“We also need strategists, not just problem-solvers”

Immerse studes in foreign cultures to add humanity in science – Usec. Solidum

By Emil Jan I. Llagas | The Calabarzon Scholar, August 2019 – February 2020 Issue

To aid the rapidly changing global problems, Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum, Jr. suggested that the Philippines must adapt a more intensive student exchange program to let scholars experience and learn from the culture of other countries.

In an interview with The Calabarzon Scholar, Solidum revealed plans of integrating humanities along with STEM-related subjects as part of the discussions during the recently-held Global Science and Technology Leaders’ Forum in Thailand which aims to explore innovations in learning. “Many issues are not simply scientific, they are [also] cultural issues and the way people would approach things is sometimes culture-dependent so immersion through familiarization of what other [nations] are doing will let them learn,” Solidum said.

Moreover, the undersecretary stressed the importance of student research projects, recognizing their role in the creation of bilateral relationships with foreign countries that will not only exhibit the Filipino intelligence in the international stage but also solve global issues.

“We are also engaging in collaborations. For example, Japan is conducting an i-Program in partnership with our government that enhances research skills of students,” Solidum stated.

On the other hand, he also mentioned the main focus of the international conference – to tackle the implementation of artificial intelligence – which he said is slowly being brought to the Philippines.

“A.I. can only be used in monotonous and repetitive activities but right now, we are utilizing it so it can help in aiding emergency situations such as disaster response,” the undersecretary explained.

Solidum finally congratulated the PSHS system for taking the lead in the said agenda through the celebration of humanities week and strengthening the computer science subjects in the curriculum.

COA commends P38-M spending on gender dev’t programs

By John Regulus Michael A. Dipasupil| The Calabarzon Scholar, August 2019 – February 2020 Issue

The Commission on Audit (COA) praised Pisay Calabarzon for its high P38-M spending on Gender Awareness and Development (GAD) programs, the highest in the Philippine Science High School System (PSHSS).

In its 2018 Annual Audit of the PSHSS, COA reported that the school spent P37,899,350.21 on its GAD plan, composing 10.85% of its total budget, making it first in total amount and second in percentage to total budget.

“The computed percentage of total expenditures over appropriation/budget showed that… six campuses [including Calabarzon] had sufficiently implemented the programs and projects related to GAD,” the report stated.

Pisay Calabarzon meets the 5% requirement set by RA No. 10964 on percentage of GAD expenditures to total budget.


Meanwhile, COA reports that the entire PSHSS had 5.96% of its total budget, or P196,687,727.00, dedicated to GAD plans, meeting the set 5% requirement.

“The overall PSHSS’ implementation of programs and projects related to programs and projects related to GAD except for Mimaropa Region Campus and Central Visayas Campus was at 5.96 percent…, hence their reported accomplishments attained the minimum requirement of 5% per 2018 GAA [General Appropriations Act],” COA said.

However, the agency also elaborated that more campuses failed to comply with the minimum requirement than those who did, but the average of 5.96% still meant that the system was following the set guidelines.

“We recommend that the Management direct the GAD Focal Point System to require the [Zamboanga, Southern Mindanao, Central Mindanao, Cordillera, Central Luzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Caraga Campuses and the Office of the Executive Director] to provide at least 5% of the agency’s total annual appropriations for the implementation of programs/ projects/activities related to GAD,” the commission reported.


Quennie Maglasang, Committee Head for GAD, said in an interview with the Calabarzon Scholar that she hopes for continuous support of the management, and the continuous planning and implementation of GAD Activities.

“[I hope for] the continuous support of the management in all GAD activities of the campus in infrastructure or school activities.

For the CID and the SSD, there should be continuous planning and implementation of GAD activities in all campus activities, especially in the curriculum, for example the usage of gender fair language inside the classroom,” Maglasang commented.

Scholars grant Mangyan access to clean comfort rooms

By Emil Jan I. Llagas | The Calabarzon Scholar, August 2019 – February 2020 Issue

A group of Grade 11 scholars from Pisay Calabarzon traveled to the remote barangay of San Mariano in Mindoro to deliver the plans and budget for the first-ever public comfort room in the area, raised as a part of the SCALE community programs of the campus.

With the combined efforts of the members, the team Adhika was able to gather around P20, 000 of cash which they used in commencing the construction of the sanitation facility for almost 300 families in the place.

“Nakapag-ipon kami ng around 20k sa pagbebenta lang ng tote bags saka pati na rin ‘yung raffle ng iPhone 8,” Gian Jobog, the group leader, stated.

Aside from the groundbreaking for the CR, Adhika also came equipped with hygiene kits and grocery packages which they distributed to the residents after teaching them a few tips and procedures in maintaining a clean community.

