AGHAM Party-List in the 15th Congress

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AGHAM or Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan  is a non-stock, non-profit association of science professionals,  science journalists,  advocates and enthusiasts.  Organized in 2005,  it aims to  1) promote  science education and the development of the culture  of science of the Filipinos ;  2) advocate national policies and programs that will advance science and technology for sustainable development  of the country;   3) assist and support Filipino science workers engaged in research and development,  in invention and popularization of technologies and products;  and 4) promote the welfare and well-being of Filipino science and technology workers and the sustainability of science-based institutions, organizations  and enterprises.

 Highlights of accomplishments

Science Legislation

AGHAM Party-List Representative Angelo B. Palmones  represents the science and technology sector in the 15th Congress  of the Philippines starting June 30, 2010.  As a first termer,  Rep. Palmones has sponsored/authored 209  legislative measures  as of January 2013 in the fields of science education and human resource development, research and development, health, environment and natural resources, agriculture and food, energy and S & T facility.  Just before 2012 ended eight of these bills  have been passed on third reading  by the House, and one of which has been enacted into law. Enacted into law was Republic Act 10344 otherwise known as the Risk Reduction and Preparedness Equipment Protection Act. He has also co-authored 294 measures.

The science bills passed on third reading by the Members  of   the House of Representatives include:

HB 5485 or the Sustainable Forests Ecosystem  Management Act of 2011 which aims to “sustainably manage ecosystems all over the country that are continuously generating ecosystem services to society, mitigating climate change and enabling various sectors to adapt to climate change impacts, providing economic benefits and helping local communities in reducing poverty thru active cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders”.

HB 5860 or the Final Forests Limits Act of 2012 – the bill addresses the difficulty being encountered by government agencies mandated to delineate forest boundary.  “Delineating the limits of the forest lands would make the conservation and protection of the forests and forests lands easier to achieve”.

HB 6548 or the Mechanization Development for Agriculture, Fishery, Agro-Forestry and Forest Industries (AFFMech) Law   seeks the “establishment of local tools and machinery industries and lessen dependency of agri and agro-industry sector in imported products, generate employment, decrease out-flow of foreign currency and provide reliable source of tools and machineries of international standards.  This would also enable local machineries producers to compete in foreign markets.

HB 6546 or the PAGASA Modernization Act which covers acquisition of  modern equipment, machines, computers and other instrument needed for reliable national hydro meteorological data collection, analysis, forecasting and sophisticated warning and dissemination system as well as human resource development that emphasizes professional education and training.

HB 6575 or the Chemistry Law of 2010 – The rapid developments in science and technology, specifically chemistry requires the reformulation of existing Chemistry Law since 1952 to make it responsive to modern developments.

HB 6474 or the Food Safety Act  addresses the lack of  a “single coherent national policy that imposes measures to protect  food from hazards as it moves along the food chain.  It aims to put in place a “coordinated system for ensuring the safety of food for local consumption and international trade;  establish a more appropriate management system for public analytical service laboratories to protect health of the consuming public”.

For his performance, Rep.Palmones was awarded one of The Ten Outstanding Congressmen for 2011 by the Publishers Association of the Philippines.

Science education and promotion

As part of  AGHAM’s advocacy for risk reduction from natural disaster, Rep. Palmones  pushed for the offering of        the B.S. Meteorology, the first in the country and Southeast Asia.   This is a collaborative  undertaking of     the     Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Science Education Institute (SEI), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Bicol University (BU), Central  Luzon  State   University (CLSU), Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU)  and the Visayas  State University (VSU).   Starting   AY  2012-2013,  there are 16 DOST scholars in BS Meteorology. AGHAM has  a tie-up with the University of Southern Mindanao for the offering of B.S. Pharmacy, major in Pharmacology with 26 scholars starting AY 2012-2013.

