MANILA, JULY 17, 2007
 (STAR) By Sheila Crisostomo - To develop the country’s own Alexander Graham Bell or Thomas Edison, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) yesterday introduced its mascot “Tron,” which will be used to promote interest in science and technology among Filipino youth.

Tron was launched during the opening ceremonies for the 2007 National Science and Technology Week at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City, with Sen. Edgardo Angara as keynote speaker.

Jaime Montoya, head of the DOST’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, said Tron would visit schools nationwide as part of DOST’s year-long activities to mark its 50th anniversary in July next year.

“We always say that the future of the country is in the youth, but we all know that most people have this wrong impression that scientists are old and bespectacled so the youth can’t relate to them. We want to correct this impression – scientists can also be trendy,” Montoya said.

Bell and Edison are among the world’s most popular scientists. They invented, among other things, the telephone and tin foil phonograph, respectively.

Tron’s design was intended to depict him as a young, cool, strong, fast-moving, dependable and intellectual super hero, enabling the youth to relate to him and to stir their interest in science and technology.

A DOST insider claimed that they want Tron to tour schools in a motorcycle powered by bio-fuel but the agency could not afford this.

“We just hope someone could donate this motorcycle,” the DOST insider said.

Montoya also said that while more youth are getting into information technology because of the Internet, “the interest in science and technology in its totality is decreasing.”

“Even if more people are taking up science and technology, we are losing them also. They are leaving the Philippines,” Montoya added, referring to nurses, doctors, engineers and pilots, among others.

Angara, for his part, called for a review of the state of research and development in science so the country can attain world class competitiveness.

Angara also challenged DOST Sec. Estrella Alabastro to include Marine Science in its long-term plans and to improve the country’s food quality and safety in its plan of action in the next three to five years.

Meanwhile, the DOST gave The Philippine STAR a plaque of appreciation for its contribution to the promotion of science and technology in the country.

Star news editor Marichu Villanueva received the award. – With Christina Mendez

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved