcal, Municipal Fire Bureau, Philippine National Red Cross headed by Mr. Donald Maniego and Baliwag Intergrated Rescue Association (BIRA).

Located along DRT Highway in Baliwag town, the mall’s 61,000 square meter building houses more than 300 shops.

Bulacan observes Fire Prevention Month

MALOLOS CITY-The Provincial Government of Bulacan headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado mapped out month long activities including fire prevention strategies as the celebration of Fire Prevention Month kicked off in Bulacan this March.
With the theme “Makiisa, Makialam, Makipagtulungan upang Sunog ay Maiwasan”, the event aims to increase the awareness of Bulakenyos in fire prevention as well as to mitigate the 149 fire incidents that happened in the province last year.
According to Felicisima Mungcal, executive officer of Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), the activities for this month includes bloodletting drive and fire awareness run that will be participated by policemen, firemen, non-government response teams, military and Provincial Capitol employees.
Aside from the souvenir item for the first 150 participants, trauma kits and other first aid prizes will be given to the winners of the said marathon.
There will also be a fire and earthquake drill, a regional activity that will take place at the Provincial Capitol.
 “Kailangang magsimula ang kamulatan ng mga empleyado ng Kapitolyo sa pag-iingat sa sunog at sakuna sa loob ng bahay. Kailangan ding ingatan at sinupin ang gusali naman ng Kapitolyo bilang kanilang pangalawang tahanan. Kaya naman uunahing turuan ang mga taga-kapitolyo para sa kontribusyon sa pag-unlad ng gobyerno o sa bansa”, Gov. Alvarado said.
Meanwhile, aside from seminars like fire prevention and earthquake and emergency and disaster preparedness, there will also be trainings for fire suppression and first aid.
Also included on the said trainings are disaster management and disaster rescue operations with water search and rescue (WASAR).

Bulacan OFW family pleads to DFA

MALOLOS CITY—The family of a Bulakenyo hotel worker in Canada who died in a car crash on Sunday reiterated their call to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for the repatriation of the victim’s body.

“Please help us,” was the only words that Jeanelle Mangonon was able to utter to journalists in an interview yesterday.

A resident of Brgy. Bambang, Bocaue town, Mangonon directed her pleading to the DFA.

Mangonon’s husband Joey, 35, is one of the four overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were killed in a car crash in Canada on late Sunday night, Monday afternoon in Manila.

Identities of the three other fatalities remain unknown, along with another Filipina who was listed in a critical but stable condition after she was rushed to Alberta Hospital after the accident.

This developed, CBC News website in Edmonton reported yesterday that 29-year old Tyler James Stevens “is charged with four counts each of impaired driving causing death, failing to provide a breath sample and criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing death, plus one count each of impaired driving causing bodily harm and criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm.”

Stevens is the driver of the Range Rover that smashed head on against the Dodge Journey that carried the OFWs.

Citing interviews with witnesses, the CBC News said that Stevens was driving southbound, but was on the wrong lane.

CBC News reported that Lisa Mason said she was driving home when she encountered the sports utility vehicle (SUV) approaching on the wrong side of the highway near Bowden, Alberta.

"He's coming straight at us and just at the last minute, I swerved and he swerved away from us," the CBC News said quoting Mason.

The incident occurred along the Queen Elizabeth Highway II near Innisfail, about 120 kilometers north of Calgary.

The incident killed Mangono and three other companions, while injuring another, a Filipino who was rushed to Alberta Hospital was and was listed in critical but stable condition.

Bulacan PNP faces security nightmare

MALOLOS CITY—Bulacan police faces a security nightmare in preparation for the visit of the Papal Nuncio here on Saturday.

Archbishop Giusepe Pinto, the papal nuncio to the Philippines will lead the canonical coronation of the image of Virgen Inmaculada Concepcion de Malolos, as one of the highlights of the 50th Jubilee celebration of the Diocese of Malolos on March 10.

Pinto will be joined by Archbishop Luis Tagle of the Diocese of Manila along with 50 other bishops, and thousands of parishioners.

Senior Superintendent Fernando Mendez, the Bulacan provincial police director said they are now ironing the security plans, but no detail is available yet.

He added that ranking police officers are now closely coordinating with Monsignor Flint Capiral who was designated by Bishop Jose Oliveros for the security prepratio0ns.

With the celebration and visit of the Papal Nuncio just days away, the provincial government has also stepped in.

Provincial Administrator Jim Valerio said the provincial government feels responsible to maintain security at highest levels despite the fact that the activity is of religious nature.

He said that while the papal nuncio is the Pope’s representative to the country, he also serves as Vatican’s ambassador to the Philippines.

“We are closely coordinating with Monsignor Capiral, kahit na activity to ng simbahan, we have the obligation to heighten security and ensure safety,” he said.

He said that starting Friday, ambulances and fire trucks of the provincial government and other local government units will be on standby at strategic locations.

Earlier, Oliveros said that Pinto will lead the mass celebrating the 50th Jubilee of the Malolos Diocese, while Tagle will deliver the homily.

