Marine Scientists Embark on Global Project to Save by tyk13808


									                                   THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES

                                  VOLUME 7 NUMBER 1                                                                                                        2006
                                                                                                                                          JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2006

                  Marine Scientists Embark on
               Global Project to Save Coral Reefs
                                                                     Alico r Panao
                                                                     Alico Panao

D    r. Edgardo Gomez is not your typical doctor. The clinic he runs has no
walls, no beds, and no white-robed staff. For a roof, it has the clear blue sky.
                                                                                        The world-renowned marine scientist co-chairs the coral reef Restoration
                                                                                   and Remediation Working Group (RRWG), one of the six working groups of the
His patients are fragile underwater animals that cannot move. His fellow doctors   Coral Reef Targeted Research and Capacity Building Management Project
conduct checkups underwater with scuba tanks strapped to their backs. His          (CRTR&CBM), which aims to accelerate and refine a global response to the
nursing staff is made up of researchers, local government officials, and           crises faced by coral reefs worldwide. The project is a high priority global initiative
community leaders involved in management efforts to address the effects of         under the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), an independent financial
human activities and climate change on what is referred to as the ocean’s          organization that provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit
rainforests.                                                                                                                                             GLOBAL, p.2
2 FORUM January-February 2006

MARINE, from p. 1

the global environment and promote           Remediation, Remote Sensing and
sustainable livelihoods in local             Modelling and Decision Support Tools.
communities. It is funded by, among          Faculty members of the UPMSI are
others, the World Bank and the               involved in several CRTR&CBM
Australian government, and involves          working groups and conduct local
about eighty of the world’s leading          research under the project.
experts from at least fifty institutions.         “The CRTR&CBM aims to do
     Gomez also coordinates the              several things—build capacity, finance
CRTR&CBM’s Philippines/Southeast             scholarships and training, and improve
Asia Center of Excellence (CoE), the         the infrastructure of the CoEs—so that
University of the Philippines Marine         its scientists can do research that
Science Institute. UPMSI was selected        addresses local coral reef-related
together with three other international      problems, provide training, and,
CoEs in key coral regions of the             eventually, help other working groups
world—the University of Queensland           in their research,” Dr. Gomez explains.
Heron Island Research Station for            Ultimately, the goal is to come up with
Australasia, the Instituto de Ciencias       new knowledge, tools, and techniques
del Mar y Limnología of the                  to help managers of coral reefs,
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de             especially in developing countries.
México for the Western Carribean, and        “Armed with this knowledge and these
the University of Dar Es Salaam              tools and techniques, local government
Institute of Marine Science in Tanzania      officials and planning officers can then   knowledge regarding such ecosystems         carbonate exoskeleton (corallite) which
for Eastern Africa—to serve as focal         come up with informed decisions in the     at the level of the local stakeholders.     protects the soft, sack-like body inside.
points of exchanges among the                day to day management of their reef        “For instance, how many are aware of        Over thousands of years, these animals
CRTR&CBM scientists. Each of the             areas,” he adds.                           the simple fact that corals are animals,    form reefs on top of the cemented
six CRTR&CBM working groups will                 Addressing information gaps            not plants or non-living things, like       exoskeletons of their ancestors and dead
conduct core elements of their                    The CRTR&CBM project does not         rocks?” Gomez’s executive assistant,        family or community members. Coral
investigations in at least two of the four   simply aim to increase the level of        Rene Abesamis, asks. “How many              reefs are confined to the tropical and
regional nodes during the first five years   knowledge among scientists about           people actually know that climatic          subtropical regions of the planet and
of the project. The working groups           coral reef ecosystems, from how they       occurrences, like the El Niño, can have     mostly in depths that span less than
focus their investigations on the            respond to pressures from human            dramatic effects on the coral reef          twenty-five meters. In other words, they
following themes: Coral Bleaching and        stress and climate change, to what         ecosystem?”                                 occupy only a tiny portion of the ocean’s
Local Ecological Effects, Connectivity       interventions may help strengthen their         Reef-building corals are colonies of   surface. But they are the world’s richest
and Large-Scale Ecological Processes,        resilience. More importantly, it hopes     tiny individual animals called ‘polyp.’     repository of marine biodiversity and
Coral Disease, Restoration and               to address the severe lack of              Each polyp secretes a calcium               harbor many other animals, such as
                                                                                                                                    fishes. Millions of people and thousands
                                                                                                                                    of communities all over the world literally
                                                                                                                                    depend on coral reefs for food,
                                                                                                                                    protection, and livelihood.
                                                                                                                                         In the Philippines, where an
                                                                                                                                    estimated ten to fifteen percent of the
                                                                                                                                    total fish yield comes from coral reefs,
                                                                                                                                    these ecosystems are threatened by
                                                                                                                                    extinction. “Many coral reefs are in
                                                                                                                                    really bad shape, primarily because of
                                                                                                                                    reckless coastal land use, pollution,
                                                                                                                                    siltation due to deforestation, and
                                                                                                                                    increasing numbers of fishermen, many
                                                                                                                                    of whom have already resorted to
                                                                                                                                    destructive fishing methods,” Abesamis
                                                                                                                                         A 2004 Global Coral Reef
                                                                                                                                    Monitoring Network study, Status of
                                                                                                                                    Coral Reefs of the World, found that
                                                                                                                                    Philippine reefs are experiencing a
                                                                                                                                    steady decline in coral cover of three
                                                                                                                                    to five percent annually. According to
                                                                                                                                    the study, this trend of degradation is
                                                                                                                                    confirmed by the rapid increase in the
                                                                                                                                    range of reefs classified in the ‘poor’
                                                                                                                                    category, from a third in the 1980s to
                                                                                                                                    nearly half two decades later.
                                                                                                                                         FORUM January-February 2006 3

     “Some reefs are already gone and         people who destroy the reefs out of          the nets. While the practice is less               Incidentally, newer global threats
will never come back. Some reefs are          desperation,” says Gomez. The                damaging to reefs, its efficiency is          to coral reefs such as bleaching are
dying,” says Gomez. “The best that we         growing demand for fish, not only as a       currently raising concerns about              rapidly increasing in frequency and
can do now is slow down the                   basic food supply but also as a              overfishing. Studies by the UPMSI             severity, accelerated by direct human
degradation in the near future until we       collectible for home aquaria and as          suggest that pa-aling is depleting fish       disturbances.
can solve or stabilize it.”                   exotic offerings by high-end                 stocks, resulting in a decreasing trend in           Marine protected areas
     Reef restoration projects involve        restaurants, has taken a heavy toll on       catch-per-unit in many areas, including            Gomez, however, is not suggesting
transplanting living corals to dead or        the country’s reef system.                   offshore reefs.                               that people should stop fishing. “What
dying reefs, sometimes also restocking             Destructive fishing methods,                 Reefs have also suffered from;           I am saying is that they should fish
them with giant clams. Local                  ranging from the use of explosives to        coral mining (with the country supplying      sustainably.”
communities are taught the process of         cyanide, are destroying vast areas of        a third of an estimated 1.5 million                While there have been many good
restoration and educated in the care of       reef. Fishermen blast reefs with
                                                                                           kilograms of coral harvested annually as      initiatives and practices in coral reef
these creatures.                              dynamite to kill fish, which float to the
                                                                                           part of the international trade in reef       management in the Philippines, efforts
     A mistake people make in the effort      surface and can easily be scooped up
                                                                                           products in the past); increasing siltation   have not been maximized due to poor
to rehabilitate the reefs is the transfer     in large quantities. What they fail to
                                                                                           as a result of inland deforestation and       management and the lack of a unifying
                                              realize is that these blasted reefs yield
of corals to an area they want                                                             the destruction of mangroves; from            vision and framework. For Gomez, this
                                              only 2.7 to 5 metric tons per square
repopulated at the expense of the area                                                     industrial pollution; and from nutrient       is where governance should come in.
                                              kilometer per year compared to 30
from which these were extracted.                                                           pollution contributed by sewage,              “We have plenty of programs for people
                                              metric tons for healthy reefs, according
They go about extracting corals or coral                                                   fertilizers, and urban runoff.                who live close to coral reefs and use
                                              to an August 2002 People and Planet
portions not knowing they are actually                                                          Recently, according to Gomez, new        them. We have conservation mandates.
                                              article by Henrylito Tacio. After a
killing the reef in the process. The          blast, algae growth quickly smothers         and emerging threats to coral reefs have      What we need now is for local
CRTR&CBM hopes to eliminate this              the coral because the shoals of grazing      caught the attention of scientists. An        government officials to initiate
problem. “We are looking into several
methods, like cropping in which healthy
coral branches are used. We are
currently trying to determine the ideal
size for transplanting so that we can
do it without killing the donor corals and
maximize the survivorship of the
transplanted ones,” says Gomez.
     Although the despicable conditions
of Philippine reefs may easily leave one
disheartened, Gomez chooses to focus
on the great strides that have been made
to restore these natural resources. He
takes pride in the fact that the
CRTR&CBM project is addressing
issues that had not been tackled until
recently. As an example, he mentions
disease-related damage of coral reefs,
which has been well-documented in the
Caribbean, but has only begun to be
observed in other regions of the world,
such as the Philippines. Some experts
believe that stress caused by human
activities, pollution, and environmental
perturbations have pushed corals to the
breaking point, making them unable to
fend off diseases which they used to fight
off in the past. Gomez also calls attention
to the efforts of the CRTR&CBM
Modeling and Decision Support Working
                                              fish that would normally keep it under       example is bleaching, which is caused         community-based management
Group to educate decision makers and
                                              control have been decimated.                 by changes in the earth’s climate.            strategies to tie these acts together.”
reef users in the biophysical and socio-
                                                   Fishermen also stun fish by squirting         Unlike most animals, corals, which           He believes that the coral reef
economic aspects of the coral reef
                                              water mixed with sodium cyanide into         feed on microscopic zooplankton that          crisis can be addressed through the
ecosystem, by coming out with
                                              reef areas where the fish seek refuge.       swim in the water, are also capable of        creation of marine protected areas
predictive models, maps and simulations.
                                              Some even rip the corals apart with tools    producing their own food. Their living        (MPAs), a concept which is already at
     Fortunately, technology is
                                              such as crowbars to capture the              tissue contains symbiotic algae,              the heart of marine management issues
facilitating and speeding up the process
                                              disoriented fish. The lingering cyanide in   microscopic single-celled organisms           in developing countries. The idea here
of rehabilitation. “Computers did not
                                                                                           called zooxanthellae, which are like          “is simply to reduce this pressure of
even exist when we were doing the             the water also kills coral and the algae
                                                                                                                                         degradation until you get to that level
coral surveys in the 70s and 80s.             on which the fish feed.                      little plants growing inside their skin. It
                                                                                                                                         where the reefs can sustain a certain
Molecular genetic tools, DNA analysis              Although muro-ami—an extremely          is these same algae which give the
                                                                                                                                         level of damage and are able to
and other methods used to demonstrate         damaging technique involving hundreds        corals their calendar-photo colors.
                                                                                                                                         recover.” The approach holds true for
linkages among marine populations did         of swimmers repeatedly banging metal               If corals are stressed from high
                                                                                                                                         practically all damaged ecosystems.
not exist then. They are entirely new,”       or stone weights attached to scarelines      water temperature and bright light or
                                                                                                                                              The trick is to preserve the MPA
he notes.                                     on corals to drive fish out into a waiting   for any other reason, what breaks down
                                                                                                                                         as a breeding ground for species. Thus,
         Man-made mayhem                      net—was outlawed in 1986, its                is this symbiotic association with the        even though some fish may be caught
    Destructive human activities              alternative, pa-aling, has recently          food-producing algae. Unfortunately,          in non-protected areas, others will have
remain the largest contributor to reef        been found to be as ecologically             unlike most animals, corals cannot run        a chance of surviving and reproducing
degradation in the Philippines. “A lot        devastating. Pa-aling fishing involves       away from stress. Instead, they               within the MPA to seed other areas.
of our coastal villagers depend on the        divers using hoses attached to a             become what scientists refer to as                 For mobile organisms that are site-
reefs for their livelihood. The paradox       surface air compressor to form a virtual     bleached—they literally turn chalk white      based, such as coral reef fishes, MPAs
is that they are also often the very          bubble curtain which forces fish out into    and starve to death.                                                  MARINE, p. 4
4 FORUM January-February 2006

