Upgraded cold chain facility inaugurated in Benguet
(From left, front row) La Trinidad Mayor Hon. Romeo K. Salda, Benguet Governor Hon. Melchor D. Diclas, DOST Undersecretary for Research & Development Dr. Leah J. Buendia, DOST-ITDI Director Dr. Annabelle V. Briones, and DOST-CAR Regional Director Dr. Nancy A. Bantog led the inauguration of the facility.
La Trinidad, Benguet – Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Provincial Local Government Unit of Benguet inaugurated the upgraded Benguet Cold Chain (BCC) with a newly installed packaging line and cold storage chambers yesterday at Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet.
Benguet Governor Hon. Melchor D. Diclas, DOST Undersecretary for Research & Development Dr. Leah J. Buendia, La Trinidad Mayor Hon. Romeo K. Salda, PLGU-Benguet Provincial Agriculturist Ms. Delinia Juan, DOST-ITDI Director Dr. Annabelle V. Briones, and DOST-CAR Regional Director Dr. Nancy A. Bantog led the inauguration of the facility.
The DOST has provided PhP 8.4M worth of equipment for the packaging line as well as appropriate capability-building activities for the BCC stakeholders. Likewise, the Benguet PLGU allotted P6.2M for the building renovations to house this collaborative project.
The joint project is under the DOST’s Smart Food Value Chain Program for the New Normal which aims to upgrade the capability of existing distribution centers/trading posts in the delivery of fresh and semi-processed agricultural products through the application of appropriate packaging technology and delivery system.
Governor Diclas reported that every peak season, Benguet produced over a million kilos of vegetables but post-harvest losses remain a problem for highland farmers.
DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr., in his virtual message, explained that “loses can be significantly reduced with an appropriate packaging system and post-harvest technologies.”
With this upgraded facility, Benguet Farmers can now produce packed fresh, semi-processed, and ready-to-eat highland vegetables.
Usec. Buendia hopes that the project will be in full operation towards the middle of the year generating additional income for the Benguet farmers and decreasing post-harvest losses by at least 20%.
“This project supports the modernization of the Benguet vegetable industry by providing upgraded multi-cold chain services,” said Director Briones.
DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang also explained that “this project demonstrates the Agency’s support to smart farming with the focus to leverage advance technology along the value chain.”
Meanwhile, DOST-CAR Regional Director Dr. Nancy A. Bantog encouraged farmers and stakeholders to patronized and maximize the facility. “Be ambassadors to the farmers by informing them the benefits of this facility and how it impacts on their vegetable produce,” she added.
Ms. Elizabeth Joy Punasen of Reaping Farm Fresh Corporation and one of the BCC stakeholders expressed her gratitude to DOST for identifying Benguet farmers as beneficiaries of the project. “I urge BCC stakeholders to support this initiative and work towards in making it a reality,” she added.
Present also to witness the inauguration were project consultants Ms. Daisy Tañafranca and Engr. Menandro Ortega, BCC Manager Ms. Shellanie Molitas, Project Leader Engr. Ericson T. Nolasco, Benguet Board Member Hon. Ruben E. Paoad, Owner of Haight Farm Ms. Harriet Haight Albon, DOST-CAR ARD-TS Dr. Pepita S. Picpican, DOST-Benguet Provincial Director Dr. Sheila Marie Singa-Claver, and BCC stakeholders.//MLFerrer
1,825 aspiring scholars take on the 2023 DOST-SEI Scholarship exam in CAR
1,825 aspirants in the Cordillera Administrative Region took the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) Undergraduate Scholarship Examination on March 18-19, 2023.
The DOST-SEI’s pen-and-paper examination is back in determining future science scholars in the country. For the past two years, examinations were put to a halt due to safety concerns brought about by the pandemic. Qualifiers were selected through model-based data analytics of proxy indicators ensuring the continuous provision of scholarships by the institution.
This year, the DOST-CAR and the Provincial S&T Offices joined in the nationwide conduct of the exams. Seven testing centers spread around CAR were put in place to cater to young hopefuls from the six (6) provinces. This examination will determine the fresh batch of scholars that will add up to the 1,698 ongoing undergraduate S&T scholars supported in the region.
Qualifiers will be awarded the scholarship this Academic Year 2023-2024 as they enter their first year in college. The scholars are expected to take S&T priority courses as their undergraduate degree. Furthermore, they are to enrol in state universities and colleges or in private institutions recognized by the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) as centers of development and centers of excellence or as accredited by the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP) with a Level III certification.
Scholars will also benefit from tuition fee subsidies of up to P40,000 per academic year, monthly stipends of P7,000, learning materials/connectivity allowance of P5,000 per semester, health insurance, clothing allowance, transportation allowance, thesis and graduation allowance on top of other non-monetary S&T learning assistance.