“Aside from the fact na malayo sila sa urbanized areas and they lack clothing, they [also] lack resources or amenities that the people who live in the current century would have kaya we chose them,” Jobog added.

When asked about the experience, the team said that it was a happy journey which not only let them take a breath from the hectic academics but also was able to help out to those who are needy.

“We donated to them, we played with them, and we helped. Overall, masaya dahil nakapagbigay kami ng mga bagay na kahit konti, makakatulong pa rin sa buhay nila,” they said.

In terms of future plans, Adhika openly expressed willingness to return in order to make their other cancelled projects happen for the sake of the Mangyans.

Pisay pushes for uniform child protection policies

By Vianney Jo T. Tovilla | The Calabarzon Scholar, August 2019 – February 2020 Issue

The Philippine Science High School System (PSHSS) is working on unifying child protection procedures and methods across the system to better respond to changed needs, according to its officials.

Dr. Rod Allan De Lara, PSHS Deputy Executive Director, said that the System will update its Code of Conduct, discipline procedures, and policies on student affairs to suit a new environment, where not only is social media much more prevalent than before, but due to the K-12 system some scholars may also be of age before they graduate.

“Because of the [K-12], some of these Grade 12 student are no longer minors, so how are we going to handle that,” De Lara said, adding that “the Code of Conduct was last updated in 2013, where the K-12 wasn’t implemented yet and the world was already digital but not as much as it is now.

So we have to adapt.” Mr. Jorge Job, Student Services Chief of Pisay Calabarzon, also explained that the different campuses in the system have different ways of handling discipline cases, managing students, and tackling mental health, among others, and are now trying to unify these.

Thus, he said, the System with the help of the Commission on Human Rights recently held a workshop in Batangas City with representatives of all campuses present in order to compare best practices and begin consolidating them and making them system-wide.

“[The process] is a system wide thing, so Calabarzon as a campus contributes to the general policy in the system… so eventually the recalibrated policy incorporating the concerns of the grade 11 and 12 will be given to us by the end of this year… together with areas on mental health,” Job said.

Job also clarified that while the PSHS does not have its own unique child protection policy, it has already long adopted that of the Department of Education, and will now work on adapting it to the needs of Pisay.

TCS scribes bag 3 golds in RSPC ‘19

By Emil Jan I. Llagas | The Calabarzon Scholar, August 2019 – February 2020 Issue

The Calabarzon Scholar RSPC qualifiers dominated the recently concluded Regional Schools Press Conference in the Schools Division of Rizal with three gold medals and two other awards in four different categories.

Laurize Magada, Charisma Estrella, and Edabuen Untalan all won first place in News Writing- English, Science WritingEnglish, and Feature Writing- Filipino, respectively and are all qualified for the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) in Tuguegarao City.

Meanwhile, Juliana Salayo bagged the 4th place in Feature Writing- English and Sophia Lacsamana got the 7th place in Column Writing- English but did not qualify for the NSPC.

For the school paper category, the English newspaper was hailed as the 5th Best School Paper in the Region besting almost 400 school papers across the region, with specific awards namely, 2nd Best Science Page, 5th Best Editorial Page, 6th Best Features Page, and 7th Best News Page.

The NSPC will be held on February 17-21 while the three qualifiers will be trained in Tagaytay City on November 25-29 for the Phase 1 Cliniquing, and on February 3-7 for the Phase 2 as part of the preparations for the said upcoming event.

On December 7, the editorial board will be attending the awards night as a finalist for the Philippine’s Best Designed Campus Paper.

Last NSPC, The Calabarzon Scholar won as the 4th Best School Paper in the Philippines, 2nd Best Science Page, and 6th Best News Page.

PH leaps 19 notches in Global Innovation Index

DOST: Though underfunded, we have big role in PH rise

By John Regulus Michael A. Dipasupil| The Calabarzon Scholar, August 2019 – February 2020 Issue

The Philippines jumps 19 spots from 73rd to 54th place in this year’s Global Innovation Index (GII), showing the improving status of Research and Development (R&D) in the country. Improvements in institutions, infrastructure, business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs, and creative outputs resulted in the country rising in the index.

“It has remarkable performance in knowledge diffusion and knowledge absorption, not only relative to its income group and geographic region, but also relative to all other economies assessed in the GII,” the report stated. Furthermore, the country placed 89th in institutions, 83rd in human capital and research, 58th on infrastructure, 110th on market sophistication, 32nd on business sophistication, 37th on knowledge and technology outputs, and 63rd on creative outputs.

The improvements in comparison to other countries, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) says, is partially because of their efforts despite science and technology being underfunded and not being a priority of the government


The GII also reported that the country for the first time entered the innovation achievers group, countries that outperform on innovation related to their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The Philippines appears for the first time in the group of innovation achievers. It scores above average in all innovation dimensions, with the exception of market sophistication, relative to its lower middle-income peers,” the report elaborated.