MARINE, from p.3                          the day-to-day managers in the use       the community prospered with fish           scientists in the synthesis panel so that
                                          of marine resources in these areas.      yields improving considerably despite       research by working groups could be
work to protect them in their home        This becomes problematic in the          the reduced fishing area.                   tailored to real world needs. Annual
range. When reef fishes reproduce,        absence of strong government                The role of marine scientists            interactions with managers and
they release their eggs and sperm in      support and enabling local legislation                                               stakeholders are planned. Other
                                                                                       Greater effectiveness can be
the water. The fertilized eggs that       to make protective management                                                        workshops and trainings are slated for
                                                                                   achieved by complementing the efforts
eventually develop into larvae are then   actions binding.                                                                     technical people to interact with or to
                                                                                   of NGOs and local government units
carried away by currents. With                According to the Summary Field                                                   train other scientists and students from
                                                                                   with technical inputs from members of
oceanographic conditions varying          Report of the Coral Reef Monitoring                                                  different parts of the country. These
                                                                                   the academe and research institutions.
from place to place, there is no fixed    Surveys conducted by the                                                             and other channels are expected to
                                                                                   This is one of the rationales behind the
size for an MPA. However, it should       Department of Environment and                                                        provide a venue for exchanging
                                                                                   CRTR&CBM project, according to
be large enough to achieve the            Natural Resources’ Coastal                                                           information between scientists, cause-
                                                                                   Gomez. He believes that improved
objective of sustaining the fish stock.   Resource Management Project and                                                      oriented groups and local government
                                                                                   participation and informed decisions
    Marine ecologists consider the        the Coastal Conservation and                                                         officials.
                                                                                   can only take place if research findings
establishment of MPAs one of the          Education Foundation in 2002, MPAs                                                        “For now, it is just Bolinao. But
                                                                                   are effectively communicated to key
most promising strategies for             are either too small to be very                                                      eventually we will do the whole
biodiversity conservation and fisheries   effective or in grave need of proper                                                 country, and then the whole of
                                                                                       But as a research initiative, of
manage-ment. Also known as marine         routines of monitoring and                                                           Southeast Asia,” says Gomez. “If you
                                                                                   course, the project in the meantime will
reserves, these are areas within a        surveillance to stem entry of fishers.                                               noticed we started with middle level
                                                                                   involve mainly the scientists. One of
coastal zone where resource               Most marine reserves need to                                                         managers. But eventually we will get
                                                                                   the challenges is to come up with a
extraction is banned. An MPA may          improve their visitor management and                                                 to the mayors.”
                                                                                   mechanism for methodologies and
be a part of a single or a combination    to start collecting user fees from                                                        But Gomez feels it is no longer
                                                                                   interventions, if and when they are
of any of the major coastal               scuba divers and others to finance                                                   the task of the UP marine scientists
                                                                                   needed, and on the level at which they
ecosystems—coral reefs, mangroves,        long term protection, the report                                                     to address the other dimensions of the
                                                                                   are needed. Additionally, research
seagrasses, soft-bottom communities.      suggested.                                                                           problem.
                                                                                   should be able to address policy issues
Resource utilization within and               But there are some success                                                            “I cannot spend my time talking
                                                                                   and fill the gaps in legislation.
adjacent to these areas is strictly       stories. Apo Island in Negros Oriental                                               to these coral fishermen because I
                                                                                       “Although this was not the
managed; hence, resources are             is one of the earliest community-                                                    should be doing my coral restoration
                                                                                   original intent of the CRTR&CBM,
protected.                                based marine reserves and a                                                          research to determine which species
                                                                                   there was a lot of pressure from the
    In developed countries, this is       textbook example of a successful reef                                                can be transferred, how fast they grow,
                                                                                   GEF Council to do exactly that—to
usually accomplished by assigning the     management approach. Reef                relate, not later but sooner, all the       where to put them and in what
task of guarding a particular marine      protection began informally when         research to management,” Gomez              combination, and eventually come up
area to the coastal police. The           Silliman University initiated the        says.                                       with solid scientific input to
government typically allocates            Marine         Conservation       and        Last year, a consultation with          management.” He feels that social
subsidies to fishermen to compensate      Development Program in 1982. A few       municipal agricultural officers and local   scientists also need to be involved in
them for the reduced catch. In the        years later, the island community and    planning officers in Bolinao,               the process and share the burden with
Philippines, on the other hand, this is   the local council formally agreed to     Pangasinan, was conducted to                the natural scientists.
mostly accomplished with local            manage the entire fringing coral reef    jumpstart the CRTR&CBM project.                  “As scientists, we can only do so
government or NGO support. But            of the island and establish a smaller    The observations gathered from the          much. The rest is for the other
being direct-users, fishermen become      ‘no take’ fish sanctuary. Eventually,    meeting were then reported to the           stakeholders to accomplish.”
                                                                                                                                     FORUM January-February 2006 5

                                          A look at
                                      Going Alternative:
                        some alternative fuels
                                                                      by: Celeste Ll aneta

T    he news of an energy crisis has
been touted so often in the media that
                                             Moreover, while the specter of an
                                             ultimately limited supply hangs over fossil
                                                                                           In 2004, President Arroyo signed
                                                                                           Memorandum Circular No. 55,
                                                                                                                                     covering 100 km per fuel blend, as well
                                                                                                                                     as emissions in terms of smoke
it has practically lost its edge. As the     fuels, biodiesel comes from a renewable       mandating         all     government      capacity. “With these small percentages
New Year ushered in another surge in         source—plant or animal oil. Most car          departments, bureaus and offices to       of biodiesel, emissions were reduced
world oil prices, from a previous high       engines today can run well on a blend         add a one percent blend of coco           compared to straight diesel,” Quiros
of 59.1 dollars per barrel in September      of biodiesel and petrol-based diesel.         biodiesel to their diesel requirements.   reports, citing a ten to fifteen percent
1, 2005 to a record high of 69.20 dollars         Biodiesel, which includes coco           Coco biodiesel, or Coconut Methyl         reduction in emission. “As for fuel
in January of 2006, the news was             diesel, ethanol, and methanol, comes          Ester (CME), which is derived from        economy, there was not much of a
received by an exhausted public              under the heading ‘biomass,’ which            coconut oil, has been endorsed by the     difference between it and straight
accustomed to the fact of a perennial        simply means fuel sourced from                DoE as offering “excellent lubricity,     diesel. So it seems if you’re going to
energy crisis. Unfortunately,                biological materials. The use of              solvency and detergency.” Moreover,       use biodiesel as a fuel additive to straight
resignation and indifference do not          biomass, one source of alternative            coco-biodiesel can be used in any         diesel, the main benefit would be
diminish the gravity of the problem, and     energy, is far more widespread than           diesel engine with little or no           reduction in smoke emissions.”
the rising cost of fuel is a harsh reality   one would think. Statistics presented         modification to the engine or fuel             It wouldn’t represent a reduction
that needs to be faced.                                                                                                              in expense, though. One reason why
     The government has proposed an                                                                                                  MC No. 55 has not exactly drummed
intervention program aimed at cutting                                                                                                up enthusiastic compliance is the
back on power and oil consumption and                                                                                                relatively high cost of the raw material.
developing alternative and renewable
                                                      “A liter of coconut oil is about forty                                         “A liter of coconut oil is about forty
energy resources. The past years have               pesos... It is simply not cost effective for                                     pesos,” Quiros explains. “If you’re
seen the emergence of some choices                                                                                                   going to blend it with diesel, it will boost
                                                       government vehicles to use coco
of alternative fuel, and words like                                                                                                  up the cost of fuel.”
biodiesel, bio-ethanol, coco biodiesel,                      biodiesel at the moment.                                                     It is simply not cost effective for
and biogas are slowly creeping into                                                                                                  government vehicles to use coco
common usage. These alternatives                                                                                                     biodiesel at the moment.
may very well pave the way out of a                                                                                                       Dr. Karl N. Vergel, associate
seemingly insurmountable problem.                                                                                                    professor of the UP Diliman
            Vegetarian fuel                  by Teresita M. Borra, director of the         system.                                   Department of Civil Engineering and
     Biodiesel, as defined in the Iowa       Energy Utilization Management Bureau              A team from the UP Diliman            head of the Transportation and the
State University Office of                   of the Department of Energy during            Department        of     Mechanical       Environment Group of the National
Biorenewables Program website, is any        last year’s Klima Clean Transport             Engineering has been doing test           Center for Transportation Studies,
biodegradable fuel “produced through a       Forum and Workshop, show that while           productions of coco-biodiesel through     narrows it down to an issue of supply.
process in which organically derived oils    a good thirty-nine percent of our             a process formulated by a Japanese        Even a one percent blend would put too
are combined with alcohol to form ethyl      country’s energy supply comes from oil,       company, which also provided the          much pressure on the supply of
or methyl ester.” In contrast to petrol-     energy from alternative sources,              equipment. The group, headed by Dr.       coconuts. After all, coconuts are the
based fuel, whose adverse impact on          primarily biomass and some solar and          Edwin M. Quiros, associate professor      main ingredient in a whole range of
the environment is well known, biodiesel     wind power, account for close to thirty-      of the department, used different         other products, including food, cooking
is a natural hydrocarbon with very little    one percent.                                  blends of coco biodiesel and petrol-      oil, and the very popular virgin coconut
sulfur content, which when blended with           Not-so-virgin coconut oil                based diesel, ranging from one to five    oil. “The bulk of our coconut oil is
petrol-based fuel even in little amounts,        Coco biodiesel has received a             percent coco biodiesel. They recorded
                                                                                           data on fuel economy on a road test                        ALTERNATIVE, p.15
translates to less toxic emissions.          definite go-signal from the government.
6 FORUM January-February 2006

