Senator Manuel Lapid has filed a resolution seeking a Senate commendation for the Philippine Robotics Team that clinched two awards in the FIRST Robotics Competition Hawaii Regional.
      Lapid said in his resolution that Filipino students could be at par with foreign counterparts in fields like robotics if given the appropriate training.
      “The major awards garnered by our Filipino students in the Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Honolulu, Hawaii last March 2009 show that with proper training, Filipino students can excel in the field of robotics and can ably compete with their foreign counterparts,” the resolution read.


      The winning Philippine team competed for the first time in the prestigious competition, and proceeded April 16-18 to Atlanta, Georgia for the International Championship.
      Team 3105 or Team Lagablab, the only ASEAN participant in the FRC Hawaii Regional, bested six other US high school teams to earn the Highest Rookie Seed Award, and the Rookie All-Star Award.
      It is composed of 20 junior high school students from the Philippine Science High School main campus in Quezon City, seven mentors from the University of the Philippines in Diliman and De La Salle University, and three more coaches from PSHS.
      “This excellent performance displayed by our Filipino students has renewed our determination to further develop and improve our educational system and establish the Philippines as a breeding ground for globally competitive scientists and researchers,” Lapid’s resolution said.
      Dr. Ester B. Ogena, Director of the Department of Science and Technology’s Science Education Institute, and head of the Philippine delegation to the FRC Hawaii Regional thanked the senator his initiative.
       “We have found in Hawaii a treasure trove of talents and I am sure that there is more to tap in the Philippines.  We have truly shown to the world that we can do it and we can make it big in international competitions, especially in robotics,” she said.
      Ogena added that the Philippines’ participation in the FRC could entice the students to pursue careers in robotics.
      “We want our students to have the motivation and inspiration to become scientists and engineers by making them experience what it is like to be in the real world.  We hope that through the FRC we would be able to give them an insight to the scientific community,” she said.
       Team Lagablab and its robot called Larry Labuyo ranked 17th out of 33 competing teams with five wins, five losses, and a tie.
      On the other hand, the Rookie All-Star Award goes to a new team that shows strong partnership effort, and in implementing the mission of FIRST to inspire students to learn more about science and technology.
      In Atlanta, the RP team ranked 66th in the Curie Division where it posted a three-win, three-loss record.
      But it got a chance to be interviewed in CNN (
      FIRST is a US-based organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989.  It aims to inspire young people’s interest in science and technology.
      Each year, FIRST introduces a new game for students using a common kit to build a robot. This year the students played a game called “Lunacy,” which simulates lunar conditions.  Robots used a special kind of wheel rolling over regolith, a material that is almost frictionless. 
      The game’s objective is to place as many “moon rocks” into the trailer of the opposing team’s robot in 2 minutes and 15 seconds.  During the FRC Hawaii Regional, Larry Labuyo dumped seven moon rocks to an opposing robot’s trailer in three seconds.
      Other countries that sent teams to the FRC include Brazil, Chile, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Turkey, and UK.

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