Pagbalik Tanaw at Pagharap sa Panibagong Siyensya – DOST-ASTI celebrates its 35th Anniversary
The Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ASTI) celebrates its 35th founding anniversary on 30 January 2022. On this year’s anniversary the DOST-ASTI looks back at what it has achieved, and the challenges it will face, in the field of science and technology – hence, “Pagbalik Tanaw at Pagharap sa Panibagong Siyensa.”
These challenges have become more pronounced as the Institute, along with every other organization in the world, grapples with the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. As with the previous year’s celebration, DOST-ASTI remained on an alternative work arrangement, with its researchers and personnel either part of the agency’s skeleton workforce or under Work From Home (WFH).
Despite these constraints, the DOST-ASTI commemorates its milestones and achievements while maintaining a clear eye towards what lies ahead.
The DOST-ASTI is a Research and Development Institute (RDI) established in 1987 under Executive Order No. 128 with a mandate to undertake scientific research and development activities in support of advancing information and communication technology, computing and microelectronics in the country.
In recent years, DOST-ASTI took on a more aggressive role in pursuing its mandate by creating new technologies such as establishing a Satellite Ground Receiving Station (GRS) facility under the Philippine Earth Data Resource Observation (PEDRO) Center with direct access to a broad range of optical (high-resolution, multispectral) and radar (cloud penetrating, day-night-imaging) satellite data. Another technological capability is the Computing and Archiving Research Environment (COARE), a facility that essentially targets to enable multiple data integration from DOST-ASTI-initiated projects, as well as collaborative projects with other agencies that have high requirements for data storage and high-performance computing.
In furtherance of its vision to be the country’s leading Research and Development (R&D) center in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Electronics within the Southeast Asian (SEA) region, DOST-ASTI established PREGINET, which is the only Research and Education Network (REN) in the Philippines that interconnects and catalyzes research among academic, government, and research institutions. PREGINET has links to several overseas RENs including the Asia-Pacific Advanced Network (APAN), Asian Internet Interconnection Initiatives (AI3), and Trans-Eurasia Information Network 3 (TEIN3). In addition, the Institute also established the Remote Sensing and Data Science (DATOS) Help Desk , which utilizes technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) to produce and communicate relevant disaster information to agencies and key end-users to complement the current efforts of existing government agencies and initiatives. DATOS builds on and integrates past and ongoing DOST-supported projects, different Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS) and other Data Science techniques.
Then, in the beginning of 2020, DOST-ASTI confronted its biggest challenge thus far – the COVID-19 pandemic. DOST-ASTI met this new crisis head-on, harnessing its considerable knowledge resources. DOST-ASTI had been progressive in supporting, partnering, and even spearheading activities and initiatives concerning COVID-19, through its R&D projects, services, and facilities such as the development of Thermal Scanners which can be used by COVID-19 front liners. DOST-ASTI also helped develop the Opcen Monitoring Platform, a contact tracing system and data platform developed to illustrate the interaction between confirmed patients, Patients Under Investigation (PUIs), and Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) up to the barangay level.
DOST-ASTI has been moving non-stop since then. The run-up to its 35th anniversary has been marked with shifts, breakthroughs, progress, and a selfless commitment to serve the people throughout the pandemic. The agency has held fast not only against the pandemic but against the immobilization of the work force and its activities. Even in the face of uncertainty, DOST-ASTI researchers and staff responded with courage and discipline, rising to the task at hand and doing its part.
As DOST-ASTI turns 35, well aware that the research it undertakes matters to national development, it looks forward to the new heights it will reach as the country’s leading R&D center in ICT and Electronics, marching into the “next normal” of a post-COVID-19 world.