Caesar A. Saloma, PhD                       Vincent V. Hilomen, PhD                       Marita V.T. Reyes, MD                   Enrico P. Villoso, PhD
Member, National Academy of                 Animal Biology Division                       College of Medicine                     Institute of Marine Fisheries
Science and Technology, Philippines.        Institute of Biological Sciences              UP Manila                               and Oceanology
Director, National Institute of Physics     UP Los Baños                                                                          College of Fisheries and Ocean
                                                                                                                                  Sciences, UP Visayas
UP Diliman

                                                                                           the FORUM
                                                                                          ROUNDTABLE                               ON
 What are the controversial questions attending
 science as a discipline? What could be its
 greatest challenge to teachers of science and
 scientists today?
Saloma: A scientific inquiry becomes        during transplant. Many lives, including      extraterrestrials could provide the     optimism and hope. Ignorance and
controversial when it polarizes public      our own and those of our loved ones,          missing catalyst for unifying           intolerance have already cost millions
opinion. Human cloning, which is            can be saved or prolonged if humankind        mankind.                                of lives.
concerned with creating genetically         is able to acquire the said capability.                                                    It is quite tempting for unsuccessful
identical copies of humans, is the               However, the ability to produce and             Difficult issues                 researchers to engage themselves in
quintessential example. Another             harvest human stem cells reliably and                                                 endless philosophizing that often
contentious issue deals with the            efficiently is a precursor technology to          should not deter                    contradicts the inherent impermanence
possible presence or absence of life        human cloning. As a scientific                     scientists from                    of scientific knowledge. While it is
forms in other planets. Nuclear energy,     technique, human cloning is neither                                                   doubly difficult to succeed in scientific
                                                                                               advancing our
genetically modified organisms, etc.        good nor bad. It becomes terrifying                                                   research in the Philippines, Filipino
also tend to divide public opinion,         when utilized to prolong human cruelty          understanding of the                  scientists, especially those who are still
depending on the prevailing socio-          or sustain oppression. But what if it is           physical world.                    young, should not stop learning from
economic condition.                         used to create a real Superman who                                                    past failures in order to improve
     The debate about human cloning         does not have any of the weaknesses
                                                                                            Scientific knowledge                  themselves professionally. They must
is no longer confined among harmless        that make us human? Perhaps even the           empowers humans to                     not waste precious time rationalizing
academics, geeks, and Hollywood             promise of unfailing benevolence would         defeat ignorance and                   mediocrity and trivializing scientific
producers. The challenges sur-              not make cloning widely acceptable—                                                   excellence.
rounding the issue have grown and           human societies have difficulty               intolerance. It liberates
                                                                                                                                  Hilomen: The greatest questions in
now have legal and political                embracing changes that happen much            us from the debilitating                science vary depending on the interests
implications. The debate is beginning       faster than the perceived evolutionary                                                of the scientist. The questions asked by
                                                                                            fear of the unknown.
to capture the serious attention of         rates.                                                                                fisheries scientists and marine biologists
legislators, national supreme courts,            Understandably, the presence of                                                  would be entirely different from those
                                                                                                                   — Saloma
and government executives because           life forms outside the Earth is wor-                                                  asked by physicists. For example, how
continuing advances in science and          rying and even threatening because                                                    to sustain fisheries production
technology are steadily improving the       extraterrestrials may not believe in the          Difficult issues should not deter   (particularly capture fisheries
capability of scientists to perform the     same norms and values that humans             scientists from advancing our           production) in our country is a problem
process successfully.                       naturally consider basic and universal.       understanding of the physical world.    Filipino marine biologists, fisheries
     Human stem cell research is            But are we going to stop space                Scientific knowledge empowers           scientists, and even social scientists and
important because of its immense            explorations out of the fear that returning   humans to defeat ignorance and          economists must address. Currently, the
therapeutic potential. Stem cells can       space vehicles might bring back               intolerance. It liberates us from the   rate at which fishers harvest fish is
be used to produce replacement              ferocious organisms that could                debilitating fear of the unknown.       faster than the rate at which fish
organs (e.g., kidney, liver, heart, etc)    decimate human civilization? On the           Scientific knowledge emboldens          naturally replenish their populations.
with almost null possibility of rejection   other hand, the menacing existence of         people to anticipate the future with    This condition is exacerbated by the use
                                                                                                                                      FORUM January-February 2006 7
of destructive fishing methods which           scientific progress in various ways.        Global warming has been identified as      controversies to teachers of science
destroy habitats and larvae of fish. A         Controversies in research have pushed       such an issue. The observational           and scientists is how to touch the
holistic approach is necessary to solve        forward the process of scientific           approach of traditional science cannot     students’ imaginations and bring the
this problem. If fisheries production is       investigation by highlighting the           yet reliably predict the impact of human   subjects to life. Learning activities that
effectively managed in other parts of          absence of information in particular        behavior on our climate. For example,      allow students to interact with each
the world, why shouldn’t we be able to         areas. One example is the overuse of        we cannot tell with finality that an       other should be utilized. A learning
do the same in our own country?                antibiotics which has caused the            alteration of the rate of fossil-fuel      activity can involve breaking the class
     The greatest challenge to teachers                                                                                               into small groups (of two or three
of science and scientists is how to train                                                                                             students) with the teacher posing a
students to think critically. If we teach              The challenge to science teachers                                              question and instructing each group to
students how to think, then we will help         and scientists today is to demonstrate science                                       discuss a possible answer. In
create a society of discerning men and                                                                                                considering genetically modified foods,
                                                     as an attitude and approach to problem
women. We need people who can                                                                                                         for example, several questions arise:
think outside the box.                          solving and to the development of technological                                       How does the presence of large
Rapanut: There is a general perception            innovations rather than a difficult discipline                                      multinational agrobusiness corporations
that the solutions to some of the world’s                                                                                             affect the dynamics of innovation in
                                                   of equations and formulas. There is a need                                         this industry? What stands between the
toughest problems are likely to be found,
at least in part, in scientific discoveries.                   to humanize science.                                                   development of “golden” rice and the
These discoveries have a great impact                                                                           — Marita Reyes        release of that strain to subsistence
on our quality of life. They include                                                                                                  farmers? Is a tomato expressing an
achievements like sanitary sewers and                                                                                                 animal transgene still be acceptable
                                               spread of antibiotic resistance among       consumption will resolve the issue.        to a vegetarian?
safe drinking water, which
                                               bacteria. It has been alleged that               There are also moral and ethical           Students may also be encouraged
fundamentally changed the way people
                                               scientists have the tendency to assume      questions surrounding some scientific      to take a position on a given issue and
lived; computers and telephones, which
                                               causality when only a causal                issues, like information technology and    to investigate the pros and cons of their
significantly altered the way people
                                               association has been demonstrated.          biotechnology. Science has built           position through guided activities and
worked; and automobiles, airplanes, and
                                               Poorly supported arguments have             engineering systems whose complexity       web research. The websites may be
spaceships, which redefined the way
                                               supposedly been used to fill in the gaps    is such that it is impossible to predict   designed to include research scientists
people traveled. Moreover, we have
                                               in the data connecting antibiotics,         all of their behaviors. In software        so that students have the opportunity
conveniences that range from a vast
                                               resistant bacteria, animals, and            engineering, “errors” happen not           to see controversy unfold as scientists
electric power grid and agricultural
                                               humans. This has sparked further            because the software does something        discuss their research. Moreover, a
mechanization, to the widespread use
                                               research that could improve our             it wasn’t intended to do, but because it   realistic presentation of how
of airconditioning, refrigeration, and
                                               understanding of such connections.          does what it was specified to do. It is    controversy plays out in science
household appliances.
                                                   Decisional controversies arise          just that the consequences of such         provides students with a clearer
     Although controversy is antithetical
                                               because of action (or perhaps inaction,     specifications were not understood or      understanding of what a career in
to the practice of calm and studied
                                               which is a decision in itself) taken on     anticipated by its creators.               science might entail. Recognizing the
observation in science, it has enabled
                                               the basis of insufficient information.           The great challenge posed by such     dynamic nature of the field, students
                                                                                                                                      will realize that scientists rarely have
                                                                                                                                      the benefit of simple answers and 20/
                                                                                                                                      20 hindsight.
                                                                                                                                      Marita Reyes: The objectivity of
                                                                                                                                      science is being questioned. How
                                                                                                                                      unbiased are scientists when they
                                                                                                                                      interpret empirical data? Do intuition,
                                                                                                                                      personal beliefs, and culture play a role
                                                                                                                                      in science and its applications? I think
                                                                                                                                      these questions underlie the present
                                                                                                                                      debates on global warming, the
                                                                                                                                      skepticism of some scientists regarding
                                                                                                                                      the import of human activities on the
                                                                                                                                      ozone layer in the atmosphere, and the
                                                                                                                                      stand of creationists on human
                                                                                                                                         The challenge to science teachers
                                                                                                                                      and scientists today is to demonstrate
                                                                                                                                      science as an attitude and approach to
                                                                                                                                      problem solving and to the
Teofina A. Rapanut, PhD                        Wilfredo L. Campos, DNScs                   Noli N. Reyes, PhD                         development of technological
Dean College of Science                        Division of Biological Sciences             Department of Mathematics                  innovations rather than a difficult
UP Baguio                                      College of Arts and Sciences                College of Science                         discipline of equations and formulas.
                                               UP Visayas                                  UP Diliman                                 There is a need to humanize science.

Q         Can Filipino scientists working in the Philippines compete with the rest of the world? What
          are the advantages and disadvantages of doing scientific research in the Philippines?
Saloma: Filipino scientists are                but also by those from other fields.            Scientific reputation is not built     be clear to you immediately that it is
competing globally if and when they are        Publication in a widely read journal        overnight. It is established over years    so) for your PhD dissertation.
solving problems that are considered           increases and widens the possible           of dedicated work that relies on               In the Philippines, the number of
meritorious and interesting to the             impact of new scientific results.           careful planning, uncanny foresight,       PhDs in the natural sciences,
international scientific community. A          However, the competition for space in       and more often than not, serendipity.      mathematics, and engineering, is very
generally accepted indicator of high           high impact journals is intense and         Pedigree also helps—if your mentor is      small. According to a 2004 report in
quality is the publication of a research       acceptance is extremely difficult,          a highly successful scientist, then you    the journal Nature, the number of
finding in a scientific journal that is read   especially for authors who are still        are likely to do research on a             PhDs per one hundred of the
not only by specialists in one’s own field     building their own scientific reputation.   fascinating topic (although it may not                        ROUNDTABLE, p. 8
8 FORUM January-February 2006

