Press Release
December 1, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) yesterday outlined COMSTE's priority initiatives during the Senate budget deliberations of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Angara discussed the Green Transport initiative and Electric Vehicle program, highlighting the cooperation between the DOST, COMSTE and the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) in the development of new technology that can produce more efficient, low cost batteries and new electric vehicle design initiatives.

The electric vehicle initiative is being pushed to address the growing need for more eco-friendly, and sustainable transport.

Angara said that the program can lessen the dependence on imported fuel sources and lead the way to creating energy independence while also lessening the carbon footprint of the transport sector.

Angara also highlighted several renewable energy initiatives like the establishment of the Renewable Energy Research and Development Institute (RERDI), which will be the medium for new technologies like developing algae as a biofuel, and the formation of a local solar testing facility.

A team composed of members from Ateneo University, Alson Aquacutlure Inc., and two other photo bio-reactor companies aim to study optimal conditions that will promote the growth of algae and the cleaning of coal fired plants by placing nearby aquaculture ponds.

The US- based National Renewable Energy Laboratory is currently studying the most viable strains of algae that they can use as a renewable energy source to produce diesel, gasoline and even jet fuel.

Angara noted that even big oil companies such as Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil have started to research the use of algae as fuel. Some airlines have also begun test flights consisting of biofuel blends.

Finally, Angara pushed for the National Telehealth Project, a program initiated by the University of the Philippines-Manila to provide real-time medical services to remote, underserved areas through information and communication technology (ICT) such as remote consultations and patient interfacing.

COMSTE reports show that a large number of pregnant women go through term without receiving prenatal testing and an estimated 40% of the populace have never seen a doctor.

Angara said that aside from improving basic health care services and delivery to remote areas, telemedicine will create the foundation for digital medical records. By collecting data from patients all over the country, transitioning to a digital medical record system will become easier.

The collection of digital records also creates a centralized information system that can be utilized by PhilHealth. By keeping track of its members, PhilHealth can make it easier for members to get the health care they need and at the same time sustain their membership, Angara noted.

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