DOST-12 vows to mainstream robotics program

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 18 September) – Upbeat with the prospects of the city government’s robotics program for local schools, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Region 12 or Soccsksargen is planning to promote the mainstreaming of the technology in the entire region.
Zenaida Hadji Raof Laidan, DOST Region 12 director, said the agency is presently considering the inclusion of robotics and other information and communication technology or ICT projects in science and technology events and competitions in the region to help promote awareness of the technology among residents.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Laidan said they are pushing for the participation of robotics enthusiasts, especially the students, in the annual Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits or RICE, which is held during the regional celebration of the National Science and Technology Week.
She urged local robotics enthusiasts and ICT stakeholders to join the DOST-Mindanao Cluster Science and Technology Fair that is slated on October 10 to 14 at the KCC Convention Center here.
The event, which will be hosted and organized by DOST-12, will be participated in by government agencies, academe, local industries and the science community in Mindanao.
“I am personally inviting all of you here to participate and experience new learning and amusement in this major showcase of development and trends in science, technology and innovation,” Laidan said at the recent culmination of the initial round of robotics training-workshop offered by the local government.

The robotics training was part of the free ICT modules or courses offered under the city’s enhanced SHEEP-Computer Literacy Program (CLP).
SHEEP stands for Social Transformation, Human Empowerment, Economic
Diversification, Environment Security and Regeneration and Participatory Governance and Transparency, which are the city’s main development thrusts.
The city government earlier launched the CLP as a major component of the SHEEP program’s education initiatives.

Laidan said it is time for the region to go into robotics since it is currently considered as among the fastest-growing ICT fields worldwide, especially among the developed countries.
She explained that the functionality and promising uses of robots range from being an artificial aide and companion to being an indispensable worker for jobs which are too dangerous, too dirty or too tiresome to be appropriately done by humans in many fields such as in medicine, earth and space exploration, military, laboratory research, mass production of consumer and industrial goods, among others.
“And taking into account that robots can perform particular jobs more cheaply, more efficiently and effectively, and more accurately and reliably than humans, market demand for these automated and artificial intelligent gizmos is expected to rise in greater value,” Laidan said.
“We need to do research and develop designs that would best suit our needs for commercial and industrial purposes. We need to innovate and create our own to support our industries and our economy. We need more scientists and researchers, and robotics engineers,” she said.
Meantime, Laidan lauded the implementation of the SHEEP-CLP, citing it as “a step closer to achieving a high level of technology-literate population.”
To complement the program, she said the agency will continue to provide local government units, academe and other industry stakeholders with access to relevant trainings, necessary resources and services that would further enhance ICT development in the region.
She added that such move is part of the Philippine Digital Strategy for 2012-2016 program of the Office of the President that was adopted by DOST 12. (Allen V. Estabillo/ MindaNews)