ROUNDTABLE, from p. 7                          make the development of scientific          interests in the Philippines if we depend             One nice thing about doing
                                               infrastructure and the acquisition of       only on the resources of the government.        mathematics research is that
population is 8, 17, and 18 in Japan,          research equipment and materials            Although the competition is tough,              formulating a problem or contemplating
the US, and the European Union,                agonizingly slow and unnecessarily          international research grants must be           it can be done practically anywhere and
respectively. The Philippines, with its        costly and even wasteful. Despite the       pursued.                                        anytime: in the ikot jeep, on the beach,
(extrapolated) population of about 85.5        impediments, however, a number of                                                           while jogging, while waiting in the bank,
                                                                                           Marita Reyes: Good and “competitive”
million, would need to have 6.8 million        initiatives can still be pursued locally                                                    etc. But like any other intellectual
                                                                                           scientific activity has many requirements.
PhDs if it were to aspire to the current       by the University leadership to                                                             pursuit, the most conducive to
                                                                                           These include the personal attributes of
scientific muscle of Japan. The                improve the lot of researchers in UP.                                                       mathematical contemplation is a quiet
                                                                                           individuals involved (e.g., intellectual
number of PhDs in the Philippines              Many of the miseries that torment our                                                       place. One disadvantage of doing
                                                                                           capacity, creativity, resourcefulness,
today is not likely to exceed even ten         researchers continue to exist due to                                                        mathematics in the Philippines is the
                                                                                           passion and commitment, discipline, etc.),
thousand.                                      our misplaced sense of helplessness                                                         noisy environment. (I’m not sure
                                                                                           a facilitative social and political
    A young PhD in the Philippines             or lack of sufficient attention. It                                                         whether we Filipinos have a high
                                                                                           environment (including harmonized and
who is able to publish consistently in         perplexes me why we still continue to                                                       tolerance for noise or we simply feel
                                                                                           consistent policies), and an adequately
ISI journals will be recognized more           find people inside UP Diliman who                                                           uncomfortable in a quiet environment.)
quickly than if he were in Japan, the                                                      maintained scientific infrastructure. I
                                               care little for or have nothing to do                                                       It is difficult to think clearly when your
US, or Europe. In a country where                                                          have listed the requirements in the order
                                               with the academic enterprise.                                                               neighbors are playing their sound
                                                                                           of decreasing availability to our scientists.
                                                                                                                                           system full blast or when vehicles can
                                                                                           Our best asset is the presence of
                                                                                                                                           honk anywhere.
                                                                                           individuals who heroically make do with
                                                                                                                                                 Another disadvantage of doing
       Given the Internet, the lack of journals in                                         very deficient infrastructure and still
                                                                                                                                           math research in the Philippines is the
                                                                                           produce world-class research. But this
        our libraries and the lack of funding to                                                                                           lack of a research culture. Honestly,
                                                                                           situation cannot be sustained and cannot
       attend scientific meetings are no longer                                                                                            sometimes I feel odd spending hours,
                                                                                           last long.
                                                                                                                                           days, weeks, and months working on a
        excuses for not being able to publish                                                Be that as it may, I am not comfortable       problem on my own, when everybody
                 in important journals...                                                  with “can compete” as synonymous to             else is partying. (But actually, I might
                                                                                           good scientific work. “Competitiveness”         be having much more fun.)
      The Internet has leveled the playing field.                                          is often used to mean the ability to get              I think mathematics and science
                                                                   — Noli Reyes            ahead of someone or even the capacity           will always be relevant for as long as
                                                                                           to put one over somebody. This direction        we want to improve our quality of life.
                                                                                           usually leads to prideful behavior and to       What abound are challenges to the
                                                                                           unethical conduct as was evident in the         attractiveness of math and science as
scientific tradition is not yet firmly         Campos: Filipino scientists working in      recent fiasco in South Korea’s stem cell        a profession. I think the quickie
established, public’s expectation of a         the Philippines can both compete and        research. Unethical conduct leads to loss       approaches to solving our problems and
scientist is less harsh and more               excel in the international arena, as        of trust and public support for science.        the get-rich-fast mentalities are the
forgiving. Appreciation and recognition        proven by international awards given           Science is collaborative work. One           greatest of these challenges. Figuring
are powerful motivators for a scientist        to some institutions in the country,        can no longer work alone or in isolation        out a math problem is like learning how
to work even harder. In the Philippines,       such as the National Institute of           and position oneself to “compete” with          to make the violin produce a certain
it is easier for a scientist to be             Physics in UP Diliman. The playing          others. Materialism is anathema to              quality of sound. It takes time and a
conservatively eclectic and to try             field may not be even, in terms of (1)      collegiality and collaboration, very            lot of discipline.
different interdisciplinary topics             the cost and availability of equipment,     important values in science and the             Villoso: The dominance of foreign
because there is practically no                (2) the accessibility of related updated    academe.                                        educational and research institutions in
resistance from well-entrenched                information (from extensive library                                                         science is undisputed. The best
communities, unlike in Japan, the US,          holdings), and (3) opportunities for        Noli Reyes: I can only speak for the
                                                                                           mathematical sciences.                          research and teaching institutions in the
or Europe where changing research              critical discussions with colleagues, but                                                   world are science-oriented; they are
topics means dealing with a new set            these are workable challenges. These        First of all, given the Internet, the lack
                                                                                                                                           pioneers of new technology which
of researchers with established                limitations may be less surmountable        of journals in our libraries and the lack       possess an international outlook and a
hierarchies and a different pers-              in some than in other fields, but they      of funding to attend scientific meetings        global reputation among academics,
pective.                                       can be addressed.                           are no longer excuses for not being able        students, and employers. Universities
     Because I started my professional              There are relatively few research      to publish in important journals. Before        abroad leading the information
career in the Philippines, I was able to       institutions/facilities in the country.     the Internet, mathematicians in poor            technology revolution are now getting
work independently at an early stage.          Hence, there is a wealth of topics to       countries were in a truly unfair and            involved in the next wave of
I did not have to toil as an underling or      do research on (in other words, there       helpless situation because they had             technological advances in areas like
a lieutenant of a senior professor and         should be enough ideas for everyone).       limited or no access to unaffordable            robotics. Some foreign research
was blessed to be able to work with a          Our more progressive Asian neighbors        journals. But the Internet has leveled the      institutions have sizable war chests for
steady stream of bright and highly             have invested considerably in research      playing field of math research. Scientific      their expansion because of donations
motivated undergraduate and graduate           and development, and this has been a        results can be communicated as easily           from grateful alumni who have profited
students. It becomes more fulfilling           major contributor to their present          in developing countries as in developed         from the wave of high technology. The
when you do science not only for               economies. It would certainly help          countries. Scientific papers, even before       international orientation of leading
yourself or your family but also for your      motivate more scientists to increase        they appear in journals, are often              science institutions abroad is shown by
own country.                                   and improve scientific research in the      available in the author’s website. The          the high percentage of their
     The difficulties encountered by           country if administrative (government)      table of contents of many journals are          international staff and foreign students.
Filipino researchers are consequences          support were to take on more                accessible electronically for free, and              The Philippines has ordinarily
of a weak scientific tradition and a low       challenges rather than accept and be        getting hold of a paper can be done             depended on other countries for
public appreciation of the contributions       content with limitations.                   quickly with a simple email to the author.      knowledge generation. In some
of science. The nonscientists in our           Hilomen: Despite limited resources,               Doing math research definitely            disciplines, our country has the required
country, from the elected politicians to       Filipino scientists are among the best      requires some mathematical talent. I            critical mass of human resources
civil servants to the illegal settlers, have   in the world. Time and again, we are        believe that many Filipinos have the            capable of competing with the rest of
not yet adequately comprehended the            reminded that given ample resources,        potential to develop this talent. What          the world in advancing the frontier of
vital role of science in sustaining            we can produce world-class results,         seems lacking is the passion and drive          knowledge. Lack of general
economic growth and promoting a fair           as in the case of marine biologists like    to go deeper and pursue math and                appreciation, however, coupled with an
and just society that is based on merits.      Drs. Edgardo D. Gomez and Angel             science research as a profession. I feel        apparent failure of local funding
     The rules and regulations that were       Alcala, who are based in the country,       it is only this passion that can instill the    institutions to recognize the potential
formulated to slow down, if not                and Dr. Baldomero Olivera in the US.        discipline to systematically devote hours       benefit of high-impact research on the
eradicate, graft and corruption also           It is difficult to pursue research          each week to study.                             general welfare of the nation, reduces
                                                                                                                                         FORUM January-February 2006 9

the ability of our scientists to compete               Local research agencies must                    Filipino scientists and research
with their foreign counterparts in the            address areas of weakness like the low          institutes have a bright future. There
development of science and technology.            production of high-impact research.             is optimism that the science and
While some foreign countries devote at            Incentives can be provided by research          technology community will expand in
least three percent of their gross domestic       foundations and private companies to            Asia and in the Philippines as more
product to research, there is reluctance          generate more cutting-edge research.            significant centers of development are
on the part of Philippine agencies to fully            In the present era of scientific           built, and more high-technology
support research. It is unfortunate that          research in the life sciences, the              products are designed and manu-
                                                  emphasis is on interdisciplinary programs       factured. The importance of Filipino
most instructional grants to local
                                                  and the search for broad, unifying
universities are geared toward informal                                                           and Asian scientific communities as
                                                  generalizations. Successful foreign
training and extension programs and not                                                           suppliers of research output and
                                                  research institutions have encouraged
to the development of new knowledge.                                                              experts is bound to grow. There are
                                                  collaboration across disciplines by
This approach turns local universities into                                                       few high-profile institutions for medical
                                                  introducing multi-disciplinary programs in
project implementers instead of                   the sciences. Given steep international         research in Southeast Asia, and
knowledge generators. The Filipino                competition, capability-building through        biomedical-research centers in the
scientific community must apply pressure          cooperation with local and international        country are fertile grounds for a new
on the government to spend more on                institutions is desirable and necessary.        breed of Filipino scientists. One trend
research. Scientists must also find ways          Local scientists should not stay in their       is for science-oriented institutions to
around government policies that delay             cocoons; life is too short to be spent inside   attract and fund significant research
rather than facilitate their research             a capsule without reaching out to other         groups. This might take off in the
                                                                                                                                              Field Guide
endeavors.                                        scientists.                                     Philippines in the near future.
                                                                                                                                              and Atlas of
                                                                                                                                                    tla of
                                                                                                                                              the Seaweed

Q  Has science or its outcomes figured in important decisions of our courts?

Saloma: As far as I know, no one in the           between enactment and enforcement of            standing misconceptions about virginity
                                                                                                                                              Resources of
                                                                                                                                              Resour ces of
                                                                                                                                              the Philippines

                                                                                                                                              Gavino C. Tr oño, Jr.
                                                                                                                                              Gavino    Troño,

Philippines is seriously engaged in human         laws and regulations. Enforcement is            and the physical and psychological          Publishers: Bureau of Agricultural
stem cell research or space exploration;          difficult when the rules and regulations        elements of domestic violence. Court        Research, Department of
thus, the difficult issues that are               are not backed up by technical                  decisions that continue to ignore           Agriculture and Marine
encountered in such research fields do            competence and professionalism among            appropriate scientific information have     Environment and Resources
not grip the minds of our decision makers         the concerned implementing agencies of                                                      Foundation, Marine Science
                                                                                                  been cause for much frustration and
or stir the emotions of the public. At this       government.                                                                                 Institute, UP Diliman, 2004
point in time, the immediate challenge is         Marita Reyes: I cannot cite specific
                                                                                                      I also know that a DNA analysis
for the government to invest more in              cases where science has helped in
                                                                                                  laboratory has been established in UP
scientific research and development and           important decisions of our courts.
for legislators to formulate laws that are                                                        Diliman to assist the judicial system
                                                  However, I am aware that medical and
wise and applicable to our society, fully         social scientists have been sharing             in crime investigations, in the
realizing that our situation is quite different   scientific data in medical forensics with       identification of victims in disasters,
from that of the US or the European               judges and lawyers regarding rape and           and the resolution of paternity
Union. There seems to be a wide gap               child abuse in order to correct long-           questions.

