In collaboration with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Offices XI and XIII joined the 2-day National Peace Caravan at Loreto, Agusan del Sur held May 28-29, 2015.

Indigenous People of Barangays Manawe and Kauswagan received services such as immunization of children, HIV testing, oral health services, maternal hygiene kit, scholarships, complementary foods, Ovicidal Larvicidal (OL) Traps, legal consultation, hair cutting, school supplies from the various government offices during the caravan.

geneticThe National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), through the Agricultural Sciences Division (ASD) and in partnership with the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), held the Roundtable Discussion on Screening of Genetic Defects in Domestic Livestock Industry on May 14, 2015 at Acacia Hotel Manila.

The RTD focused on animal breeding and development, particularly genetic defects screening of breeder stocks in commercial farms.

Dr. Michelle M. Balbin, science research specialist II of the PCC, discussed common genetic defects in domestic animals. Dr. Balbin gave a background on the local livestock production and genetic improvement program. She discussed the impacts of animals with genetic defects to the industry, which include lower production, physical deformities, and deadly diseases.

According to Dr. Balbin, not all animals show signs of genetic defects. Some animals are carriers that will pass on the defect to the next generation. Dr. Balbin reiterated the importance of testing the herd for the presence of genetic defects to avoid economic losses from genetic defects.

She enumerated common defects in domestic animals, with focus on cattle and water buffalo.. She also discussed genetic defects on swine, sheep, goat, and horse.
Dr. Ming-Che Wu, division chief of Breeding and Genetics, Taiwan Livestock Research Institute, talked about screening for genetic defects in domestic animals. He explained the ACTION scheme: Aware status, Core facility, Team ready, In-time service, Outreach system, and Niche management.

According to Dr. Wu, the action scheme was established for the genetic improvement of elite breeding stocks in private farms of Taiwan using DNA-based screening for genetic defects.

The aware status is for understanding the tools and information they used and further improving them; core facility is about having “key tools” in building data banks; team-ready means having a public-private partnership for a better breeding program; in-time service is for having immediate screening results when needed; outreach system is for assistance of new members; and lastly, niche management evaluates the economic value and outcome of each allelic gene.

Dr. Marcos B. Valdez Jr., OYS 2012 and associate professor, Science Cluster, University of the Philippines Cebu, gave the synthesis of the discussions. Dr. Valdez stated the importance of considering the upcoming ASEAN integration this 2015 in creating a policy on screening for genetic defects in important livestock animals. The ASEAN integration will open markets for trade in the ASEAN countries. According to him, we need to identify measures to ensure that livestock animals that will enter the Philippine market are free from genetic defects.

Acd. Libertado C. Cruz, member of the ASD, served as the focal person and the moderator of the RTD. (Aislynn Fabiola G. Manuel)

probioticThe National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) through its Agricultural Sciences Division, held the Roundtable Discussion on Livestock Nutritional Biotechnology: Pre and Probiotics in Food Animals on May 11, 2015 at Hotel Jen Manila.

The RTD focused on the hazards of the long-term consumption of meat and meat products with antibiotic residues and the use of pre and probiotics as alternatives in animal food production.

Dr. Soo-Ki Kim, professor at the Department of Animal Science and Technology, College of Animal Bioscience and Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea, discussed the pre and probiotics and their application in food animal production.

Dr. Soo-Ki stated that the use of antibiotics is already banned in the European Union in 2003 and South Korea in 2011. The ban challenged the development of alternative methods to control pathogenic bacteria. Potential alternatives to antibiotics are probiotics, enzymes, immune modulators, organic acids, and herbs.

According to Dr. Soo-Ki, pre and probiotics are used in animal production for the improvement of animal productivity, reduction of environmental pollution, and production of designed animal food. He suggested areas for future research, which include safety of animal probiotics and verification of efficacy of probiotics, among others.

Dr. Loinda R. Baldrias, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of the Philippines Los Baños, discussed antibiotic residues in meat and meat products and their implications to human health.

