, MARCH 12, 2007
 (STAR) Recognizing the potential contribution of space technology to the country’s economic development, a state university is offering for the first time a Bachelor of Science in Astronomy Technology program for aspiring Filipino astronomers, officials said yesterday.

Space Science chief Bernardo Soriano of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the Rizal Technological University (RTU) has approved for implementation its BS in Astronomy Technology program beginning in schoolyear 2007 to 2008.

"This is the first time it will be offered in the country. The students will formally learn not only astronomy, but also space science and technology," Soriano told The STAR.

"The Philippines will thus produce graduates who are prepared to be astronomers and space scientists, engineers and technicians," he added. "Hopefully they will help accelerate our science and technology progress and, thus, our economic progress."

Soriano said he is hoping that other schools, like the University of the Philippines, will offer similar courses "once (this course) gains popularity."

He said the potential students for this new course will come primarily from science high schools, adding graduates may be employed at any scientific institution.

Soriano said he participated in crafting the BS program in Astronomy Technology, though "only RTU will offer it so far."

RTU is located along Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong City. – Helen Flores

National S&T complex to rise The Philippine STAR 03/08/2007

President Arroyo has ordered the establishment of a National Science Complex and Technology Incubation Park in what the Palace describes as a "major move to bolster the country’s scientific and technological capabilities."

Executive Order (EO) 583, signed last Dec. 8, also directs the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release P500 million for the project.

The science complex, which will occupy a 21.9-hectare portion of UP Diliman, will be organized, managed, and operated by the UP Board of Regents.

It will be composed of nine science-related institutes that include the National Institute of Physics (NIP), the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB), the Institute of Biology (IB), the Institute of Chemistry (IC), the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM), the Department of Mathematics (DM), and the Natural Science Research Institute (NSRI).

The complex will "serve as the national hub for the generation and application of new scientific knowledge in the natural and applied sciences and mathematics," the President said.

She stressed that efforts to boost the country’s scientific and technological capabilities and their application to productive systems require complementary initiatives in new scientific knowledge and technology, technology transfer and diffusion, and technology utilization and management.

"All these efforts," President Arroyo said, "presuppose the availability of highly trained manpower to lead and direct scientific and technological activities in the academe, the private sector, and the government."

She said UP has the capability to supply competent manpower and technical to support the Science and Technology Park and its component technology business incubators (TBIs).

In September 2006, the UP Board of Regents approved the establishment of a national science complex and authorized UP president Emerlinda Roman to seek the support of Malacañang for the project.

Meanwhile, last Dec. 21, Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. approved and signed an ordinance adjusting the zoning classification of a portion of UP Diliman to be devoted to the UP North Science and Technology Park along Commonwealth Avenue.

Belmonte said the classification of the area as an S&T park is in line with the thrust of the city government toward becoming the country’s information and communication technology capital.

"The (UP North S&T Park) project promises to be a magnet for fast-evolving high-technology companies that would prove essential for the creation of a strong business and employment center in Quezon City — enough to provide more employment opportunities for its residents," he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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