AGHAM or Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan is a non-stock, non-profit association of science professionals, science journalists, advocates and enthusiasts. Organized in 2005, it aims to 1) promote science education and the development of the culture of science of the Filipinos; 2) advocate national policies and programs that will advance science and technology for sustainable development of the country; 3) assist and support Filipino science workers engaged in research and development, in invention and popularization of technologies and products; and 4) promote the welfare and well-being of Filipino science and technology workers and the sustainability of science-based institutions, organizations and enterprises.
Highlights of accomplishments
AGHAM Party-List Rep. Angelo B. Palmones represents the science and technology sector in the 15th Congress of the Philippines starting June 30, 2010. As a first termer, Rep. Palmones has sponsored/authored and co-authored 209 and 298 legislative measures, respectively, as of January 2013. These measures are in the fields of science education and human resource development, research and development, health, environment and natural resources, agriculture and food, energy and S & T infrastructures. At about the same time, nine of these bills have been passed on third reading by the House, and one of which has been enacted into law. Signed into law by Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III on December 04, 2012 was Republic Act 10344 otherwise known as the Risk Reduction and Preparedness Equipment Protection Act.
The science bills passed on third reading by the Members of the House of Representatives include:
HB 6860 or the Science and Technology Scholarship Program Act of 2010 which provides for at least two scholarship slots for each municipality and city in the country in accordance with the set guidelines and requirements.
HB 5485 or the Sustainable Forests Ecosystem Management Act of 2011 which aims to “sustainably manage ecosystems all over the country that are continuously generating ecosystem services to society, mitigating climate change and enabling various sectors to adapt to climate change impacts, providing economic benefits and helping local communities in reducing poverty thru active cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders”.
HB 5860 or the Final Forests Limits Act of 2012 – the bill addresses the difficulty being encountered by government agencies mandated to delineate forest boundary. “Delineating the limits of the forest lands would make the conservation and protection of the forests and forests lands easier to achieve”.
HB 6548 or the Mechanization Development for Agriculture, Fishery, Agro-Forestry and Forest Industries (AFFMech) Law seeks the “establishment of local tools and machineries industries and lessen dependency of agri and agro-industry sector in imported products, generate employment, decrease out-flow of foreign currency and provide reliable source of tools and machineries of international standards. This would also enable local machineries producers to compete in foreign markets.
HB 6546 or the PAGASA Modernization Act which covers acquisition of modern equipment, machines, computers and other instrument needed for reliable national hydro meteorological data collection, analysis, forecasting and sophisticated warning and dissemination system as well as human resource development that emphasizes professional education and training.
HB 6575 or the Chemistry Law of 2010 – The rapid developments in science and technology, specifically chemistry requires the reformulation of existing Chemistry Law since 1952 to make it responsive to modern developments.
HB 6474 or the Food Safety Act addresses the lack of a “single coherent national policy that imposes measures to protect food from hazards as it moves along the food chain. It aims to put in place a “coordinated system for ensuring the safety of food for local consumption and international trade; establish a more appropriate management system for public analytical service laboratories to protect health of the consuming public”.
For his performance, Rep.Palmones was awarded one of The Ten Outstanding Congressmen for 2011 by the Publishers Association of the Philippines.
Science education and promotion
As part of AGHAM’s advocacy for risk reduction from natural disaster, Rep. Palmones pushed for the offering of the B.S. Meteorology, the first in the country and Southeast Asia. This is a collaborative undertaking of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Science Education Institute (SEI), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Bicol University (BU), Central Luzon State University (CLSU), Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) and the Visayas State University (VSU). Starting AY 2012-2013, there are 16 DOST scholars in BS Meteorology. Moreover, AGHAM has a tie-up with the University of Southern Mindanao for the offering of B.S. Pharmacy, major in Pharmacology with 26 scholars starting AY 2012-2013.
Other S & T education-related bills are HB 3479 which allows graduates in science, mathematics, statistics and engineering courses to teach science and math in public elementary and secondary schools (this was incorporated under Section 8 of the K+12 Act); HB 3072 – Agri-Kabataan Scholarship for Food Production; HB 4397 or An Act Institutionalizing Disaster Preparedness Thru the Youth Rescue Olympics in Elementary and Secondary Schools; and HB 4890 – An Act to Include Road Safety Education in the Grade School and Secondary School Curricula.
AGHAM Party-List extends assistance to public elementary and secondary schools in enhancing science education through the provisions of science equipment, computers, magnifying lens and science learning modules. Noteworthy are the construction of the two-room science laboratory furnished with computer units and two sets of microscale chemistry kit in Talavera National High School, Nueva Ecija and provision of 30 units of electronic book reader to Los Banos National High School, Laguna.
Environment and public health advocacy
In addition to necessary legislation support, AGHAM strengthened its advocacy for the protection of public health and the environment thru observance and implementation of enabling laws, e.g. filing a petition for the issuance of Writ of Kalikasan for Taal Volcano Protected Landscape and Mt. Apo National Park.
Last May 17, 2012, the Court of Appeals has approved the Memorandum of Agreement made and executed by AGHAM Party-List and DENR for a comprehensive and holistic solutions to environmental problems in the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape (TVPL). It has likewise issued a continuing writ of mandamus “requiring the parties to faithfully and promptly comply with the conditions of the Memorandum of Agreement at all times”.