Q What are the challenges to the continued relevance of science?
Saloma: The local science community                    Scientific research in UP will             more people in government
has remained small and therefore its              continue to improve in terms of                 approached issues in a similar manner.
productivity continues to be low in terms         productivity, quality, and impact. In NIP       Marita Reyes: The relevance of              Seaweed is one of the most
of sheer number of publications in widely         and the College of Science, I place high        science is best demonstrated by the         important marine resources. Its
read scientific journals of the world.            hope in the ability of our young PhDs           use of its applications by people and       production through culture is
However, our understanding of scientific          and graduate students to build upon the         for people. However, its utilization        one of the most productive
excellence has become more mature.                accomplishments of their mentors and            depends on how it is understood and         forms of livelihood for thousands
When I was a graduate student more                predecessors and push scientific                ap-preciated. The challenge for             of coastal inhabitants in the
than twenty years ago, it was already a           research to the next level. I am confident      scientists is to make their work            Philippines today.
cause of great celebration and reverence          that the younger generation can respond         understood and better appreciated by
if someone in NIP published in an ISI             to the challenge brilliantly. Scientific        policy makers and program                   While the seaweed industry is
journal. Now the challenge is to publish          tradition is established by the efforts of                                                  the third ranking fishery industry
                                                                                                  implementers—people who are in the
                                                  several generations across time.                                                            in the country at present, its
consistently in high impact journals like                                                         best position to disseminate scientific
                                                                                                                                              further development is
Physical Review Letters, Nature, or               Campos: Analytical thinking is perhaps          information or technology which
                                                                                                                                              constrained by the lack of basic
Science and to get featured in science            the major contribution of science to            should be available to the general          information about kinds/species,
magazines.        Definitely,     current         society, although the “discoveries” are         public. For example, how can medical        distribution and availability,
expectations are a lot higher, which is a         equally important. This doesn’t mean            scientists make people choose to            natural products, and uses.
definite sign of genuine progress.                that non-scientific fields do not develop       believe what they advise over the
     In the past ten years or so, UP has          critical thinking. But the scientific           declarations of charlatans on quick         This book collates all available
introduced merit-based programs (e.g.,            process which involves focusing on a            recovery from the use of strange            information necessary for the
international publication awards, creative        question, formulating the appropriate           concoctions that have not been tested       faster development of seaweed
grants, etc) that have improved the lives         systematic methodology or approach,             scientifically?                             resources under one cover, to
of its productive scientists and                                                                                                              serve the needs of a diverse
                                                  extensive referencing, and objective            Villoso: Science embodies a
researchers. The challenge is to keep                                                                                                         group of users.
                                                  thinking, rigorously develops analytical        systematized body of knowledge
these incentives responsive to changing           thinking in addressing problems. It             based on facts and the nature of
economic realities.                               would be a big boost to the country if                          ROUNDTABLE, p. 10
10 FORUM January-February 2006
ROUNDTABLE, from p. 9                                                                                                                prejudices and superstitions. Much
things. The advancement of the frontier                                                                                              scientific information remains
of science has changed, deepened, and                                                                                                unprocessed, merely accumulated in a
intensified our realization of the nature           To significantly enhance the positive                                            pile of reports. Consequently, the
of life and our knowledge of its                                                                                                     ordinary person is unavoidably ignorant
processes, throwing new light upon our             contribution, usefulness, and impact of                                           of such information and draws far less
judgments, suggesting fresh methods              science on human life, teachers of science                                          confidently from the resources of
of human cooperation, imposing novel                                                                                                 science than he or she might do under
concepts of service, and opening up
                                                   and scientists today must help clear up
                                                                                                                                     better circumstances.
new possibilities to us.                            and simplify science for the ordinary                                                 To significantly enhance the
     Scientific materials are predo-                                                                                                 positive contribution, usefulness, and
                                                    person. Scientists must not simply be
minantly imperfectly accessible to                                                                                                   impact of science on human life,
ordinary busy people. The information             obsessed with their search for facts but                                           teachers of science and scientists today
is embodied in highly specialized                    should strive to draw and effectively                                           must help clear up and simplify science
publications and books; it is expressed                                                                                              for the ordinary person. Scientists must
in technical terms that have yet to be           communicate the practical wisdom arising                                            not simply be obsessed with their
translated into ordinary language; it is                    from their endeavors.                                                    search for facts but should strive to
circulated alongside masses of                                                                                                       draw out and effectively communicate
                                                                                                                 — Villoso
controversial matter and, in some cases,                                                                                             the practical wisdom arising from their
questionable literature tainted with                                                                                                 endeavors.

                  OF    PROTECTION             TION OF
                Intangible Wealth Transformable to Tangible Treasure
                                                                by: Rhodor a V. Azanza

                                             chemistry, biology, molecular biology      technology for the benefit of the society    Universities and research institutions
                                             and biotechnology, geology, marine         and the economic development of the          to empower them to protect and
                                             science, material science and              nation.” Among others, they have the         manage efficiently and effectively their
                                             environmental science have been            NUS Venture Support Fund for “start-         IPs.
                                             increasing, particularly during the last   ups” and “spin-offs” to take care of              3. Support for Enhancement of
                                             five years, thus making the College the    knowledge and technologies generated         Technology           Transfer       and
                                             highest contributor of international       by students and faculty members with         Commercialization for Selected
                                             publication in the University. The         the highest potential for commer-            Universities and Research Institutes
                                             College of Science (and the College of     cialization. It is also noteworthy to cite   to vigorously appraise commercial
                                             Engineering) like their counterparts in    two other universities in the ASEAN—         viability and to seed capital fund for
                                             the UP System and other Universities       the University of Technology of              selected technologies and innovations
                                             in the country however, still lags in      Malaysia (UTM)—and the Hanoi                 for added value and reduced risk.
                                             contributing to and benefiting from the    University of Technology (HUT) which              4. Conduct IP Education in
                                             gains of the so-called “Innovation         have come up with detailed provisions        appropriate academic levels on the
                                             Cycle,” i.e. “Research and Deve-           for IP protection and technology             nature and powers of Intellectual
 Rhodora V. Azanza, Ph.D.                                                               transfer. These Universities have also
                                             lopment (R & D) to IP Protection to                                                     Properties (IPs) and their proper
 Dean, College of Science                                                               considered/started IP education for
                                             Commercialization to Research and                                                       management and utilization.
 UP Diliman                                                                             S&T students and researchers and
                                             Development”. The usual route in                                                             5. Encourage and support
                                                                                        initiated the build-up of IP database in
Knowledge generated by students and          Philippine Universities and research
                                             institutions is Research or R&D to         their universities.
                                                                                                                                     small and medium scale entre-
                                                                                                                                     preneurs and venture capitalists
professors should be properly                                                                In the Philippines, support for
                                             Publication, because results should                                                     (with the participation of innovations
managed. This should go beyond                                                          protection and commercialization of
                                             become part of the public domain                                                        inventor/author) to develop commer-
individual management, for collective                                                   IP’s are not taken care of directly by
                                             specially in government-funded                                                          cialization of these products and
management of knowledge creates                                                         Universities but by two separate
                                             researches. This publication route,                                                     services. This would encourage
more knowledge and innovations.                                                         agencies, i.e. by a branch of the
                                             however should not be considered less                                                   responsible partnership between
Moreover, intellectual property                                                         Department of Science and Tech-
                                             vital since they build up or refine                                                     universities and industries emphasizing
protection and management is not the                                                    nology, the Technology Assistance and
                                             existing knowledge.                                                                     protections of IPRs and non-disclosure
business of lawyers nor the Intellectual                                                Promotion Institute (TAPI) and the
                                                  Universities and research agencies                                                 agreements, thus creating a
Property Office (IPO) alone. It is an                                                   National IPO. It is difficult for the
                                             in developing countries tend to export                                                  harmonious Science-Technology-
interdisciplinary / multidisciplinary                                                   creators of knowledge and innovators
                                             “raw materials” (i.e., unprotected                                                      Enterprises relationship.
(WIPO, 2006) field that involves                                                        to be active participants in the
                                             intellectual properties and/or human                                                         Target Areas Aside from ICT and
primarily the generators or creators                                                    protection and management of their
                                             capital), unlike in developed countries                                                 Biotechnology
(who are in the Universities and                                                        IP’s although some Universities like UP
                                             where the gains from the cycle of                                                            Intellectual assets which should be
research institutions) of these intangible                                              have just started to have an Intellectual
                                             research (R) to development (D) to                                                      effectively and efficiently managed to
wealth called Intellectual Property or                                                  Property Office and Technology
                                             commercialization (C) is completed,                                                     derive economic benefits are not limited
IP. Technology transfer of knowledge                                                    Incubators.
                                             with the material gains plowed back to                                                  to the fields of ICT and biotechnology.
from source areas is the process that
                                             the faculty/researchers/university to be             National Strategies                According to the World Intellectual
enables these intangible assets (of
                                             used partly or wholly for another round         1. In collaboration with the            Property Organization in Geneva, new
universities and research institutes) to
                                             of innovation generation. Such a           National IPO, review and enhance             areas where IP’s should be generated,
be converted to products and services.
                                             scheme is of course successfully being     Philippine IP legislation to enable          protected and managed are the
    The intellectual property of the
                                             used in Stanford University and Oxford     public universities and research             following:
faculty researchers and graduate
                                             University, to name a few.                 institutions to protect and manage their          1. environment,
students of the College of Science for
                                                      To cite an example in the         IPs for the benefit of the nation.                2. energy: extraction, natural gas,
the past few years consists mainly of
                                             region, the National University of              2. Review and if needed make            conversion of biomass, alternative
scientific publication (in ISI-covered
                                             Singapore (NUS) aims “to promote           amendments to the charters/other             source,
journals). Original contributions in the
                                             NUS-generated knowledge and                pertinent documents of public
fields of mathematics, physics,                                                                                                                        INTANGIBLE, p. 15
                                                                                                                            FORUM January-February 2006 11
LETTER, from p. 16
                                          afternoon of the same day, Dr. Mario       renovated and furnished with the           $200 each check) as her contribution
     On December 26, 2005, Luchie         and Mrs. Perla Andres of UPAA              chapter’s donation. Francisco (Toti)       for a Professorial Chair in Business
Galang handed over to me her check        Toronto gave a check for CDN$25,000        Juan of the Friends of UP Foundation in    Administration. It was Maricris who
in the amount of $15,000 to support the   for scholarships. Dr. Jun Abrajano,        America (FUPFA) and his wife, Isabel       suggested to us during our visit to the
establishment of a Faculty Grant at the   Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic        also visited. Toti and I talked about      US that we tap our young alumni
College of Engineering. On January 2,     Institute also visited on January 17 to    FUPFA and its activities. Revitalizing     abroad as they are likely to have
we received in my office Dr. Benito       renew his pledge to help with UP’s         FUPFA is our concern and I hope to be      disposable income to share with UP.
Kalaw of the UPAA Greater Chicago         fundraising. On January 24, I received     able to meet with the other people         She made good her promise by handing
who handed over to us a check for         email from Dors Maligalig of UPAA          behind the foundation soon.                those checks over to us before going
$10,000 for the UP Diliman Infirmary      Greater Los Angeles to say that the Vet         And just before the month ended,      back to California. And last January
project. This is the $10,000 announced    Med group that pledged $4000 during        I received email from Dr. Patricio         20, Dean Raul Fabella of the School of
by Olive Rocha Aliga during the San       the induction/dinner-dance last October    Reyes. Pat is Director, Alzheimer’s        Economics and I joined representatives
Diego affair as the contribution of       15 has already put up the amount, thanks   Disease and Cognitive Disorders            of School of Economics Batches 1979
UPAA Greater Chicago for the              to Agustin (Ago) Romero, who made          Program of the Barrow Neurological         and 1980 for lunch and to receive their
Infirmary project. Mr. Felix Padlan,      sure the group lived up to its promise.    Institute (Arizona). Responding to our     donation of P1 Million to the UPECON
who joined us during Benito Kalaw’s       (Ago is one of UPAAGLA’s very              call for assistance for the faculty, Pat   Foundation for the Endowment Fund
visit added his own contribution of       energetic members, and is one of the       and his wife immediately agreed to         for the School of Economics. Vince
$2000 for the same project. Felix has     best dancers I have seen. He and his       fund a faculty grant to be known as        Perez, former Secretary of Energy, who
made it almost a habit to donate to UP    wife, Eva, make very good dancing          the Patricio and Ligaya Chavez Faculty     is part of the group, presented the
every time he visits and as of January    partners.) On January 25, Dr. Bayani       Grant for the College of Home              check to Dean Fabella. What really
23, his contribution had reached $8000.   and Mrs. Ursula Manalo of UPAA             Economics. Ligaya is an alumna of the      touched me was their genuine desire
Benito and Felix were accompanied by      Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia       College.                                   to help. They promised to continue
Dr. Ray Torralba and Dr. Oscar Lopez.     also came over to see what we have              What is also heartwarming is the      helping. How I wish others would
On January 5, Ted Aquino, newly           done with their chapter’s $7000 donation   response we have been getting from         follow their example!
elected President of the UPAA in          for the Infirmary. Dr Manalo was very      our younger alumni. Maricris Bitong,            Indeed, our fund-raising program
America, came over to check on the        pleased with what our Health Service       BSBAA Batch 1996 came home for             is off to a good start. Thanks to our
progress of the Infirmary project which   Director Dr. Olga Formoso has done to      the holidays and presented to Dean         dear alumni and friends who believe in
they started over a year ago. In the      the two VIP rooms which have been          Ned Echanis ten postdated checks (at       our faculty and in UP.

