At the crack of the dawn on March 6, officials, staff, and guests of UPLB and the College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS) gathered at the very place where the first-ever lecture class in the University was held – the Pook Pinagtatagan (Foundation Site) of UPLB in Brgy. Timugan, Los Baños.
This annual commemoration program signalled the start of the week-long 108th UPLB Foundation Day celebration.
In his message, Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. said that UPLB and CAFS’ humble beginnings and enduring contributions should inspire the University on what it intends to achieve in the future. “Throughout its illustrious 108-year history, the College has been at the forefront in advancing the use of modern technology and careful scientific research in furthering our country’s agricultural development,” he said.
The UP College of Agriculture became UPLB, the first autonomous campus of UP, in 1972. CA became one of UPLB’s colleges, and in December 2017, it was renamed and restructured as CAFS.
“CAFS has embarked on a bold step to further strengthen its ties with industry leaders, not only to address our country’s enduring challenges in the agricultural sector, but more importantly, to encourage and motivate our youth to build a career in the field of agriculture,” Chancellor Sanchez said.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Enrico P. Supangco, dean of CAFS, encouraged the CAFS community to look at the challenges facing the agriculture sector, such as climate change, and to continue to produce quality graduates who could respond to such challenges.
Meanwhile, For. Leo Ballesfin, president of the UPLB Alumni Association, Inc., encouraged the University to create a synergy with the industry and make academe-industry partnership a major policy among its academic units.
The program’s guest speaker, Dr. Pio Javier, a retired research professor at CAFS, underscored the importance of investing in agriculture to solve poverty. He cited mobile pest clinic, botanical insecticides, high value crops, and agricultural mechanization that should further be promoted to agriculture stakeholders. He also urged the University to promote “agri-preneurship” not only among students but also among farmers.
Aside from the commemoration program at Pook Pinagtatagan, CAFS also held the annual recognition program honoring the College’s outstanding personnel, students, and its partners.
Two of its seven awardees, namely: Dr. Desiree Hautea (outstanding researcher); Guillerma Valencia (outstanding extensionist); and the Rice Varietal Improvement Team (outstanding research team), were also declared as UPLB’s best for this year.
Joining them as CAFS’ best personnel are Prof. Teresita Borromeo, Engr. Leonidas Caoili, Emelyn Belen, and Cleotilde Caldo as outstanding teacher, supervisor, office personnel, and blue collar personnel/technician, respectively.
CAFS also recognized its newly retired employees, agriculture licensure examination topnotchers, and University and College Scholars.
Chancellor Sanchez, who is also a professor at CAFS, referred to the entire CAFS community as the “College’s greatest asset” in his message at the recognition program. He also reiterated the value of honoring its best human resources. “We must also take the time to recognize our College’s esteemed faculty, REPS, administrative staff, students, and alumni who strive to uphold our College’s illustrious tradition of excellence and public service,” he said.
Among the industry partners that were recognized during the program were Allied Botanical Corporation, DuPont Pioneer, East-West Seed, Rentokil Initial Philippines, Inc., Sterix Inc., UNAHCO, Inc., Monsanto Philippines, Bella Vita Land Corporation, PhilChema, Inc., and San Miguel Foods, Inc. It also recognized its partners in the government: the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development and the Bureau of Agricultural Research; and in international research: the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
“The industry has been supportive in providing assistance to our students to major practice and research internships, as well as continuously hiring graduates from CAFS. With the recent partnership highlighted, rest assured that the College will sustain and further strengthen its collaboration with the industry,” said Dr. Tonette Laude, associate dean of CAFS, in her speech to formally close the program.
Present during both the commemoration and recognition programs were National Scientist Dolores Ramirez; Dr. Emil Q. Javier, former UP president; Dr. Ruben Villareal, former UPLB chancellor; some members of the UPLB management and executive committees; and members of the CAFS executive committee. Mayor Cesar Perez of Los Baños, Laguna was also present during the commemoration program.
On the other hand, witnessing the recognition program were National Scientist Ramon Barba; Dr. Fernando Bernardo, Dr. Cledualdo Perez, and Dr. Domingo Angeles, all past deans of CAFS; Dr. V. Bruce Tolentino, deputy director general for communication and partnerships of IRRI; Dr. Casiano Abrigo, Jr., executive director of UPLB Foundation, Inc.; and some professor emeriti of CAFS. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria, with reports from Remy Alyssa I. Tubig and Ma. Leoloura C. Fernandez)