The country celebrates the approval of the Philippine Mental Health Law or Republic Act 11036 after it was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on 21 June 2018.

Before the law, the Philippines belonged to the one quarter of countries in the world without legislation that supports mental health. The enactment of the Mental Health Act serves as a monumental step toward providing the necessary mental health services the population needs.

The law enables barangays to provide mental health services through the scaling up of community and grassroots mental health programs, integration of psychiatric, psychosocial, and neurological services in government hospitals, and promotion of mental health education in school and workplace.

In a country where mental health illnesses are listed as the 3rd most common cause of morbidity, RA 11036 will help address the needs of the growing population that only has 700 psychiatrists and 1000 psychiatric nurses serving it by securing the rights and welfare of mental health professionals.

Among other provisions in the law, schools and workplaces will be required to create programs and services on mental health education, while institutions and businesses will be given training on mental health to address the concerns of both students and employees.

While such enactment is a huge step in making mental health care more affordable and accessible, the law also highlighted the importance of research and development to gather evidences required to formulate and develop culturally-relevant national mental health program including indigenous knowledge and practices related to mental health. In conducting mental health research, the law emphasized that researchers must ensure that informed consent were sought and approved by an accredited ethics committee. Research on mental health is listed as a priority under the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) 2017 – 2022.

Through this law, PCHRD hopes that research mental health could be further improved and supported, and the development of better policies, services, and programs will be enacted, paving the way to healthier and happier Filipino nation.

For more information on the grant services of the Council, please visit our website and  PCHRD Project Management System.


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Written by Reuben Andrew R. Razal
Created: 27 June 2018


Science and technology sector celebrates another success with the President’s signing of the “Balik Scientist Act” on 15 June 2018.  The Republic Act No. 11035 strengthens the implementation of the Balik Scientist Program (BSP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) by providing incentives to foreign-based Filipino scientists who will go back to the country to transfer knowledge and share expertise.

Established in 1975, the BSP aims to promote information exchange and accelerate the flow of new technology into the country through strengthening the scientific and technological human resource of the academe, public, and private institutions.

The law mandates DOST to invite Filipino scientists across the globe to return and serve as experts and consultants in improving the science and technology agenda of the country. The Department approves and awards short-term, medium-term, and long-term commitment of returning scientist.

Among the benefits and incentives a ‘Balik Scientist’ can enjoy include exemption from licensing or permitting requirements from the Professional Regulation Commission, accident and medical insurance coverage, reimbursement of baggage expenses related to scientific projects, and exemption from renouncing their oath of allegiance to the country where they took oath, among others.

Meanwhile, scientists who commit to long-term engagement program receive special relocation benefits, tax and duty exemption to importation of one motor vehicle, personal and household effects, and professional equipment, admission support to the preferred schools of their minor children, assistance in securing job opportunities for their spouses, and monthly housing or accommodation allowance.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), one of the implementing agencies of BSP, focuses on evaluating applicants for the health R&D sector. Since 2007, PCHRD was able to engage with 82 Balik Scientist specializing in various fields such as biochemistry, neuroscience, microbiology, and others.

Through this law, DOST and PCHRD hopes that more scientist will be encouraged to return and help aid the country in improving our S&T agenda through research and innovation.

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Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig

Pasay City, METRO MANILA- It’s that time of the year again for the science community!

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will hold the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) on 17-21 July 2018 at the World Trade Center (WTC).

With the theme “Science for the People: Innovation for Collective Prosperity,” the Science Department will once again highlight the contribution of science, technology, and innovation (STI) to national development.

This year, DOST will feature its breakthrough programs, technologies, and services into three clusters namely STI at Home, STI at Workplace, and STI at School. A marketplace area will also be placed to feature the products of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) assisted by DOST regional offices.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) leads the Home cluster where they will feature their newly-supported health technologies such as the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (FASSSTER), a user-friendly tool for disease modeling and syndromic surveillance visualization of dengue, typhoid fever, and measles; and Agapay, a 3D-printed wearable robot which provides post-stroke and injured patients with a cost-efficient and high performance rehabilitation system.

