DOST V, BISCAST launch ManFabLab

Thursday, September 27, 2018 12:00 AM    Views : 99by:Region 5

Aiming to improve the competitive edge of the Bicolano micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the Department of Science and Technology V (DOST V), in partnership with the Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST), officially launched on 08 August 2018 the Manufacturing and Fabrication Laboratory (ManFabLab) situated within the campus of BISCAST in Naga City.

DOST Sec. Fortunato de la Peņa along with DOST V Regional Director Tomas Briņas, BISCAST College President Dr. Richard Cordial, and Naga City Mayor John Bongat led the inauguration of the facility. Invited guests were ManFabLab stakeholders including students and teachers from different schools, local MSMEs, and national government agencies.

The ManFabLab is a community resource workshop originating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and featuring cutting edge technology that can make almost any product, from trivial key chains to intricate motherboards, through digital fabrication. Over 200 FabLabs exist in more than 50 countries, all networked to allow for best practices, projects, and ideas to be shared. All FabLabs in the globe conform to specific standards, namely: they should be equipped with the recommended six (6) basic FabLab equipment; they have to be open to the public; and they should participate in the global FabLab network. "These are young people actually na very enthusiastic and eager to come up with innovations " said Sec. de la Peņa about the FabLab community in the Philippines, confident that their coming together and helping one another will yield many good results.

"From BISCAST perspective, it will function as the Center for Applied Science, Technology, Innovation, and Commercialization. The facility is expected to produce patents, licenses, and provide other commercialization support to BISCAST faculty and students' innovation and entrepreneurship efforts. It is also expected to work closely with the Bicol Region's small, medium industries to design and develop customized solutions suited to their needs," said Dr. Cordial in his welcome message during the launch. "The facility shall be a multidisciplinary hub and should serve as launchpad for business and industrial collaborations and research and development projects. The facility is also expected to act as an incubation zone for creative ideas generated and conceptualized by students, faculty and industry collaborators."

In his message, Sec. de la Peņa said that the establishment of the ManFabLab is consistent with President Rodrigo Duterte's thrust for development through infrastructure, interconnectivity, innovation, with emphasis on expediting countryside development to, in turn, accelerate the whole nation's progress.

The secretary then recommended that ManFabLab stakeholders tie up with research institutes relevant to their respective endeavors and promoted DOST's Electronics Product Development Center in Bicutan, Taguig that houses facilities for developing prototypes of consumer electronic products. These are some of the resources that MSMEs and innovators can tap to generate more innovative products so we can advance from just product assembly and testing.

Sec. de la Peņa also lauded the MSMEs present during the launch for their grit and for creating employment and economic activity. With the recent launch of the inclusive innovation roadmap formulated by DOST and DTI, Sec. de la Peņa sees more assistance being provided to entrepreneurs.

Director Briņas acknowledged that support of the City Government of Naga and the business sector, among others, is key to ascertaining that the facility will successfully produce outputs. "So now we are engaging other sectors kasi yung success po nitong ating ManFabLab will really depend on how everyone will join our plans together to be able to come up with a productive, successful facility," he said.

Mayor Bongat expressed his optimism about the ManFabLab's possible contributions to the local economy. He cited how the Philippines has been lagging behind in terms of productivity, measured in terms of GNP and GDP and export receipts, compared to our neighbors in Southeast Asia. In 2016, Malaysia, with a population that is only one-third in size compared to the Philippines', had 191 billion US dollars in gross export receipts juxtaposed to our 56 billion US dollars. "It's because of the strong collaboration between the academe and how the academe can use research and development to be able to enhance existing products to make them more competitive in light of the ASEAN integration and the world competition," explained the mayor. He also assured DOST that the City Government of Naga will always work with the agency towards the development of the city as well as Bicol Region.

DTI-Camarines Sur Provincial Director Edna Tejada who was in attendance also shared news that the Intellectual Property Office will soon have an office in Naga City, a timely development for the registration of the ManFabLab's expected outputs.

A facility tour was led by BISCAST Manager Ron Christian Cagula where he introduced the key equipment of the ManFabLab and presented a number of actual outputs of the lab. After the tour, Dr. Cordial showed Sec. de la Peņa the college's modern Food Technology Laboratory and the Climate Change Resilient Pilot Housing--a project partnership among the City Government of Naga, BISCAST, and GIZ Urban Nexus--both of which earned praise from the secretary.

As part of the launching, an expert and interest group workshop on ManFabLab was also conducted to give stakeholders a picture of how the facility could be of significance to their endeavors. Participants included local SETUP cooperators and students from select schools. They were divided into four groups namely food processing; furniture; gifts, decor, and houseware (GDH); and information and communications technology (ICT). Each group presented an original product concept relevant to their field which was then critiqued by the panel of evaluators composed of Dr. Cordial, Mr. Cagula, and Ms. Marilou Belgado, industrial engineer and Science Research Specialist II of Provincial Science and Technology Center-Camarines Norte. In their presentation, the participants cited what equipment in the ManFabLab they will use to execute their design

It was truly fitting that the ManFabLab was launched during this year's celebration of the Regional Science and Technology Week as it in consonance with the theme "Science for the People: Innovation for Collective Prosperity." (Ms.P.N. Felizmenio/Ms.P.B.P.Velasco, PSTC-CamSur)


(left to right) DOST Sec. Fortunato de la Peņa, DOST V Regional Director Tomas Briņas, BISCAST College President Dr. Richard Cordial, and Naga City Mayor John Bongat giving their respective messages during the ManFabLab launching


S & T Trivia

" The orthopedist who authored the "Fracture Classification Manual" now widely used all over the world was who? Ramon Gustilo, a Filipino surgeon who holds nine patents for artificial bone replacement systems. "

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