The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) conducted its 36th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) with the theme “Infrastructure, Information, and Innovation (I3) for National Development, Competitiveness, and Resiliency” on July 9-10, 2014 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City. The NAST PHL, established by Presidential Decree No. 1003-A in 1976, is the primary adviser to the government and science community on matters related to science and technology
The Meeting aimed to discuss three “pillars” of competitiveness as defined by the World Economic Forum (WEF), namely, infrastructure, information, and innovation and focused on the policy and governance aspects in the following infrastructure sectors: energy, water, telecommunications, and transportation.
The Honorable Cesar B. Bautista, former secretary of Department of Trade and Industry(five years) andpresently the Chairman of St. James' Ventures, Inc. and CIBI Information Inc, served as the keynote speaker. He emphasized that infrastructure, information, and innovations are considered as co-enablers to achieve country’s transformation by means of sustainable growth that is inclusive. He reported that the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016) highlights the need for infrastructure development to support the performance of the country’s economic sectors. He reported that the Asian Development Bank in its publication “Taking the Right Road” identified the Philippine government’s infrastructure policy as coming in two stages: (1) improvement of the “climate” to generate broad-based satisfaction from business and public sector and (2) efficiency for targeted products, including agriculture/industries and service sectors to realize their potentials “Vertical Interventions” otherwise known as the “tailwinds” are provided. According to him, the country is already on its way to the second stage. He also pointed out that there is a need to (1) increase competitiveness of roads, (2) improve port conditions and increase capacities using the RORO linkages, (3) maximize ports and airports to improve the economy, (4) improve flood control systems, and (5) application of total quality management systems to improve productivity.
Experts shared their insights and experiences in the four plenary sessions of the meeting. In Plenary Session 1, Mr. Rene S. Santiago, President/CEO, Bellwether Advisory, tried to answer the question, Can Metro Manila’s Traffic Woes Ever Disappear? For Plenary Session 2, Engr. Maria Catalina E. Cabral, Assistant Secretary for Planning of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Mr. Alex Ramon Q. Cabanilla, Deputy Chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) talked about ways on how their respective agencies can mitigate flooding in Metro Manila and in other Philippine Locations. Professor Rowaldo D. Del Mundo, Associate Professor at the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute of the University of the Philippines Diliman discussed Why Does Electricity Cost so Much in the Philippines? in Plenary Session 3. During Plenary Session 4, Academician William T. Torres, Member, Engineering Sciences and Technology Division of NAST Philippines explored the possible ways of providing Broadband for Everyone, Everywhere?
Two (2) simultaneous technical sessions were conducted on the second day of the event. Technical session 1 featured Dr. Alvin B. Marcelo, Consultant at the World Health Organization and Adviser to e-Health of the Department of Health, and Dr. Portia Fernandez-Marcelo, Director of the UP National TeleHealth Center, who talked about the status, development, and future of e-Health in the country. For technical session 2, Academician Gisela P. Concepcion, Member, Biological Sciences Division of the NAST Philippines talked about biological innovations in the Philippines.
Academician Aura C. Matias, chair of the ASM resolutions committee, presented the resulting recommendations of this year’s pre-ASM roundtable discussions summarized into resolutions to DOST Secretary Honorable Mario G. Montejo and Honorable Arsenio M. Balisacan, secretary of Socioeconomic Planning and director general of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), represented by Dr. Emmanuel F. Esguerra, NEDA Deputy Director General (Please see separate news on this).
Part of the two-day activity was the annual recognition rite for the following awards; Outstanding Young Scientists (OYS), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Prize for Young Scientists in the Philippines, NAST Talent Search for Young Scientists, NAST Environmental Science Award, Outstanding Books and Monographs, Outstanding Scientific Papers, and Best Scientific Posters. (Please see separate news on this).
The 36th ASM was organized by the Academy with the assistance from various donors and sponsors. More than 800 scientists and researchers from key institutions and agencies gathered at the venue to attend and participate in this important event. The 36th ASM was hosted by the Engineering Sciences and Technology Division chaired by Academician Reynaldo B. Vea.
This annual activity of the Academy serves as the leading forum for the presentation of scientific and policy research during which policy recommendations on appropriate interventions are submitted to the Philippine government and the private sector.