HILONGOS, Leyte – A community-based fisherfolk organization in Hilongos, Leyte received a livelihood grant from the Leyte Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC-Leyte) that will not only raise their income but will also provide additional jobs in the community.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) regional office also provided the schools with science kits called Versatile Instrumentation System for Science Education and Research (VISSER) and Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly-Operated KioskS (STARBOOKS), which are tools to help students enhance their understanding on the different fields of science.

Dr. John Glenn Ocaña, Leyte provincial director of DOST, led the ceremonial turnover of a PHP 900,000 check intended for the procurement of sardine processing equipment, STARBOOKS and VISSERs.

The recipient is Matapay Young Fishers Society (MYFS), a community-based organization of 69 fisherfolk of Brgy. Matapay, Hilongos, Leyte.

Ocaña said the organization was identified by the local government unit during the conduct of a Community Life Competence Process (CLCP) of DOST-8 held last year.

“One of those that cropped up as a need is to process sardine caught by fisherfolks of Brgy.  Matapay which prices would dramatically drop during peak seasons from January – June of every year,” he said.

Ocaña said the project, which is under the DOST program called Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) and funded through the Congressional Insertion Initiative, aims to increase the income of the beneficiaries and generate at least five employment opportunities.

“We want to establish a Good Manufacturing Processes-compliant layout fish processing facility for bottled sardines and acquire food grade equipment for the technology center,” he said, adding, “DOST Leyte will be the one to train the beneficiary group on how to process bottled sardines.”

Ocaña also said the provision of STARBOOKS and VISSER to selected schools aims “to increase awareness for S&T courses, encourage great and curious minds to develop new ideas – inventions and innovations, and inspire one’s capacity for entrepreneurship and research for socio-economic development.”

He said VISSER is a science kit that allows students to conduct over 50 science experiments in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

“It is a handheld device that consists of analog and digital sensors that act as a central hub to which different sensors can be connected and controlled to perform various science experiments,” he said. Ocaña explained that STARBOOKS is a stand-alone information source designed to reach those with limited or no access to science and technology information resources. He said it contains hundreds of thousands of digitized science and technology resources in various formats (text and video/audio) placed in specially designed “pods” set in a user-friendly interface. By Elmer Recuerdo (EV Mail October 31-November 6, 2022 issue)