Recently, the House Committee on Appropriations passed House Bill 6860 or the expanded S & T Scholarship program. Other S & T education-related bills are HB 3479 which allows graduates in science, mathematics, statistics and engineering courses to teach science and math in public elementary and secondary schools;   HB 3072 – Agri-Kabataan Scholarship for Food Production;   HB 4397 or An Act Institutionalizing Disaster Preparedness Thru the Youth Rescue Olympics in Elementary and Secondary Schools; and HB 4890 – An Act to Include Road Safety Education in the Grade School and Secondary School Curricula.

AGHAM Party-List extends assistance to public elementary and secondary schools in enhancing science education through the provisions of science equipment, computers, magnifying lens and science learning modules. Noteworthy are the construction of the two-room laboratory furnished with computer units and two sets of microscale chemistry kit  in Talavera National High School, Nueva Ecija and  provision of 30 units of electronic book reader  to Los Banos National High School, Laguna.

Environment and public health advocacy

In addition to necessary legislation support,  AGHAM strengthened its advocacy for the  protection of public health and the environment  thru observance and implementation of enabling laws, e.g. filing a petition for the issuance of Writ of Kalikasan  for Taal Volcano Protected Landscape and Mt. Apo National Park.

Last May 17, 2012,  the Court of Appeals has approved the Memorandum of Agreement made  and executed  by AGHAM Party-List and DENR   for a comprehensive and holistic solutions to environmental problems in the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape (TVPL).  It has likewise issued a continuing writ of mandamus “requiring the parties to faithfully and promptly comply with the conditions of the Memorandum of Agreement at all times”.

The agreement stipulated the strict implementation of the issuances of appropriate clearances to all projects  in the TVPL in accordance with the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act and the approved  TVPL Management Plan.  The DENR and AGHAM agreed to support fish cage operations within Taal Lake’s carrying capacity, intensify monitoring of stocking density of fish cages, and conduct regular monitoring and assessment of water quality of Taal Lake.

Science for the common “tao”

All development efforts is aimed  at contributing to the welfare and well-being of the people, particularly the grassroots. AGHAM Party-List assists far-flung and underserved communities in the development of science-based livelihood opportunities with support from benevolent partners. Community residents of Misamis Oriental, Laguna, Tarlac and Bataan  are initial beneficiaries of livelihood projects such as animal dispersal, eco-bag production, and distribution of corn seeds.

On the other hand, some efforts are directed towards improving health services of the far-flung and underserved communities by empowering the barangay health workers, barangay nutrition scholars and midwives  whose voluntary services respond to the health needs of the needy.  Some of the measures forwarded by AGHAM to benefit the common people include HB 1603 or an Act Institutionalizing the Tribal Health Workers, HB 2005 – An Act Requiring Free Pulmonary Function Test and Treatment of Smoke-Related Diseases in Government Hospitals and Clinics and HB 6474 or the Food Safety Act.

Of equal significance is the capability enhancement activities being conducted by AGHAM for the voluntary health workers and community people. Knowledge gained from  seminars and trainings can be of help in the performance of their tasks as well as shared with the public they served.

The PDAF

AGHAM Party-list, having been given the chance by our Filipino people to be represented this 15th Congress, has the privilege to have access to the Priority Development Assistance Fund or simply called PDAF, which is automatically allocated during budget deliberations and accorded by the enactment of the annual budget. The yearly allocation totaling to Php 70,000,000.00 is programmed or served into two tranches with two project classifications, hard (i.e: roads, bridges, buildings) and soft (i.e: livelihood programs, scholarship programs, programs for assistance to indigents).

In the last six tranches, AGHAM Party-list allocated its PDAF to the following projects:

