Two grassroots innovators from Davao region were among those who have been featured in an international forum entitled "Grassroots Innovation in the Time of COVID-19" organized by the Development Academy of the Philippines and the United Nations Development Program in the Philippines.

“I thought of inventing this because people used to rely on this. But it gives of a weak flame. So I thought of making something that would give a stronger flame. I started with scrap metals. I bought parts at junk shops. I was able to perfect my work in 6 months,” Manlunas said in a video interview. Currently he now has 6 models to cater to a wide range of customers. He has been selling his custom-made stoves for 20 years.


Another innovator, Mr. Demetrio Perez showed how his passion in farming inspired him to develop an equipment that helped a Blaan farming community in Brgy. Colonsabak, Matanao, Davao del Sur.

“Poverty is there. I see them shelling corn by hand in small amounts. They would only plant a few corn crops because they know it would be a lot of work. So I created this portable corn sheller. I think this is what they really need here,” Perez said. The corn sheller is powered by a diesel engine and is made with recycled drums and steel chains.

(WATCH THE FULL VIDEO HERE "Community-Driven Growth (Pag-usbong Gikan sa Komunidad)" features Lee Manlunas, and father and son duo Demetrio Perez and Denmar Perez who are grassroots innovators supported by the DOST-Philippines GRIND program. Watch the video to learn more about the stories behind their out-of-the-box ideas and see how much impact one individual can make to their community!)

Department of Science and Technology Region XI (DOST XI) Regional Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales, CESO III, who also served as Chair of the Panel Presentation and Discussion of the said event, described grassroots innovations (GIs) as need-generated and community-led innovations and solutions that respond to localized problems or challenges.


In his presentation, Dr. Sales explained that identifying grassroots innovations need community engagement and field research, hence the conduct of the UNDP’s SalikLakbay Solutions Mapping in the different provinces in Davao region.

Meanwhile, DOST Undersecretary Brenda Nazareth-Manzano also highlighted how integration is key to getting the Philippines on the Global Innovation Index (GII).

Other speakers of the webinar were Dr. Anil Kumar Gupta (Founder, The Honeybee Network), Ms. Katrina Chan (Executive Director, QBO Innovation Hub), Dr. Luis Sison (Director, UP technology Transfer and Business Development Office), Mr. Roberto Calingo (Executive Director, Peace and Equity Foundation), and Dr. Lizan Perante-Calina (Dean of the Graduate School of Public and Development Management of the Development Academy of the Philippines).

Among the objectives of the forum was to showcase examples of grassroots innovations to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to collectively discuss and explore ways to encourage, enable, and support the growth of grassroots innovators in the country through a multi-stakeholder approach. It also sought to enable participants to learn from the collective global experience on enabling and empowering grassroots innovations in the Philippines.

DOST XI S&T Promotion