Left photo: Dr. Jocelyn T. Zarate of BIOTECH-UPLB was the resource speaker during the forum. Right photo: The Urban Ecosystems group as they discuss the proposed researchable area for 2019.

Biotek: Makabagong Solusyon sa Kalusugan.”  is this year’s theme for the 15th National Biotechnology Week (NBW) 2019 celebration. The theme recognizes the potential of biotechnology to address the growing health needs of the Filipino people. This year’s  lead agency is the Department of Health.

As a kick-off activity for the 2019 NBW’s celebration, the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) conducted the Enviotech Forum on November 18, 2019 at the ERDB Auditorium. The activity is the bureau’s campaign to promote the benefits of biotechnology.

The participants came from the six (6) research centers of the ERDB all over the country.

Dr. Jocelyn T. Zarate, PhD., University Researcher III at BIOTECH-UPLB and member of the DOST-PCAARRD’s pool of experts on science and technology was the resource speaker during the forum. Dr. Zarate emphasized the importance of biotechnology in dealing with the various environmental concerns. She also suggested the different researchable areas that need to addressed such as: green packaging technologies; air, water and soil pollution control and clean-up, biodiversity assessment, waste management and channels, technology resource updating and use of developed technologies and strict implementation of environmental policies.

An open forum followed after the activity. The participants were also grouped into three (3) ecosystems wherein they identified their future researchable areas. The  Forest Ecosystem group came up with the topic “Medicinal Value of Native Forest Tree Species” while the Coastal Ecosystem group decided to focus on the topic “Microbial Diversity Assessment of Aquatic Ecosystem”. The last group on Urban Ecosystem agreed on the topic “Survey of Urban and Non-Urban Ecosystems”.

As a follow-up activity, the ERDB will showcase its five (5) biotechnologies through an exhibit on Hi-Q Vam 1, tissue culture, phytoremediation, clonal propagation, and genetic diversity through DNA analysis at the lobby of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTPI) in Quezon City. The week-long event will be held from November 25-29, 2019 at NKTPI. Seminars, fora and other campaigns were also prepared as part of the celebration. Marla V. Cambay, TTD