When the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hit the Philippines early this year, the Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research (ACCCRe) of Ateneo de Manila University in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila - National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC), the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau and the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) recalibrated the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-temporal Epidemiological Modeler or FASSSTER to enable forecasting of estimate number of COVID-19 cases in specific areas for specific period of time, in line with the area’s health capacity. With the recalibration, FASSSTER was able to provide an evidence-based tool to the DoH, local government units (LGUs) and other healthcare facilities to mitigate potential risks brought by COVID-19 and maximize the allocation of healthcare resources.

DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya assures the reliability of the predictions from this tool. He said, “FASSSTER was never made overnight. Developed since 2016, this tool is a product of rigorous studies and composed of credible and updated data.. Long before COVID19, this tool was already used in the surveillance of Dengue, Measles, and Typhoid.”

Initially used for Dengue, Typhoid Fever and Measles, FASSSTER is utilized for visualizing disease models and generating syndromic surveillance reports during public health crises. From 2016 to 2019, the application was deployed for use in 17 Rural Health Units (RHUs) across the country. Specifically, FASSSTER connects syndromic surveillance and event surveillance from the field to an electronic medical record, uses health information to improve on initial disease models and provides a visualization tool for decision making.

The implementation of FASSSTER and its recalibration for COVID-19 is made possible through the efforts of several teams in ADMU, namely: the Data Science and Computational Modelling Team, Mathematical Modelling Team, Data Management Team, Data Warehouse Team, Systems Development Team, and the Public Health Team. Each team is led by notable professors and scientists:

  1. Dr. Maria Regina E. Estuar is the team leader of FASSSTER and the Data Science and Computational Modelling Team. She is a professor at the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science at ADMU. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research (ACCCRE) and is the founder of the Ateneo Social Computing Science Laboratory. In 2019, she bagged the Outstanding Women in the Nation's Service Award for Science and Technology from TOWNS Foundation Inc. for her significant contributions in strengthening the country’s S&T capacity.
  2. Dr. Elvira de Lara-Tuprio is an expert in disease modeling through differential equations and financial mathematics, with focus on financial derivatives and risk management. She is in charge of FASSSTER’s Mathematical Modelling Team. Currently, she works as an Associate Professor for the Mathematics Department of ADMU.
  3. Dr. Marlene M. De Leon is the team leader of the Data Management Team of FASSSTER. She is an Associate Professor in the  Department of Information Systems and Computer Science of ADMU and manages Quality Assurance of Data and Information at the University.
  4. Dr. Raymond Francis R. Sarmiento leads the Data Warehouse Team of FASSSTER. Currently, he works as the Director of the National Telehealth Center of the UP National Institutes of Health (UPNIH). He is also a Balik Scientist of the DOST who specializes in clinical and public health informatics and health data science, among others. In 2019, Dr. Sarmiento was recognized as an Outstanding Young Scientist in public health informatics by the National Academy of Science and Technology.
  5. Mr. Christian Pulmano leads the Systems Development Team of FASSSTER. He works full-time as part of the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science of ADMU. He is also the head of the Ateneo Block Chain Laboratory (formerly AMBERLab) which received the Recognition of Excellence Award by OpenGov Asia in 2019. He is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of BluEHR, a spin-off product from ACCCRe
  6. Dr. Norbie Mendoza leads the Epidemiology and Public Health Team of FASSSTER. He specializes in the field of health and medical informatics.

The development of FASSSTER is part of the DOST-PCHRD’s projects under the Information and Communications Technology in Health priority area which aims to advance the country’s telehealth services and systems and public health surveillance, among others. Committed to making lives better for the Filipino, the DOST-PCHRD supports the development of health and health-related research projects outlined by the DOST’s Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda (HNRDA) and the National Unified Health Research and Development Agenda (NUHRA).


The 2020 Joint Research Project Call for Proposals between DOST and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of the People’s Republic of China is now open!

In pursuit of cooperation between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of the People’s Republic of China, we are calling for mutually beneficial and collaborative project proposals in any of the following identified priority areas:

  1. Health
  2. Agriculture
  3. Renewable Energy

A total of eight (08) new projects will be approved during this call for proposals. DOST will provide an annual funding of up to Php 8,000,000.00 for each approved research project, while MOST will provide an annual funding of up to RMB 1,000,000.00 for the Chinese counterpart. Each project should have a maximum duration of two (2) years.

For reference, below is the timeline for the 2020 DOST-MOST JRP Call for Proposals: 


Deadline for submitting applications:

26 June 2020


Exchange lists of applications that meet the eligibility requirements:

By the end of June 2020


Exchange of respective review results:

By the end of September 2020

Selection decision and announcement:

By the end of October 2020

Start of project:

From January 2021 to December 2022

Submission of final reports:

Upon completion of each project


Interested parties are advised to coordinate with prospective counterpart/collaborator in China to craft the project proposals. The Filipino researcher must submit the capsule proposal to DOST through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation while the Chinese counterpart will submit the same to MOST for separate review and evaluation. Only proposals that are endorsed for further submission of full-blown proposals will undergo technical review and possible approval by both DOST and MOST.