  • Education
    • Educational Assistance
      • Scholarship
        • BS Meteorology program (AGHAM & 4 SUC’s with PAGASA, other partners)
        • BS Pharmacy, Major in Pharmacology (USM- Kabacan)
    • Purchase of educational materials
    • Alternative Learning System (ALS) program
      • Gapan, Nueva Ecija
      • Balayan, Batangas
      • San Antonio, Quezon
      • Tiaong, Quezon
    • Livelihood training  (Bicol Region)
      • Specialty training of day care workers
      • Livelihood training on soap and body care product making
      • Livelihood training on trendy balloon making
      • Livelihood training on meat & fish product making/ food processing
  • Construction of facilities
    • Classroom
      • 2 classroom building in Laguna Science High School
    • Multi-purpose facility
      • Improvement of multi-purpose building (Albay day care center)
      • Partial construction of a multi-purpose building (PNP Evidence Room)
    • Construction of a water supply system (Lanao del Norte)
    • Roads
      • Lucena, Quezon
      • Polangui, Albay
      • Ligao City, Albay
    • Flood Control Systems
      • Cainta, Rizal
      • Daraga, Albay
      • Marikina City
      • Pasig City
  • Other projects
    • Financial assistance to PCA for the eradication of Coconut Scale Insect in Batangas province
    • Financial assistance for the purchase of medicines for the Municipality of Sta. Maria, Bulacan

Other Infra projects

         In addition AGHAM  coordinated and  facilitated the rehabilitation and improvement of other infrastructures with support from DPWH, DA and MMDA, as follows:

          Arterial roads and major thoroughfares in Batangas, Laguna and Cavite

         Farm to market road in Bohol

         Dredging of river in San Juan City

         Fish port in Legaspi, Albay

         Small water impounding projects in North Cotabato and Nueva Ecija

Future Direction

AGHAM Party-list shall continue to pursue its goal of providing better policy support for the advancement of science and technology for sustainable development,  and its wide application in the different sectors of the economy.  Similarly, it will continue to support program implementation leading to the development of science culture of the Filipinos.

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Dr Romulo Davide is 2012 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee

Image Academician Romulo Davide is 2012 Ramon Magsaysay awardee for “his steadfast passion in placing the power and discipline of science in the hands of farmers in the Philippines, who have consequently multiplied their yields, created productive farming communities, and rediscovered the dignity of their labor.”

Dr Davide is the older brother of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.

He pioneered the “Farmer-Scientist Training Program” wherein farmers are guided by scientists in increasing their productivity. He is a member of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), the highest advisory body to the Philippine Government on issues and matters related to science and technology.

He still teaches at the University of the Philippines Los Baños as a Professor Emeritus. His specialisation is on Nematology.

2 new Academicians — electrical engineer and anthropologist

Dr. Jose B. Cruz, Jr., an electrical engineer, and Dr. Michael L. Tan, an anthropologist, are the two new Academicians elected this year.

Dr. Cruz was cited for his outstanding accomplishments as a scientist and an educator to a number of important concerns like the dynamic game theory, specifically, Stackelberg (leader-follower) games, which have directly resulted in two economists winning the Nobel Prize in Economics. Moreover, he was credited in the development of several methods for the sensitivity analysis of dynamic systems with respect to parameters variations, establishment of the concept of comparison sensitivity matrix that captures the effect of feedback on altering the influence of parameter variations on system output errors in multivariable feedback system, and the maintenance of system optimality for a range parameter values even when the feedback control structure is fixed.

As an educator, he collaborates with the faculty and students of the De La Salle University (DLSU), the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and the University of the Philippines (UP) to have a research network for complex systems like energy and disaster mitigation systems. In addition, he assists the Philippine Technological Council (PTC) in the development of criteria, procedures, policies and training materials for its bid to be a signatory of the Washington Accord (WA) like Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. The WA recognizes the accreditation of engineering, computing and engineering technology programs in the jurisdictions of the signatories as equivalent to each other. His assistance is rooted in his extensive experience as a program evaluator of the US-based Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), which is one of the originators of the WA. PTC membership in the WA will enable Filipino engineers to be recognized as having received engineering education equivalent to that of the WA signatories.

Dr. Cruz received his B.S. degree (summa cum laude) from the University of the Philippines (1953), his M.S. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1956), and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois (1959), all in electrical engineering. He is the former Dean of the Ohio State University College of Engineering. He is listed in Who’s Who in the World. He received the 2009 IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal, the highest IEEE award in engineering education. He is the author/coauthor of seven books and more than 300 articles in research journals and peer-reviewed conference proceedings.