The list of qualifiers for the 2023 DOST-SEI Undergraduate Scholarship Program will be published on the DOST-SEI website https://www.sei.dost.gov.ph/ and in leading national newspapers sometime in June 2023.
128 additional examinees in the region are also vying for scholarships offered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s (OWWA) Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) and the Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program (CMWSP). The OWWA is a rider of the DOST-SEI Undergraduate Scholarship Examination for the selection of its scholars.
Rizal Corn Producers to Benefit from SciTech Interventions
The Department of Science and Technology-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOST-CAR) through its Provincial Science and Technology Office (PSTO)– Kalinga turned over a Compact Corn Mill with Elevator to Alibangbang Farmers Association Inc. on March 13, 2023 at Liwan West, Rizal, Kalinga.
Alibangbang Farmers Association Inc. is a Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-registered association located at Brgy. Liwan West, Rizal, Kalinga. Established in 2015, the association is composed of 30 members with corn production as their main source of income. Their produce are often sold to consolidators for feed production. However, the considerably low farmgate prices coupled with the high cost of farm inputs, intensive labor requirements, and abrupt increase of other expenses jeopardize their operation resulting to limited revenue.
Hence, through the project entitled “S&T Intervention for the Establishment of Corn Milling Facility for the Corn Producing Areas in Rizal” funded under Local Grants-in-Aid, a tripartite collaboration with the Local Government Unit of Rizal, Kalinga, seeks to establish a sustainable processing facility for the production of corn meal and grits both for human and animal consumption.
The Compact Corn Mill developed by Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) which is awarded as one of the Outstanding Creative Research during the 2016 DOST National Invention Contest and Exhibit, and 2015 DOST Regional Invention Contest and Exhibit, was provided to the organization along with other S&T interventions such as capacity building-training, laboratory analysis, label designs, and packaging materials and equipment.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA, the total corn production in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) was estimated at 99,103.68 metric tons in the second (2nd) quarter of 2022 with Kalinga partaking 29 percent share and has the second highest contribution next to Ifugao. In Kalinga, Rizal is one of the top producers of corn utilized both for industrial and household consumption.
With the equipment’s high milling efficiency and minimal product losses and all other SciTech interventions provided, this flagship crop of the municapility will be transformed into value-added products, potential for economic development.
Additionally, backyard hog raising is also one of the prominent source of income in the community. With this project, the high prices of commercial feeds which usually restrict the income of the raisers will be addressed, since the processed corn can be used as supplemental feeds.//KIMartinez
Municipal Agriculture Officer, Engr. Nasser Rey C. Juan (3rd from left), along with the other personnel from the Municipal Agriculture Office, witness the turnover of equipment to Alibangbang Farmers Association Inc.
Scholar-aspirants undergo review sessions before the DOST scholarship exams
In an effort to prepare students for the upcoming 2023 DOST-SEI Undergraduate Scholarship Examination on March 18-19, 2023, a review was conducted by the Department of Science and Technology-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOST-CAR) last March 4 and 11, 2023. This aimed to help students refine their knowledge of various scientific concepts and increase their chances of securing the DOST scholarship.
A team of experienced S&T educators from the Philippine Science High School-Cordillera Administrative Region (PSHS-CAR) led the two-day review. On the first day, Special Science Teachers, Ms. Bethany V. Magno and Mr. Jimvileo P. Quesada covered key topics in English and Mathematics, respectively while Ms. Mayla Fangayen and Ms. Roxanne Joy L. Doyayag highlighted common pointers in Science and Mechanical-technical reasoning on the 2nd day. They also provided strategies and valuable insights into the examination process.
According to one of the mentors, Ms. Fangayen—a DOST scholar-graduate, the review was essential to ensure that students are adequately prepared for the examination. She was grateful for the opportunity to impart knowledge and is optimistic for the reviewees. "I am very happy that there is an opportunity like this for the youth nowadays, and hope that many, if not all of the examinees, will pass and be granted the scholarship they deserve," she said.
The two-day review was well-attended, with over 957 student hopefuls nationwide mostly from the STEM strand participating. The sessions were conducted through a hybrid setup where virtual participants attended via online platforms while Provincial S&T Offices in the CAR hosted students without internet access.
Many of the students expressed their appreciation for the chance to improve their aptitude and skills. "Not only did I learn and familiarize myself with key concepts but I was able to know lots of tips to be a better examinee," said Ms. Jessilou L. Amoggao. "The teachers were very smart and I admire how hard concepts were taught in simpler ways that would help us answer in a short time," she added.
The DOST-SEI scholarship examination is a highly sought-after opportunity for high-achieving students who want to pursue further S&T education in the country. By providing review sessions such as these, DOST-CAR aspires to level the playing field and give all students an equal opportunity to excel.//RJBonilla
Screenshots of the review sessions for the upcoming 2023 DOST-SEI Scholarship Examination last March 4 (1st photo) and 11, 2023 (2nd photo).