Homegrown experts join the panel discussion on Health Systems Response and Preparedness of the Visayas Regional Scientific Meeting. Top (L to R): Academician Carmencita Padilla – Member of NAST PHL Health Sciences Division and Session moderator; Dr. Bryan Albert Lim – Infectious Disease Consultant of Cebu’s Bayanihan Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities; Dr. Alice Joan Ferrer – Professor of Economics, University of the Philippines Visayas. Bottom (L to R): Hon. Mayor Vivian Alvarez – Municipality of Oras, Eastern Samar; and Dr. Ma. Sophia Pulmones – Head of the Local Health Support Division, DOH Western Visayas Center for Health Development. (Photo: NAST PHL)

 

The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Offices in the Visayas, conducted the first-ever virtual Regional Scientific Meeting (RSM) on April 13-14, 2021. The Visayas RSM is the first of the three regional scientific meetings to be conducted in preparation for the 43rd Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM), which will be held on July 12-15, 2021.

This year’s Regional Scientific Meeting was anchored on the theme, “COVID-19 Pandemic: Learning from the Past, Coping with the Present, and Moving to the Next.” The two-day event was organized by the NAST PHL and hosted by the DOST Regional Office VII.

NAST PHL President Academician Rhodora V. Azanza opened the program and welcomed the guests coming from different government agencies and private sectors from all over the Visayas region. It was followed by a special message from Secretary Fortunato T. De La Peña of the Department of Science and Technology and a keynote message from Dr. Jaime S. Bernadas of the Department of Health Central Visayas Center for Health Development. Mr. Samuel A. Parcon, the OIC Regional Director of the DOST Regional Office VII presented the programs and activities initiated by the Department of Science and Technology at the regional level.

In this year’s RSM, the plenary sessions focused on six (6) priority areas namely: connections of food, environment, and health; viral evolution, dynamics, and modeling interventions; systems approach to address present-day hazards; educating for our future and retrieving the                 COVID-19 generation; balancing health and the economy; and health systems response and preparedness.

The intensive and engaging panel discussions were then followed by the presentation of the resolutions. Acd. Eufemio T. Rasco Jr., chair of the Resolutions Committee, put forward the resolutions determined by the committee composed of regional directors from DOST Regions VI, VII, and VIII.

Regional Director Efren B. Carreon of the National Economic and Development Authority Region VII responded by saying that the resolutions were comprehensive and notably covers the five areas of emphasis of the updated Midterm Philippine Development Plan, which emphasizes on food security, food sufficiency, health systems improvement, digital transformation, regional development through the Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program, and learning continuity.

On behalf of Secretary Michael Lloyd L. Dino, Atty. Lessandro B. Maraon, the Head Executive Assistant of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) presented the response of their office. He expressed the support of OPAV on initiatives that would optimize our resources on disaster proofing. He added that the Philippines with a handful of brilliant Filipinos can definitely come up with its own studies, measures, and technologies that can effectively equip us should another pandemic come in the future.

Part of the activity was the awarding of the Best Scientific Poster. For this year, two (2) special awards were given, which include the People’s Choice Award and Engagement Award. Both were awarded to the poster entitled “Antimicrobial Activity of Nipa and Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles in Textile: Solving the Scarcity Using Local Resources” which was authored by Karina Milagros R. Cui-Lim, Flyndon Mark S. Dagalea, Judy Ann H. Brensis, Nelia Adora, and Cherry I. Ultra.

For the Best Scientific Poster Awards:

The Best Scientific Poster was bagged by the poster entitled “Development of an Offline Learning Mobile Application for Qualitative Research Subject for Learning Continuity Utilizing Unity Gaming Engine” authored by Mr. Bryant C. Acar.

The 2nd place was awarded to the poster entitled “Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic to the Livelihood and Well-being of Artisanal Fishing Communities in the Province of Aklan, Western Visayas, Philippines” authored by Ronald J. Maliao, Beverly Jaspe, Elize Margareth C. Sibulan, Leah Katrine A. Bayog, Dean P. Regalado, Pepito R. Fernandez, and Rodelio F. Subade.

3rd place was awarded to the poster entitled “Development of Automated Contact Tracing System (ACTS)” authored by Alex C. Bacalla, Czarina Ancella G. Gabi, James Brian Flores, and Arman M. Masangkay.

Winners of the Best Scientific Poster award will receive, Php 5,000.00 for the 1st prize; Php 3,000.00 for the 2nd Prize; and Php 2,000.00 for the 3rd Prize.

As the program concluded, OIC Regional Director Parcon turned over the hosting of the RSM to Regional Director Engr. Rowen R. Gelonga of DOST Western Visayas. As he accepted the hosting of the next Visayas RSM, Engr. Gelonga highlighted the archipelagic nature of the Visayas, which makes mobility and transport of goods of services different from the other island groups. He also expressed high hopes to “physically” host and welcome participants for Visayas RSM 2022.

In the coming weeks, the NAST PHL will also be conducting the Regional Scientific Meeting in Mindanao on April 27-28 and in Luzon on May 11-12. The Regional Scientific Meetings conducted by NAST PHL in partnership with the DOST Regional Offices is in support of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration’s thrust of bringing science and technology closer to the regions. (by Dayien T. Lizada – DOST VII/ Ryan John P. Pascual – NAST PHL)