She discussed the benefits of using antibiotics in animal production to the producers (production efficiency), consumers (affordability and improved quality), and animals (improved health). However, excessive antibiotic use in animal production causes antibiotic residues that may lead to antimicrobial resistance in consumers.

According to Dr. Baldrias, antibiotic residues may be caused by the following: giving antiobiotics to animals without availing of proper veterinary services, the non-observance of withdrawal period (time between the disappearance of drug effects and the point at which the drug concentration in the animal reaches the “safe” level, improper dosing, and emergency slaughter and sale of treated animals without certification of treatment, among others. She suggested promoting awareness among producers of antibiotic resistance and heightened surveillance through regular mandatory testing to help address the issue of antibiotic resistance.

Dr. January M. Nones, officer-in-charge, Laboratory Division, National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), discussed the current status of antibiotic usage and residue monitoring in the Philippines. Dr. Nones gave an overview of the programs under the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and the National Veterinary Drug Residue Monitoring Program (NVDRMP). She talked about the analytical methods for residue control and the results of their screening test methods, such as the microbial inhibition test (MIT) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Dr. Minda S. Manantan, executive director of NMIS, explained the limitations of their programs and suggested ways on how to address regulatory enforcement issues. She recommended strengthening the coordination among partner agencies to ensure regulatory action and method development that would strengthen the regulation of banned drugs and monitoring of the proper usage and withdrawal of regulated drugs.

Dr. Davino P. Catbagan, assistant secretary for Livestock of the Department of Agriculture (DA), discussed the regulation and policies on the use of antibiotics in food animals in the Philippines. He talked about the legal bases for the regulation of the use of antibiotics, which included various republic acts and administrative orders.

Implementing agencies in the regulation of veterinary drugs and products (VDAP) are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health (DOH), and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI). Dr. Catbagan discussed the importance of and the different requirements in labeling, promoting, and advertising of VDAP.

Dr. Edwin C. Villar, director of the Livestock Research Division, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), gave a comprehensive synthesis of the discussions, while Academician Libertado C. Cruz served as the focal person of the RTD. (Aislynn Fabiola G. Manuel)

[First published in Edge Davao,]


“Equip yourselves with more knowledge… (and) strengthen your belief that science and technology would make a huge difference to improve the lives of every Filipino.”

That was Secretary Mario G. Montejo of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) urging the students who hold a scholarship from the department during a conference held in Pasay City recently.

According to Montejo, science and technology remain the important engine of the country. Science and technology drive industry competitiveness, accelerate the delivery of government services, and enhance the country’s capacity in emerging technologies, he said.

“With the developing challenges of globalization and tough competition in the marketplace, science and technology innovation and research should be a priority to ensure our nation’s global competitiveness,” Montejo stressed.

I can say that it is very true, indeed. In fact, it is technology funded by the science department that helps deodorize the wastewater of Boracay. But that’s going ahead of the story.

Boracay is a small island two kilometers off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region. Its fine white sand beaches have received awards from numerous travel publications and agencies. In 2012, the international travel magazine Travel + Leisure named it as “the best island in the world.”

Apart from its white sand beaches, Boracay is also famous for being one of the world’s top destinations for relaxation. It is also emerging among the top destinations for tranquility and nightlife. It’s no wonder why some of the country’s top celebrities -- from stars to politicians, and even businessmen -- troop to the island during holidays.

But like most islands in the country which have become tourist destinations, Boracay Island is not spared from several problems. In fact, it has long been the subject of issues regarding wastewater, drainage systems, and residual solid waste that fill the air with noxious odor.

“While there are regulations governing waste treatment in the island, the problem persists due to an inadequate treatment system especially with the continuous influx of tourists to the island,” a press release from the DOST said.

Boracay, the press statement said, may have found the solution to the island’s problem through Eco-Sep, an organomineral treatment used in a self-sustaining and portable wastewater treatment system.

Organominerals, according to my source, are minerals that are affected by organics, mostly life-related, but not directly produced by living cells. In other words, they are mineral products that are formed by interaction of organic matter.

“The Eco-Sep is a low-cost and deployable method for immediate installation of domestic wastewater clean-up anywhere in the country,” the DOST explained. “Being enhanced with organominerals makes the Eco-Sep appropriate in disaster-stricken areas.”

Another good thing about Eco-Sep: “Among others, it may be used in condominiums, housing projects, hotels and areas where wastewater treatment is a problem.”
It was Dr. Merlinda Palencia of Adamson University who developed Eco-Sep. Her research was funded by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), a DOST line agency.

Tacloban, following the disastrous effects of Typhoons Yolanda and Ruby, was chosen as the initial demonstration area for the Eco-Sep. Three Eco-Sep systems were installed for 522 residents in temporary shelters in Palo, Leyte with 61 latrines and 30 bathing cubicles.

The demonstration showed positive results. This prompted Mayor Remedios Petilla of Palo, Leyte to recommend that the Eco-Sep must be incorporated in the engineering design for the rehabilitation projects in Leyte.
Inspired by these results, some DOST officials thought that the Eco-Sep technology might be able to help Boracay solve its wastewater problem.

So, a team from DOST (Dr. Palencia who served as the project leader and Ninaliza Escorial, Laarni Piloton, and Candy Ilaw, all staff from PCIEERD) worked with the municipal environment office and the local government of Boracay. They applied the organomineral treatment in selected materials recovery facilities (MRF) and some hotels within the beach area.

For the past two weeks, the team checked on the number and volume of septic tanks in the selected hotels for the computation of the dosage for the treatment. The team has also collected samples of raw wastewater.

In two facilities in barangay Balabag (where seven trucks of residual waste are generated) and barangay Manoc-Manoc, the team sprayed organominerals to reduce odor from the heavy loads of garbage in the areas. “Spraying was concentrated in biodegradable and some residuals that produce bad odor,” said DOST in a press dispatch.

And the result: “The use of the Eco-Sep system with organominerals in Boracay showed significant reduction of odor both in the selected hotels and especially in the MRFs where results were almost experienced instantly.”

It has been reported that one hotel which agreed for the study spend about P20,000.00 on commercially available chemical spray for the odor. “Now, it found the organomineral technology as a cheaper substitute,” the DOST dispatch said.

In the jar test conducted by Dr. Palencia in a pumping station in Boracay, the caretaker reported that after organomineral application, the wastewater isolated for the jar test changed color and eliminated the bad odor.

“With the positive results shown in the jar test, the organomineral treatment was finally used on-site, resulting in a cleaner wastewater compared with raw wastewater,” the dispatch said.
I think it’s also viable for those hotels, restaurants, housing projects, and condominiums in Davao City and resorts located in Island Garden City of Samal to apply the Eco-Sep technology.

jlssAre you a junior student enrolled in priority science and technology (S&T) courses? Are you willing to teach in the secondary schools in the Philippines? If YES, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is calling all qualified Junior Level College students to become dynamic partners in S&T education and to apply for its Junior Level Science Scholarships under the RA 10612 also known as “Fast-tracked Science and Technology Scholarship Act of 2013” scholarship program offerings.

RA 10612 aims to strengthen the country’s science and technology education by fast tracking graduates in the sciences, mathematics and engineering who shall teach science and mathematics in secondary schools throughout the country.

After graduation, the scholar shall be given opportunity for job placement in high schools in the country, be employed with a position equivalent to Special Science Teacher I in the Philippine Science High School System, and be given one-time relocation allowance should he/she be assigned in a place other than the permanent residence.

Application forms and scholarship brochures are available in  DOST regional office at DMC Compound, Dumanlas Road, Davao City; and at the Provincial Science and Technology Centers in USEP Apokon, Tagum City with tel. no. 084-2162415; NICO Bldg., Nabunturan City with tel. no. 084-8170016; Lim St., Digos City with tel. no.553-3469; and, Sto. Niño St., Mati City with tel. no. 087-3884085.  It can also be downloaded at  Deadline for filing of application is on June 15, 2015. Examination date is on July 12, 2015.

DOST XI S&T Promotions Section