DOST ‘Science For Change’ facility breaks ground

May 20, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 408 views

THE groundbreaking ceremony for the country’s first region-based “Science For Change” facility to be run by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was held recently in Legazpi City, Albay, with DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña and House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda of Albay’s 2nd District as honored guests for the ceremony.

The P115 million facility, the first of its kind anywhere in the regions, will support research and applications of science and technology in industries such as manufacturing and support services such as packaging.

The facility is also part of the wider Science For Change framework, a series of programs and projects being pursued by the DOST to expand the role of science and technology in the country’s socioeconomic priorities.

In his message during the ceremony, Salceda assured the DOST of his office’s support for funding and maintaining the facility. Salceda was recently re-elected to another term in Congress.

“Let me reassure you that my district office will be a staunch supporter of this facility and the entire Science for Change Framework. You will play a part in my district’s programs and projects whenever it is possible to collaborate. Let me reassure you, also, of my support for the Congressional initiatives necessary to fund the programs and projects that this facility will offer,” Salceda said.

Phase 1 of the program is expected to be completed by 2023 and Phase 2 by 2024.

The center will feature a training facility, an Advanced Manufacturing Center, a Knowledge-Sharing Facility, and research, development, and innovation facility for high-value crops.

Salceda said supporting the facility should be part of a broader national push for science and technology.

“We have successfully pushed for an 18% increase in the R&D [Research and Development] sector budget for DOST from 2021 to 2022, but we will need more aggressive increases, by at least 30% every year over the next 5 years, to get to the UNESCO-prescribed threshold before the next administration leaves office,” Salceda said.

Salceda added that the facility is part of “programs, projects, and activities that have a very practical impact on the economy and society. Such engagement is projected into the future through DOST’s ‘Pagtanaw 2050’, or its vision for a science-driven society in 2050.”

Salceda also called on the next administration to retain the DOST Secretary during the same message.

“I thank the DOST for the trust and recognition it has given me through the years, and I congratulate Secretary De la Peña for the excellent job. Mr. Secretary, you have been among the most steady and most reliable hands of the Duterte administration. I hope you are renewed for another term,” Salceda said.

The House tax panel chair, who also serves as a Vice Chair in the House Budget Committee, was also awarded the DOST’s first HEROES Award on the same day of the groundbreaking. By Ryan Ponce Pacpaco