The Health Research Council will also showcase their Omic Technologies for Health, a program which aims to utilize ‘Omic’ technology platforms in crafting local technologies which can be developed into personalized medicines, diagnostics, and therapeutics; and ReliefVent, a compact, affordable, safe, and effective intensive care unit (ICU) ventilator that can be used for both children and adults.

The Biotek-M, a local and cheaper confirmatory test for dengue diagnosis which is a gold medal awardee of the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva, and Tuklas Lunas, a program which aims to come up with efficacious, safe, and accessible standardized drug candidates are also included.

The Home Cluster will also house the technologies and products of the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), the Science and Technology Information Institute (STII), the DOST regional offices, and partners such as the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP) and the De La Salle University (DLSU).

Our cluster will showcase the applications of STI in various parts of the home: living room, bed room, kitchen, dining room, comfort room, study room, and garden. We want to emphasize how science can help our people starting from the corners of their home,” Dr. Jaime Montoya, PCHRD Executive Director, explained.

Aside from the annual exhibit, people can also expect weeklong interactive games, raffle, massage, nutrition counseling, cooking demonstration, and photobooth. For more information, visit www.nstw.dost.gov.ph!


The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) celebrated its 60th founding anniversary with the theme “S&T Journey: 60 years and beyond” at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City on 13 June 2018.

In his opening remarks, PCHRD Director, Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, thanked DOST’s partners and stakeholders for their contributions to the success of the Department in the past 60 years. Dr. Montoya emphasized in his speech, “The past six decades paved the way in the major developments in the S& T industry of the country. Through research and development, science, technology, and innovation become a driving force for economic globalization.”

One of the highlights of the event was the opening of exhibit which showcased the Department’s accomplishments and triumphs each decade. It also contained key research priorities of DOST for the past years.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña expressed his gratitude to everyone especially to his predecessor in committing to the mandate of DOST to provide central direction, leadership, and coordination of scientific and technological efforts and ensure that the results therefrom are geared and utilized in areas of maximum economic and social benefits for the people.

Furthermore, Sec. De la Peña awarded the former heads of DOST with a plaque of appreciation for their contributions to the success of the Department. Before commencing to the second part of the program, the Secretary offered a toast and set the S&T initiatives and future directions of DOST.

Competition of performance per cluster was the highlight of the second part of the program. Each cluster was given specific eras as theme of their presentation. The Los Baños cluster won the first prize with the 90’s theme while the Bicutan cluster got the second prize with a modern dance themed performance.

More awards and prizes were given to winners of the cluster presentation towards the end of the program. Prizes were also raffled for everyone who attended. In the end, Sec. De la Peña thanked all who have been part of what DOST has become and for what it will become in the future.

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Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig

Alugbati is one of the widely consumed vegetables in Asia, however it is relatively understudied for its benefits. It is known to exhibit a wide range of biological functions and is traditionally recognized as a medical plant with anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer potential.

Asst. Professor Darcy Garza from the Department of Chemistry at De La Salle University, presented the study entitled “The Genotoxic Potential of Basella alba Linn. Var. rubra on MCF-7 Cells” during the Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium’s (MMHRDC) 2nd International Symposium and 9th Annual Scientific Conference Oral Presentation held on 24-25 May 2018 at Pan Pacific Hotel, Manila. The event was bannered by the theme “Food Fortification in Universal Health Care.”  The study was recognized as the best research presented during the conference.

The study was a result of the collaboration of De La Salle University and St. Luke’s Medical Center. The research determined the genotoxicity of alugbati leaf extracts on MCF-7 cells which is the most studied human breast cancer cell line in the world. The researchers found out that alugbati leaves subjected to enzyme-assisted hydrolysis or juice extractions prepared in an organosulfur compound caused considerable damage in MCF-7 cells. This means that alugbati shows promising properties that could fight off breast cancer cell lines.

