By: Zalda R. Gayahan

May 20, 2022, Philippine Navy Headquarters – Once again, another proof that science, technology, and innovation are effective drivers of positive change.   During the celebration of the 124th founding anniversary of the Philippine Navy, the Department of Science and Technology, led by DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, turned over the BUHAWI to the Department of National Defense (DND) led by DND Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana.

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The BUHAWI, designed and developed by the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC), is an automated gun mount for Browning 0.50 caliber machine gun used by the Philippine Navy (PN).  The BUHAWI project is a collaboration between the DOST-MIRDC, PN, and the Mechatronics and Robotics Society of the Philippines (MRSP).

The Philippine Navy (PN) is one of the bureaus of the DND.  ‘For 124 years, the PN has been a reliable protector of the country’s maritime interests,’ said VADM Adelius S. Bordado, Flag Officer-in-Command of the PN, in his Welcome Remarks. 

DND Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana shared with the audience that a lot of equipment have been procured for the Navy recently.  He also shared that he sees challenges ahead.  ‘Wag tayong kuntento lang na bili tayo nang bili,’ Secretary Lorenzana commented.  ‘Keep improving the skills and expertise of your sailors and marines,’ he further advised the PN. 

The next major highlight of the program was the turnover ceremony of the BUHAWI to the PN.  DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña.  DOST Secretary expressed his delight that the project BUHAWI is now completed through the partnership of the DOST and the DOST-MIRDC with the PN.

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DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña turns over to DND Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana the BUHAWI during the celebration of the PN's 124th founding anniversary.

Secretary de la Peña shared that the DOST included national defense in the National Harmonized R&D Agenda as one of its key areas of priority.  Under the NHRDA, this is called R&D in Human Security. 

DOST Secretary continued to share that in the recent science and technology foresight study, entitled ‘Pagtanaw 2050,’ conducted by the DOST-National Academy of Science and Technology, the focus is given on the Philippines being a marine and archipelagic nation.  As such, the role of the PN, along with the private sector and other relevant government agencies is strongly highlighted. 

He then focused on the BUHAWI, whose development utilized Industry 4.0 technologies including robotics.  He continued to point out that the use of the BUHAWI will translate into savings for the country.  ‘Kung ito po ay magagamit at macocommercialize, ito po ay mag-gegenerate ng jobs at marami tayong madedevelop pa na mga parts.  Balang araw pwede din tayong mangarap na tayo ay mag-eexport ng mga produkto natin for defense,’ shared Sec. de la Peña. 

The good DOST Secretary revealed to the audience that BUHAWI is not the only project of the DOST in partnership with the DND.  After BUHAWI, the next project in the pipeline is Controller Operated Battle-Ready Armament (COBRA) for the Philippine Army.  COBRA will also utilize mechatronics, robotics, and automation technologies in its implementation.  Another project in the pipeline is the development of the digital twin for the monitoring of PN ships for better extension of the ships’ service life. 

With all the upcoming projects that will be implemented by the DOST and the DND, Secretary de la Peña gladly commented that the vision of a self-reliant defense posture is slowly being realized. 

Also part of the program is the awarding ceremony.  DOST-MIRDC Executive Director Engr. Robert O. Dizon, MRSP President Engr. Mariciel M. Teogangco, and Industrial Control Corporation Vice President Engineering, Engr. Philip Marvin Joven were given Plaques of Appreciation by the PN for their invaluable contributions as BUHAWI project partners.

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The BUHAWI project team (from L to R): Engr. Remartin S. Maglantay; MRSP President Engr. Mariciel M. Teogangco; Ms. Lina B. Afable; DOST-MIRDC Deputy Executive Director for Technical Services and BUHAWI Project Leader Engr. Jonathan Q. Puerto; DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, DOST-MIRDC Executive Director Engr. Robert O. Dizon; and Engr. Rodnel O. Tamayo.