In order to create public consciousness on the role of biotechnology in food production, food security, and hunger alleviation, the 10th National Biotechnology Week had its opening ceremony on November 24, 2014 at the Commission on Higher Education in Diliman, Quezon City. The annual weeklong celebration had the theme, "Edukasyon sa Bioteknolohiya Pagyamanin para sa Kinabukasan Natin".
The celebration has been annually held in the country every last week of November since 2005 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1414 series of 2007. This year's lead agency is the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) which is headed by Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan.
Other organizers involved in coming up with the celebration are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Education (DepEd).
The Ramon Magsaysay High School students led the entrance of colors, doxology and the Philippine National Anthem. They also performed a song number.
Dr. Napoleon K. Juanillo, Jr., Director IV of CHED gave the welcome message in the absence of Dr. Patricia Licuanan and he also introduced the guest speaker. In his speech, he encouraged the students in colleges and universities to explore career pathways in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and pursue advanced degrees in the said fields. He said, "We are also committed in encouraging our young faculty to pursue advanced degrees on science, technology, engineering and mathematics in order to lead the core of talented experts that we urgently need in the pursuit of our goal". He also thanked all the partners for coming and supporting the event. Finally, he said, "May the National Biotechnology Week continue to ignite our passion in biotechnology research".
The guest speaker was Dr. Gregory L. Tangonan, Physicist and notable inventor and former Executive Director of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology (COMSTE). He challenged the biotechnology researchers to devise ways on how they can contribute in addressing the problems in the Philippines particularly in the health and agriculture sectors.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Biotech Program Director Antonio A. Alfonso explained the DA Biotechnology Scholarship Program which aims to contribute in addressing the need to have more scientists and researchers in the field of agribiotechnology in state colleges and universities.
Director Alfonso mentioned that they have the first batch of 36 scholars broken down as follows: Central Luzon State University (CLSU) - 13 students, University of the Philippines Los Baños - 15 students, and Visayas State University - 8 students. The scholars were awarded with certificates of recognition and will pursue baccalaureate degrees in agribiotechnology or agriculture related fields.
Dr. Julieta delos Reyes, Asst. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs said, "I encourage you to do your best and be proud not only for your parents but your university as well". She ended her speech by saying that, "Remember that the future of this scholarship program, and to some extent, the future of biotechnology in the country rests on your successful education".
The ribbon cutting followed at the exhibit area of the CHED which was led by ERDB OIC Director Portia G. Lapitan, Dr. Gregory L. Tangonan of CHED, Director Napoleon K. Juanillo, Jr. and other guests.
A press conference on biotechnology was also held in the afternoon.
A series of built-up activities were also held during the weeklong celebration including biotech exhibits, training workshops, seminars, congress, conferences, fora, career orientation, quiz contest and poster making contest which were held in the various offices of the organizers of the NBW. Marla V. Cambay, TDD