CEBU CITY – About 585 scientists, technologists, S&T professionals and experts residing abroad were contracted to return to the Philippines to work and use their expertise under the “Balik Scientists” program (BSP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) since 1975-2017 to improve and strengthen the country’s S&T human resources and education at the countryside.

DOST-7 regional director Edilberto Paradela told Manila Bulletin that the Balik Scientist program was established in 1975 that aims to strengthen the country’s scientific and technological human resources of academic, public and private institutions.

Paradela said the BSP encourages these experts to share their knowledge to hasten the flow of technologies and stimulate the development of new or strategically important technologies vital to national development and progress.

According to Engr. Mario Dela Pena, DOST-Siquijor Provincial director that since 1975 up to December 2017, the Philippines has had a total of 585 Balik Scientists enrolled in the program and DOST-7 targeted 41 Balik Scientists in 2018 and plans to increase this number by three each year until 2022, Dela Pena said.

Balik Scientist in Siquijor’s 1st interactive science museum

During the first interactive science museum in Siquijor on November 27 to December 10, 2018, Professor Cora Salumbides, a DOST Balik Scientist Awardee and Scientist-in-Residence of the Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology (PFST) introduced the Laboratory in a Box (Lab Box).

According to Dela Pena, Salumbides introduced the microscale technique in teaching Chemistry and General Science which uses the “Laboratory in a Box” (Lab Box) in a one-day hands-on training to 35 teachers chosen by the DepEd Division of Siquijor.

“Salumbides thru the PFST in coordination and partnerships with DOST, DepEd and LGU-Siquijor

brought the “Hands-on, Minds-on Microscale Chemistry” (HOMOMICH) in a Lab Box that can be used not only in Chemistry, but also in teaching and learning General Science concepts,” Dela Pena explained.

The Lab Box is designed that will allow the teacher to easily carry it from one classroom to another and One Tool kit can be used in teaching 50 students, Dela Pena added.

HOMOMICH/Lab Box is a creative approach in teaching Science that challenges students while enjoying different interactive activities. The box contains minute quantities of chemicals that are not hazardous to the students and the environment and could last for three (3) years, Dela Pena said.

Dela Pena cited that institutionalizing the Balik Scientist Program would be a huge help to encourage more S&T experts to come back to the country. Dela Pena also hopes that more interactive science museums are conducted in communities and districts to assist more students and teachers in the provinces nationwide. (source: MINERVA BC NEWMAN,