26 May 2023


Benguet, Philippines - The iSTART Stakeholders Consultation Meeting held on May 22-23, 2023, at the Agricultural Training Institute - CAR marked a significant milestone in the pursuit of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) development in Benguet. The Department of Science and Technology – CAR (DOST-CAR), in collaboration with the Provincial Science and Technology Office of Benguet (PSTO-Benguet), spearheaded the 2-day activity to pre-identify technology gaps, assess the STI readiness of Local Government Units (LGUs), and gather relevant data to craft an STI provincial plan.

DOST-CAR Regional Director Dr. Nancy A. Bantog, in her message, highlighted the importance of collective action from the key stakeholders in driving sustainable development. She emphasized the important role of STI planning in the overall development of smart communities.

Mr. John Tamor and Ms. Margarette Faye U. Bito of the lead implementing agency, DOST-Caraga, served as the resource speakers during the activity. Their expertise and insights provided valuable guidance to the participants in enriching the discussions on STI development strategies and initiatives.

Representatives from various sectors, including National Government Agencies (NGAs), academe, private institutions, and Local Government Units (LGUs) of Benguet presented their ongoing STI efforts and highlighted the challenges faced by their respective offices. These presentations fostered a comprehensive understanding of the STI landscape in Benguet and allowed for the identification of potential areas for collaboration and resource optimization.

The event served as a platform for fruitful discussions, knowledge sharing, and networking among stakeholders. It laid the groundwork for partnerships and collaborations that will drive STI development and innovation in Benguet, ultimately contributing to the province's sustainable growth.

DOST-CAR Assistant Regional Director for Field and Operations, Engr. Angel Maguen, remarked in his message the significance of the insights shared during the meeting. He encouraged the stakeholders to translate the outcomes of the consultation into actionable strategies and initiatives that would contribute to the development of an effective STI provincial plan.

This meeting in Benguet was a resounding success, empowering stakeholders to actively contribute to the formulation of an STI provincial plan. With the collective efforts of the stakeholders, Benguet is ready to unlock its full potential in STI. Through continued collaboration and proactive engagement, the province may create a vibrant ecosystem that drives economic growth, enhances quality of life, and secures a brighter future for its residents.

The iSTART Program, which stands for "Innovation, Science, and Technology for Accelerating Regional Technology-based Development," supports balanced development geographically by accelerating regional growth through science, technology, and innovation.

Looking ahead, the iSTART stakeholders consultation will continue its journey in the CAR. The next consultation is set to take place in Kalinga on May 30-31, 2023. Benguet and Kalinga have been identified as the two provinces to pilot the iSTART program in the region, reflecting the commitment of DOST-CAR to extend STI opportunities across the region.