NAVAL, Biliran The Department of Science and Technology – Regional Office 8 recently held an orientation and consultation workshop with stakeholders in the province of Biliran for the Innovation, Science and Technology for Accelerating Regional Technology-Based Development (iSTART) program.

The orientation and consultation workshop was attended by the municipal and provincial planning officers, and representatives from the different national government agencies involved in the physical and economic development of the province.

iSTART program is the strategic alignment of the DOST technology transfer programs and projects, the engagement of researchers, scientists, and engineers, and the conduct of research and development.

These are needed to establish and improve micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in support of the development in the countryside, explained DOST-8 Planning Officer Roderick B. Pacañot during the orientation workshop.

In accordance with the DOST’s iSTART program, Biliran Provincial Planning Officer Hossana E. Gomez presented the newly revised vision of Biliran province to be anchored on sustainable agriculture and tourism industries, with a technologically competent and ecologically balanced community.

Being the capital town and center of economic activities in the island province, Naval Mayor Gretchen Stephanie Espina suggested to foster collaborations with other LGUs.

The aim is to optimize efforts and services to ensure that funding allocated for the execution of programs and projects is utilized effectively, thereby minimizing wastage. In consonance with Mayor Espina’s suggestion of collaborative efforts, Dr. Ramil Uy, supervising science research specialist of DOST-8, suggested the concept of making Higatangan of Naval as the first Smart Island in the region.

This initiative would harness the potential of information and communication technology (ICT) on the island, primarily for the purposes of enhancing tourism management and fostering community development.

The DOST solar powered water purification system and water refilling station granted to the people of Higatangan Island of Naval located and managed by the Fidel Limpiado Memorial National High School. (Photo by DOST-Biliran)

Meanwhile, DOST-Biliran previously provided Higatangan Island with a solar-powered water purification system, as disclosed by DOST-Biliran Provincial Director Romeo Dignos. This system is now managed at Fidel Limpiado Memorial National High School. Residents are delighted with the installation, as it eliminates the need to rely on unsafe deep well water and stored rainwater, offering a safer and more affordable alternative to purchasing water from the capital town of Naval.

The provincial local government has additionally built public toilets employing Eco Septic tank technology, which involves the treatment of wastewater using Vigormin powder, a technology developed by Adamson University. This measure aims to safeguard the beaches of Higatangan from contamination and promote environmental conservation.
Dr. Uy also disclosed, in an interview, that the campaign for iSTART program is intended for nationwide implementation. For the Eastern Visayas region, they already negotiated with the provinces of Samar and Eastern Samar, and the province of Leyte in the implementation stage.

Additionally, with the involvement of researchers, scientists, and engineers in the iSTART program, PBBM’s Balik Scientist program can be used as one of the strategies in the development of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) plans for the provinces in Region 8.
(MMP/MLT/PIA Biliran)