Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said his agency will focus on programs that will ensure the Philippines’ commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“I understand that the DOST was a major participant in the development of our stand in the Paris Agreement and so whatever difficulties we may encounter, we are bound to extend our support so I think it is doable if all sectors will cooperate,” Dela Peña said in a press briefing in Malacañan on Wednesday, March 1.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Paris Agreement last Tuesday, February 28.
“For example, we have made a commitment that between the years 2000 to 2030, we have to reduce our carbon emissions by 70 percent. That’s really a big commitment,” Dela Peña explained.
“We have to intensify our research on renewable energies, on energy conservation, and on other areas… So we have to improve our programs,” he said.
“Of course, education will also be an important part,” Dela Peña said.
According to Dela Peña, human resource development is one of the key priorities of the DOST, adding that the DOST is providing scholarships to high school students with the completion of Philippine Science High School (PSHS) campuses all over the country.
“We have opened the last two regional campuses of Philippine Science High School with the opening last August of the regional campus in MIMAROPA located in Romblon and the regional campus for the Zamboanga Peninsula located in Dipolog,” Dela Peña said.
“We really would like to contribute to the President’s shall we say, desire of reducing inequality, of creating opportunities, and of expanding our potentials for growth,” he added.
The DOST chief said it is the first time that a President of the country “has included the promotion of science, technology, and innovation in his priority agenda.” Dela Peña also presented the DOST’s 12-point agenda with research and development (R & D) to address pressing issues on top of the list.
High on the R & D list are medicine discovery and advancement in food and nutrition, food production and developing better varieties of local poultry and livestock.
Meanwhile, Dela Peña said Dr. Renato Solidum, who was recently assigned as DOST Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Affairs, will remain as the officer-in-charge of PHIVOLCS.
Dela Peña said that while there should be a new director for PHIVOLCS to replace Solidum, there are ongoing projects in PHIVOLCS that would need his supervision.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in the same press briefing, said President Duterte wants to sit down with jeepney drivers and operators who held a strike last Monday.
“The President assured the workers group that he would be holding a separate meeting with the jeepney strikers who held a national strike on the controversial plan to phase out old jeepneys,” Abella said.
Abella said President Duterte’s meeting with labor groups last Monday, which lasted for three hours, had been “free-flowing, frank and cordial.”