Phl climbs 19 spots in Global Innovation Index 2019

Marje Pelayo   •   July 25, 2019   •   2159

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has climbed up by 19 spots in the recently released Global Innovation Index 2019 rankings.

Ranking 73rd in 2017 and 2018, the Philippines jumped to 54th place this year,

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said that among the Philippines strongest points that contributed to this achievement include the country’s high tech net exports and imports; research talents; Information and communications technology (ICT) services exports; creative good exports such as animations, science and engineering works; formal training services among others.

Meanwhile, the country did not fare well in ease of getting credit, ease of starting a business as well as investments in education.

Despite the setbacks, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) took pride in the Department’s contribution to the country’s improvement in the global ranking such as the Hybrid Train technology; the dengue kit that has been effective in detecting early signs of dengue; the Philippines’ space technology which have already launched two micro-satellites; food supplement for palay; and the latest technology on hazard prevention, the Hazard Hunter.

According to Sec. Dela Peña, this improvement in ranking will definitely encourage more investors to do their business here in the Philippines. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

DOST tests efficiency of N95 mask; finds sulfur in dust particles from Taguig City

Marje Pelayo   •   January 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The UNTV News team has been given an exclusive tour to the Advance Device and Materials Testing Laboratory of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Experts at the DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) explained how they test the ability of face masks to screen airborne contaminants specifically volcanic ash.

DOST-ITDI Chemical and Metallurgical Laboratory head, Beejay Salon initiated the testing of a piece of face mask that residents in Batangas are using – the N95 mask.

Ika-cut natin yung sample para makita natin yung layers ng mask (We will cut the sample to see the layers of the mask),” he said.

Using a state-of-the-art optical microscope or a low-powered stereomicroscope, they magnified the cut section of N95 mask 20 times.

The same procedure was done to an ordinary surgical mask.

“Kung ikukumpara mo ang dalawang images, yung N95 is mas pino, ito kasi mas malalawak yung pagkakalayo ng mga fiber (If we compare both images, the fiber in N95 is finer unlike in the [surgical mask] which is less compact),” explained Lab Manager Dr. Aracely Monsada.

So ano pong implication noon? Iyong N95 ay mas mataas ang efficiency niya (What’s the implication? N95 is more efficient) to protect the person from inhaling particles that are smaller,” she added.

Apart from smaller particles, N95 mask can also filter microbes and viruses such as the one that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

“Kaya sinabing N95 ibig sabihin 95% ang efficiency niya na pwede niyang i-block yung particles as small as 0.3 micron (That’s why it’s labeled ‘N95’ because its efficiency is 95% when it comes to blocking particles as small as 0.3 micron),” Monsada said.

The news team also had a piece of towel and a cotton fabric checked for efficiency.

Test results showed fibers in the said fabrics were not finely-knit.

DOST also demonstrated the use of its new equipment — the field emission scanning electron microscope — in testing samples of volcanic ash that reached the Department’s central office in Taguig City.

“Based doon sa result, may mga particles na may nakitang sulfur (Based on the results, we found sulfur in the dust particles),” confirmed laboratory analyst, Dhale Mar Alfeche.

“In terms of percentage, nakita natin na pinakamataas (the highest is) 9% sulfur,” he added.

Experts concluded that finer particles reach the farthest distance, because they are lighter in weight.

Therefore, exposure to such very fine ash particles poses high risk when inhaled or ingested.

“Kapag ito ay na-inhale ninyo, which is actually less than 2 microns, tapos nakikita mo merong mga parang needle-like particles, puwede kasing pagpasok niya sa system natin pwedeng mag-abrade siya (Once you inhale these needle-like particles which are actually less than 2 microns, it can be abrasive once it enters your system),” warned Dr. Monsada.

Tapos, kung aabot siya sa lungs pwedeng mag cause ng (If these particles reach your lungs, they can cause) cancer or other health complication,” he concluded. – MNP (with exclusive interview/coverage by Rey Pelayo)

Major volcanic eruptions in the Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   January 13, 2020

(FILE) Mayon Volcano spews ash and lava in the town of Daraga, Albay province, Philippines, 25 January 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines, along with other countries, is located in the so-called ‘Ring of Fire’ – a vast region in the Pacific Ocean where most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

There are 24 volcanoes across the country including Taal Volcano in Batangas, one of the smallest and the most active in the world.

In history, Taal Volcano has recorded a total of 33 eruptions, the latest being in 1977, prior to this year.

The most dangerous was recorded in 1965 where hundreds of people were killed.

