It is all systems go for the Eighth Asean Science and Technology
Week (ASTW) from July 1 to 11, which will be hosted by the
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Philippine's
lead agency in charge for the event, and the Asean Foundation
(AF) last week signed a memorandum of agreement for the holding
of the ASTW. The agreement was signed by the Philippines'
Science Secretary Dr. Estrella Alabastro and AF executive
director Dr. Filemon Uriarte Jr., a former DOST chief.
With the agreement came a funding support from Asean Foundation
amounting to $67,087.20, or 80 percent of the ASTW total
budget of $83,859.
Uriarte said the ASTW is his first project in AF since he
assumed the executive director post in January.
"I froze 15 projects in the pipeline just to give way
to ASTW," said Uriarte.
"I encourage science institutions, even science nongovernment
organizations, to submit proposals that we can fund. . .
. We should work hard to increase our GDP [gross development
product] per capita so as not to lag behind our neighbors
in Asia," Uriarte suggested.
In a speech at the agreement signing at the Shangri-La Hotel
in Makati, Alabastro explained that ASTW is being conducted
every three years and hosted by Asean member-countries on
a rotational basis.
"It [ASTW] is a gathering of scientists, technologists
and experts from academe, the government and the private
sector to promote science and technology [S&T] development
in the region by creating greater awareness on S&T, developing
S&T culture, as well as providing a medium for participation
and collaboration in regional S&T programs," Alabastro
Among the activities lined up for the ASTW are:
a. Subcommittees/Dialogue Partners'and other related meetings;
b. 55th Meeting of Asean Committee on Science and Technology;
c. Scientific and Technical Conferences;
d. 5th Informal Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology;
e. Asean S&T Awards;
f. Asean S&T Exhibition; and
g. Asean Youth Science Summit
With a theme "Making Science Work for You," the
Eighth ASTW will be celebrated in conjunction with the 50th
anniversary of the DOST.
In the Asean Youth Science Summit, the youth, who are being
honed as next leaders of regional S&T development, will
discuss "relevant scientific and global issues."
Alabastro added, "The summit will also orient the Asean
youth and those from other participating countries on the
diplomatic and parliamentary ways in handling problems that
affect nations on a regional as well as global scale."
Dr. Ester Ogena, director of the Science Education Institute
of the DOST, is expecting a total of 151 participants, 98
students and 53 teachers, in the youth summit.
Participating high-school students of AYSS will have a focus
group discussion on spatial science, extreme games, nuclear
energy and genetically modified food. Their teachers, on
the other hand, will have a discussion on best practices
in teaching science and mathematics.
To further entice the youngsters to come and compete, Asean
Foundation contracted De La Salle University professors and
students in creating the interactive computer game "Asean
The opening billboard of the game was shown to the press
with a story line: a typhoon devastated the 10 Asean counties
and a nuclear power plant must be built after all the power
lines were shut down.
A player needs to enter all countries to fix power plant
connections and finish the game. However, the player must
read first the Asean declaration and type the word "welcome" in
the Asean countries' respective language (i.e Maligayang
pagdating in Filipino, or yin-dee dtôn ráp in
Asean Quest includes four mini-games, such as exploring
a warehouse, assembling the nuclear power plant, neutralizing
pests in sugar cane and assembling the biofuel power plant.
It is also packed with moving interfaces filled with trivia
about each Asean country. There is also a control room where
the Asean countries' 10 flags are located. Once a flag is
clicked, the country's national anthem will play.
"This game [Quest] is intended for educational purposes
because a player is forced to learn about other countries," said
He added, "Players will also learn how to build a real
power plant. A certificate will be issued at the end of the
The Asean Foundation and DOST have yet to determine whether
to distribute the game free of charge or for a fee to cover
the game's production cost.