The Titay Municipal Hall on the SFTP Festival opening day
In its bid to bring the gains of science and technology closer to the people, the Department of Science and Technology Regional Office No. IX (DOST-IX) brought its fiesta-inspired version of the agency-wide Science for the People (SFTP) to the municipality of Titay in Zamboanga Sibugay Province.
The celebration of the SFTP Festival aims to reduce demographic inequality, create opportunities for businesses and employment, build and strengthen partnerships with local organizations, and expand the potential for growth in the countryside.
Through the SFTP Festival events, communities are set to benefit from the opportunities to be created by tech bazaars and exhibits, technology business fora, and various S&T trainings, among other enriching activities.
Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay
Located at the western part of the Zamboanga Peninsula (ZamPen), Titay is a humble yet thriving municipality that acts as the gateway for travelers headed for Zamboanga del Norte and the other provinces of ZamPen. Given its inland location and distance from the main cities, it is often found on the wanting side of science and its advancements.
Knowing that the municipality was set to celebrate its Araw ng Titay on the 24th of May, DOST-IX held the first of the three-day SFTP festival on the 22nd, ensuring that the festival’s final day would end in a bang.
As early as 7am, the municipal hall saw participants pour in by the hundreds, each making their way through the agency’s various displays sprawled across the grounds’ expanse.
Each exhibit had its own S&T advantage to bring to the table; the Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Stations or STARBOOKS, offered onlookers a glimpse of its capabilities - a digital library that allows users access to over 500,000 local and foreign S&T resources in text, video, and audio formats, which include digitized journals, serial publications, reference materials, and other sci-tech resources found in the DOST-STII (Science and Technology Information Institute)'s libraries.
The agency’s RSTL or Regional Standards and Testing Laboratories exhibit shared to guests the various laboratory services they offer, as well as introduce them to OneLab - a platform that interconnects DOST labs and their services, allowing customers to submit their samples to the nearest DOST lab for analysis, testing, and/or calibration - even if that lab currently does not have the means to process the said sample.
Also on display was the RxBox, - a compact, easy to operate, 6-part telemedicine device that could immediately and accurately provide patients data on their current health status. The RxBox contains a Blood Pressure Monitor a Pulse oximeter – which measures the level of oxygen in the patient’s blood, an Electrocardiogram or (ECG) a Fetal Heart Monitor a Maternal Tocometer – that measures the strength of a mother’s uterine contractions during labor and delivery, and a Temperature Sensor.
Adjacent to the RxBox stood lifesaving devices of a different kind; project DEWS (Deployment of Early Warning Systems) put on display models of the different warning devices installed in the municipality and in the region, as well as educated participants on how these devices aided in preventing and mitigating potential disasters.
Acting as the event’s concession stand, the Techno Bazaar featured products from DOST-assisted businesses and firms – everything from Cassava chips to crafted art – all acquired through the agency’s SETUP (Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program), and available on Onestore.ph – the online e-commerce web portal for S&T goods and commodities.
A number of forums were conducted on the SFTP’s first day. One gave Titayanons an in-depth look at the agency’s S&T support services, and the SETUP program, where investment and technology-transfer opportunities in the municipality were discussed;
The other, a discourse on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, which educated locals on the different types of disasters, their early detection, and how the said could and would affect their municipality.
The second day saw residents participate in the different techno trainings and demonstrations conducted by the agency. Titayanons gained advanced knowledge in Buko juice processing, as well as the processing of various fish and meat products.
As a locale having much of the said resources available, the conduct of the techno trainings is expected to better the knowledge of residents who are engaged in the business of dealing with such, as well as inspire others to venture into the trade.
A forum on other important DOST programs and services was also held for the benefit of the community. Among those discussed were the RxBox, and the agency’s CEST (Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology) and S&T scholarship programs.
An event of this scale deserved nothing short of an exit equivalent its grandiosity. As such, the event’s third day called for 3 major activities: tree planting, a nutri-feeding program for children, and the sharing of agency-assisted products to senior citizens.
At first light, DOST-IX, along with the local police and other local government agencies set out for the municipality’s barangay Imelda, where over 100 fruit-bearing trees were planted.
Immediately after the activity, the agency made their way to the municipality gymnasium, where close to 800 people – made up of mothers, children, and senior citizens – took part in the culminating activity.
In the days to come, DOST-IX plans to bring the Science for the People Festival to even more towns and municipalities in the region, continuing its drive to improve the quality of life in distant remote communities through science and technology.