University of the Philippines Los Baños

The UPLB Horizon is issued quarterly and features news, feature articles, research and extension updates, literary pieces, and information of general interest to UPLB and its publics. For contributions, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 

ProjSARAI

 

An ICT-based crop forecasting system enables
farmers to decide on planting dates for higher crop
yields and higher net income. (Photo courtesy of SARAI)

 ICT-based tools and systems that guide farmers on the best time to plant and help researchers determine the impact of climate change on a forest; web-based maps that identify areas at risk to natural calamities using a free software; and a tool which enables one to trace the source of pork sold in grocery stores. These are just among the ICT-based tools that UPLB scientists and researchers presented at the ICT Asia 2015 Regional Workshop on May 25-26 held at SEARCA in the UPLB campus.

ICT-Asia is an annual scientific conference that focuses on the applications of information and communication technology (ICT) on climate change modeling and monitoring, disaster risk reduction, food security, and urban and rural informatics. Spearheaded by the French Government and held in collaboration with SEARCA, UNESCO, and IRRI, ICT Asia 2015 drew participants among systems developers and scientists from Asia, including five from UPLB.

Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor at the Institute of Statistics, presented a crop forecasting system (CFS) that enables farmers to decide on planting dates for higher crop yields and higher net income, or minimize their losses due to extreme weather events.

Concepcion L. Khan, assistant professor at the Institute of Computer Science (ICS), presented a collaborative portal framework that features adaptive planting calendars, early warning system, and nutrient and pest advisories that aim to help farmers increase their yield, or minimize their losses due to extreme weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, professor at the Institute of Renewable and Natural Resources and director of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems, proposed an automated system of gathering data on forest tree parameters using radio-frequency identification and geomatics. This will help researchers determine the impact of climate change on tree growth and resiliency, and on forest dynamics.

Prof. Jaderick Pabico, also from ICS, presented a system that ensures meat quality and safety through a nationwide pork tracking system that uses an RFID device to monitor the process that the product went through before it reached the market.

On the other hand, Charmaine Marie A. Pabelico, a fourth year BS Computer Science student of ICS, developed a web-based geohazard map for the local government unit of Los Baños, Laguna using an open source software. The web-based map voids the use of expensive and complex licensed software in developing standard geohazard maps.

The opening program saw the gathering of top officials from various Asian and French organizations.

In his message, Dr. Gil C. Saguitguit, Jr., director of SEARCA,  expressed his desire for Southeast Asia’s continuous strong ties with French research institutions in advancing agricultural and rural development. Likewise, UPLB Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez Jr., called for stronger research partnerships among the participants.

Dr. Amelia P. Guevara, undersecretary for research and development of the Department of Science and Technology, commended the gathering of bilateral partners. She said that ICT has become ubiquitous and integrated in daily life and she cited DOST programs that are making full use of ICT, such as Project NOAH and DREAM.

Prof. Kanchana Kancha-nasut, vice president for research of the Asian Institute of Technology based in Thailand, highlighted the need for more participation in climate change research. She noted that the original idea of bringing together French and Southeast Asian ICT researchers has grown into a wide and strong network of institutions and people.

His Excellency Gilles Garachon, French Ambassador to the Philippines, noted the importance of ICT Asia 2015 in solving food production and climate change issues. He said that the map of the world is changing because of climate change and that  the current generation must ensure that “food is available, air is fresh, and there is water” for future generations.

Meanwhile, André de Bussy, counselor for regional cooperation for the ASEAN of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, discussed the contributions of ICT in fostering regional cooperation and its vital role in disaster risk reduction and management.

               Also present were Dr. Luc le Calvez, director of the Office for Southeast Asia of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), who encouraged participants to collaborate with the the CNRS; and Dr. Jean-Pascual Torreton, representative in Vietnam and Regional Coordinator for Asia of the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), who noted that the conference’s purpose is closely linked with their organization’s aim of helping developing countries and encouraging research development while mutualizing research benefits. (OPR release)

 

 

BellBottle

 

Dr. David Manalo (2nd fr left) proudly displays his award plaque. With him are His Excellency Josef Mulluer,
Ambassador of Austria to the Philippines; Dr. Florentino Monsalud, director of the ASC-FSSRI; Dr. Manalo’s
wife Pacita; and Ms. Lisa Koscak, commercial counsellor of the Austrian Embassy. (Photo courtesy of ASC/FSSRI)

 

A simple and low-cost early warning system (EWS) for communities that face heightened risks of landslides especially during heavy rains has won yet another international prize.