Reefs Thr ough Time
         Repor          Sta
Biennial Report on the Status                                                        Proceedings of the Workshops
                                                                                     Proceedings of         rksh
of Philippine Coral Reefs                                                              Towards the Formulation of
                                                                                        owards        rmul
                                                                                                    Formulation of
                                                                                              the Philippine Marine
                                                                                                Sanctuar Stra
                                                                                                Sanctuary Strategy
                                                                                                       Arceo,              Campos,
                                                                                              Hazel O. Ar ceo, Wilfredo L. Ca mpos,
                                                                                         Frances                   rfirio
                                                                                         Fr ances Fuentes, and Porfirio M. Aliño

                                                                                           Publisher: UP Diliman Marine Science Institute with Funding
                                                                                        Support from the UP Center for Integrative Development Studies
                                                                                                                                          (CIDS), 2004

                                                                                      This book compiles the Proceedings of the 3rd and 4th Workshops
                                                                                      to formulate a response strategy to the twin problems of resource
                                                                                              depletion and sustainable resource use by our people. The
                                                                                         findings and practical experiences presented in this volume will
                                                                                        help in pursuing coastal and resource management to ensure a
                                                                                                                  better life for our coastal communities.

Porfirio M. Aliño
Series Editor

Publisher: UP Diliman Marine Science Institute through the
UNEP-GEF South China Sea Project, 2005

This book continues the efforts to document reef monitoring
undertaken by the Coral Reef Information Network of the
Philippines (Philreefs) partners. Presented here are 36 monitoring
reports from five major marine bio-geographic regions in the
country. In terms of hard coral cover trends, 44% are increasing,
36% decreasing, and the rest in stable/variable condition.

This compilation serves as a testament to the tremendous efforts
of local communities, people’s organizations, non-government
organizations (NGOs), local government units (LGUs), national
government agencies (NGAs), and academic institutions in the
management of coral reefs.
12 FORUM January-February 2006

                 OF STAPLE CROPS                               by jo. florendo b. lontoc

 FOOD GROWERS Corn producers inspect the demonstration farm for IPB’s newest variety pf white corn, the Los
 FOOD GROWERS Corn producers inspect the demonstration farm for IPB’s newest variety pf white corn, the Los
 Baños White Gold.
 Baños White Gold.

P     lanted everywhere in the Philippines, corn,
cassava, and sweet potato are energy sources many
                                                               The IBP is the lead agency for                                      In the latter part of 2005, research efforts
                                                                                                                              led by Dr. Azucena L. Carpena and Dr. Artemio
                                                              crop biotechnology research. Its
Filipinos cannot live without. Without white corn, for                                                                        Salazar came to fruition upon the release of new
example, roughly a fifth of the country’s population           endeavors in the conventional                                  varieties of white corn, cassava, and sweet potato,
would be deprived of a staple food. Cassava, sweet            breeding of new variants of corn,                               adding to over a hundred different crop varieties
potato, and the industrial variety of corn known as                                                                           developed by the institute since 1975. The corn
                                                               cassava, and sweet potato are
yellow corn are essential in the production of flour,                                                                         variant goes by the name Los Baños White Gold;
starch, alcohol, and oil. These rich sources of low-             stellar examples of UPLB’s                                   the cassava, Datu 2 and Raja 1; the sweet potato,
cost carbohydrates for humans are also crucial in the             initiatives in line with the                                UPL Sp-7 and UPL Sp-9. As the latest hybrids,
manufacture of feeds for the livestock industry.                                                                              they exceed the qualities of all the previous
      National statistics show that these staple crops are
                                                                 University’s twin thrusts of
                                                                                                                              varieties, especially in terms of yield.
the backbone of the country’s agriculture. In 2003, the       research excellence and service                                      To make these hybrids for the country,
quantity of corn produced came second only to rice.                     to the country.                                       researchers of the IPB worked under the
Two years earlier, according to the Department of                                                                             elements in the fields sprawled across the valley
Agriculture, 1.6 million hectares were planted to white            In the quest for improved varieties, biotechnology         beside Mt. Makiling. They cross-pollinated male
corn, and 980 thousand hectares were planted to yellow        in the Philippines has yet to take off despite its potential    and female flowers of the best variants from the
corn or the varieties used for livestock feeds and            and proven advantages over more conventional means              institute’s germplasm bank, a facility that
industrial purposes. Among the nineteen major Philippine                                                                      conserves genetic resources of important and
                                                              of breeding. It has yet to produce a hybrid. Even if it
crops, statistics show that cassava is next only to                                                                           potentially useful agricultural crops. They selected
                                                              were to produce one right now, it needs to overcome
sugarcane, coconut, and banana, in terms of quantity
                                                              the health, environmental, and ethical controversies            the best parent varieties, grew them, waited for
produced, while camote or sweet potato ranks seventh.
                                                              involved. Bt corn, for example, although available in           them to flower, cross-pollinated the varieties,
      Despite efforts at industrialization, the Philippines
                                                              the country from abroad, has not had a warm reception,          grew the fruit, collected the seeds, grew the new
is still largely an agricultural country and the production
                                                              to say the least.                                               varieties, propagated them “clonally” (through
of vital crops is a relatively stable source of livelihood
                                                                   In the meantime, research on more conventional             cuttings), then subjected them to several tests to
for many Filipinos. Corn raising, for example, provides
                                                              breeding technologies continues to flourish in the              see if the breeds contained the desired qualities
livelihood to a third of Filipino farmers. Unfortunately,
                                                              University, which plays a great role in the pursuit of          of the parent varieties.
more farmers are paying less attention to the staple
                                                              improved varieties. The traditional variety or technology            Cross-pollination is tricky, but it facilitates the
crops in favor of “higher-value crops,” such as fruits
                                                              does manage to address contemporary needs, providing            natural processes of hybridization. Before the
and vegetables, which can fetch higher prices. In fact,
                                                              ways to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of           flower buds open, each is encased in a bag. A
the country has reached a point where it has to import
                                                              corn, cassava, and sweet potato.                                male flower is bagged to contain the “pollen burst”
its staples, particularly rice and corn, because local
production no longer meets the country’s needs.                                  Fields of dreams                             so that pollen collected from the flower is pure.
      Since staple food will always have a market, it is           For their efforts and accomplishments in generating        If not covered before the flower opens, other
important for the country to maintain and nurture such        improved varieties for the Filipino farmer, the researchers     pollen can contaminate it. The female flower, on
a resource. The secret to its continued viability lies in     of the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) are a source of        the other hand, is bagged to protect it from being
the adoption of improved varieties by farmers. This           pride for the University of the Philippines-Los Baños           fertilized by any wayward pollen floating in the
translates into not only an increase in yield, but also       (UPLB)—the main arm of the University for food                  air. In the case of corn, researchers rub the male
greater value for the same yield. For example, the            security. By virtue of the Seed Industry Development            flowers on the female flowers in the morning,
starch contents of sweet potato should be increased.          Act of 1992, the IBP has been identified as the lead            when the female flower’s receptivity for
More prolific varieties also allow farmers to devote a        agency for crop biotechnology research. Its endeavors           fertilization is at its peak. In the case of cassava,
smaller area to the crops and to diversify; that is, if a     in the conventional breeding of new variants of corn,           this takes place from noon until two in the
farmer can get the same amount of crops for less              cassava, and sweet potato are stellar examples of               afternoon. These pollinators are remarkably
land area, then he is free to plant other crops in the        UPLB’s initiatives in line with the University’s twin thrusts   dedicated field hands, braving the scorching heat
area left over.                                               of research excellence and service to the country.              to do their job.
                                                                                                                                  FORUM January-February 2006 13
                 Fruits of evolution
     The release of the new varieties is an important
means to increase productivity. Eighty percent of white
corn planted in the Philippines consists of the old
varieties, exemplified by the tiniguib variety, which is
good for only one ton of corn per hectare. Los Baños
White Gold has a yield of almost 6.5 tons per hectare.
In addition, it is moderately resistant to the corn borer,
rust, stalk rot, and earworm. According to Proceso
H. Manguiat, university researcher and spokesperson
for IPB’s cereal team, even without fertilizers, their
hybrid white corn would still produce higher yields.
     The latest breeds of cassava also have higher value     EXCELLENT
than other varieties. Datu 2, recommended for
industrial use, excels in all areas of value measurement
                                                             SEEDS. The IPB
compared to the Lakan varieties, products of the IPB,        lobby exhibits
which are currently being used by San Miguel                 different IPB-bred
Corporation. These parameters are: root yield or the
amount of cassava roots harvested; dry matter content
                                                             varieties of corn
or what remains of the cassava after being peeled            and beans
and dried; and starch content. While a Lakan variety
can yield as high as 30.9 tons per hectare, with 35.9
percent root dry matter and 26.9 percent starch
content, Datu 2 surpasses it on all counts, yielding 37.2
tons per hectare, with a dry matter content of 39.1
percent and starch content of 27.1 percent.
     With a yield of 27.7 tons per hectare, dry matter
content of 36.5 percent, and starch content of 25.1
percent, Rajah 1 registers a lower yield and starch
content than Datu 2 and Lakan. However, it belongs
to another league of cassava—the all-purpose kind
that is edible by simple cooking and most useful for
                                                                  Because of these new varieties, the Feed and        seed growers in Cagayan de Oro and Cotabato have
the backyard food industry. Rajah 1 scores higher
                                                             Industrial Crops Division was named Outstanding          already planted the new variety of corn. The IPB
within those parameters than other varieties,
                                                             Research Team during the celebration of IPB’s            has yet to receive feedback from them but it is
according to Edwin E. del Rosario, university
                                                             thirtieth anniversary last year. More importantly, the   confident that more farmers will soon realize the
researcher and spokesperson for IPB’s root crops
                                                             new varieties, the results of the hard work on hybrids   benefits of planting the hybrids. After all, the institute
team. Datu 2 and Rajah 1 are adaptable in all regions
                                                             begun by IPB teams in the mid-1990s, ensure better       has a record of providing varieties of cereals and
of the country and moderately resistant to scale
                                                             harvests for farmers, as proven by standard testing      rootcrops which have proven most beneficial both to
insects, spider mites, leafspot, and bacterial blight.
                                                             procedures of the National Seed Industry Council,        individuals and industry. Aside from San Miguel
     The new sweet potatoes are also excellent
                                                             the recommendatory arm of the Department of              Corporation, starch mills and farmers in the provinces
varieties recommended by government for
                                                             Agriculture.                                             of Bohol and Lanao del Sur—top cassava starch-
cultivation. UPL Sp-7 yields 11.1 tons of creamy-
                                                                  These procedures—which involve trial                producing provinces in the country—have also
white camote per hectare, with 35.5 percent dry
                                                             cultivations in the different regions and different      adopted the IPB’s Lakan varieties.
matter and 21.1 percent starch. UPL Sp-9 yields 12
                                                             seasons of the country—took three years for the               It was also the IPB’s cereal group that
tons per hectare of purple- or red-skinned camote
                                                             rootcrop varieties and two years for the white corn.     jumpstarted the hybrid yellow corn production in the
with creamy-white flesh with 32.5 percent dry matter
                                                             After running the gauntlet, the new varieties are        country in line with the government’s Grain
and 21.1 per cent starch. Both varieties are resistant
                                                             guaranteed to deliver on their promise.                  Productivity Enhancement Program (GPEP). This
to scab and weevil, in varying degrees. Aside from
                                                                                                                      was the first time that a hybrid corn variety (IPB
the white color of their flesh, which does not have to                  A record of bounty-sharing
                                                                                                                      911) was utilized for a nationwide agricultural
be bleached during starch extraction, the two new               According to Del Rosario, a number of farmers
                                                                                                                      program. Private entities were enlisted to produce
sweet potato varieties beat the old varieties in terms       have already taken some cuttings of the rootcrops,
                                                                                                                      seeds of the IPB variety so that they would be more
of dry matter content.                                       good for a few square meters. Manguiat also says
                                                                                                                      available nationwide. Del Rosario and Manguiat
                                                                                                                      estimate that yellow corn production in the Philippines
                                                                                                                      today mostly consists of hybrid varieties, covering
                                                                                                                      eighty percent of all yellow corn cultivated.
                                                                                                                           White corn production now appears ready to take
                                                                                                                      off with the introduction of hybrid varieties, similar
                                                                                                                      to what happened in the mid-1990s with the landmark
                                                                                                                      introduction of hybrids of yellow corn.
                                                                                                                                         The seed industry
                                                                                                                           The phenomenon of the yellow corn hybrid
                                                                                                                      industry showed that for new varieties to create a
                                                                                                                      significant impact, their seeds had to be produced in
                                                                                                                      commercial quantities. The IPB does not have this
                                                                                                                      capacity. Functioning mainly as a research center,
                                                                                                                      the IPB can only raise enough to accommodate
                                                                                                                      inquiries and get farmers and commercial seed
                                                                                                                      producers started on the new varieties. It cannot
                                                                                                                      distribute to all farmers in the Philippines needing new
                                                                                                                      seeds. Thus, private seed producers play a significant
                                                                                                                      role in the promulgation of the new varieties. As in
                                                                                                                      the case of the GPEP program, they can multiply the
                                                                                                                      seeds of the new IPB varieties to amounts sufficient
                                                                                                                      for distribution nationwide. Although private
ROOTS OF SUCCESS. Three of the IPB’s varieties of sweet potato or camote.                                                                         POLLINATORS, p. 14
14 FORUM January-February 2006

