By John Maico M. Hernandez, PSTC Batangas

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-CALABARZON through its Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC)-Batangas officially launched the deployment of the Community Empowerment thru Science & Technology (CEST) program and the enhanced Nutribun (e-Nutribun) feeding program in Tingloy, Batangas in partnership with the CDO Foodsphere, Inc., Odyssey Foundation, Inc. and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Tingloy, Batangas, June 13.

Being a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area, Tingloy has been identified as one of the sites for the implementation of the CEST program of DOST-CALABARZON. CEST is composed of S&T interventions which aim to build progressive, empowered and resilient rural communities. The program is targeting to empower the poorest and most depressed communities in the country, via S&T interventions in health and nutrition, water and sanitation, basic education and literacy, livelihood/economic enterprise development, and disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Meanwhile, the e-Nutribun feeding program aims to address the malnutrition problem in the municipality of Tingloy. CDO Foodsphere Inc., as an adoptor of the e-Nutribun technology of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), advocates to help combat the malnutrition in the country through its foundation, Odyssey Foundation, Inc.

Ms. Janice Irene F. Berris, OIC-Assistant Regional Director for Finance and Administrative Services of DOST-CALABARZON, Ms. Gelonie Grace T. Yap, Corporate Affairs Head, CDO Foodsphere Inc. and Executive Director of Odyssey Foundation, Inc., Mayor Lauro Alvarez of LGU-Tingloy, and Hon. Amy Alvarez, ABC President and Brgy. Chairwoman of San Juan, Tingloy, Batangas spearheaded the launching ceremonies held at Brgy. San Juan, Tingloy, Batangas.

Fifteen of the target children beneficiaries of the e-Nutribun feeding program together with their parents, barangay officials, and child development workers partook in the launching ceremonies. They received a pack of nutritious DOST food products such as e-Nutribun, pancit canton with squash, and rice-mongo crunchies.

During her message, Ms. Berris mentioned the milestones that DOST-CALABARZON PSTC-Batangas has already made for the municipality of Tingloy. Some of the projects they have provided to Tingloy since 2016 include technology training on coconut processing for 4Ps beneficiaries in Brgy. 15 and deployment of Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly-Operated Kiosk Stations (STARBOOKS), a stand-alone information source which contains hundreds of thousands of digitized science and technology resources in various formats (text and video/audio) placed in specially design “pods” set in a user-friendly interface, at Tingloy Central School, Tingloy National High School, and Papaya National High School in 2017. These units have already been upgraded into SuperSTARBOOKS last 2021.

In 2020, a community needs assessment was conducted as a pre-requisite to the implementation of the CEST program in partnership with Batangas State University. Starting 2021, various S&T interventions under CEST program were rolled out to the municipality. These include RxBox unit, a telemedicine device used for monitoring blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, fetal heart, maternal tocometer, and for conducting Electrocardiogram (ECG); BioTek-M Dengue Aqua Kit, a confirmatory test for diagnosis of dengue infection in the first 0-5 days of illness with results generated within an hour or less; LGUIDS or the Local Government Unit Information Dissemination System, a system used to disseminate bulletins and advisories on weather, earthquake, tsunami, volcanic activities as community announcements; Automatic Rain Gauge (ARG), intended catch rainfall through a tipping bucket mechanism which gauge and registered water content and automatically sends the data to PAGASA’s database via wireless network; and calibration of weighing scales in the municipality by DOST-CALABARZON’s Regional Metrology Laboratory.

A Training-Workshop for Barangay Nutrition Scholars on the DOST Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young Children (PINOY) Modules were also conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI). Meanwhile, to provide livelihood opportunity to women beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) 4Ps and Sustainable Livelihood Program in Sitio Masasa, Brgy. San Juan, Tingloy, Batangas, a technology training on coconut-based products was conducted by DOST-Batangas in partnership with the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). DOST-Batangas also assisted the eligible applicants of the municipality in submitting and completing their scholarship applications at the DOST-SEI online application system in 2021. Scanning and consolidation of required documents and free ID picture taking were also part of DOST’s assistance in partnership with the Local Government of Tingloy, Batangas and Tingloy Senior High School.

Ms. Berris likewise discussed the other interventions that will be provided to the Municipality of Tingloy which include the fiberglass rescue boats among others. Meanwhile, Ms. Yap discussed their intention to provide interventions to the undernourished children in Tingloy, Batangas through the four months e-Nutribun feeding program. A memorandum of understanding between DOST CALABARZON, CDO Foodsphere Inc., OFI, and LGU Tingloy as the beneficiary was executed to formalize the partnership. The feeding program is expected to run starting this month of June to October 2022.

In his message, Mayor Alvarez expressed his gratitude to DOST-CALABARZON PSTC-Batangas, CDO Foodsphere Inc., and OFI and emphasized the impact that all these interventions could provide to all their residents. He mentioned his excitement to see the fruits of this partnership that encompasses all the significant facets in their community – the health and nutrition, water and sanitation, basic education and literacy, livelihood/economic enterprise development, and disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.