On the other hand, Dr. Tan is recognized for his outstanding scientific research, teaching, advocacy and development work that demonstrate the usefulness of social scientific knowledge in advancing traditional medicine. He has consistently exerted efforts to revitalize scientific research on the use of traditional medicine, develop rational drug policies, understand the social and behavioral dimensions of HIV/AIDS prevention and promote reproductive health.  His social development advocacy and policy development works are founded on his scholarly works, which he sustain by ensuring that scientific knowledge is effectively communicated to various stakeholders including policy makers, community development workers, health professionals and the general public.

His most important studies include Philippine Anthropology in Post Anthropology Age, which explains how anthropology has evolved in the country and the new challenges faced by this social science in relation to nationhood and globalization, “Two Sides to Home: Cross Border Sexualities” from the edited volume of Globalization, Women, and Health in the 21st Century, which uses the Philippines to explain the complexities of sexual risks faced by overseas workers, shaped by gender norms that differ at home and abroad, and Traditional or Transitional Medical Systems? Pharmacotheraphy as a Case for Analysis, which questions labels like western and traditional as applied to medicine and emphasizes the need to look at how socio-historical factors shape perceptions on and in the use of pharmaceuticals. Aside from his authorship in many outstanding books and publications, he has also written more than 1000 articles in the column “Pinoy Kasi” of the Philippine Daily Inquirer since 1997.

His credentials earned him a number of awards for his excellence in the various fields of his expertise, which include, Takashi Fuji Award for Originality in Social Science Research by the International Federation of Social Science Organizations (1997), Best Column on Children by UNICEF and the Philippine Press Institute (2005, 2006), and the UP Centennial Professor Award (2009) by the University of the Philippines.

Dr. Tan obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of the Philippines (1977), his MA in Anthropology at the Texas A&M University (1982) and his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam (1996).

34th ASM awards the best in Philippine S&T

The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) honored the best in Philippine science and technology during the awarding ceremonies of the prestigious 34th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) held on 12 July 2012 at the Manila Hotel, Manila.

Leading the roster of awardees are the two newly-elected Academicians — Dr. Jose B. Cruz, Jr. (Electrical Engineering) and Dr. Michael L. Tan (Anthropology). In addition, Dr. Alfonso H. Albano (Physics) was honoured as a new Corresponding Member.

Ten scientists and researchers were awarded as this year’s Outstanding Young Scientists. They are Dr. Michelle Grace V. Paraso (Environmental Science) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Dr. Dindo Agustin A. Tabanao (Applied Plant Sciences) of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Dr. Wilfredo A. Dumale Jr. (Biological and Environmental Engineering) of the Nueva Vizcaya State University (NVSU), Dr. Thomas Edison E. Dela Cruz (Mycology) and Dr. Bernard John V. Tongol (Engineering – Applied Chemistry) of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), Dr. Marcos B. Valdez Jr. (Animal Genetics) and Dr. Derrick Ethelbhert C. Yu (Chemistry) of the De La Salle University (DLSU), Dr. Leslie Michelle M. Dalmacio (Molecular Biology and Biotechnology) of the UP Manila, Dr. Gemma Teresa T. Narisma (Atmospheric Science) of Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza (Economics) of Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

Dr. Jose Ernie C. Lope of UP Diliman bagged the award for the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Prize for Young Scientists in the Philippines. Dr. Virginia C. Cuevas of UPLB is the NAST-Hugh Greenwood Environmental Science awardee. The NAST Talent Search for Young Scientists award was given to Dr. Mario A. Tan of UST (First Prize), Dr. Dahlia C. Apodaca of UP Diliman (Second Prize) and Dr. Marcos B. Valdez Jr. of DLSU (Third Prize). The NAST – LELEDFI Award for Outstanding Research in Tropical Medicine was given to the “The Long-Term Impact of Population-Based Chemotheraphy on Infection, Transmission and Morbidity” of Dr. Remegio M. Olveda of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

