THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) sees a bright prospect for budding inventors and innovators under the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) strand.

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said their agency is providing support to patent inventions of students.

“My point is there are many youth in Grade 11 and Grade 12 who are under the Stem strand, and they have huge potential to generate innovations and invention. This is good because we start them young in being innovative,” dela Peña said during the opening of the Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (Rice) on June 12, 2019, Wednesday.

There were 82 entries in five categories. There were five under industrial design, 15 in the utility model and 17 in creative research. There were 27 entries from the college sector and 18 from high school.

Dela Peña said they continue to answer President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to reduce inequality.

“What can we do to reduce inequality through science and technology opportunities? It can contribute to the society with the help of the business sector and expanding our potential for growth,” he said.

As he looked through the Rice entries, dela Peña said he was impressed with the creative works of the professionals, and even more with the entries of the university and high school students.

One of these was from the group of Estenard Tuazon from the Philippine Science High School Central Visayas campus in Talaytay, Argao.

Tuazon and his teammates created IRescue, which stands for Immediate Response Ensuring the Safety of Civilian Undergoing Evacuation, a real-time monitoring system to aid rescuers in post-disaster operations.

“It has an entire system that is composed of three functioning units and the command center. The first one is Seek, which is attached to a drone that will fly to seek survivors in the area. Assist is a land robot that will be deployed to look for survivors on the ground and will be able to carry a first aid kit, and the IRescue app for both civilians and rescuers,” he said.

Tuazon said the app has options for affected civilians to either evacuate when they are able to, or to ask for help from rescuers.

Cash prizes that range from P5,000 to P50,000 will be given to the chosen inventions.