By Uriel Quilinguing
WHILE many are hooked into pulse survey results, regardless of the sample sizes and manner these were conducted, some do not readily accept them as gospel truths. And I am one of those who are skeptical about the reliability of the outcomes of these public perception tools.
Take for instance the nationwide survey the Social Weather Station did in June of 2018 which was an attempt to measure the awareness levels of Filipinos on the Department of Science and Technology as a government agency as well as on science and technology news.
The SWS survey results showed that 93 percent of the respondents were aware of the DOST and its functions but only 13 percent of them were aware of S&T news, according to DOST 10 assistant regional director Romela N. Ratilla in her welcome remarks in a media forum at the VIP Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City on Nov. 4, 2019.
Ratilla said she is optimistic public awareness level on S&T developments would go up in the coming years since 13 percent was already an improvement of the six-percent in 2017. She went on by appealing to media practitioners to help create public awareness of science and technology developments.
Mediakonek agrees with the positive outlook of the DOST-10 official but doubts the veracity of the 13 percent outcome since there are indicators of public awareness on the advances of science and technology, other than just the pulse survey. It could be the survey instrument that was used was not clearly explained to the respondents about what science and technology mean.
Every three years, Filipino voters not only exercise their rights of suffrage but also get entangle with the latest technologies in the form of vote-counting machines and voter registration verification machines so that electoral results would be credible.
Once these machines malfunction, DOST technicians come in since they are the ones adept at addressing the technical glitch. Their explanations to the public, through media interviews, are vital in ensuring tamper-free elections.
Every year, Filipinos brace themselves with natural hazards that compel them to learn—often from actual experiences—how science and technology work in their day-to-day lives amid weather systems, and recently the series of earthquakes of threatening magnitudes at the epicenter and varying intensities.
Weather specialists from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration and seismologists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, all members of the DOST family, educate the public through the mass media, how to prepare, respond and mitigate the damage these natural hazards may cause.
Every day, Filipinos find themselves vulnerable to diseases, including novel ones, that are associated with the changing weather conditions and the reemergence of illnesses which could have been prevented had there been high immunization receptions of the targeted population.
Most often, one could free himself from infections or prevent the transmission of viruses by equipping himself with knowledge anchored on substantiated medical findings and aided by cutting edge technologies and medical equipment in hospitals.
SWS’s 13-percent public awareness on science and technology news is not reflective of realities.
Mediakonek is certain most, if not all Filipinos, have intimate encounters with science and technology though they may not be conscious of them, that these are traceable to agencies of the government engaged in scientific and technological researches, their promotion, development and optimal utilization.
Our daily lives are undoubtedly shaped by advances in science and technology even if most of us are unaware of their invasiveness. We’re in a technological trap we could not get away from.
(Uriel C. Quilinguing is a former president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club who, for more than three decades, had been editor in chief of Cagayan de Oro-based newspapers, including this paper. For reactions, e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.)