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21-February-2012 SEARCA BIC Media Release

In celebration of its 32nd year of service, the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (BIOTECH-UPLB) in Laguna held a campus journalism contest, technology forum session, productivity enhancement workshop, new equipment inauguration, and a biotech quiz contest last February 13-17, 2012.

BIOTECH was established in December 1979 by the UP Board of Regents with the fund support from then-President Ferdinand Marcos, and denoted the start of biotechnology developments in the Philippines.

AGHAM Partylist Representative Angelo Palmones, whose office co-sponsored the campus journalism contest on biotechnology, said that the competition aimed to bring biotechnology to college level so that young student journalists would appreciate it; he also expressed the importance of making science easily understandable to the public.

UPLB students also participated in the biotechnology quiz contest, which was co-sponsored by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture – Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC). The quiz contest updated the students on the history and current developments in the field of biotechnology.

During the inauguration of new equipment in the institute, BIOTECH Director Dr. Reynaldo Ebora emphasized the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships, which, he said, has helped and would help BIOTECH overcome challenges such as the lack of funding and resources. Dr. Ebora also reported that the institute has acquired new equipment to improve the delivery of their products and services.

UPLB Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Dr. Ma. Victoria Espaldon commended the Php50 million-revenue generated by the institute in the last six years, and expressed hope that BIOTECH’s productivity would increase 10-fold in the future.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Segfredo Serrano said in his message that the country must exploit the ability of people in generating local technologies so as to address challenges in food security and effects of climate change. He also encouraged the university to be more active in its research and development efforts. UPLB has relevance to the programs of the DA; both institutions’ partnership will therefore be “firmed up” in the near future for a “more systematic relationship”, said Serrano.

Biotechnology, according to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo, is identified by the department as one of the ‘vital’ fields of sciences for the country’s development. The Secretary also expressed that biotechnology would help enhance the country’s food productivity and competitiveness as well as add value to existing products.

As reaffirmation of their support to biotechnology, the heads of the various collaborating government agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB), the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), DA-Biotechnology Program Implementation Unit (DA-PIU), and DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA- BSWM) signed a Statement of Cooperation with BIOTECH.

BIOTECH is the first among the other biotech institutes established in the UP System, particularly in UP Diliman, Manila, and Visayas. (Jenny A. Panopio and Sophia M. Mercado)

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Jenny A. Panopio
Special Project Coordinator and BIC Network Administrator
SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center
College 4031, Laguna, PHILIPPINES
Telephone no.: (+63-49) 536 2290 ext 406
Fax no.: (+63-49) 536 4105

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SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center
UPLB Campus 4031, Los Baños, Laguna, PHILIPPINES
Telephone +6349 536 2290 ext. 406 / 169 / 135
Fax +6349 536 4105

SEARCA BIC is one of the biotechnology information nodes of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications Global Knowledge Center (ISAAA KC) and hosted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). It was officially established in 2000 to address the needs of the region for a highly credible, sound and factual biotechnology information center in the Southeast Asian region accessible to various stakeholders.

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