Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Brazil stands out in 23rd Siargao International Surfing Cup

By John Glenn A. Platil

SURIGAO CITY, Oct. 3 (PIA) – As the over-all winner of this year’s International Surfing Tournament, Raoni Monteiro of Brazil bagged a total of $12,000 prize money, on top of free airfare from Siargao to his next destination, courtesy of Skyjet Airlines.

Monteiro gladly and proudly received the award on September 28, 2017.

According to Steve Robertson, general manager of the World Surfing League, Brazil gave wide publicity to Cloud 9, which was also beautifully featured in other countries.

“For the first time in history, thousands of surfing fanatics tuned in, completely fascinated by the enormous coverage accorded to Siargao by foreign media all over the world,” said Robertson.

Costa Rica’s Tomas King placed second and received a $6,000 prize; trailing behind were Nic von Rupp of Portugal and Lucca Mesinas Novaro of Peru, scoring third and received $4,000 each.

Siargao’s very own Piso Alcala, together with Kiron Jabour of Hawaii, Mitchell Parkinson of Australia and Cristobal de Col of Peru shared the fifth place, and each received a $2,000 prize.

Ranking 9th, Mitchell James of Australia, Jhonny Corzo of Mexico, Nelso Cloarec of France and Andy Criere of Spain received their respective $1,500 prize.

John Mark Tokong of the Philippines, Blake Thornton, Nick Callister and Riley Laing of Australia received $1,250 each as they ranked 13th.

It should be noted that the international tilt was upgraded to a QS3,000 event from a QS1,500, the highest recorded point-scoring grade in recent memory.

World Surf League officials who supported the life-changing event were Will Hayden-Smith, Sam Norwood, Misha Robb, Tom Bennett, Tom Chaminade, Mark Clift, Chris Binns, Steve Robertson, Daichi Uda, Jon Hayman, Kye Angel, John Shimooka, and Brad Gerlach. (PGO-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


Filipino-developed plant food supplement wins Japanese excellence award

By Hans Joshua V. Dantes

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 3 – A research team from the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) bagged the 2017 Excellent Research Team of the Year Award by the Japan-based Forum for Nuclear Cooperation in Asia (FNCA). The team was awarded for developing the Plant Food Supplement (PFS) through the successful use of radiation technology.

The Japanese government recognized the project for its great potential in helping spur the development of Philippine agriculture and attaining food security. It is also eyed to help mitigate the effects of El Niño and climate change that ravage farmlands in the countryside.

The research team was led by Career Scientist Dr. Lucille Abad, who heads DOST-PNRI’s Chemistry Research Section. With just 3.2 liters per hectare of water mixed with the right proportion of the PFS, the formulation was proven effective in increasing the yield of rice, mungbean, and other crops by over 20 percent.

Field tests also showed that rice applied with PFS had improved resistance against tungro bacilliform virus and bacterial leaf blight. Further, fields sprayed with PFS had higher survival rate after a violent storm compared with nearby fields that had no PFS.

PFS are developed from natural polymers such as carrageenan, a common industrial ingredient extracted from seaweeds. Irradiation degrades polymers to form natural bioactive agents that can improve the health and increase the growth and yield of various crops. The carrageenan used for the PFS was irradiated at PNRI’s state-of-the-art electron beam irradiation facility in Diliman, Quezon City, which is the first facility of its kind in the country dedicated to semi-commercial services.

After successful field experiments on rice, which proved the advantages of and benefits from FPS, the PFS project was officially launched in November 2015. The following month, DOST started the widespread testing of PFS in Luzon, Panay Island, Zamboanga, and Davao.

As such, PNRI produced several tons of PFS for field test purposes and these were applied to thousands of hectares of ricefields in selected provinces of Regions 2 and 3, specifically in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, Ilagan, Isabela and in Pulilan, Bulacan.

The development of the formula began under a cooperative project with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) back in 2009. The PFS project was funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources (PCAARRD) while the field trials were co-implemented by Dr. Gil Magsino of the National Crop Protection Center (NCPC) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños.

The research team’s achievements will be presented at the 18th FNCA Ministerial Level Meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan on October 11, 2017. The FNCA is a Japan-led cooperation framework for peaceful applications of nuclear technology. Among the participating countries are Australia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. (DOST-PNRI/PIA-Caraga)


AEWs profiling to strengthen DA extension services

By Vanessa P. Sanchez

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 3 – Agriculture is oneof the major players in the Philippine economy. In 2015, the agricultural sector had a nine percent share in the 2015 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Meanwhile, agricultural extension is important in facilitating technology transfer to boost production and income of the farmers. This service used to be under the Department of Agriculture (DA), but with the full implementation of the Local Government Code of 1991 or Republic Act 7160 in June 1992, it was transferred to the Local Government Units (LGUs).

With this, the DA was left with limited control over the agriculture extension workers (AEWs), who are on the frontline of extending agricultural services to the farmers and other stakeholders.

Based Dr. Tito Contado’s Country Report of Decentralization of Agricultural Service Delivery, the devolution of agricultural extension services faced a number of challenges such as limited number of AEWs, as well as limitation in their mobility due to shortage of operational funds for travelling of LGUs.