Some of the strengths of the country, according to the GII, are graduates in science and engineering (19th), E-participation (19th), trade, competition and market scale (20th), Applied Tariff Rate (18th), firms offering formal training (9th), knowledge absorption (14th), hightech imports (5th), research talent in business enterprise (6th), growth rate of GDP/worker (10th), knowledge diffusion (14th), hi-tech net exports (1st), ICT services exports (8th), and creative good exports (8th).


Undersecretary for R&D Rowena Guevara commented that the DOST played a significant role in the country’s improvements in the index, especially in the graduates of science and engineering category. “All these numbers, Malaki ang tulong ng DOST, pero yung pinakaclaim na talaga naming to say is yung graduates in science and engineering. No. 18 na tayo. Consistent tayo umaakyat dun…. Dahil yun sa Human Resources Development. We can claim that talaga,” said Guevara during a press conference in the Regional Science and Technology Week last September 24.

Secretary Fortunato dela Peña also said in the same conference that the DOST, along with other government agencies, plan to place in the top 33% of countries by 2022.

“Kung titingnan mo, nasa 42nd percentile [tayo dati]. Kung titingnan mo, nasa 60th percentile na tayo ngayon. Kaya sabi ko, siguro naman bago matapos ang 2022, ay malagay tayo sa top 1/3. So kung 129 [yung countries], that’s practically 40th, 42nd, which puts us at the 67th percentile,” the secretary stated.


Dela Peña said that while this goal is achievable, it would be more achievable if the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) would give more for DOST.

“Yun nga lang, mas gaganda pa sana kung bibigyan pa tayo. Dati hindi ako nagcocomplain, pero ngayon… hindi talaga pinapansin ang mga [proposals] naming,” he elaborated.

Guevara, however, still hopes to receive “congressional insertions,” or budget from representatives and senators, as only P20.1 billion was allocated for the DOST by the DBM, P79.85 million lower than the agency’s previous budget.

“It’s not really a budget cut. Kasi ganito yan, after the budget is approved, sometimes, a senator or a congressman has what’s called congressional insertion, nagdadagdag siya, so nagdagdag kasi ng pera for 2019, kaya kala mo bumaba kasi wala pa yung mga insertions. So sometimes, in the end, [the budget] could be higher,” the undersecretary explained.

SOURCE: Cornell University, INSEAD, WIPO (2019). Global innovation index (2019). Retrieved from

Pisay Patrinus: When Godmother’s wish comes true

By Shon Lendl Raneses| The Calabarzon Scholar, August 2019 – February 2020 Issue

Dreaming never hurts.

Helping indigent Pisay Calabarzon ‘full scholars’ is Patrinus; a group of parent volunteers serving as the wind beneath several schol- ars’ wings.

Founded by Mrs. Helen De Villa, Patrinus has been helping indigent scholars as soon as the first year of Pisay Calabarzon function, and is currently marking its path to being an official affiliation.

With at least 100 parent vol- unteers, Patrinus started of small, only being funded by minimal donations that were given to the scholars in need.

In an interview with The Calabarzon Scholar on Oc- tober 4, De Villa said, “[Nag- simula lang kami] ng just a dream lamang ang makatu- long”.


During the earlier years of Pisay Calabarzon, indigent scholars were usually demotivated, because of several factors such as: financial instability and distance, among other challenges.

This became De Villa’s call for duty, as she overheard an indigent scholar not wanting to pursue an academic career in Pisay, because of the lack of currency to purchase a uniform, as she was the General Parent-Teacher Association (GPTA) president at the time, she immediately contacted the GPTA community, starting an anonymous uniform drive for the troubled scholar.

This would soon ignite the flames for Patrinus, as De Villa would soon appoint the first head of the unofficial God Parent program of Pisay Calabarzon, Myra Villena.

With small donations on hand, a simple goal was set for the association: to become an affiliate of God Parent Main of PSHS Foundation.

“Nabuhay lang siya from our own pocket.” De Villa stated. PURSUING THE MISSION A little more support was all De Villa needed to fully pursue the concept of Patrinus.

Former GPTA President Roger Cuenca pushed De Villa with all of his support to formalize the God Parent Program.

Cuenca believed that it is a need for a parent association to help the scholars in need, even though the program is a separate entity from the GPTA.

De Villa took action immediately, after knowing that she is not the only one who wants to help the scholars of Calabarzon. With a community of parents behind her back, Patrinus became official and was recognized in the consequent Family Day.

“There has to be a bridge between those who want to help and those who need help.” De Villa would emphasize.


Aside from becoming a full affiliation, there are also obstacles that hinder Patrinus from helping the scholars in need.

