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In order to fully achieve a ‘Smarter Philippines’, more scientists and engineers need to be on the same page with government goals. 

This was the message that Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo addressed to the qualifiers for this year’s undergraduate scholarship programs of the science agency. 

In the presentation of the new scholars of the DOST – Science Education Institute, Montejo reminded students of the critical role of science professionals in economic development through constant technology development and innovation. 

 

“We are in an era where technological development is accelerating at rocket speed and if you are in an industry anchored in technology, you’ll get left behind if you fail to embrace constant innovation,” said Montejo. “As we recognize this phenomenon, we have adopted measures that would impute modern ICT into strategic functions in government aimed at giving better services to the citizens.” 

Montejo was referring to the ‘Smarter Philippines’ vision of DOST, which he said as “a goal that places the department’s initiatives in disaster mitigation, governance, health care, agriculture, transportation, education, and others into a singular, all-encompassing roadmap”. He believes that the scholars who will pursue critical fields in S&T will ultimately help in fulfilling such vision. 

“Scientists and engineers create world class solutions to our national problems and innovations that add value to local products and services,” the Secretary added while citing the vacuum frying technology developed to increase shelf life of Asian green mussels or tahong. 

He furthered that with the scholarship, there will be little reason for students not to succeed and they are sure to reap the benefits of being science professionals after graduating. 

Meanwhile, former DOST-SEI Scholar Dr. Salvador Eugenio Caoli, an Associate Professor, scientist and medical doctor from the University of the Philippines Manila, during his inspirational talk urged the scholars to “broaden their base” and try to influence others to join them in advancing S&T. 

“Being a scholar means you are in an elite group but that should not isolate us [from normal people]. We should find ways to get [people] on the same track as ours so that the development will be wider and more effective,” said Caoli. 

Finally, SEI Director Dr. Filma Brawner urged the new scholars to make use of the opportunity to excel in whichever field they choose in college. She highlights the support they will receive as scholars as sufficient for them “to do special things” in S&T. 

“You have proven that you deserve this scholarship and your mission now is to prove that you can accept the challenge that you can excel and be of big help for the country soon,” Brawner remarked. 

Three hundred sixty six (366) qualifiers from the national capital region were presented to the DOST Secretary. The DOST-SEI Undergraduate Scholarship Programs, specifically the Republic Act 7687 and the Merit Scholarships, are the agency’s primary strategy to develop the S&T human resources of the country. (30)