Contado was a former professor in the University of the Philippines Los Baños

Considering this problem, DA will profile the existing AEWs to determine and assess the gaps, issues and experiences of the LGUs, with regard to delivering extension services to the agricultural sector. It will also assess various extension activities relative to the Research and Development Regulatory System. By profiling the AEWs, DA hopes to better its services and provide a more effective extension delivery system.

“The information will help the national government to determine and address the logistical and technical needs of the AEWs, to equip them so they can better serve the public,” DA Caraga Field Operations Division Chief Rebecca Atega said.

“Strengthening the extension services will maximize agricultural production while minimizing production costs, which will eventually lead to attaining the department’s mission of food security and sufficiency,” she added.

For Caraga, a total of 740 AEWs and 107 Local Farmer Technicians (LFTs) were targeted for profiling. All LGUs undertaking agriculture and fishery extension services, particularly all municipal, city, and provincial agriculture and veterinary Offices will be covered by the profiling activity. (DA-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


DTI reminds Surigao biz owners on ICC/PS policy for imported cement
 
SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Oct. 3 – The provincial office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Surigao del Norte reminded all concerned establishments and individuals regarding the new policy on Import Clearance Certificate/Product Standard (ICC/PS) for imported cement.

Provincial Director Celestino Negapatan said that under the new guidelines for mandatory certification of portland cement and blended hydraulic cement with pozzolan, only cements sourced from foreign manufacturing plants holding a valid Philippine Standard (PS) License, shall be permitted to be imported into the country.

All cement importations shall also be required of an Import Commodity Clearance (ICC), except those imported by cement manufacturers with an operating Integrated Cement Plants (ICP) in the Philippines.

Negapatan also said that importations with PS Licenses issued under DAO 4:2008 shipped prior to the effectivity of DAO 17-02:2017 or on April 12, and which arrived in Philippine ports no later than 15 days from said date, are exempted for the ICC requirement.

Royal cement, for example, which was manufactured in July 2017, should already bear the ICC sticker and the PS mark.

He also reminded concerned establishments not to accept nor sell any imported cement that do not comply with the ICC requirement.

The consuming public was also encouraged to be vigilant and to report non-compliance committed by the establishments to DTI Surigao del Norte Provincial Office. (DTI-Surigao del Norte/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


AASSA-NAST PHL calls for synergy among researchers, scientists and stakeholders

BUTUAN CITY, Oct 2 (PIA) – The international symposium organized by the Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA) and the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), supported by the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Philippines held in Tagaytay City, has called for collaboration among scientists, researchers, private and public sectors to produce tangible results from the different scientific researches through translational research.

Dr. Michael Barber, a member of the expert panel of the IAP, emphasized the importance of cognitive diversity, collaboration, and engagement of researchers with policy makers for the success of translational research. According to him, science in the academies can affect the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He challenged the science community to think about how science advice can be translated to mechanisms, framework, and tools for the attainment of the SDGs.

AASSA President, Dr. Yoo Hang Kim, said that the disconnection between and among basic science researchers, implementers, and end users must be addressed through translational research. He encouraged the researchers to put prime consideration to the end users of the study. Relevance of research is important in integrating translational research to societal policies.

During the two-day activity, topics related to translational research were tackled, such as metrics for success, communications strategy, financing mechanism, agriculture and biological sciences, translational research through science and engineering education, translational research in health, social sciences, and policy.

Experts from different parts of Asia, including the Philippines, and Australia presented the results of their studies, including the challenges they faced in making their projects successful. They emphasized the importance of synergy and collaboration in the process. Different strategies were also presented on how to best communicate science.

Resolutions summarizing the recommendations of the AASSA-NAST PHL International Symposium were presented to DOST Secretary Fortunato T. De La Peña by the AASSA President Dr. Yoo Hang Kim and NAST Philippines Academician William G. Padolina during the closing ceremonies of the international symposium.

In response, Secretary de la Peña elaborated that a scientist alone cannot do the full translation of research. The support of other stakeholders, in public and private sector, is very important. The communication of research results in an appropriate and timely manner will make its utilization possible.

AASSA-NAST PHL International Workshop recommended 6 action points for science academies and their networks that include (1) formulating and developing strategies on how member academies can share and learn from best practices in research translation; (2) promoting and supporting multi- and trans-disciplinary research to realize real and holistic impacts on the community; (3) advocating and supporting ethics and scientific robustness in the conduct of research; (4) communicating in an appropriate and timely manner to all key stakeholders the available knowledge or technologies from researches for their utilization; (5) training and mentoring young talents on research translation by providing innovative platforms for learning and development, including mobility among academies; and (6) promoting collaborative initiatives among academies to help in the attainment of the SDGs.

For higher educational institutions, it was recommended that the teaching of research translation in science and technology be imbedded in STEM degree programs, as a critical link to the supply chain of new concepts, devices and systems.

On the other hand, funding agencies should recognize and support technology transfer as a critical step in the process of research and development, either through adoption and commercialization by the private sector or deployment by mandated government agencies as part of national and local programs.

Lastly, all R&D Stakeholders are encouraged to collaborate in the formulation of the Research and Development Agenda, in order to focus resources on priority issues. The national government is urged to provide an enabling and conducive environment to realize the full cycle of research and development in relation to the sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations.


The Academy expressed its hope that the results of the international symposium will be favorably considered by the concerned sectors of the society in the different AASSA-member countries. (PIA-Caraga)