CAGAYAN DE ORO

Luczon: Practical sciences

Pencalibur

IT WAS foggy going to Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, on September 13, but despite the moody weather brought by the Typhoon “Ompong,” the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) sa Amihanang (in Northern) Mindanao continued its program with some interesting exhibits to offer.

This is actually the regional counterpart of NSTW as organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The Philippine-wide level happened in July, with exhibitions and talks from scientists and student researchers from the different fields of sciences. Most notably were the resource persons from NASA who gave a talk during the event in Manila.

Now, it’s DOST-Northern Mindanao’s time to promote regional Science and Technology inventions or innovations that took place in Bukidnon State University from September 12 to 14.

It may not depict a similar grandeur compared to the national version, but seeing different exhibits from the researches and innovations from students of Northern Mindanao schools and institutions are always promising to watch.

An example would be the Mindanao Silk program from the Philippine Textile Research Institute in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental. Its booth displayed live silk worms and explained to students the life cycle of silk worms and how their cocoons are used in the production of cloths and other forms of textiles.

Engineer Junela Louvena Ruiz, Provincial Science and Technology director for Misamis Oriental, and the head of the exhibition, said that local weavers from Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental are already commissioned to make silk worm-based materials for different textile products.

When we talk about Science and Technology, most people associate it with high technologies that were seen in science fiction films or novels. We immediately expect that it can revive dinosaurs or compare the other innovations from progressive countries with scientists wearing white laboratory gowns in their luxurious laboratories.

Maybe this is the reason why most people are often frustrated with Filipino-made scientific inventions. It may not get the cut to be at par with our outlandish, glamorized, or even Hollywood-ized expectations for what is an ideal Filipino invention. Apparently, people have not read or seen enough, which is partly because of poor or limited media exposure and fewer science journalists covering these things.

But over time, seeing these regional innovations yearly, and noticing how DOST is aligning its other programs to commercial and agricultural industries, it is clear that in the meantime, the needed Science and Technology interventions might come in handy based on the country’s socio-economic landscape. In short, a practical science that can be utilized by the public.

An example of the DOST program that reaches to the business industry is the “Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (Setup),” a nationwide strategy to encourage and assist Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to adopt technological innovations to improve their operations and thus boost their productivity and competitiveness. DOST-Northern Mindanao highlighted the Cagayan de Oro-based MJ Foods as an example of the success of this program that resulted in quality processed food products.

Of course, there is still a room to dream bigger, hoping that someday Filipinos can go out in space or Pagasa can become well equipped with NASA. By now, we have already launched two space satellites, Diwata 1 and 2.

Who knows, in the future we will be sending rockets and astronauts; or introduce an astounding innovation that will address worldwide food security issues; or maybe a Filipino version of Wakanda technology or Jurassic Park.

And this is why we need better teachers and motivators. More so, we need to look on how can we inspire senior high school students under the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics strand to take the big challenge to improve the Science and Technology, and also – equally important – acknowledging social sciences, arts and culture, as well as communication, in placing the Philippines in the world map of Science and Technology.

(nefluczon@gmail.com)


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