After the mass at the Basilica Minore here, Pinto will visit Jubillee Homes n Lumang Bayan, Plaridel; then to San Agustin Church in Baluag, then to Immaculate Conception Seminary in Brgy. Tabe, Guiguinto; and to St. Francis Church in Meycauayn City.

Oliveros said that Baliuag and Meycauayan City is important for Pinto because those places were the center of evengelization of the Augustinian and Franciscan orders in the province, respectively.

Mobilize Community Leaders for Earthquake Preparedness

Senator Loren Legarda today emphasized the need to prepare citizens for the occurrence of earthquakes as a 5.2-magnitude temblor jolted Masbate, Albay and Sorsogon on Tuesday, exactly a month after the province of Negros Oriental was devastated by a 6.9-magnitude tremor.

“In the event an earthquake occurs, the primary instinct is to ensure one’s survival. And as a principal mandate, the government must guarantee the protection of the country’s citizens,” Legarda said.

“Thus, it is important that people are aware of what they must do, which means how they can protect themselves in the event a disaster occurs, and must be informed of the government’s disaster preparedness plans, meaning, citizens should know where to go to and what are the assistance available to them,” she added.

Noting the recent earthquake drill that was conducted simultaneously in select areas in the country and was led by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Senator said that barangay leaders should already be mobilized to conduct disaster preparedness training such as quake drills, which must be done at least twice a year in all communities nationwide.

Likewise, regular earthquake drills must be conducted in schools and hospitals, where the most vulnerable citizens are, so that schoolchildren and the occupants of health-care institutions, their administrators, operators and personnel would know the proper response and actions to take in cases of temblors and other hazardous phenomena.

“We need to tap our local leaders who have more knowledge on the vulnerability of their communities and are likely able to enjoin their neighbors to take part in emergency preparedness efforts. Local leaders will also be able to determine the safest refuge—in the instance of tremors, to locate open spaces and suitable evacuation centers. We cannot prevent the occurrence of natural hazards, but we can prevent the loss of lives and damage to livelihood and properties if we make our communities prepared against earthquakes or any kind of disaster,” Legarda concluded.***

The 2nd Sandra Burton Nieman Fellowship for Filipino Journalists now open


The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) is administering the search for the 2nd Sandra Burton Nieman Fellowship sponsored by the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF).

As in the program’s first year, CMFR will be in charge of the selection process. CMFR will receive applications starting February 20, 2012 (Monday). Deadline for applications will be March 10, 2012 (Saturday). The application form may be downloaded from the link provided below.

Sandra Burton was the Hong Kong bureau chief of TIME magazine who accompanied then opposition leader former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. on his flight home to Manila on August 21, 1983. The senator was killed on the tarmac upon his arrival. Ms. Burton reported on the assassination and the political turmoil triggered by the death of the opposition leader as well as the events that led to the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in February 1986. She continued to report on the democratic transition and the presidency of Mrs. Corazon Aquino, developing strong ties with many Filipino journalists working during that period.

Ms. Burton passed away on February 27, 2004 in Bali where she lived after retiring from journalism. She left a scholarship fund to the NCAF to support the study of Filipino journalists in the US.

The Nieman Foundation selects about 12 US and 12 foreign journalists for Nieman Fellowships each year. Only full-time journalists (including freelancers) with at least five years’ experience are qualified. Those journalists working for the news or editorial departments of newspapers, wire services, radio, television, web sites, online publications or magazines of general public interest may apply. Photojournalists, editorial cartoonists, columnists and broadcast producers are also eligible. Public relations practitioners and those who write in or for organizations whose primary business is not the media are not eligible.

Fellows are expected to do academic work at Harvard for two semesters, during which time they may not do professional work and should have obtained clearance from their employers, if applicable.

Philippine Daily Inquirer senior editor and columnist John Nery became the first recipient of the Sandra Burton-Nieman Fellowship for Filipino Journalists. Previous Filipino Nieman fellows include Marites DaƱguilan Vitug, Rodolfo Reyes, and Malou Mangahas.

CMFR is inviting you to apply for the fellowship.

How to apply:

1. Download the application form (
2. Print the form and fill it out using a pen (please print clearly).
3. Letters of recommendation should be sent to the:

Sandra Burton Nieman Fellowship for Filipino Journalists
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
Address: 2/F Ateneo Professional Schools Salcedo
130 H.V. dela Costa St., Salcedo Village
Makati City 1227

4. Send your completed, dated and signed application form, along with your work samples and essays, to the:

Sandra Burton Nieman Fellowship for Filipino Journalists
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
Address: 2/F Ateneo Professional Schools Salcedo
130 H.V. dela Costa St., Salcedo Village
Makati City 1227

Materials must be sent no later than or postmarked by March 10, 2012 (Saturday).

Should you have any questions about the Sandra-Burton Nieman Fellowship for Filipino Journalists, you may email CMFR at You may also call the following CMFR numbers +63 2 894-1326/894-1314/840-0889 (attention Bryant Macale). Details regarding the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard are available at