The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said that aside from contributing to the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, (AFP), proceeds generated from the sale of the former Metro Manila military camps has also contributed to strengthening the country’s national science and technology (S&T) agenda.
BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said some 455 Filipino scientists, engineers and researchers have benefited from the P263 million share of the the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) generated from the sale of former Metro Manila Camps—the biggest of which are Fort Bonifacio and a portion of Villamor Air Base, now known as Bonifacio Global City and Newport City respectively.
“We are glad to know that DOST’s share, from the proceeds generated from BCDA’s Asset Disposition Program (ADP), has paved the way to nurture the skills and talents of our scientists that has translated to vital projects for national development,” Casanova said.
Among these projects include the country’s first micro-satellite named Diwata that was launched into space last March. Diwata was designed, developed and assembled by Filipino researchers and engineers whose training was funded from the proceeds of BCDA’s ADP.
The implementation of all BCDA-funded projects are being overseen by members of the BCDA Project Monitoring Working Group composed of officials from the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and the DOST. The Advisory Board is led by DOST Secretary Mario Montejo.
Casanova cited a recent letter of DOST Sec. Montejo to the BCDA that highlighted the use of DOST’s share: “In 2012, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) received P263M from BCDA from the net proceeds from the sale of metro camps. To date, we have used almost half of the funds in training 124 scientists and engineers for Individual Training and 331, with additional 18 this coming May, for Group Training.”
Sec. Montejo’s letter also mentioned that the Individual Training grants were given to researchers in specific fields to bridge the competency gap in human resource for research and development.
The letter read: “The Individual Training grants span emerging technologies such as microsatellite development, big data, technology transfer, genomics, bioinformatics, epigenetics, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, among others.”
The letter also said that “Group Training grants were given to groups of scientists, researchers, engineers, laboratory technicians, and technical supervisors to address specific needs such as food safety, S&T needs for the halal industry, Grade 11 and 12 curriculum development for PSHS [Philippine Science High School], native chicken development and production, among others.”
Since the start of BCDA’s ADP in May 1993 to March 2016 the BCDA has generated some P423 million as share of the DOST. “We look forward to more BCDA-funded training programs leading to having the best pool of scientist resulting to more projects for national development,” Casanova said.
Pursuant RA 7917 and EO 309, the DOST is among the 14 government agency beneficiaries who have a share from the proceeds generated from BCDA’s Asset Disposition Program.
Just last month, BCDA President and CEO Casanova and DOST Secretary Montejo who is also the Chairman of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the establishment of a large-scale Fabrication Laboratory or “Super Fab Lab” within Clark Green City.
The PSHS will manage, operate and maintain the Super Fab Lab. The facility will house off-the shelf, industrial-grade fabrication and electronic tools, wrapped in open source software and programs written by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology–Center for Bits and Atoms (MIT-CBA).
Casanova said Clark Green City is envisioned to be a city of innovation with the University of the Philippines and the PSHS Fab Lab among the educational institutions that will locate in the city.
“Clark Green City is envisioned to have the best education and institutions where the future generation can immediately be empowered to see himself as a global citizen. A brain capital, in its truest sense,” Casanova said.