The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST, PHL) in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Offices I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, NCR and CAR hosted the Luzon Regional Scientific (RSM) Meeting, with the theme, Science and Technology-Enhanced Transformation for Sustainability and Industrialization (2018-2030) on May 9-10, 2018 at the Royce Hotel, Clark Freeport Zone, Mabalacat, Pampanga.

The last in the series of regional scientific meetings for 2018, this RSM brought together the country’s experts, academics, and private and public stakeholders to discuss issues concerning the attainment of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The conference topics included sustainability and resiliency, affordable and clean energy, smart electricity grid, sustainable water resources, quality of water and waste water, sustainable cities and communities, ICT ecosystem, smart city program, and railway development.

Dr. Reynato C. Arimbuyutan, co-chairperson of the Regional Development Council III welcomed the participants to this two-day event. He pointed out that Central Luzon is the fastest growing region in the Philippines today. This economic growth will further accelerate as Central Luzon will be the primary gateway of the Philippines through the expansion of Clark International Airport, establishment of Bulacan Aero Police, development of Subic ports, construction of Manila-Clark and Clark-Subic railway systems, expansion of North Luzon expressway and Subic-Tarlac expressway, among others.  He expressed the need to collaborate with the experts to fulfill these endeavors and to bring about inclusive growth to Filipino people and sustainable development for our country.

The DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña delivered the opening remarks in the event. He said that industrialization is the key in the achievement of the socio-economic development in most developed countries.  He emphasized that while our country is agriculture-oriented, there is a need to pursue the path to industrialization to maximize our potentials for development. According to him, science and technology can contribute significantly to reduce inequality by creating new opportunities and expand potential for growth.

Secretary dela Peña shared some of the initiatives of DOST in pursuit of industrial development of the country, such as metrology services, OneLab facilities that service industry, electronics products development center, metals industry development center, gear making center, automotive product testing center and robotics center, and Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).

Academician Fabian M. Dayrit, Vice President of NAST PHL emphasized that reduction of poverty is the top most concern that should be addressed. There is a need to understand that things are interdependent and working to achieve SDGs cuts across sectors.

Dr. Julius Caezar V. Sicat, Regional Director of DOST Regional Office 3 oriented the participants on the different DOST programs in Luzon.

The keynote speaker, Academician Arsenio M. Balisacan, chairperson of Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and member of the NAST Social Sciences Division, talked about industrialization, inclusion, and competition policy. He observed that although the Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, growth needs to be more robust. Because our rapid economic growth has not been broadly inclusive, it is not sustainable. The inequality and social divide is increasing which leads to social unrest.

Acd. Balisacan noted that while there is a need to industrialize, it should be inclusive. He emphasized the need for better institutions, governance, infrastructure and human capital and that the government plays a key role in leveraging science and technology to foster productivity by building infrastructure and improving knowledge and human capital. There is also a need to have a National Competition Policy to complement a development strategy toward industrialization and sustainable development.

The plenary session was opened by Mr. Agustin C. Mendoza, regional director of National Economic Development Authority Region III, who talked about sustainable development and resiliency. His presentation was followed by Academician Caesar A. Saloma, professor at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and member of the NAST Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division, who discussed measuring the performance of the Philippine Scientific Enterprise System.

Academician Jose B. Cruz, Jr. member of the Engineering Sciences and Technology Division of NAST Philippines discussed smart electricity grid while Dr. Louis H. Alarcon, head of the University of the Philippines - Electrical and Electronics Engineering (UP-EEEI) discussed resilient large-scale systems and building an intelligent environment. The presentation on Philippines quality of water and waste water was given by Academician Ernesto J. Del Rosario, member of the NAST Mathematical and Physical Science Division. The first day was concluded by the discussion of Academician William T. Torres, member of Engineering Sciences and Technology Division, who talked about ICT ecosystems approach and its role in the achievement of SDGs 11 and 12.

On the second day, noted Architect Felino A. Palafox, principal architect-urban planner and founding partner of Palafox Associates and Mayor Bernard Faustino M. Dy of Cauayan, Isabela discussed smart city program from the point of view of the private sector and local government executive. Architect Palafox presented the principles in building smart cities and his plans for Pampanga, while Mayor Dy presented strategies and programs he implemented in his city to become a smart city.

Dr. Ma. Sheilah G. Napalang, director of the University of the Philippines - National Center for Transportation Studies (UP-NCTS) discussed railway development in the country. Her session was followed by Academician Guillermo Q. Tabios III, member of the Engineering Sciences and Technology Division, NAST Philippines in his discussion on sustainable water resources development and resiliency.

At the end of this two-day event, Academician Dayrit presented the resolutions to Secretary dela Peña, represented by Dr. Sicat and Ma. Cristina C. Tuzon, president of Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), represented by Dr. Jehan Echavez, assistant corporate secretary of BCCI. Both of them expressed their commitment to support the resolutions generated during the meeting. They also commited to contribute and work together to achieve science-based translation of knowledge and research into goods and services for the Philippines’ path towards sustainability and industry and to bring development to the countryside.