On the quest to provide excellence through scientific, technological, and innovative solutions for the betterment of the quality of lives in the people in the region, a team from DOST VIII led by the Regional Director, Engr. Ernesto M. Granada, took an expedition on 8 February 2023 to the beautiful province of Northern Samar, home to one of the most famous rock formations, island beaches, and historical sites & churches in Eastern Visayas. Together with the Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) Team headed by Dr. Ramil T. Uy, CEST Focal and Regional Coordinator, and the Provincial Science and Technology Office (PSTO) in Northern Samar headed by Engr. Veronica A. Laguitan, Provincial S&T Coordinator, a successful and productive project visit was conducted to some of the recent projects and launching of a new project in Northern Samar. This regional project visit is the first among the six provinces in the region to be conducted.
The 1st day was topped with a press conference during the arrival of the DOST VIII team at the province with local media representatives from the Philippine Information Agency and private local media from TJFM and Radyo Pilipinas 106.1 FM of Northern Samar stations. Current and relevant projects, as well as the purpose of the visit in the province of Northern Samar were disseminated through the media while conversing with RD Ernesto M. Granada. RD Granada responded to the pressing issues and concerns, especially on how the Nortehanons can pursue and avail the different DOST services for their benefit.
The DOST VIII team then proceeded to its 1st stop project visit: a 2-time SETUP beneficiary named Roma’s Machine Shop, owned by Mr. Marlon S. Tolentino located at Brgy Macagras, Catarman, Northern Samar. Before its 1st availment, Roma’s Machine Shop works on specializing in engineering rebuilding services (overhauling engines) where its equipment mostly manual. In 2017, the firm availed SETUP assistance to acquire Crankshaft Grinding Machine to open its services for crankshaft grinding in the area. Through its 1st SETUP intervention with Manufacturing Productivity Extension Program (MPEX) and Machine Shop Operations Training by DOST- Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) provided by DOST, the firm was able to increase its employment by three (3), increased income by sales at 50%, and more customer accommodated with faster services with the new machine provided. In 2022, the firm was able to re-avail DOST-SETUP interventions for the acquisition of a Cylinder Head/Block Surface Grinder Honing Machine which enables the firm to fully mechanize all process and hasten machining period and improve output quality through precision machining.
As one of the highlights of the visit, the DOST VIII team headed by Regional Director, Engr, Ernesto M. Granada, successfully launched the CEST project and turn-over of funds with the Provincial Local Government of Northern Samar, through the leadership of the Governor, Hon. Edwin Marino C. Ongchuan, of the project entitled, "Science and Technology Interventions to Empower Selected Communities in the 1st District in Northern Samar" amounting to ₱1,095,000.00. The said project aims to utilize the Filipino-invented technology called as Portasol, Multi-Purpose Grains Solar Speed Drying Trays, which 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. This project is said to address the predicament of rice farmers on post-harvesting losses of drying palay due to the rainy seasonal conditions of the province under Type II climate. Thirty (30) units of Portasol will be provided to 10 selected farmers associations from the municipalities of Allen, Biri, Bobon, Catarman, Lavezares, Mondragon, Rosario, and San Jose of the 1st District of Northern Samar as a pilot project of the said technology. In collaboration with the Provincial Local Government of Northern Samar, with its counterpart of ₱800,000.00, will implement and manage the project to deserving farmer associations thru the Provincial Agriculture Office. Moreover, Hon. Edito B. Saludaga, Mayor of Lavezares, signified its interest in availing programs of DOST VIII in their municipality.
The 2nd day of the project visit started with a Live Radio Broadcast guesting of DOST VIII Regional Director, Engr. Granada, through a local media segment, “Punto for Punto” of Radyo Pilipinas 106.1 FM Northern Samar. The radio hosts Tito “Joy” G. Amor, and Danny T. Balading, joined the director in a healthy discourse on the different DOST VIII services, programs and projects in Northern Samar, and other questions about the purpose of the visit of DOST VIII in the province. The said guesting also accommodated live questions from the public through the FB Live of the show, more on how to avail DOST’s services such as SETUP availment, community programs through CEST, undergraduate scholarship concerns, among others.
Following the said activity, the DOST VIII team headed straight to its one of the award-winning CEST projects in the far-flung Brgy. Calantiao, Bobon, Northern Samar, among its National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) projects. The team was warmly welcomed by the Vice Mayor of Bobon, Hon. Ligaya Tagros-Uy, Barangay Chairperson, Hon. Nilda A. Sapatos, LGU officials, and DepEd teachers at the Calantiao Elementary School. The said barangay is a recipient of one (1) unit of S&T Academic and Research-Based Openly-Operated Kiosk Stations or STARBOOKs at the Calantiao Elementary School which was the first site visited in the area. A short-encounter with the pupils and demonstration of the STARBOOKs turned out to be very lively and happy. Indeed, what a moment to capture with the genuine laugh and smiles of the pupils, the DOST VIII team, and the LGU officials. The brief moment was cut shortly to proceed to the next site, the Water Purification System component of the project. This part of the project is said to address the health issues of unwanted contaminants and waterborne diseases in drinking water in the barangay. Furthermore, the team stopped by the next component of the project, the Local Impeller Rice Mill equipment. It is reported that the said equipment greatly helped in reducing the expenses for processing palay, particularly in milling and transportation expenses by 76% per sack of rice and provided additional income to the farm workers at the rice mill facility. Now, the farmers and the residents do not have to worry on going to the town proper to access these resources for convenience. Adhering to its mission, DOST VIII continues to support the development of the community in Brgy. Calantiao and in other far-flung barangays that need its programs and services, bringing science closer to the people with the hashtags, #ScienceForThePeople and #OneDOST4U.
Apart from the project visits, the DOST VIII team had a quick visit at the Pasalubong Center located at the Provincial Capitol of Northern Samar which sells local souvenir products such as home decors, native delicacies, and a lot more. The Pasalubong Center provides a strategic avenue especially for DOST-SETUP beneficiary products which significantly boosts their market and profitability.
With the project visit on its final stop, the DOST VIII team headed to the 2nd SETUP project: Ronver Enterprises located at Barangay Mabolo, Catarman, Northern Samar. The firm’s proprietor, Ms. Glenda G. Montera, now offering full sublimation printing services, the first of its kind in Northern Samar, started with a small shop with printed shirts, tarpaulins, mugs, fans, plaques, and lanyards. With the acquisition of large-format printer and high-end dye sublimation printer, the firm now accommodates large volumes of orders from customers. Through these developments, the firm was able to afford an additional sublimation printer, direct-to-film printer, generator set, and 5 units of sewing machines, and hire sixteen employees with its revenue.
DOST VIII remains committed in its mission to spearhead scientific, technological, and innovation efforts and ensuring that these will result to maximum socio-economic benefits to the people of Eastern Visayas. As Provincial S&T Director, Engr. Veronica A. Laguitan, quotes, “However small the step is, it is one step closer to success in uplifting the lives of the constituents of the people in Northern Samar”, which also applies to the people of the whole region. To achieve this, a series of project visits are laid out this year to follow through with this accomplishment to the remaining provinces in the region.