State-led Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to create a large-scale facility that will serve as a fabrication laboratory within the Clark Green City.
In a statement Wednesday, the BCDA said its president and chief executive officer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova and DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, who is also the chairman of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS), signed a MOA last month to establish a large-scale Fabrication Laboratory or “Super Fab Lab” within Clark Green City.
The BCDA said PSHS would manage, operate and maintain the Super Fab Lab, which will house off-the shelf, industrial-grade fabrication and electronic tools, wrapped in open source software and programs written by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Center for Bits and Atoms (MIT-CBA).
Casanova said the Clark Green City is poised to be a city of innovation with the University of the Philippines and the PSHS Fab Lab among the educational institutions that will locate in the city.
“Clark Green City is envisioned to have the best education and institutions where the future generation can immediately be empowered to see himself as a global citizen. A brain capital, in its truest sense,” Casanova said.
Clark Green City is a 30- to 40-year flagship project of the BCDA, with Phase 1 covering the first 20 years of development. The masterplan of the whole city includes access and inter-city roads, a railway system, a mixed-use residential and commercial block, business district, industrial estates, schools and centers, government offices, and other facilities that would make up a major city.
At full development, the city is estimated to accommodate some 1.12 million residents, 800,000 workers and contribute a gross output of approximately $34 billion a year to the national economy or roughly 4-percent share in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
It is envisioned to be the first smart, green, and disaster-resilient metropolis in the Philippines, and will adjoin the Clark Freeport Zone, Clark International Airport and some of the major access roads to Manila.
Aside from the Super Fab Lab, the BCDA has been working closely in partnership with the DOST, with the BCDA remitting a total of P263 million to the DOST in 2012.
Montejo said half of the P263 million funds from the BCDA were already used “in training 124 scientists and engineers for Individual Training” and 331 scientists and engineers for Group Training, which will bridge the competency gap in human resources for research and development.
The Individual Training grants span emerging technologies such as microsatellite development, big data, technology transfer, genomics, bioinformatics, epigenetics, climate
change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, among others.
Group Training grants, on the other hand, were given to groups of scientists, researchers, engineers, laboratory technicians, and technical supervisors to address specific needs such as food safety, science and technology needs for the halal industry, Grade 11 and 12 curriculum development for PSHS, native chicken development and production, among others.
Since the start of BCDA’s Asset Disposition Program (ADP) in May 1993, the BCDA has generated some P423 million as a share for the DOST as of March 2016.
“We look forward to more BCDA-funded training programs leading to having the best pool of scientist resulting to more projects for national development,” Casanova said.
Pursuant Republic Act 7917 and Executive Order 309, the DOST is among the 14 government agency beneficiaries who are entitled to a share from the proceeds generated from BCDA’s ADP.