The Department of Science and Technology Regional Office No. VIII (DOST VIII) through its Provincial Science and Technology Office in Northern Samar, headed by its Regional Director, Engr. Ernesto M. Granada, leads the launching and turn-over of Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) project, entitled: "Science and Technology Interventions to Empower Selected Communities in the 1st District in Northern Samar" amounting to ₱1,095,000.00 on February 8, 2022. Dr. Ramil T. Uy, Senior Science Research Specialist of DOST VIII, provided a brief overview of the project. In collaboration with the Provincial Local Government of Northern Samar thru the active leadership and support of the Governor, Hon. Edwin Marino C. Ongchuan, with its counterpart of ₱800,000.00, will implement and manage to ensure the sustainability of the project to the deserving farmer associations.
Northern Samar is one of the 6 provinces in Eastern Visayas with its economy mainly focused in agriculture, particularly on rice as a staple food has this predicament on post-harvesting losses of drying palay due to its climatic conditions. The said project aims to provide solution to the rice farmers of the 1st District of Northern Samar and offer a fast, clean, safe, and convenient method of drying palay. The said project, utilizes a Filipino-invented technology called, Portasol, Multi-Purpose Grains Solar Speed Drying Trays. These are stackable set of aluminium thermal drying trays that can accommodate 150kg or 3 cavans of palay per drying session and can dry palay under direct sunlight for 12-18 hours. Thus, it is very timely and suitable to introduce the Portasol in areas such as Northern Samar, which has pronounced rainy season and is frequently hit by typhoons all year-round. The said project is a pilot project in Eastern Visayas that is expected to provide interventions in line with three (3) CEST Program entry points, namely: (1) Economic Development – provide thirty (30) sets of Portasols to ten (10) farmers' associations of 10 Municipalities of the 1st District of Northern Samar and to conduct technology transfer trainings on Portasol; (2) Disaster Risk Reduction – to eliminate the risk of road accidents caused by drying of palays occupying road pavements; and (3) Human Resource Development – to conduct scholarship caravans to students including the children of the farmer beneficiaries in the 1st District of Northern Samar and to encourage them to pursue S&T scholarships and careers in the future.
In closing, Provincial Science and Technology Director of DOST-PSTO Northern Samar, Engr. Veronica A. Laguitan, shared her thoughts on how technology places an important role in improving the quality of life and promoting transformation in the communities. She added that it may probably take some time to form the perspective on how Portasol can leverage to the advantage of the marginalized farmers. However small the step is, it is one step closer to success in uplifting the lives of the constituents in the people of Northern Samar.
The turn over cermony was also attended by the Mayor from Lavezares, Hon. Edito B. Saludaga, who also signified his interest in availing programs of DOST VIII in their municipality. Initial steps through meeting with the officials of the said municipality was scheduled immediately.