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DOST gives orphans a science day out    

By Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin, S&T Media Service



It's a day out for these kids and what a spree indeed it was-- they learned more about the weather, earthquakes, and science and technology (S&T). The kids are residents of Boys Town, an institution where "homeless, abandoned, forgotten, and voluntarily surrendered children, teenagers, and senior citizens" are turned over for custody.

The day out happened during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW),an annual celebration that highlights the latest developments in S&T. For this year, the event organized by the Department of Science and Technology focused on the theme "Science for the People."

As a demonstration of this year's theme, the DOST-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) reached out to Boys Town kids who normally do not participate in grand events such as the NSTW.

On how inviting out-of-school kids came about, Joselito A. Carteciano, the information unit head of DOST-NRCP said, "I just thought that these kids should experience what they've never experienced I approached DOST-PAGASA to include these children among their audience."

Indeed the kids were hardly given the chance to understand weather, climate or disaster related topics, although they are among the most vulnerable.

Fe Quimson, a houseparent, led the kids, aged 6 to 17 years old, in attending the summit. She said, "Marami kaming natutunan, magagamit namin in the near future. (We have learned a lot, we can use them in the near future)."

DOST-PAGASA partnered with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in a three-year development cooperation to enhance the Philippines' capacity on weather observation and forecasting. The partnership was called JICA-PAGASA on Weather Project or J-POW which includes conduct of awareness raising activities and seminars, dispatch of experts, and provision of equipment to boost the Philippines' disaster awareness and resiliency.

During the event, the kids learned how earthquakes happen and how to prepare for earthquakes; what is radiation and what are its benefits; experimentation on clouds; saving oneself during flood; some benefits from rain and other weather-related information.

Jeffrey S. Perez, a geologist from DOST-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said that on the average, 20 earthquakes are recorded daily. In the last 400 years, the country experienced 90 destructive earthquakes, Perez informed.

The country also experiences 19 to 20 tropical cyclones (bagyo) in a year. The most number of tropical cyclones was recorded in the 1993 where the country had 33 and the least was in 1997, during the El NiƱo year where only 11 tropical cyclones visited the country.

PAGASA Senior Weather Specialist Sharon Juliet M. Arruejo taught the kids about clouds and the rain. She cited some of the benefits of the rain, such as it helps fulfil 50 percent of the water requirement of Angat Dam. Rain provides farmers with the needed water and helps clean the atmosphere, Arruejo told the kids.

Arruejo emphasized on the kids through a short video clip that, "Kahit bata may pwedeng gawin para makapaghanda para sa kalamidad. (Even kids can do something to prepare for the calamity)."