Pushing interest in Science thru celebs



By Rose de la Cruz


The Department of Science and Technology is now using celebrities like ex-PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) star Chris Tiu as its first ambassador at the opening of the 2019 National Science and Technology Week Celebration.


Retired professional basketball player Christopher John Alandy-Dy Tiu, widely known as Chris Tiu, is now the DOST’s official envoy with an accompanying video presentation of him saying “Let’s make it happen! Join us here in the Department of Science and Technology as we deliver science to communities and to all Filipinos. Make a better future, make science for the people.”


At a press conference, Tiu assured the DOST of his commitment as brand ambassador. “I hope that you made the right choice in choosing me and hope that I can help you out in your advocacy of promoting science and technology most especially to the youth,” said Tiu.


He retired from professional basketball last year to focus on running his business and his family life being a father of two daughters.


In addition, Tiu currently hosts “iBilib,” GMA-7’s science TV program for kids. In the program, Tiu performs science experiments that look like “magic” and then explains the science concepts behind the experiments.


“The objective is to make science fun, and make the kids enjoy learning science,” he said.




Tiu’s business interests are very much science-related including renewable energy and aquaculture (though still in preliminary stages). For renewable energy, Tiu’ is into mini hydro power plants for run-off rivers. He is also into hospitality like resorts promoting sustainable tourism by replanting corals.            


“I am very happy and honored to be here, and I like what Sec. de la Peña said that they had to choose from a long list of individuals. I hope to live up to their expectations. My role is to help encourage particularly the youth to love science and pursue a career in science or at least consider it.”


Tiu laments that majority of young people today choose to work in an office or corporate setting. Some of them want to be YouTube stars or social media stars with millions of followers. He is hopeful that YouTube stars will channel their interest to include science in their content or realize that science is actually “cool” and “in” as well.


Science is for everyone


Tiu said he believes that science is for everyone and that the benefits are incredible. “Science can improve our lives not just for now,” he said underscoring the need for sustainable development.


Tiu, chosen among 32 other local celebrities, said he is proud and honored to be brand ambassador for DOST which he described as a highly- respected organization that plays a very significant role in nation-building. Tiu said he is surprised to be picked as he department’s ambassador even if he is not as famous as the other celebs.


As brand ambassador, he said, he should take small steps to create public awareness and spur people’s interest in science. 


“We want to make science “cool” and “in” especially to the young ones so that they would eventually pursue careers in the field,” he said.


Science awareness


DOST- STII (Science and Technology Information Institute) Director Richard Pomar Burgos said that based on a 2017 Social Weather Stations survey, the national awareness level was only 6 percent.


“That means in a room filled with 100 people, only six people have heard or learned something about science and technology in the last month, which is quite low,” Dir. Burgos explained.


In 2018, however, the level went up to 13 percent or more than double because “we (at STII) launched new programs and we were busy and were noisy,” he said.


In March 2019, the SWS survey showed 15 percent awareness level.  “All of that happened before Chris Tiu came into the picture. With Chris Tiu on our side we really want to enhance and to increase awareness on S&T,” he added.


Tiu acknowledged the significant role the media plays in making it happen saying, “The huge role comes from our media partners in creating awareness and introducing the different programs of the department to the public. Again it is not just me but all of us here are ambassadors and partners of the DOST.”



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Monday, 20 January 2020
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