The Outstanding Book Award was given to the “Compendium of the Economically Important Seashells in Panay, Philippines” published by the UP Press. The winning scientific papers are “The Indo-Pacific Gemmula species in the subfamily Turrinae: Aspects of field distribution, molecular phylogeny, redular antomy and feeding ecology” (Heralde et al), “Proto-ubiquitin: A Bayesian prediction of an ancient protein during the prokaryotic-eukaryotic transition” (Deocaris et al), “Mesoporous hybrid organosilica materials functionalized with biphenyl moiety” (Magdaluyo et al), “Household out-of-pocket health spending, health insurance coverage, and children’s school attendance in the Philippines” (Capuno et al)and “The functional specification of the wage-experience relationship and male wage inequality in the Philippines: A Decomposition Analysis” (Dacuycuy).

The six winning scientific posters were “Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) Technology for the Extension of Mango (Mangifera indica L.) Fruit Freshness” (Rocafort et al), “Evaluation of Polyethylenimine/Carrageenan Multi-layer for Antibacterial Activity of Pathogenic Bacteria” (Briones et al), “Genetic Identification of Selected Lactic Acid Bacteria and Structural Gene Elucidation of Their Bacteriocins” (Elegado et al), “Preparation and Characterization of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell based on Pt nanoparticles/Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)-poly(styrenesulfonate) on Fluorine-doped Tin Oxide as Counter Electrode Electrocatalyst” (Morenos et al), “Land Cover Change and Water Yield of Silang-Santa Rosa River Subwatershed, Laguna, Philippines” (Engay et al), “Diagnosis and Molecular Characterization of Trichomonas vaginalis in Sex Workers in the Philippines” (Rivera et al) and “Considering Farmers Preferences in Breeding and Dissemination of White Corn Varieties as Staple Food” (Labios et al). The scientific poster entitled “Land Cover Change and Water Yield of Silang-Santa Rosa River Subwatershed, Laguna, Philippines” (Engay et al) was also adjudged as the Best Poster Related to the Theme.

Secretary Rogelio L. Singson of the Department of Public Works and Highways led the roster of participants and speakers for the two-day ASM.

NAST PHL to hold its 34th ANNUAL SCIENTIFIC MEETING (ASM) themed Philippine Water 2050

The National Academy of Science and Technology, primary adviser to the Philippine government on S & T related matters, has chosen Philippine Water 2050 as the theme for its 34th Annual Scientific Meeting to be held on July 11-12, 2012 at the Manila Hotel.

The Philippines is relatively blessed with fresh water because of its average rainfall of 2400 mm. In 2005, with a population of 84.5 million and a theoretical annual renewable water supply of 479 billion cubic meters (BCM), per capita availability of water was 5690 m3, which was five times the figure of 1000 m3 per capita per year which is used for benchmarking global water scarcity. However the realizable available water supply is much below those theoretical estimates because only about 1/3 of the country’s river systems are classified as suitable sources of water supply and up to 58% of groundwater is contaminated with coliform and therefore requires further treatment (CEA for the Philippines, ADB 2004).

Even now 15.73 million Filipinos live in 212 waterless barangays in Metro Manila and in 432 waterless municipalities in the rest of the country without access to safe water supply (NEDA, 2011). Current projections indicate that water availability will be unsatisfactory in 8 out of 19 major river basins and in most major cities by 2025 (AWDO 2001, ADB).

In addition, concerns over water go beyond the need for access to clean, safe water for domestic consumption. Equally important are water-related needs relevant to (1) health and sanitation including sewerage and septage management, (2) food security and livelihoods, irrigation and drainage for agriculture and fisheries, (3) protection and management of watersheds and coastal seas for conservation of biodiversity and ecological sustainability, (4) for disaster mitigation i.e. drainage and flood control, and (5) energy security i.e. hydro-power generation.

The objectives of the ASM are:

* To assess the current and prospective water situation of the country by 2050

* To review water resources development plans for different regions and major urban centers by various departments/agencies for their respective subsectors

*To prepare a long-term research and development agenda for water

*To craft recommendations to the President, Congress, Executive Departments and Agencies responsible for water resources planning and development.

