The DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) featured the latest advancements in wood and non-wood forest technologies and facilities at their office during the visit of members of the House of Representatives on 22 February 2024.

Led by the House Committee on Science and Technology Member and 2 nd District of Zamboanga del Sur Representative Jeyzel Victoria C. Yu, the group was joined by the legislative and congressional delegates of the Committees on Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources; Agriculture and Food; Natural Resources; Tourism; Rural Development; Climate Change; Agrarian Reform; Ecology; Reforestation; Disaster Risk Resilience; and Committee Affairs Department Economic Cluster II.

In his message during the opening program, DOST Undersecretary for Special Concerns Dr. Teodoro M. Gatchalian shared his hope that the visit will provide useful information to further develop S&T in the countryside and make it more responsive to the challenges of the times.

“We hope to prove to you that every centavo we receive from the national government are being put into maximum use so that our people can really benefit from the services that we deliver,” explained Usec. Gatchalian.

Committee delegates were given an exclusive tour of the state-of-the-art facilities at DOST-FPRDI. Delegates witnessed demonstrations and presentations that showcased innovations in the use of wood and non-wood forest products.

“We highly value the Committee’s role in stirring a vibrant S&T environment in the country, and in pushing for scientific innovations that are beneficial to the Filipino people. DOST- FPRDI looks forward to engage in more meaningful discussions that highlight the importance of continued support for R&D initiatives,” said DOST-FPRDI OIC Director Rico J. Cabangon.

He added, “Through the visit, we were able to present the Institute’s efforts in developing technologies for the sustainable use of forest resources, and in helping address concerns that include job creation, human security and environment protection through our R&D programs and technology transfer activities.”

Committee members and legislative staff were toured around DOST-FPRDI’s Fire Testing Laboratory that houses equipment to verify the fire resistance of small samples from wall panels; Furniture Testing Center that evaluates the product strength, durability, and stability of chairs, tables and other furniture using local and global test standards; and the Wood Library and Herbarium that has the most complete wood collection in the Philippines with more than 4,000 tree species to date.

At the Forest Products Innovation Center (FPIC), various products derived from DOST- FPRDI’s R&D Programs on bamboo & other non-wood forest products, creative industry, flavors and fragrances from the forests, human security, and climate change were displayed.

Emphasizing the role of science and research in “creating meaningful governance thru policy making and legislation”, Rep. Yu stated, “We need to strengthen the cooperation of the DOST family and the members of the House of Representatives by providing opportunities to converge our efforts so that we may be able to solve pressing problems. I appeal to everyone present today—let us work and join hands together to make this partnership accomplish its task for the advancement of science and technology in the country.”

Apart from DOST-FPRDI, other DOST agencies that were visited included the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST- PCAARRD) and DOST Region IV-A.

DOST-FPRDI is a research and development institute tasked to develop and transfer technologies and information on the efficient use of forest-based products. Together with other DOST agencies, the DOST-FPRDI works towards improving the competitiveness of local industries by using science, technology and innovation. ### (Apple Jean C. Martin- de Leon,2024)