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By: Krizzia Mei C. Esperanza and Cesaree M. Caperare

 

On October 11, 2021, the Department of Science and Technology – CALABARZON (DOST-CALABARZON) hosted the Opening Ceremony of the 2021 Regional Science and Technology Week (RSTW). In contrast to the pre-pandemic annual live RSTW fair and exhibit, the program was conducted virtually using the Zoom and Facebook platforms. Almost 200 Zoom participants and Facebook viewers attended the activity, which featured five (5) of DOST-CALABARZON’s new S&T projects in the region in line with the 2021 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) theme, “Agham at Teknolohiya: Tugon sa Hamon ng Panahon.”

 

DOSTRUCK: CALABARZON’s Food Processing Hub

During the virtual activity, the DOST-CALABARZON officially launched the DOST Technology in the Region for the Upscaling of Community Knowledge (DOSTRUCK), a food safety-compliant and mobile food processing hub currently stationed in Magallanes, Cavite.

Engr. Robert O. Dizon, Executive Director of the DOST – Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC), which fabricated and tested the mobile hub, congratulated DOST-CALABARZON for the productive partnership on the DOSTRUCK. Dr. Camilo A. Polinga, Cavite State University (CvSU) OIC-President, likewise extended his congratulations to the success of the project. The CvSU is the principal partner of the DOST-CALABARZON in the premiere operationalization of the DOSTRUCK with the tagline, “Featuring Cavite’s finest coffee… Tara, kape!”

Mayor Jasmin Angelli Maligaya-Bautista of Magallanes also attended the virtual launching activity. She thanked the DOST-CALABARZON for selecting the municipality as beneficiary of the first run of the hub, providing local coffee growers with appropriate facilities to process coffee. On September 28, Mayor Bautista, DOST-MIRDC Prototyping Division Chief Rodnel O. Tamayo, Vice President Polinga, Dr. Ruel M. Mojica (coffee processing expert from CvSU), and DOST-CALABARZON Regional Director Emelita P. Bagsit led the inauguration of the DOSTRUCK.

 

CFoSH Vacuum Freeze Drying Facilities

The virtual ceremony also served as an avenue for the launching of the CALABARZON Food Solution Hub (CFOSH) Vacuum Freeze Drying Facilities. Project partners Department of Trade and Industry – Region IV-A (DTI-4A) Regional Director Marilou Q. Toledo, DTI Laguna Provincial Office Director Clarke S. Nebrao, Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU) President Mario R. Briones, and Association of Laguna Food Processors (ALAFOP) President Jerry S. Urriquia Jr. delivered short messages congratulating the DOST-CALABARZON on this feat.

In support of the continuous research on alternative drying methods, LSPU President Briones further said “[vacuum freeze drying] not only extends the shelf-life of food, but has also been shown to lock-in important nutrients and enhance flavor of fruits and vegetables.” Following the inauguration of the DOSTRUCK on September 29, the DOST-CALABARZON proceeded to induct the Vacuum Freeze Drying Facilities housed in LSPU Sta. Cruz Campus, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, for use of the ALAFOP and other local food enterprises.

 

Gulayan sa Pamayanan Project implemented by Caritas Manila, Inc.

The DOST-CALABARZON likewise shared highlights of the recent inauguration of the Gulayan sa Pamayanan Project at the Bukid Kabataan Center, General Trias, Cavite on October 8. The agency, through its Provincial Science and Technology Center in Cavite, collaborated with the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) and the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office No. 4 CALABARZON in implementing the DOST – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) Galing-PCAARRD Kontra COVID-19 Program.  

For the region, the specific project under the said Program is titled, “Employing Hydroponics and Vegetable Gardening Technologies to Alleviate COVID-19 Threats to Food Security in Selected Municipalities in Region IV-A.” Through this project, DOST-CALABARZON partnered with Caritas Manila, Inc. to rehabilitate three existing greenhouses in the Bukid Kabataan Center adopting CLSU’s hydroponics technology as an intensive vegetable gardening system. This project’s focal point is to alleviate hunger during this COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and offer them alternative livelihood opportunities. With this initiative, they will be able to supply nearby communities with fresh vegetables in response to growing concerns on economic poverty and food security.

 

Field-Test Kit for Detection of Methanol Contamination in Alcoholic Beverages

DOST-CALABARZON featured a technology developed in partnership with Cavite State University (CvSU) to address the buzzing “Lambanog” issue that caused toxication and death due to high levels of Methanol. This issue attracted national attention and raised fear subsequently causing a negative impact on small local distillery businesses in CALABARZON. In efforts led by Project Leader, Dr. Hosea Matel of CvSu and DOST–Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) Science Research Specialist, Jon Uriel Layos, field test kits for business owners are currently in the development phase. Prototypes are seen to be promising and affordable, however, more tests and tension should be applied to prove both its technical and economic feasibility. 

By taking samples and treating them, the observable change in its hue can help local brewers determine whether or not their products are safe for human consumption. With this new technology, we can continue enjoying locally brewed alcoholic beverages without fear or worries.

 

Tissue Culture Growth Chamber for Mass Propagation of Coffee and Makapuno

Technology piloting on the Tissue Culture Growth Chamber was also emphasized in the event. Collaboration between DOST-CALABARZON, Cavite State University (CvSU), and National Coffee Research, Development, and Extension Center germinated this technology aiming to produce disease-free seedlings in even shorter periods of time. Through the Growth Chamber innovation, tissue-cultured embryos are subjected to a tightly controlled environment thus decreasing the chance of plant contamination and mortality rate. With its promising appeal to the market, this technology is foreseen to open more opportunities for private organizations to put up income-generating tissue cultured laboratories and make Embryo-Cultured Makapuno (ECM) plants more affordable to common farmers. Encouraging them to increase hectarage of planted makapuno is expected to cause a significant upward shift in the Makapuno Industry.



DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations, Engr. Sancho Mabborang also took part in the Opening Ceremony. Usec. Mabborang praised the innovative projects and initiatives DOST-CALABARZON rolled out. With admiration he confessed that it was once his desire to serve Region IV-A, “I envied the strong collaboration with the R&D (Research and Development) Institutions, private sector organizations, and also the Local Government Units. I think that your model can be best followed or it can be emulated by the other regions of our country,” he further emphasized.

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña was ecstatic with the projects launched by DOST-CALABARZON, from food production, food security, to agricultural production and extension. Sec. de la Peña was most amazed by the new Vacuum Freeze Drying Facilities for the CALABARZON Food Solutions Hub (CFOSH). He also encouraged everyone to push boundaries and think creatively out of our comfort bubbles, “Our willpower in bringing Science closer to the people will never waiver as long as there is an opportunity to learn, to excel, and to transform,” he campaigned.

Watch the replay of the Opening Ceremony via Facebook Live: https://fb.watch/8ISaGlMBy8/; and visit the DOST-CALABARZON 2021 RSTW Virtual Exhibit: https://events.dostcalabarzon.ph/?fbclid=IwAR2yxyLOV3J26q5b3v9uEdqD4PglJqzH_0jfnahSCBHjK3VClsizQd5tPwc.