Organization of the 34th ASM is led by the Biological Sciences Division of NAST with Acd. Emil Q. Javier as chair and Acd. Guillermo Q. Tabios III of the Engineering Sciences and Technology Division as co-chair. To prepare for the ASM, the six divisions of NAST held round table discussions on the above mentioned topics.

NAST PHL ASM 2012 Guidelines for Abstracts Submission

CALL FOR PAPERS

FOR THE SCIENTIFIC POSTERS SESSION

National Academy of Science and Technology

34th Annual Scientific Meeting

11-12 July 2012; Manila, Philippines

Papers for the Scientific Posters Session on Agricultural Sciences, Biological Sciences, Chemical, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Engineering Sciences and Technology, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences are invited. The maximum number of posters to be presented by an author shall be limited to three (3) posters only, i.e., ONE (1) as MAJOR AUTHOR and TWO (2) as CO-AUTHOR. The papers must be (a) original or have not been presented in any other forum, events or competition, (b) minimum of undergraduate thesis, no highschool science projects or class laboratory experiments, and (c) no preliminary data.

 AUTHORS ARE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT THEIR ABSTRACTS at nast_scientificposter2012@yahoo.com NOT LATER THAN 15 JANUARY 2012.   ABSTRACTS SUBMITTED IN ANY OTHER MANNER SHALL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Please follow the Format specified below:

  • Typewritten in a 6” x 9” paper size with margins:  Top and Bottom = 1 inch and Right and Left = 0.75 inch
  • Font type – use Times New Roman
  • Title (centered, bold, upper and lower case, font size: 12)
  • Author(s) (centered, bold, upper and lower case, font size: 11); authors should use first full names; underline presenting author; indicate with asterisk corresponding author.
  • Affiliation and address (centered in upper and lower case, font size: 10); if authors come from different institutions indicate with superscripts respective affiliations. Address should be sufficient to enable interested parties to contact authors; including telephone, fax, and e-mail.
  • Abstract body (justified, font size: 11)
  • Keywords (justified in lower case)
  • Submit file in word format (1997-2003 version)

Guidelines in preparing extended abstracts

  1. Abstract should contain no more than 300 words.
  2. The introduction should give scope and purpose and should be 2-3 short sentences only.
  3. Describe experimental approach briefly.
  4. Give highlights of results; be quantitative, if possible or as the nature of the paper permits.
  5. Uncommon acronyms should be spelled out the first time they are used; if several acronyms are used, list them with their meanings at the end of abstract.
  6. Give major conclusions.
  7. Provide at least five keywords.
  8. Do not list references in abstract text or body.

Abstracts, which do not follow above format/guidelines, will be returned automatically to authors.

Please check the NAST website for updates on the guidelines and for the list of abstracts received for screening/evaluation. Authors of accepted/rejected abstracts will be notified via email starting 02 May 2012 and will be given further instructions on poster presentation. Please note that traditional poster shall be the standard entries to the 34th Annual Scientific Meeting Scientific Poster Session.

Filipino math wizards place 3rd overall in IMSO

The Philippine delegation placed third overall in the recently concluded 7th International Mathematics and Science Olympiad (IMSO) for Primary Schools held in Bali, Indonesia, 10-15 October.

The Filipinos got two gold medals courtesy of Farrell Eldrian Wu of MGC New Life Christian Academy (Taguig City) and Clyde Wesley Ang of Chiang Kai Shek College (Manila). The team was headed by Dr Simon Chua, president of the Mathematics Trainers Guild Philippines.

The team got a total of 19 medals (2 golds, 2 silvers and 15 bronzes) to land behind Thailand (5 G, 5 S and 1 B) and Indonesia (2 G, 8 S and 6 B).

Source: Hicap, JM. 2010. “RP math wizards win 19 medals in Indonesia.” In Manila Bulletin: National & Metro News Bulletin. 17 October 2010.