YES! say inventor, PGH doctors
                                   By Chat Jemena

w      ho would have thought that
the lowly casuy nut, a favorite
                                         those who have a history of chronic
                                         or frequent exposure to sunlight
snack of Pinoys, would prove to be       (either due to work or leisure).
a cure for basal skin carcinoma          However, there are a few cases
(BCC)? Yet that’s exactly what a         wherein contact with arsenic,
Filipino inventor and his partners, a    exposure to radiation, and
team of PGH doctors, proved to the       complications of burns, scars,
world.                                   vaccinations, or even tattoos, are
     Taking the oil extract from the     contributing factors.
pericarp of the cashew nut and               It has been estimated that the
mixing it with various Philippine        annual incidence of BCC is one
herbs, Mr. Rolando dela Cruz came        million in the USA, over 500,000 in
up with DeBCC, the wonder skin           Europe, and 190,000 in Australia.
cream which can beat basal skin          The numbers are rising. When left                                                          Rolando dela Cruz
carcinoma. (The prefix “De”              unchecked, especially if it develops      of normal tissue must be removed with                 For his invention, Mr. Dela Cruz
means “to remove”; hence, the            on the middle third of the face, it       the cancer.                                       garnered two top prizes—a gold medal
name DeBCC.                              can cause horrible disfigurement as            The DeBCC treatment may very well            from the Archimedes Inventors’ Forum of
     BCC is the most common type         well as loss of the functions of the      ensure that the cancer and the surgery it
of skin cancer in the world. It arises                                                                                               2004 in Moscow, Russia, and another gold
                                         eyes and nose. Unfortunately, the         entails are no more.
from the basal cells, which are at       usual treatments, which involve                                                             medal from the International Inventors’
                                                                                        With the help of PGH surgeons Drs.
the bottom of the epidermis (the         extirpative surgeries, also result in                                                       Forum held at Nuremburg, Germany in
                                                                                   Eric Talens, Daniel de la Paz, and Orlando
outer skin layer). It affects mostly     disfigurement since a wide margin                                                           November 2005. There were fifteen gold
                                                                                   Ocampo, DeBCC was field tested two
                                                                                   years ago on fourteen patients whose              medal winners at the last forum, but Mr.
                                                                                   cancer developed on the very delicate             Dela Cruz ranked highest. He received the
                                                                                   middle third of the face. Their cases were        award accompanied by his family and the
                                                                                   considered hopeless by some doctors and           doctors.
                                                                                   rejected by most plastic surgeons.                    Mr. Dela Cruz was also the recipient
                                                                                        For weeks the cream was patiently            of several top awards from his earlier
                                                                                   administered and the patients were                inventions of DeWart and DeMole—herbal
                                                                                   buoyed up by the steady improvement in            preparations which can safely remove
                                                                                   their illness. On the sixteenth week of trial,    warts and moles without surgery. Not bad
                                                                                   the cancer was cautiously declared cured.
                                                                                                                                     for a commerce graduate and former
                                                                                   And it really was—no recurrences were
                                                                                                                                     barber, and a dedicated volunteer of the
                                                                                   noted after a follow-up of more than two
                                                                                                                                     Ugnayan ng Pahinungod-Manila.

