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By: Cesaree M. Caperare

National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST PHL) launched the 2022 Regional Scientific Meetings with the conduct of the Luzon Regional Scientific Meeting (Luzon RSM) last 29-30 March 2022. With 1,781 Zoom participants and about 3,900 views on Facebook to date, the two-day event tapped National Government Agencies, Higher Education Institutes, State Universities and Colleges, and private entities from all over the country.

LuzonRSM, as a prelude to Annual Scientific Meeting, is pinned on the “PAGTANAW 2050: Agham Tungo sa Mabuting Kinabukasan” (FORESIGHT 2050: Science for a Sustainable Future). Science, technology, and innovation (STI) are fundamental in nation-building but assessing needs from the grassroots level and gathering inputs from the boots on the ground is also imperative in addressing complex and interrelated problems of the country. NAST PHL developed PAGTANAW 2050, a 30-year STI Foresight to light the path of STI in pursuit of national development. PAGTANAW 2050 is the first inter-disciplinal STI foresight to harness science and technology as tools for innovations in products, processes, and organizations to influence the development of the nation’s scientific and technological capital in the 30 years to come. LuzonRSM aims to assess regional STI talent capacity and plan for regional STI talent development and retention.

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña emphasized in his opening remarks that “PAGTANAW 2050, as the first Philippine foresight, supports a technology-explicit development agenda that is inclusive, sustainable, and nurtures a citizenry that is educated, healthy, and productive. In the coming years, developing a globally competitive Philippine knowledge economy with a maritime base will allow the Philippines to finally break free from its stagnation in the shadow of more scientifically advanced nations”. He also extended his gratitude for the support of DOST Regional Offices in Luzon in the conduct of the Luzon RSM.

This year’s Luzon RSM pioneered the conduct of Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to tackle the status of STI Talent Development and Talent Retention in the region concerning the four (4) operational clusters of PAGTANAW 2050 such as (1) Environment, Climate Change, and Space Exploration, (2) Food, Nutrition, and Health, (3) Water and Energy, and (4) Built Environments (Shelter, Transportation, and other Infrastructure including Information and Communications Technology). FGDs were participated by select guests and experts from Region I (Ilocos Region), Region II (Cagayan Valley), Region III (Central Luzon), Region IV‑A (CALABARZON), MIMAROPA Region, Region V (Bicol Region), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and the National Capital Region (NCR).

DOST-CALABARZON drew some of its homegrown talents to participate in the FGDs. Ms. Agnes Morales, Regional Standards and Testing Laboratory (RSTL) Head was called to join the FGD on Food, Nutrition, and Health; Engr. Francisco R. Barquilla III, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations in the FGD on Environment, Climate Change, and Space Exploration; and Mr. Fernando Ablaza, Provincial Director of DOST Rizal for the FGD on Water and Energy. Likewise, Mr. Frankie Avorque and Ms.Gilda Melanie O. Babaran represented the Food Innovation Center of CALABARZON (FIC-UPLB) in the FGD on Food, Nutrition, and Health. FIC-UPLB is a DOST Grants-in-Aid (GIA) funded project operated by the Institute of Food Science and Technology University of the Philippines Los Baños (IFST-UPLB).

During the press conference, Dir. Emelita Bagsit, Regional Director of DOST-CALABARZON was asked by Ms. Grace Maniaga of PTV-TULAY regarding her plans and priorities in the application of the PAGTANAW 2050 in her region. “Unique itong landscape ng CALABARZON kasi we have industrial and agricultural zones so based po sa sitwasyon na meron tayo dito sa region, gagamitin po natin syempre kung ano ba ang sinasabi sa PAGTANAW 2050 to achieve sustainable development dito sa ating area such that we also address the needs of the industry while ensuring food security of the region." she responded.

Prior to the Luzon RSM event, NAST PHL through the DOST Luzon Regional Offices called for the submission of abstracts. The entries were screened and only three per region advanced to the Luzon-wide competition for the Best Scientific Poster. On the second day of the event, two entries from the University of the Philippines Los Baños raised the CALABARZON flag by bagging the best and runner-up awards. Winning 1st Place is the "Nanoformulated Indole-3-Acetic Acid (IAA) for Improved Production of High Value Crops and Ornamentals" while the "Utilization of Galaxaura rugosa (J. Ellis & Solander) J.V. Lamouroux for Pharmaceutical Application: Antioxidant, Antibacterial, Tyrosinase and Elastase Inhibition Properties" scientific poster bagged the 2nd Place.

Mindanao RSM and Visayas RSM will transpire on 5-6 April 2022 and 28-29 April 2022, respectively. The outcome of these forums will be consolidated and presented at the 44th Annual Scientific Meeting on 13-14 July 2022.