NAST PHL holds Science and Technology Policy Forum on “Linking Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Development"
A Science and Technology Policy Forum on Linking Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Development was sponsored by the Agricultural Sciences Division (ASD) of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), held at The Manila Hotel last February 17, 2016. The discussion focused on two models of agricultural development: the Saemaul Undong (SU) Movement and the Nakar Initiative.
The SU Movement successfully solved the endemic rural poverty in Korea during the early 1970s. The Korean government facilitated three policy stages to achieve its desired agricultural development. In a span of less than adecade, Korea increased its rice yields and ultimately raised the household income through: (1) community participation; (2) civic capacities; and (3) resource availability. SU Movement made use of a “creative destruction” approach, by which Korea promoted ideological reform and non-discriminatory leadership to come up with new norms more appropriate for the development age. Nakar Initiative, also known as Nakar Initiative-Experimental Living Community of Tomorrow (ELCOT), is an on-going agricultural assistance for the local farmers of General Nakar, Quezon.
Statement of the National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST-PHL) on the Supreme Court decision on Bt talong [ISAAA et al. vs. Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Phils) et al. (G. R. Nos. 209271, 209276, 209301, and 209430)] 08 January 2016
NAST-PHL expresses grave concern on the serious negative effect on food security and on the research community of the Supreme Court decision 1) permanently stopping these questioned field tests for Bt talong;2) declaring null and void the “Rules and Regulations for the Importation and Release into the Environment of Plants and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern Biotechnology” otherwise known as the Department of Agriculture Order No. 08, series of 2002; and, 3) temporarily stopping any application for contained use, field testing, propagation and commercialization and importation of genetically modified organisms until a new administrative order is promulgated in accordance with the law.
The activity that was permanently stopped was the field testing of a genetically engineered eggplant. The tests were being conducted in plots, 920 sq.m. each, in five different places in the Philippines. These field tests were part of a research project that was started in 2007 as an option for controlling the fruit and stem borer (FSB), the most destructive insect pest of the eggplant. The genetically engineered Bt talong would have provided an option for the farmers to control the FSB infestation of eggplant by incorporating the gene from naturally- occurring soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), that produces the toxin specific for the group of insects to which the FSB belongs. Bt has been used as a biopesticide for more than 50 years in many vegetable farms all over the world and has been proven to be harmless to human beings, plants and other animals. At present, synthetic pesticides with known adverse health effects are sprayed 60-80 times to control the FSB and prevent a 70-80% yield loss in most of the 22,000 hectares of eggplant. Unfortunately, the conduct of additional field tests to determine the viability of this Bt talong has now been permanently blocked.
The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) through its Engineering Sciences and Technology Division (ESTD) led a focus group discussion (FGD) on the “Past, Present, and Future of ICT Infrastructure in the Philippines” last December 4, 2015, at Millennium Salon, The Manila Hotel. Academician (Acd.). William G. Padolina, President of NAST welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of the ICT Infrastructure in the economic development of the Philippines.
Academician Jose B. Cruz, Jr., member of the ESTD, and the convenor of the FGD, described the objectives of the FGD, and the relationship of the FGD on ICT Infrastructure to the other engineering infrastructures such as energy, transportation, and water, pointing out the importance of the ICT Infrastructure in its own right, and its importance to the effectiveness of the other infrastructures. The past, present, and future of engineering infrastructures will be presented by the ESTD during the 38th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in July 2016, to support the ASM theme “Past, Present, and Future”. The Social Science Division (SSD) will be the lead division for the ASM. Acd. Cruz further thanked his colleagues, Acd William T. Torres and Acd Eliezer Albacea, for their assistance in planning the FGD.
The FGD was divided into two parts: (1) present status of the national ICT Infrastructure and the (2) future challenges in developing the national ICT infrastructure.
Director Philip Varilla of the National ICT Governance Service, Information and Communications Technology Office-DOST was the speaker for Part 1 which was moderated by Acd. Cruz. Director Varilla, in his presentation “Broadband in the Philippines: A Closer Look”, gave the importance and impact of broadband to the country’s economy and described the Philippine broadband landscape to consist of different elements that use high-speed connectivity to interact with each other.
On the local networks’ domestic connectivity, he reported that PLDT’s Domestic Fiber Optic Network infrastructure build-up supports the sustainable growth of wireless broadband, which is crucial for mobile customers as well as Ethernet services, particularly for multinational corporations requiring high bandwidth capacity. Globe Telecom operates and maintains various fiber optic networks, which includes two Fiber Optic Backbone Networks connecting the entire Philippine archipelago.