MANILA, JULY 6, 2008
(STAR) By Helen Flores - The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is strongly pushing for the passage of a bill that seeks to create the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Science and Technology Secretary Estrella Alabastro said ICT is one of the priority areas of President Arroyo since she took over the presidency in 2001.

Senate Bills 920 (sponsored by Sen. Loren Legarda) and 320 (sponsored by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada) seek to create the DICT to bring government focus and priority to the ICT sector.

Legarda earlier said the legislative measure transforming the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) into a full-fledged department is expected to be passed within the year.

“We will relate very closely with them. The research portion is still ours but they will tell us some progress in our ICT sector,” Alabastro told reporters.

Alabastro said the Philippines is next to India in terms of providing ICT services, adding that the microelectronic industry “is a big one in the Philippines.”

“I’m sure that whatever support is needed by the industry can be championed by the DICT,” she said.

CICT chairman Ray Anthony Roxas Chua III earlier said the proposed department would bring better access to information, government service, foreign markets, and available jobs; make remittances and communication inexpensive; and bring global recognition.

The House version proposes to create a new department that would oversee the ICT sector that will be spun off from the Department of Transportation and Communications, according to Catanduanes Rep. Joseph Santiago.

Other agencies dealing with communication will become attached agencies of the new department.

These include the National Telecommunications Commission, Philippine Postal Corp., and National Computer Center, Santiago said.

The House version has passed second reading, he said.

Pinoy named top Asean scientist Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Filipino scientist will receive the much-coveted 2008 ASEAN Outstanding Scientist and Technologist (AOST) award tomorrow in Manila for his significant work in photonics and signal processing.

Dr. Caesar Saloma, physicist and dean of the University of the Philippines’ College of Science, will be cited for his efforts that “have resulted in the development of novel and cost-effective techniques in optical signal recovery and retrieval.”

His work was undertaken in collaboration with colleagues and students at the National Institute of Physics (NIP).

A statement released by UP showed that Saloma’s “findings have been published in many high impact international journals on optics and applied physics.”

Together with Dr. Vincent Ricardo Daria and Jelda Jane Miranda, Saloma secured a United States patent for a cost-effective and non-invasive method of identifying microscopic defects in integrated circuits (IC).

Considered a major breakthrough in the semiconductor industry, the technique allows for accurate identification of circuit defects by producing a high-contrast image map of the semiconductor and metal sites.

The NIP website showed that Saloma’s group at the Instrumentation Physics Laboratory published more than 80 papers in leading optics and applied physics journals in the US and Europe.

The triennial award was created by the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology in the early 1990s to recognize scientists and technologists from ASEAN countries whose achievements have been acknowledged locally and internationally.

Saloma was the first and only ASEAN scientist to receive the Galileo Galilei Award in optics from the International Commission for Optics.

He has mentored 17 PhD graduates at the NIP since 2005.

The professor is also a member of the National Academy of Science and Technology since 2005 and one of a select group to hold the rank of UP Scientist III.

Saloma has been a recipient of various other awards, including the 2007 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Teacher Award (Higher Education Category), the 2006 UP Diliman Gawad Chanselor para sa Natatanging Guro, and the Gawad Chanselor Hall of Fame in two separate categories, the Pinakamahusay na Mananaliksik, and the Pinakamahusay na Nilathalang Pananaliksik.

The ASEAN Science and Technology Week (ASTW) is one of the major and continuing undertakings in ASEAN S&T cooperation.

It is held every three years and hosting is rotated among ASEAN member countries.

The ASTW is intended to promote science and technology development in the region by creating greater awareness of S&T, developing an S&T culture, and providing a medium for participation and collaboration in regional S&T programs. – Sheila Crisostomo

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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