Food security, renewable energy among top priorities of new DOST chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 12)- Renato Solidum Jr. bared his top priorities as he takes over the Department of Science and Technology (DOST): food security, agriculture, transportation, and renewable energy.

"All our efforts will be geared towards relating the DOST programs and projects with other departments. Para magkaroon talaga tayo ng [So we can really have a] whole of government and whole of society approach to solve the pressing problems of our society," the newly appointed DOST chief told CNN Philippines.

Food security

Solidum cited the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development as an agency that could help improve new technology to further grow rice and crops.

With the current global supply chain problem driving wheat and fuel prices up, he said the DOST will also focus on local alternatives for imports such as coconut, cassava, sweet potato flour.

Solidum also mentioned the "enhanced nutribun," which the department's Food and Nutrition Research Institute launched on social media in May. 

Clean energy

The DOST will continue its research on sources of alternative and renewable energy, according to Solidum. This includes research on new battery types to store energy.

He also said the department is developing waste-to-energy production for small kilowatt machines to help remote areas that still do not have power sources for electricity.


Solidum will push for hybrid technology like electric trains and vehicles.

The DOST is already developing hybrid trimarans, which will be powered by ocean waves instead of fuel, he added.

Solidum said the department is coordinating with state universities and colleges to further improve the use of e-vehicles.

Job creation

Solidum briefly discussed the DOST's programs to incorporate science and technology in micro, small, and medium enterprises.

"We wanted to really emphasize science, technology and innovation to create jobs and quality jobs," he said.

He added that the department is also trying to get investors in agriculture and aquatic resources to help open small yet self-sufficient farms and fisheries.

Solidum has been with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs)--an attached agency of the DOST--since 1984, and became its director in 2003.

In 2017, he was named DOST Disaster Risk Reduction Climate Change Adaptation Undersecretary, but continued as officer- in-charge of Phivolcs.

His appointment was publicly announced by Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles on Friday.