“Bell and Bottle: Low cost EWS for landslide-prone communities in remote areas,” a technology developed by Dr. David Manalo, a university researcher at the Farming Systems and Soil Resources Institute (FSSRI) of the Agricultural Systems Cluster was one of two projects that the Energy Globe Foundation named in its 2015 National Award for the Philippines. This award is referred to as the largest and most important environmental prize in the world.

In 2009, this project had won in the challenge “to come up with an idea in local communities to help save the planet and people from the effects of climate change” posed in the Ninth Global Development Marketplace sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danish MFA), and the World Bank (WB) Institute.

The Energy Globe Foundation cited Manalo’s Bell and Bottle innovation which is used as an EWS for hard-to-reach landslide-prone communities. The foundation recognized how people were trained to use the EWS.

The Bell and the Bottle EWS has saved no less than 20 villages where no casualties were reported since the project was implemented.

Over 170 countries participated in this year’s awards with over 1,500 project submissions.

The two winners received a certificate from the Energy Globe Foundation signed by the foundation’s Jury chairperson Maneka Gandhi and Energy Globe’s founder Wolfgang Neumann. The Energy Globe Foundation was founded by Wolfgang Neumann, an Austrian energy pioneer. The awards given by the foundation focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. (with report from http://www.goodnewspilipinas.com/)

 

 

CHED Sangalang

The Graduate School will hold its hooding and recognition rites at the DL Umali Hall on July 3 with an institution builder and a commissioner of higher education to give the keynote address to the graduating class.  Dr. Ruperto S. Sangalang is an alumnus, having worked on his master’s degree in agricultural economics and extension education at UPLB. He finished his Ph.D. in international development and planning as a Fulbright-Hays scholar at the Ohio State University in the United States.

A President Emeritus of Cavite State University, Dr. Sangalang has been on secondment to the Commission on Higher Education as a commissioner since 2012. Dr. Sangalang served the Cavite State University as its president for more than 20 years (1983 to 2008).

A visiting professorial lecturer of  UPLB, Dr. Sangalang’s professional interest include management of and quality assurance in higher education institutions, comparative education systems, agricultural education and administration, and rural and international development. Dr. Sangalang was recently conferred the International Alumni Award from the Ohio State University.

(Photo from: http://nroll.neda.gov.ph/press-release-2/page/3/)

New appointments

 

supangco

Dr. Enrico P. Supangco, Dean of the College of Agriculture. He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in Range Science from the Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas USA. He was the UPLB vice-chancellor for research and extension from 2005 to 2011 and has served as the director of the Center for Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship from 2012 to 2015.

WPAbasolo

Dr. Willie P. Abasolo, Dean of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources. Dr. Abasolo obtained his Doctor of Agriculture, major in Forest Products from the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Science, Nagoya, Japan. He earned his Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany.

camacho

Dr. Jose V. Camacho Jr., Dean of the Graduate School.  Dr. Camacho earned his Doctor in Economics from the Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University, Kyoto City, Japan in 2007. He is an Associate Professor 7 at the College of Economics and Management, and affiliate professor at the College of Public Affairs and the UP Open University.

piadozo

 

Dr. Raden G. Piadozo, Dean of the College of Human Ecology. He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy from UPLB in 2011. He also served as assistant to the dean of CHE in May 1989-June 1990 and was its college secretary from July 2002 to April 2011. Dr. Piadozo completed Ms. Agricultural Economics and BS Agriculture in UPLB.

drfaustino.eslava

 

Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava, Dean of the School of Environmental Science and Management. She finished two MS degrees: in Geology from the University of the Philippines, National Institute of Geological Sciences Diliman, Quezon City and in Earth Systems from Kumamoto University Department of Systems in Natural Environment, Graduate School of Science and Technology Kurokami, Kumamoto, Japan. She obtained her Doctor of Philosophy in Geology from the University of Hongkong, Department of Earth Sciences.