The necessary DOST-GIA forms may be downloaded at http://tiny.cc/DOSTGIAForms. For further inquiries, you may contact Ms. Andrea Velasquez of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation, at Tel. No.: +632-8-838-8376 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. /This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Project Title: SOLIDARITY Treatment Trial: Multicenter Randomized Trial of Additional Treatments for COVID-19 in Hospitalized Patients

Project Leader:
Marissa M. Alejandria, MD, MSc
Implementing Agency: National Institutes of Health- University of the Philippines Manila
Duration: 12 months

Project Description:

Despite worldwide efforts to develop a treatment against COVID-19, there is still no evidence-based medication proven effective to fight the virus.

To compare the effects of major COVID-19 treatment outcomes among hospitals globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) organized a solidarity treatment trial aimed at unifying efforts to assess any effects and provide reliable estimates of these treatments on COVID-19 cases. As one of the participating countries, the Philippines is conducting a study among 24 hospitals from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The study will test the safety and effectiveness of four repurposed drugs in treating COVID-19 compared to the standard of care being practiced in all participating hospitals.

The project is expected to provide evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for the care of COVID-19 patients and, eventually, provide evidence-based medicine against the virus. Funded by the Department of Science and Technology through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), the project has been approved for implementation last April 11, 2020 and has started enrolling patients.

Budgetary Requirement: Php 30 million

Call for Research Proposals: AHEAD-HPSR Program

The Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) is pleased to announce the first call for research proposals for the Advancing Health through Evidence-Assisted Decisions with Health Policy and Systems Research (AHEAD-HPSR) Program.

Interested institutions, organizations, and researchers are invited to submit a full proposal on any of the topics listed below.

1. Review of Innovative Health Financing for NCDs among ASEAN Member States
2. Assessment of Indoor Air Quality in Philippine Public Conveyances During Electronic Cigarette and Tobacco Heating System Use
3. Impact Assessment On The Implementation Of Value Added Tax (VAT) Exemption To Medicines Prescribed For Diabetes, Hypertension And High Cholesterol
4. A Situational Analysis on the Drug Shortages and Stock-outs in the Philippines: Causes, Frequency, Impact and Management Strategies
5. Assessing The Philippine Emergency Obstetrics And Newborn Care (EmONC) Initiative
6. Development Of Standard Method For Estimation Of Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI) Rate
7. Implementation of Province/City-Wide Workload Indicators of Staffing Needs (WISN) Study in Select Universal Health Care Integration Sites (UIS)
8. Market Mapping and Landscape Analysis of the Novel Tobacco Product Industry in the Philippines
9. Health Facilities And Services Regulatory Bureau’s Reform Roadmap
10. Development Of A Comprehensive Social And Behavior Change (SBC) Plan For Primary Care In The Philippines

Interested institutions, organizations, and researchers are invited to submit a full proposal on any of the topics hereto attached.

Kindly submit your proposal and the following requirements on or before May 15, 2020 to Ms. Guidita L. Gelera at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Ms. Clarissa B. Reyes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  1. Letter of Intent
  2. Project Proposal following the PCHRD Detailed Proposal Form
  3. Workplan Schedule (Gantt Chart of Activities)
  4. Proposed Line-Item Budget (LIB)
  5. Informed Consent Form (for studies involving human subjects)
  6. Curriculum Vitae of lead proponent (Principal Investigator/Project Leader)
  7. Duties and Responsibilities of each project personnel
  8. Profile of the institution
  9. Endorsement of agency head

For queries, you may contact Ms. Clarissa B. Reyes.

The public can now access latest updates on coronavirus research, news, library resources, and other related information in one site through the COVID-19 CORe (Communication, Ongoing projects, Research) Portal developed and managed by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).

Aiming to strengthen the country’s pandemic information dissemination efforts, DOST-PCHRD compiles all available evidence-based information on COVID-19, including local and international research, local innovations, pandemic analysis and policy papers, webinars, and local healthcare facilities.


The portal also provides access to COVID-19 trackers and useful links to official advisories and recognized library resources of various health organizations and the academe such as the World Health Organization, John Hopkins Libraries, and the University of the Philippines (UP). 

“We need to boost the generation of solutions against the coronavirus pandemic, and building an open-access portal to related resources will aid our researchers and the public with legitimate and evidence-based information on COVID-19, ” said Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, Executive Director of DOST PCHRD.

DOST-PCHRD expects to add resources to the portal as more information becomes available to the public. The portal is free and can be easily accessed at  http://covid19.healthresearch.ph/. Meanwhile, the Council is also managing HERDIN Plus (www.herdin.ph), an online portal that provides easy management and access to health research and related information.