There are four criteria to determine a scholar for sponsorship: full scholarship, no behavioral records, a clean character and determination.

De Villa saw some faults in Pisay System especially in the scholarship categorization, which was solely based on papers and phone interviews. De Villa believes that there should be an investigatory visit to clearly see the living conditions of the scholar in question. The need for the investigation arises when there are evident cases of faulty scholarship categorization.

For example, there are categorized full scholars who have overseas working parents, which De Villa believes to be a questionable scholarship. She has also seen faults in the submission of papers, since if there is a failure to submit, scholars are automatically categorized into Partial 3.

De Villa stands that there are scholars whose parents have no ability to read or write (inflicted by sickness or lack of education) which qualifies them for a sponsorship by Patrinus. “Dapat talaga kasama si Ma’am Bennie [Bennie Laurena, school guidance counselor) sa Scholarship Categorization.”, said De Villa, “Siya kasi ang may one-on-one interview with the scholars and parents”, she added.


While Patrinus has been bombarded with obstacles, it has already marked the path it needs to take in becoming an affiliate of God Parent Main.

Patrinus currently sponsors seven Calabarzon indigent scholars compared to God Parent Main’s 4. Among these are scholars that are co-sponsored, which grants them more benefits.

In becoming an affiliate of Main, Patrinus needs to raise over 2 million pesos for the foundation, and for them also to cover the needs of indigent teachers and/or employees.

At its core, Patrinus prioritizes the scholars, especially their meal allowance, before the school supplies and the activities. “Aside with worrying with complying [their requirements], they are also worrying about food.”, stressed De Villa.


Since Patrinus’ help always comes to the scholars anonymously, the concern of the student meeting the sponsor was a debatable issue when tackled by the association.

The scholars are usually planned to meet their sponsors after their graduation, however concerns arise if the scholar is kicked out, or is orphaned, leaving them with no choice but to live under the roof of people that they don’t know.

On the contrary, Patrinus is unsure of introducing the scholar to their sponsors in fear of exploitation. “Pwede makilala ng God Parent ang bata, pero hindi pwedeng makilala ng bata ang God Parent.”, confirmed De Villa.

With all the hustle and bustle of the busy school days, the mountains of exams and requirements one thing’s for sure. The needs of Pisay Calabarzon full scholars’ are in good hands, thanks to Patrinus.

Reina Comes Home

Insights of a Balikbayan scientist on the country’s future in science


By Maria Charisma P. Estrella and Rainier Edward Bolima| The Calabarzon Scholar, August 2019 – February 2020 Issue

From travelling light years away examining one galaxy to another, Pisay Alumnus Reinabelle Reyes comes home after exploring the wonders of space to undertake new heights and challenges as a data scientist towards reaching the country’s goal of serving science for the people.

Going back home after collecting knowledge across the world and space, Reina comes back to the country to improve and achieve its goals and current platforms during a keynote speech at Pisay Calabarzon’s Foundation Day last November 6, 2019.

Reina also shared her experiences and thoughts on how to further advance science in the country by building new research facilities, infrastructure, and programs of spreading awareness and importance of science to the Filipino People.


Reina explains how working with data can be an essential tool in solving and providing solutions to some of the problems in the country specifically in Technological and Web Science and lack of advanced equipment and resources.

“So maganda, maraming opportunities, career opportunities, at the same time maraming applications na hindi pa actually nagagawa sa PH. So, may opportunity na to push the boundaries,” she says.

As Reina embarks in her new journey, she stresses how data science has a great scope with lots of fields stating that, “Ibaiba ‘yan actually, ibang-iba actually, kaya din ako nagshift kase data science is really very in demand sa industry.


Besides from her current work goals and plans, Reina also has her insight regarding the country’s step towards the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PSA).

In such, Reina adds that, “building our own PSA baby steps and then sa simula ang tama naman is our satellite looks down pero ang interesting na ngayon eh kase ang ino-observe n’ya ang earth…ang dami daming pwedeng gawin so yan yung pinagiisipan ko kaya interesting din.”

Reina also emphasizes that the PSA will serve as the building block of the country in studying and exploring space, potentially leading to cultivating science as a culture in our country.


As one of the students who experienced wearing orange tablecloth patterned skirts, carrying bulky books around, and facing loaded requirements daily, Reina had her fair share of Pisay high school life.

“Yung mga experiences during nung nasa Pisay ako, that planted the seeds dun sa eventual na naging career ko as scientist. I really attribute [it] to Pisay talaga,” she explained.

She says that her journey towards becoming a Physicist began as she ignited the flame and passion for science heading on becoming a scientist through Pisay, and ultimately becoming the star she is.

After travelling light years away and coming back home, the journey of a Pisay alumna, a physicist, and a data scientist is no joke as it shows that no matter how bright her star may be in space, there will always be no place like home.