By: Krizzia Mei C. Esperanza

Rubber tapping.

On November 5, 2020, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) CALABARZON launched via Zoom and Facebook Live its funded project, the rubber latex drying facility, in Barangay Cansuso, Cavinti, Laguna, in celebration of the National Science and Technology Week 2020, with the theme “Agham at Teknolohiya: Sandigan ng Kalusugan, Kabuhayan, Kaayusan, at Kinabukasan,” under the Kabuhayan sector.

Engr. Samuel L. Caperiña, the Director of the DOST Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) Lagunain his welcome remarks, featured the drying facility in Barangay Cansuso as not only useful for kabuhayan or livelihood, but also to address environmental health issues, including climate change, under the Kalusugan sector. The drying facility, designed and developed by the DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI), uses a renewable energy source: solar power.

Dr. Alexander R. Madrigal, the Regional Director of DOST-CALABARZON, delivers his opening message during the Virtual Launching of Rubber Latex Drying Facility, November 5, 2020. Ms. Demee Angelica S. Ludia of DOST-CALABARZON officiated the event.

The Regional Director of DOST-CALABARZON, Dr. Alexander R. Madrigal expressed support to the Southern Tagalog Rubber Producers Cooperative (STRPC) in fully utilizing its 136 hectares of land for rubber latex production. It also organized a 2-day training (October 23-24, 2020) on rubber latex harvesting, processing, and marketing to farmers and foresters in Barangay Cansuso. “We, in DOST, are proud to have embedded innovation, science and technology in the value addition system of another promising industry in CALABARZON,” Dr. Madrigal said.

DOST-FPRDI Director Romulo T. Aggangan, highlighted the innovative aspect of the drying facility, which uses 6 kW solar energy system, and produces high quality rubber sheets. He continued, “Sa ating kolaborasyon ay napatanuyang ang ating agham at teknolohiya ay sandigan ng kalusugan, kabuhayan, kaayusan, at kinabukasan. Sandigan ng kalusugan hindi lamang sa pangangatawan kundi pati na rin kalusugan ng ating kalikasan, dahil kalakip ng proyektong ito ang pag-iingat sa forest resources ng Southern Tagalog. Sandigan ng kabuhayan dahil kasama rin dito ang mga trabahong malilikha ng rubber industry na itinataguyod ng STRPC sa buong Southern Tagalog Region. Sandigan ng Kaayusan at Kinabukasan dahil tiyak na makikinabang dito ang susunod na henerasyon dahil sila ang magmamana ng mga kaalamang pinagsumikapan ng STRPC.”

Usec. Brenda L. Nazareth-Manzano, Undersecretary for Regional Operations of the DOST, delivered a short inspirational message during the event. Proving DOST’s unrelenting determination to help Filipinos, she cited DOST programs that provide source of livelihood, such as the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), the Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines (iFWD PH), and the Innovation, Science and Technology for Accelerating Regional Technology-based (iSTART) development program. The provision of the drying facility, she said, “is borne out of the [same] desire to help people engage in income generating activities.”

Usec. Brenda L. Nazareth-Manzano, the Undersecretary for Regional Operations of the DOST, promises support from the DOST to the STRPC during the Virtual Launching of Rubber Latex Drying Facility, November 5, 2020.

A video was premiered showing key points during the physical launching of the drying facility, and the 2-day training on rubber latex production earlier mentioned. DOST-FPRDI conducted the training, and introduced two technologies: University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Forestry developed system on propagating and harvesting latex; and the DOST-FPRDI drying process.

Engr. Bibiano Ramos, member of the STRPC, demonstrates the rubber latex production process, and the use of the rubber latex drying facility, in a video previewed during the Virtual Launching of Rubber Latex Drying Facility, November 5, 2020.

Representing the STRPC, members Engr. Bibiano Ramos, Dr. Wilma Obcemea, and Dr. Arthur Castillo, thanked DOST-CALABARZON for believing in the potential of the rubber industry, and of the rubber plant as an adaptable crop in the Southern Tagalog Region, and in investing on the development of the drying facility. The Assistant Regional Director of Technical Operations of DOST-CALABARZON, Ms. Emelita P. Bagsit, in her closing message, remarked the event as only the beginning of a long-term collaboration to improve on the provision of “sustainable environmental-friendly livelihood” to Filipinos in CALABARZON. She hoped that the event could entice other government agencies and organizations to see the value of the rubber industry, as DOST does.

Watch the replay of the Virtual Launching of the Rubber Latex Drying Facility here: