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DOST encourages Filipino scientists to return and practice in the Philippines

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, December 7th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) acknowledges the vital role of Filipino scientists in the country’s various sectors and economy.

Among them is Dr. Divina Amalin, an expert in terminating pests and one of those who discovered the predators of the pest Cocolisap that destroyed thousands of coconut trees in the country.

She worked in the Univesity of Florida and in the US agriculture department but decided to return to the Philippines in 2010 to practice in her home country and also for family reasons.

Amalin said that the government will definitely save funds thru the Balik Scientist program.

“Hindi na mag-spend ng more funding to generate technology ’cause Filipinoipino scientist abroad had already gained knowledge on technology that Philippines can adapt and can be modified,” said Amalin.

Engineer Leo Almazan, meanwhile, served as a US naval officer and was assigned to the naval warfare center in San Diego, USA.

“The uniqueness really is the expertise. We know and we already know what’s gonna go wrong so you don’t wanna duplicate or reinvent the wheel because we already know what’s gonna happen,” said Almazan.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said, around 569 Filipinos responded to their Balik Scientist program. However, only 187 preferred to stay in the country.

He said that the Philippines’ ranking has now improved in terms of the numbers of scientists though it still needs to increase.

“If you talk of the global competitiveness index where there are about 137 countries enlisted, we are somewhere in the 56th rank,” said the secretary.

“In the global innovation index, the number 73 rank now is an improvement from the 90th rank in 2013,” he added.

Dela Peña added that foreign investors are not so interested to venure in the country’s science and technology services due to the scarcity of experts.

De La Peña said the budget department needs to create additional positions to accommodate more scientist.

“Kung scholarships bibigay sila. Kung pampatayo ng building bibigay sila. Pero yung pag-magcreate ka ng bagong positions for researchers and scientists napakahirap,” said De La Peña. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue



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Philippines to launch new satellite in 2018

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — In 2017, the first Filipino-made microsatellite Diwata 1 was launched in Japan. It is now being used to take pictures of Earth.

By mid-2018, the Philippines is again set to launch into space its second microsatellite Diwata 2.

The satellite was developed within a year by seven Filipino scholars.

According to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Diwata 2, which passes through the Philippines twice a day, can be used for a duration of up 12 to 18 months.

It has the size of a big balikbayan box with four cameras that can take pictures and provide details of anything with a size of three meters.

This is an improved version with some capacity for communication, it’s like a radio and of course better cameras in place,” said DOST Sec. Fortunato de la Peña

Diwata 2 can be used for the analysis of climate and weather in the country, and for national security purposes like conducting surveillance in the West Philippine Sea.

It can also monitor incidents of forest fires and drought in particular areas.

The DOST said that the government can save a huge amount of money by using the said satellite than buying from materials taken by the satellites of foreign countries or private firms.

The agency cites as an example a satellite image of the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda in 2013 which the government bought for P56-million.

A bill seeking the creation of a Philippine Space Agency is now in Congress.

Under the proposal, the DOST is tasked to train about 800 people for the said program.

The DOST has a proposed budget of P21.8 billion for next year. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue


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US donates $2M assistance for Philippine government’s anti-drug campaign

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, September 8th, 2017

The Philippines and the United States signed the fifth amendment in the letter of agreement on narcotics control and law enforcement.

The primary provision of the agreement is the additional financial assistance that US government will donate worth two million dollars for Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“We share President Duterte concerns about the dangers posed by illicit drugs and substance abused,” said United States Ambassador Sung Kim.

According to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, the fund will be allocated for the government’s drug rehabilitation program.

“When we signed this agreement, we signed it with the confidence that we are protecting the human rights of all Filipinos not just the criminals as far as extra judicial killings, summary killings, abuses on law enforcement we have continuous dialogue with the US and EU but we asked them it should not be politicized,” said Cayetano.

The secretary added that the agreement does not signify that countries like US can meddle in the policies of the Philippine government. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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U.S. seeks “concerted action” on North Korea through sanctions

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, August 31st, 2017

The United States called on Wednesday for a “concerted action” by the international community to pressure North Korea into abandoning its banned nuclear and missile programs.

Senior military officials from South Korea, Japan, and the United States made lengthy, coordinated technical presentations on North Korea’s weapons programs to the U.N.-sponsored conference on disarmament.

U.S. Disarmament Ambassador Robert Wood said discussions are under way between world powers on what kind of further sanctions could be taken against North Korea.

“We are having discussions about what next step we can take, so there hasn’t been any agreement on what kind of further sanctions we can take, but we are obviously going to look at a whole range of different measures to put pressure on Pyongyang, and we will work with our allies, with other partners, with China and Russia to see what more we can do, and what we can do unilaterally,” said Wood. — (REUTERS)

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