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,
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
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),
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.
A. Panopio and Sophia