The agreement stipulated the strict implementation of the issuances of appropriate clearances to all projects in the TVPL in accordance with the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act and the approved TVPL Management Plan. The DENR and AGHAM agreed to support fish cage operations within Taal Lake’s carrying capacity, intensify monitoring of stocking density of fish cages, and conduct regular monitoring and assessment of water quality of Taal Lake. Furthermore, this resulted in AGHAM’s filing on May 2012 of HB 6156 or “An Act Amending R.A. 7586 Otherwise Known as An Act Providing for the Establishment and Management of National Integrated Protected Areas System, Defining its Scope and Coverage and for Other Purposes”.
Science for the common “tao”
All development efforts is aimed at contributing to the welfare and well-being of the people, particularly the grassroots. AGHAM Party-List assists far-flung and underserved communities in the development of science-based livelihood opportunities with support from benevolent partners. Community residents of Misamis Oriental, Laguna, Tarlac and Bataan are initial beneficiaries of livelihood projects such as animal dispersal, eco-bag production, and distribution of corn seeds. (please see attachment)
Moreover, AGHAM partnered with the World Fish Center in the conduct of research studies and trainings designed to help small scale fish farmers achieve sustainable fishery resources. Similarly, the Fisheries School on Air, aired over DZMM till 2010 was raised to Fisheries School on the Road to benefit more fisherfolks. The FSA/R conducted lessons and trainings on fish technologies from the Aquatic Division of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development. As reported, more than 1,000 fishermen have benefited from the project.
On the other hand, some efforts are directed towards improving health services of the far-flung and underserved communities by empowering the barangay health workers, barangay nutrition scholars and midwives whose voluntary services respond to the health needs of the needy. In addition, AGHAM extended medical and health assistance thru collaboration with other government units and the private sector as follows:
–Almost 200 cases were coordinated and referred to various local government and private agencies. (e.g. NSO, SSS, Philhealth, DFA, GSIS, OWWA, DTI, DOH, DSWD.)
–Approximately 150 people were referred to PCSO for medical assistance and was given help ranging from Php10,000 to Php50,000 per patient every other two months.
–The Php200,000.00 fund allotment in NKTI (from the office of Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero) that helped over 45 people suffering from Chronic Kidney disease. (Php 1,500-30,000.)
–15 wheelchairs have been donated by Cong. Angelo Palmones to various recipients.
Of equal significance is the capability enhancement activities being conducted by AGHAM for the voluntary health workers and community people. Knowledge gained from seminars and trainings can be of help in the performance of their tasks as well as shared with the public they served.
Some of the measures forwarded by AGHAM to benefit the common people include HB 1603 or an Act Institutionalizing the Tribal Health Workers, HB 2005 – An Act Requiring Free Pulmonary Function Test and Treatment of Smoke-Related Diseases in Government Hospitals and Clinics and HB 6474 or the Food Safety Act.
AGHAM Party-list, having been given the chance by our Filipino people to be represented this 15th Congress, has the privilege to have access to the Priority Development Assistance Fund or simply called PDAF, which is automatically allocated during budget deliberations and accorded by the enactment of the annual budget. The yearly allocation totaling to Php 70,000,000.00 is programmed or served into two tranches with two project classifications, hard (i.e: roads, bridges, buildings) and soft (i.e: livelihood programs, scholarship programs, programs for assistance to indigents).
In the last six tranches, AGHAM Party-list allocated its PDAF to the following projects amounting to P210,000,000 (please see attachment for more details):
BS Meteorology program (AGHAM & 4 SUC’s with PAGASA, other partners)
BS Pharmacy, Major in Pharmacology (USM- Kabacan)
Purchase of educational materials
Alternative Learning System (ALS) program
Gapan, Nueva Ecija
San Antonio, Quezon
Livelihood training (Bicol Region)
Specialty training of day care workers
Livelihood training on soap and body care product making
Livelihood training on trendy balloon making
Livelihood training on meat & fish product making/ food processing
Construction of facilities
2 classroom building in Laguna Science High School
Improvement of multi-purpose building (Albay day care center)
Partial construction of a multi-purpose building (PNP Evidence Room)
Construction of a water supply system
Lanao Del Norte
Ligao City, Albay
Flood Control Systems
–Financial assistance to PCA for the eradication of Coconut Scale Insect in Batangas province
–Financial assistance for the purchase of medicines for the Municipality of Sta. Maria, Bulacan
Other Infra projects
In addition AGHAM coordinated and facilitated the rehabilitation and improvement of other infrastructures with support from DPWH, DA and MMDA, as follows:
–Arterial roads and major thoroughfares in Batangas, Laguna and Cavite
–Farm to market road in Bohol
–Dredging of river in San Juan City
–Fish port in Legaspi, Albay
–Small water impounding projects in North Cotabato and Nueva Ecija
AGHAM Party-list shall continue to pursue its goal of providing better policy support for the advancement of science and technology for sustainable development, and its wide application in the different sectors of the economy. Similarly, it will continue to support program implementation leading to the development of science culture of the Filipinos.
List of livelihood projects/beneficiaries/benefactors
-Purok 4, Punta
-Production of eco-
(provision of sow)
P9,000 (cost of
Ofelia B. Tesoro
Dr. Nina Halos
Ms. Aida Lapis
Dr. Nina Halos
Sale of iodized