PSTO Act ‘to bolster DOST programs’ in provinces

It will bolster the implementation of DOST [Department of Science and Technology] programs”

and “it is a recognition of the important role of our science and technology [S&T] frontliners in the provinces,” said OIC DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. in reaction to the lapsing into law of the proposed Provincial Science and Technology Office (PSTO) Act.

OIC DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr.

Republic Act 11914, or the PSTO Act, was among some legislative measures that lapsed into law recently after they were not acted upon either by former President Duterte or by President Marcos Jr.

The new law converts the current Provincial Science and Technology Centers (PSTCs) into the Provincial Science and Technology Offices, and will be  known as PSTO Act.

Among the important provisions of the law is the reclassification of the PSTC into PSTO and upgraded its head into Chief Science Research Specialist with a higher salary grade 24, from the current Senior Science Research Specialist with salary grade 19.

Solidum told the BusinessMirror in an SMS interview that the DOST family “is very happy” with the development.

“The provincial science and technology [S&T] officers are doing a lot, and they truly deserve the position upgrade they will get,” Solidum said.

“This [PSTO Act] will bolster the implementation of DOST programs on technology promotion, transfer and commercialization, human resources development, [S&T] information dissemination, and technical consultancy services for the benefit of the people and local governments,” Solidum said.

He added that the law “is a recognition of the important role that our [S&T] frontliners, those assigned in the provinces, in assessing the needs and opportunities for science, technology and innovation [STI] to be a catalyst for countryside development.”

Former DOST secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña

Former DOST secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña announced the development on his Facebook page on August 2. 

He thanked the national leaders and the lawmakers in the 18th Congress on the passage of the PSTO Act.

“This law gives importance to the role of our [S&T] frontliners in making Science for the People a reality and in making it an instrument for inclusive and sustainable development,” de la Peña said.

He also congratulated the team of the DOST-Department of Legislative Liaison Office (DLLO), led by Director Lita S. Suerte-Felipe, “for shepherding the passage of this bill.”

He added that he is “truly proud and thankful” that during his term at the helm of DOST, they “were able to push five important laws in support of STI.”

Besides the PSTO Act, the other four laws are the Balik Scientist Act, Amended Magna Carta for Science Workers Act, Philippine Space Act, and Innovative Start Up Act.

Meanwhile, DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Sancho A. Mabborang, who is in charge of administering the PSTCs, now the PSTOs, said the the new law “will greatly boost the morale” of the provincial S&T directors “who I call the S&T Champions on the ground.”

He also told the BusinessMirror in a social media interview that the law “is very much being awaited by the regional offices.”

“It will create new positions in the regional offices, adding manpower, who will spread and deliver relevant and appropriate [S&T] interventions to our various stakeholders in the countrysides,” Mabborang said.

He likewise expressed gratitude to the Executive,Legislative and the DLLO officials for having it finally approved.

The PSTOs will implement the DOST programs and projects in the provinces. They are also tasked to identify the needs and opportunities for their respective provinces on S&T.

They are also responsible in developing institutional linkages with provincial offices of other departments, local government units, academe and nongovernment organizations for the implementation of S&T programs in the provinces.

Image credits: DOST