UPGRADING. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT U) in La Paz district sign an agreement for the upgrading of the Iloilo Center for Design, Prototyping, and Modelling Fabrication Laboratory Shared Service Facility in Western Visayas on Wednesday (Nov. 30, 2022). Signatories to the agreement were DTI Iloilo head Dinda Tamayo and ISAT U president Dr. Raul Muyong (2nd and 3rd from left). (PNA photo by PGLena)

ILOILO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT U) have shelled out over PHP18 million to upgrade a digital fabrication laboratory in Western Visayas to motivate entrepreneurs to create new products and prototypes.

ISAT U president Dr. Raul Muyong said on Thursday they are planning to expand more since the Iloilo Center for Design, Prototyping, and Modelling Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) Shared Service Facility (SSF) is not only helpful to their outside clients but to the institution’s programs, especially on engineering and research programs.

The FabLab caters to an average of 100 clients annually consisting of individuals, faculty, researchers, students, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) since it was established in 2018 and played a significant role during the height of the health pandemic.

“We fabricated PPEs (personal protective equipment). We also partnered with the DOST (Department of Science and Technology) to construct their mobile and fixed swab booth,” FabLab project manager Dr. Ramon Alguidano said in an interview.

“We help develop products and we also offer training, services and seminar-workshop,” he added.

“Seventy percent of our clients are from the academe, 30 percent from entrepreneurs, innovators. In a bigger picture the FabLab facility is a very big help to the university in terms of our instruction, research, extension and other programs,” Alguidano said.

On Wednesday, the DTI signed a memorandum of agreement and turned over the key of responsibility to the university for the upgrading and operational control and management of the laboratory.

DTI Iloilo Director Dinda Tamayo said they expect the university to expand and accommodate more clients since the available modern facilities can help in the innovation requirements and prototyping.

She added that in the next two years, they will be monitored to determine their performance and eventually to allow them the full management of the SSF.

“For them to fully manage the SSF is for them to have an increase in the number of MSMEs they have assisted and at the same time increased sales. They will be evaluated again after two years for them to fully manage the SSF,” she earlier said. (PNA)