Three outstanding researches were also recognized during the conference. “Multi-core Microencapsulation of Lactobacillus acidophilus using Lipid-based Material and Carbohydrate-based Matrix for Functional Food Application,” “Characterization of In VitroEffects of Using Purified Coconut Oil Bodies as Encapsulating Agents for Doxorubicin and Paclitaxel,” and “An Evaluation on Nicotine Absorption and Health Risk Utilizing Human Scum Cotinine and Polycyclic aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Among Filipino Classical Cigarette Users and E-Cigarette Users” won first, second, and third respectively.

To officially close the conference, NIH Executive Director Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-De La Paz delivered the closing remarks. She thanked the organizers and delegates for the hard work and reminded everyone that it is important to remember the role of food fortification in the control of micronutrient deficiency and malnutrition in the country. Finally, she urged everyone to conduct more research that would support food fortification and continue to do good work in promoting a healthier Filipino nation.


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Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig


According to the Department of Health (DOH), a total of 131 827 dengue cases were reported in 2017 which was 36.9 percent lower than the cases recorded in 2016. Although this is a considerably lower amount, dengue remains as one of the most fatal epidemics in the country.

June was declared Dengue Awareness Month (Proclamation No. 1204) since 1998 to highlight how prevention and control of dengue would require collaborative efforts among national and local government agencies as well as private NGOs.

PCHRD supports dengue research

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development supports studies aiming to improve the current situation of dengue. Some of the Council’s assisted projects have won and been recognized in various R&D invention contests and exhibits. One of them is the OL Trap technology featured at the R&D 100 magazine which chose to honor 100 technologies that are deemed to have great contributions to S&T development. More recently, BIOTEK-M Dengue Aqua Kit was one of the gold awardees during the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, Switzerland.

OL Trap technology makes use of simple and readily-available materials that attracts female Aedes Aegypti (dengue carrier) to lay eggs on a strip soaked with larvicide solution. The absorbed solution from the lawanit strip eventually kills the egg and larvae preventing the mosquito to reach maturity. OL Trap kits are commercially-available and may be purchased in selected markets nationwide.

BIOTEK-M Dengue Aqua Kit is a commercialized and locally-developed technology designed to accurately detect dengue. It uses isothermal PCR technology, in which the nucleic acid is extracted from the blood and added to a mixture. After an hour, the mixture will change color: green indicates a positive result, orange negative. The kit is very affordable which costs only a third of the usual dengue kit detection used in hospitals. BIOTEK-M is designed to accurately detect dengue.

In the spirit of awareness, the Council encourages everyone to follow simple but effective steps like removing or covering all possible areas with stagnant water, installing screens on window or opening of the house, investing in mosquito repellant, wearing long-sleeved shirts when outdoors, and getting a vaccination to avoid being infected with the disease.


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Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig


The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), together with #HealthXph and Alliance for Improving Health Outcomes (AIHO), will hold the 4th Philippine Healthcare and Social Media Summit on 9 June 2018 at Grand Regal Hotel, Davao City.

Bannered by the theme “Social Media and Health Professions Education: Shaping the Future through Research and Innovation,” the summit will highlight the impact of social media in health professions, education, and research.

Participants from different sectors are expected to take part in the 6 tracks and healthcare social media research podium presentation. The program tracks are Track 1: Use of social media by teachers in health professions education, Track 2: Use of social media by students, Track 3: Establishing personal learning networks on Twitter for medical educators and healthcare professionals, Track 4: Building presence for advocacies on social media, Track 5: Developing policies for social media, and Track 6: Social media for patients and advocates.

Admission to the summit is free. Interested participants may register at www.bit.ly/hcsmph2018


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Written by Lemuel Basierto