Iloilo City – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary, Renato U. Solidum Jr., together with the DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations, Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang led the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-installed DOST Provincial Directors during the 2023 National Science, Technology, and Innovation Week (NSTW) celebration in Iloilo City.

The conversion of the PSTCs into PSTOs and the corresponding reclassification of positions and provision of additional plantilla items have been among the agency’s battle cry for years. This was accomplished with the cooperation of the 17 Regional Development Councils, which passed resolutions endorsing the PSTO Act and every other act under the Philippine Development Plan.

Through the support of the Department of Budget Management (DBM), the agency finally achieved this initial major step towards the realization of the bigger plans of the whole DOST system. It was a truly historic moment that had been 23 years in the making.

Following the issuance of the Notice of Organization, Staffing, and Compensation Action, or NOSCA, for the Provincial Science and Technology Offices under the PSTO Act, all qualified Provincial Science and Technology Directors were officially promoted to the rank of Chief Science Research Specialist.

This has also created a total of 320 new plantillas and reclassified positions in the provincial S&T offices, bringing in the necessary human resources to aid in the implementation of programs, projects, and activities of the Department in the regions and provinces.

The Provincial S&T Directors and staff will serve as the prime movers to implement the agency’s PPAs and initiatives, laboring tirelessly to deliver science, technology, and innovation to the provinces. They also hold a key role in the success and future of the Department, serving as the frontliners to ensure that DOST’s PPAs and initiatives reach the prime stakeholders, the Filipino people.

This is very timely and significant as DOST embarks on new initiatives such as the Smart and Sustainable Communities Program, with the provincial directors leading the effort. More importantly, this is also in line with the Department’s thrust in using science, technology, and innovation for 1) wealth creation, 2) wealth protection, 3) promotion of human well-being, and 4) sustainability in support of the socio-economic agenda of the President.

With the presence of the law, DOST Programs such as SETUP, CEST, GRIND, iSTART and other programs, projects, and activities would help and strengthen its initiatives in creating numerous livelihood and employment opportunities in all parts of the country. SETUP has been there for the local businesses in the regions for decades, providing funding assistance to acquire equipment and technologies that would improve the overall production, operation, and technical knowledge of a certain firm to ensure the quality and safety of their products.

This will also help DOST in partnering with various local government units and educational institutions when it comes to the research process and implementation of our projects on hybrid and electric vehicles like the Hybrid Electric Road Train and e-Scooters.

Furthermore, DOST will continue to use its platform to collaborate with partner institutions on how S&T resources and capabilities could offer solutions that are relevant and innovative and help other NGAs fill the gaps in all sectors and communities in the country that would result in inclusive development towards smart and sustainable communities.

Forthcoming studies are also expected to have more positive outcomes given that S&T has played a significant role in global development through large-scale, high-quality programs and Projects funded and implemented by DOST, together with other institutions from multiple sectors.

DOST also expressed its heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for all the assistance and support provided to the agency, particularly on the issuance of the NOSCA following the enactment of Republic Act No. 11914, otherwise known as the “Provincial Science and Technology Office Act”.

This milestone accomplishment is not only celebrated by the Department and its personnel but also by the whole S&T community and all our stakeholders and partners in the regions. With these expanded capabilities, DOST is confident that it can sustainably deliver even better S&T services to every Filipino. (DOST-OUSecROs/DOST VI)