The participants of the 2nd Public Management Development Program (PMDP) Leadership Conference held last September 1 and 2 at DAP Tagaytay City were treated to an informative session about the breakthroughs in the field of science and technology. This was provided by no less than the new Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Fortunato “Boy” Dela Peña.

Fondly called “Prof. Boy” by the PMDP staff and scholars, the DOST Secretary is a quiet and humble man who allows his work to speak volumes of his unwavering dedication and efficiency in accomplishing his given tasks. As if mimicking his persona, the agency he is now heading is one that makes waves in the field of science and technology, but quietly so. Unbeknownst to many, the DOST has been leading innovations in various fields that have benefited the Filipino people in many important ways. Being aware of the public’s lack of awareness of the work of DOST, Secretary Dela Peña took the opportunity at the Leadership Conference to inform and update the participants of work that his agency is doing.

Starting off with Research and Development, DOST has addressed pressing concerns as well as potentials in the areas of health, agriculture, and process industries. One important contribution that Secretary Dela Peña cited is their agency’s program in the field of Health called “Tuklas Lunas: Drug Discovery and Development” which engages all its major partner universities across the country to discover and enhance herbal medicine as cure for different ailments. One such endeavor is the discovery of the medicinal shrub “lagundi” in the late 1980s which was a big commercial success. Having been bought by Pascual Laboratories, this earned for the government a lot of royalty income. In terms of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, the Secretary shared that his agency has allotted a big percentage of its budget to undertake various researches and development. He also reported that next year’s budget for the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is higher by 500% which will help the agency intensify its implementation of projects that address the issue, among others, of safety from natural disasters through accurate mapping and assessment.

Delving into his agency’s work in Technology Transfer as a way to apply the many researches that they have undertaken, the Secretary discussed various initiatives where new equipment are being used particularly in the field of industry. One such endeavor is the hybrid road train for the Philippine National Railways which DOST is currently working on acquiring an international certification. Secretary Dela Peña also shared the support that his agency provides to small enterprises and communities in the regions as a way to improve their socio-economic conditions.

Capping off the discussion of DOST’s significant contributions, Secretary Dela Peña reported that with the recently opened two science high schools in the MIMAROPA Region and Zamboanga Peninsula, all sixteen regions now have one campus that provides advanced curriculum in science and mathematics on a scholarship to all its students.

Peppered with his own brand of humor, Secretary Dela Peña facilitated the session to an engaged audience who became more aware of the significant contributions of a quiet yet industrious agency, much like it’s current head, called Department of Science and Technology.

The Public Management Development Program is an intensive, multi-modal training program that aims to produce a corps of public managers that embody competence, integrity and commitment. It is the Philippine government’s career executive service development program that is being overseen by a Steering Committee composed of the National Economic Development Authority, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Finance, the Civil Service Commission, and the Career Executive Service Board. The implementing agency of PMDP is the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).

PMDP is now accepting nominations for Middle Managers Class Batch 14 and 15 opening on February 17, 2017 and April 28, 2017, respectively.