cadiz

Dr. Nina Micosa-Cadiz, Director of the Office of Student Affairs. Dr. Cadiz obtained her Ph.D. in Horticulture (Crop Physiology) minor in Plant Botany from UPLB in 1995. She was the director of the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) from 2012 to 2015 prior to her appointment as OSA Director and guided the IBS to its accreditation under the ASEAN University Network Quality Assurance (AUN-QA).

monsalud

Dr. Rosario Gionson-Monsalud, Director of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Dr. Monsalud obtained her Ph.D. in Microbiology from UPLB in 1989. She is Scientist I at UPLB and is an affiliate professor at the Institute of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences and Agricultural Systems Cluster of the College of Agriculture, UPLB.

jctgonzalez

Dr. Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez, Director of the Museum of Natural History. Dr. Gonzalez obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology from the Edward Grey Institute for Field Ornithology and St. Annes’s College, University of Oxford in 2012. He is recipient of the National Academy of Science and Technology (Philippines) 2011 Outstanding Award for Zoology. He is a professor in zoology at the Institute of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, UPLB. (JPA Aquino)

 

DrRomuloDavide2015

Dr. Romulo G. Davide. The name rings a bell.  It should because former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Hilario Davide, Jr. is his brother.

He might be, as one would say, lesser known, but his credentials are equally impressive. He is a professor emeritus of UPLB, a well-loved professor of plant pathology and nematology, and an accomplished and well-published scientist and researcher. To cap off all these, he was given the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2012 for helping empower farmers through science.

Within agriculture circles, he has been hailed as the “Father of Plant Nematology,” for his groundbreaking research on nematode pests that infest, debilitate, and destroy agricultural crops. Dr. Davide discovered fungi (P. lilacinus and P. oxalicum) that could kill nematode pests attacking vegetables, banana, potato, citrus, pineapple, rice, and other crops. This led to the development of BIOACT, a patented biological pest control agent that is environment-friendly and a practical alternative to highly toxic and expensive chemicals.

 

 

Empowering farmers

 

 

His discovery of the fungi and consequent recognition as a nematologist would have capped his career in the academe where he practically rose from the ranks at the then UPCA. He finished M.Sc. in plant pathology at the Oklahoma State University in 1962 and Ph.D. in nematology at the North Carolina State University in 1965.

The grand design for his life’s advocacy, however, eventually emerged and took over his retirement plans. A desire to prove that “there are no barren soils, only barren minds” fueled his resolve to help farmers. Dr. Davide went home to Argao, Cebu in 1994 to implement the “Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP),” selflessly using his prize money as “Outstanding Agricultural Scientist” of the Department of Agriculture.  Doing this, he risked his reputation and credibility as a scientist because Cebu, with its calcareous, rocky soil had been dismissed as unproductive even by agriculture bureaucrats.

Through the FSTP, a corn-based farming system, Dr. Davide trained an initial 50 Cebuano farmers in conducting experiments to test the efficacy of technologies in their own farms. The approach, with its values formation and marketing components, empowered and gave them a new-found dignity in their livelihood, and resulted in higher productivity in the farmer-scientists communities.

 

Creator of ripples of change

 

By mid-2000, the FSTP was creating ripples of change as an extension approach in Cebu and across the country when it enabled farmers to increase their income at least six-fold. In 2008, it was elevated into the National FSTP and has since expanded to 103 municipalities in 12 regions.

Because of the FSTP, Dr. Davide was named recipient of the prestigious Magsaysay Award. His citation read that his “steadfast passion in placing the power and discipline of science in the hands of Filipino farmers (who) have consequently multiplied their yields, created productive farming communities, and rediscovered the dignity of their labor.”

His name may have never made it to the headlines of national newspapers, but he is well-respected and loved by extension workers and farm families living even in the far reaches and deep in the hinterlands of the country.  

 

 

Partners in public service

Dr. Davide has remained a staunch partner of UPLB in public service. With the passage of Republic Act 9500 or the UP Charter, UP as the National University, has been mandated to serve as a graduate, research and a public service university. Under the administration of Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., UPLB has highlighted the public service mandate in its vision “to be a globally competitive graduate and research university contributing to national development.”

Consistent with this vision, UPLB recently infused additional funding to scale up the National FSTP.  With this, Dr. Davide and UPLB will continue to reinforce each other’s efforts to make every Filipino farmer a discerning farmer-scientist -- one who wields mastery and control over the use of his/her resources and destiny, and who meaningfully benefits from national development. (JM Bo)