Aside from Taal, another notable major volcanic eruption happened in 1991 when Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales erupted and caused major damage to the country’s economy and infrastructure after it released billions of tons of magma onto the surrounding cities and millions of tons of sulfur dioxide gas into the atmosphere.

The eruption brought volcanic deposits as much as 30 feet thick, completely covering houses and structures.

The ashfall reached as far as Singapore.

Until today, remnants of the eruption are visible in the areas of Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.

Another active volcano which authorities are closely monitoring due to its notable past is the Mayon Volcano in Albay, Bicol.

Mayon Volcano is admired worldwide for its beauty being famous for its ‘perfect’ cone shape.

In the past 500 years, Mt. Mayon recorded up to 47 eruptions, making it the most active volcano in the Philippines.

The most dangerous eruption recorded was in 1814 which ruined several towns and killed over a thousand people.

The church of Cagsawa in Albay served as remembrance of the eruption.

Only the tallest portion of the structure remains visible today, reflecting how dangerous the eruption was in 1814.

Other volcanos in the country remain dormant as they do not show signs of activities in the past years.

List of volcanoes in the Philippines:

LUZON

  • Babuyan Claro (Babuyan Island)
  • Banahaw (Laguna and Quezon)
  • Bulusan (Sorsogon, Bicol)
  • Cagua (Cagayan)
  • Camiguin de Babuyanes (Cagayan)
  • Didicas (Cagayan)
  • Iraya (Batanes)
  • Iriga (Camarines Sur)
  • Isarog (Camarines Sur)
  • Mayon (Albay, Bicol)
  • Pinatubo (Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga)
  • Smith (Cagayan)
  • Taal (Batangas)

VISAYAS

  • Biliran (Anas) (Biliran)
  • Cabalian (Southern Leyte)
  • Kanlaon (Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental)

MINDANAO

  • Bud Dajo (Jolo, Sulu)
  • Hibok-hibok (Camiguin)
  • Leonard Kniaseff (Compostela Valley)
  • Makaturing (Lanao Del Sur)
  • Matutum (South Cotabato)
  • Musuan (Calayo, Bukidnon)
  • Parker (South Cotabato)
  • Ragang (Lanao Del Sur, Cotabato)

SOURCE: DOST-PHIVOLCS

PHL, Japan foreign ministers vow to strengthen maritime ties

UNTV News   •   January 9, 2020

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi (R) shakes hands with Filipino Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (L) during a bilateral meeting in Manila, Philippines, 09 January 2020. EFE-EPA

The Philippines’ foreign minister said Thursday in Manila that his country and Japan had agreed to strengthen their security ties in the South China Sea, an area in which Manila has disputed claims over various islands.

Teodoro Locsin said in a joint press conference with visiting Japanese counterpart Motegi Toshimitsu that the two countries had agreed to deepen security ties concerning the rule of law in the disputed area, which has long been the source of maritime tensions with China.

“I was pleased with my candid exchanges with Minister Motegi on issues such as rule of law in the maritime commons and the situation in the West Philippine Sea,” the minister said in the capital’s Makati Shangri-La Hotel, referring to the waters by their official Philippine name.

Locsin said that his country was “committed to continue [its] cooperation – bilaterally and in all possible forums – to maintain peace and security, stability and the rule of law in [the] region.”

Tensions and diplomatic spats between Beijing and Manila over the matter eased through 2019, with the Philippines giving in to its previous refusal to stamp Chinese passports displaying the controversial “nine-dash line” China uses to stake its claims over the sea. Such line claims territory equally disputed by Manila and countries including Taiwan, Vietnam and Brunei.

The Philippine foreign minister said the disputes at sea were part of “pressing concerns” in Southeast Asia’s security environment, adding that a survey of this was a crucial factor of the matter’s strategic dialogue.

“We discussed future acquisitions in aid of the modernization of our armed forces and maritime forces,” he said. “I thanked Japan for supporting our acquisition of new air and maritime assets and equipment to enhance our maritime domain awareness and capability, as well as law enforcement and humanitarian responses.”

In Toshimitsu’s first visit to the Philippines since his September appointment, the ministers also signed infrastructural cooperation agreements to improve the country’s bridges and better protect them against the frequent seismic activities the island nation suffers year-round.

Toshimitsu is visiting the Philippines as part of a tour of Southeast Asia, which began over the weekend in Vietnam before heading to Thailand. The Japanese minister is next bound for Indonesia, his last stop prior to returning to Tokyo. EFE-EPA

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