POLLINATORS, from p. 13                  training and technical and advisory       private producers and IPB seeds can be            service goals of the institute. Del Rosario
                                         assistance to government and              startling. In 2005, a hybrid of white corn in     has worked for the IPB since 1980 while
institutions have started their own
                                         industry.                                 an amount sufficient to cover a hectare sold      Manguiat has remained loyal to the institute
hybrid programs in recent years, the
                                              Although it stimulates the growth    for P2,800. The same variety sold at P1,500       since 1977. They maintain that the IPB is
IPB remains the top source of
expertise for the breeding industry,     of private seed producers by              at the IPB. Seeds from the multinationals         still home to the most number of breeding
                                         providing the latter with the latest      are the most expensive. Bt hybrid corn, a         experts in the Philippines. It also has
both in con-ventional breeding
                                         varieties which they can sell to the      product of these multinationals, can go           linkages with international breeding
technology and biotechnology.
                                         farmers, the IPB does not lose sight      higher than P5,000.                               research centers.
     In the absence of a govern-
                                         of its main objective. This is to be of        There is indeed money in hybrids.                      Toward stable staples
ment program such as the GPEP
                                         service to the Filipino farmer.
that makes government varieties                                                    Recently, many IPB experts transferred                  A premier research and service center
                                         Business agreements with seed
available to farmers all over the                                                  to the private sector, where more funding         for Philippine agriculture, the IPB continues
                                         producers notwithstanding, the IPB
country, the IPB is unable to                                                      for their research and higher compensation        to create new varieties to answer the ever-
                                         makes available to the farmers stocks
promote its products on a large          of seeds and parent varieties at much     for their expertise are available. In spite       increasing demand of human, animals, and
scale. It can only put up demo areas     lower prices, through its National        of this, the IPB retains the advantage of a       machines for energy and growth. Los Baños
in the vicinity of Los Baños for         Seed Foundation. This helps to keep       germplasm bank, consisting of plant               White Gold, Datu 2, Rajah 1, UPL Sp-7 and
each planting season and join trade      the pricing of the private seed           genetic materials collected from its thirty       Sp-9 will not be the last ones of their kind.
fairs and exhibits, when funds           producers in check. The difference        years of research. The majority of its            The wheels of research work at the IPB
allow. IPB experts also provide          between the prices of seeds of the        experts also remain committed to the              continue to grind.
                                                                                                                                    FORUM January-February 2006 15
ALTERNATIVE, from p. 5                      alcoholic beverages, is obtained through     Manila residents to simply flush their       there will be difficulties,” says Jose.
exported,” Quiros explains. “When you       distillation; and in the past,               household wastes down the toilet, Dr.        “The system could get blocked, or air
sell it abroad, you naturally earn more     environmental groups have taken issue        Jose, professor of biochemical               could get in, killing the bacteria…you
from it.”                                   with the industry’s method of dealing        engineering at the UP Diliman                need proper maintenance.”
   New meaning to ‘sugar-rush’              with distillery waste. Acda is quick to      Department of Chemical Engineering,               Jose also mentions the importance
     Fuel ethanol, defined in the DoE       point out that the modern technology         devised a way of dealing with wet            of selecting the kind of waste that
website as “a high-octane, water-free       for waste treatment was not available        household wastes, while at the same          produces enough methane. Human
alcohol produced from the fermentation      then. Acquiring it would entail additional   time discovering a solution to the           waste, for instance, produces less
of sugar or converted starch,” is one of    cost, of course, and may in turn drive       roaring, smoke-belching tricycles            biogas. “However, this is an economic
the world’s most popular alternatives to    up the price of ethanol.                     present in every subdivision. The result     way of creating the pollutant,” he says.
petrol-based fuel. Pure ethanol burns far       There are other challenges the           is an ingenious melding of waste             He refers to the biological oxygen
more cleanly than other fuels, with end                                                                                               demand (BOD) of the materials, or the
products consisting of carbon dioxide               The country is in dire need of a cure                                             amount of oxygen that will disappear
and water, making it an                                                                                                               from the water when aerobic bacteria
                                                 for its dependency on imported fossil fuel.                                          set about breaking down organic
environmentalist’s favorite fuel. Most
cars today can handle up to a ten percent          How can the gap between the scientific                                             material, a measure of the level of water
blend of ethanol; anything higher will           principles behind alternative fuels and the                                          pollution. “The higher the BOD, the
require a few engine modifications.                                                                                                   higher the level of pollution,” Jose points
Many countries have successfully
                                                 day-to-day realities of the common people                                            out. “If your organic material has a BOD
campaigned for greater use of fuel                              be bridged?                                                           of less than 500 mg/L, you won’t be
ethanol, including Brazil, the European                                                                                               able to get enough biogas from it. Above
Union, the US, Australia, China, India,                                                                                               1,000 mg/L, sufficient methane is
Japan, and Thailand.                        Philippine bioethanol industry has to        treatment through anaerobic digestion        produced. Good sources of biogas are
     In the Philippines, the National       face, says Acda. One is the lack of          and a quieter, less noxious alternative      swine and cattle manure, with a BOD
Bioethanol Program was launched only        distilleries. “According to our              to diesel-run engines.                       of 20,000 mg/L. The best source is
last May 2005. A House Bill and Senate      approximations, we would need at least            In Jose’s project proposal, wet         alcohol distillery slops, with a BOD
Bill have also been authored, seeking to    eleven distilleries with a 160,000-liter     biodegradable wastes are separated           reading of 60,000 to 80,000 mg/L. In
establish a bioethanol industry in the      capacity a day just to supply enough         from dry wastes, ground finely, and sent     fact, Jose says, the biogas one can
country. The Philippine Fuel Ethanol        ethanol to meet a ten percent-blend          through anaerobic digesters, wherein         acquire from distillery slops is adequate
Alliance (PFEA) is actively campaigning     requirement.” There is also a need to        bacteria work to break the wastes down       to the needs of one small subdivision.
for the passage of the bills.               develop the local sugarcane industry         without the presence of oxygen. This                Alternative Engineering
     Main sources of ethanol are corn,      further. Fuel stations to handle blending    process produces methane, or biogas,              It is common knowledge that the
cassava, sugarcane, and other starchy       and pumping are also required. As for        which is then stripped of hydrogen           country is in dire need of a cure for its
materials. Dr. Reynaldo I. Acda, former     the added cost of waste treatment,           sulfide and carbon dioxide before going      dependency on imported fossil fuel.
dean of the UP Los Baños College of         Acda believes that full government           into a storage tank. The biogas is used      How can the gap between the scientific
Engineering and Agro-Industrial             support—in the form of a temporary           to power the engine of an electric           principles behind alternative fuels and
Technology and technical consultant of      relaxation of environmental laws and         generator, which will in turn charge lead-   the day-to-day realities of the common
the PFEA, favors ethanol obtained from      tax credit—would further help make           acid batteries needed to run an electric     people be bridged? “Engineers are
sugarcane. Corn is heavily utilized by      the Philippine bioethanol industry           tricycle. Besides green e-tricycles, Jose    needed to make the principle practical,”
the livestock industry for feeds and by     comparable to the rest of the world’s.       adds, the biogas acquired in this manner     Jose explains. “The ideas already exist;
people as a major food source. If                    Anaerobic exercise                  can also be used by a household for          they work in the laboratory. So how do
supplies were further divvied up for            Perhaps the nascent bioethanol           cooking, or to power a boiler or run an      you transform them into something
ethanol production, it might become         industry can take a page out of Dr.          electric generator.                          practical, even commercially useful?”
necessary to import corn in the short       Wilfredo I. Jose’s project proposal.              A problem could crop up in the area          The urgency is there, Acda insists.
run. “Sugarcane [in contrast] is                Challenged by MMDA Chair                 of maintenance, however. “If you don’t       Thus far, the country has been trapped
widespread, with developed areas and        Bayani Fernando’s suggestion to Metro        understand the processes involved,           in a cycle. An energy crisis induces the
areas for development lying idle,” Acda                                                                                               government to launch into feverish
says. “Besides, Filipinos are more                                                                                                    campaigns and studies on alternative
familiar with sugarcane agronomy,                                                                                                     fuel, only to lose interest when the crisis
particularly in the Visayas. We know                                                                                                  has passed. The scientific knowledge
how to raise tubo quite well.”                                                                                                        that could help the country is already
     Another advantage to ethanol,                                                                                                    there. All that is needed is the ability to
Acda says, is that “it is relatively                                                                                                  focus on the long-term and the will to
inexpensive to produce ethanol,                                                                                                       do what is necessary to get there.
compared to diesel, at fifteen to twenty
pesos a liter, using modern technology,
not the old technology.”
     Acda is careful to emphasize the                                                                                                 (Left photo) Dr. Jose beside an
use of modern technology because it                                                                                                   experimental setup for biogas
addresses one of the major misgivings                                                                                                 production. (Right) Dr. Jose with a
about ethanol production: the treatment                                                                                               digester for the pilot study.
of slops. Ethanol, which is also used in

INTANGIBLE, from p. 10                      (IP) protection and management:              transfer to industry or commer-              of India who very aptly stated the role
                                                 1. start or enhance existing IP         cialization with non disclosure              of the university in societal trans-
    3. water—irrigation, desalination,      offices to facilitate protection for         arrangements in place;                       formation and economic growth. He
    4. disaster management,                 and ownership of research and                                                             said this rule is to “develop and enhance
                                                                                             4. add value to and reduce risk
    5. climate change, and                  development results;                         involved in selected innovations or          the potential of its human resource
    6. Transportation—fuel efficient             2. develop educational materials
                                                                                         new technologies; and                        progressively transform it (i.e., the
transportation technologies.                to effectively teach students, teachers
                                                                                             5. develop well-planned IP               society) into a knowledge society: A
    Universities and Research               and researchers on the multidis-
                                                                                         strategy/ies for each selected in-           knowledge society will be producing
Institutions should be supported by         ciplinary/interdisciplinary nature of
                                                                                         novation to obtain the desirable out-        products and services that are rich in
government and private institutions         intellectual property protection,
                                            utilization and management;                  come for the university and industry.        both explicit and tacit knowledge, thus
in order to achieve the following
objectives in line with science and              3. rigorously select the IPs/               In conclusion, I would like to cite      creating value added products (and
technology (S&T) Intellectual Property      innovations of these institutions for        his Excellency Pres. APJ Abdul Kalam         services).”
16 FORUM January-February 2006

 THE PRESIDENT                                              Strengthening S & T in UP
                                         to further strengthen our country’s                We will not only strengthen our         protection and monitoring, advanced
                                         science capacity and by creating              existing science and technology              micro-electronics and “systems on a
                                         knowledge through research for                programs, we will also develop               chip”, 4 th generation networks and
                                         domestic production and for public            initiatives in emerging fields in science    internet, distributed computing, optical
                                         sector policy formulation and im-             and technology. A committee has been         com-munications in wired networks;
                                         plementation.                                 formed to help us identify what these        and 4) Instrumentation (nano,
                                              Our thrust in S&T is evident in the      emerging fields are. Chaired by Vice-        photonics, separation science, and
                                         number of our students enrolled in            President Amelia Guevara, the                robotics.) The committee’s next step is
                                         science and engineering programs. In          committee is composed of repre-              to discuss its recommendations with our
                                         AY 2005-2006, 42.3% of our students,          sentatives from the various UP               colleagues in the constituents
                                         both undergraduate and graduate, were         campuses: Dr. Victor Ella of UP Los          universities before finalizing them.
                                         enrolled in S&T courses (at the               Baños, Dr. Alvin Marcelo from UP             Should any one of our colleagues find it
                                         undergraduate level, science and              Manila and Dr. Caesar Saloma                 interesting enough to participate in the
                                         engineering were easily the most              (Physics), Dr. Titos Quibuyen                discussion, they should please feel free
                                         popular programs, while at the graduate       (Chemistry) and Dr. Joel Marciano            to contact any committee member or
                                         level, management courses were only           (Electrical and Electronics En-              Vice-President Guevara.
     Emerlinda R. Roman
                                         slightly ahead, by 0.03%, of science and      gineering) from UP Diliman. The               Update on the Centennial Fund
D    ear Colleagues,
    Our administration has identified
                                         engineering.) This has been the profile
                                         of our students in the past several years
                                                                                       committee has identified four
                                                                                       technologies, namely: (1) Materials
                                                                                                                                         In my report on the US trip, I
the strengthening of science and         and it is one that we would like to sustain   (bio-materials, pharmaceuticals, nano        shared with you the good news about
technology (S&T) programs in all UP      or improve during our term. Our               materials, and molecular medicines and       our alumni’s commitment to help raise
campuses as one among the ten points     enrollment profile is unlike the national     drug delivery); (2) Biotechnology (bio-      funds for the University. I brought home
in the agenda we are pursuing in the     enrollment profile in which about 40%         materials, bio-informatics, nano, disease    some checks with me and a list of those
next five years. This is because we      of the country’s college students are         characterization and diagnosis, vaccine      who have pledged to contribute to the
want to continue to help the country     enrolled in education and teacher             development, food sufficiency, robust        Centennial Fund Campaign. The
build up its scientific manpower base    training and business courses. Surely         crops and yield enhancement,                 months of December and January have
which is crucial to progress and         UP would not want to further aggravate        biodiversity, drug discovery, bio-           been especially lucky months, for UP
development. Many countries have         the oversupply of teachers and business       monitoring); 3) Pervasive com-puting         Alumni from abroad have come home
achieved economic prosperity because     or commerce graduates. It should              (cost-effective rural con-nectivity and      not just to celebrate the holidays with
they have invested heavily in science    instead do its share to build up the          distance learning, disaster mitigation and   their families but also to make good their
and technology. In the Philippines UP    country’s scientific and technology           early warning systems management,            promise to help.
should contribute by training students                                                 telemedicine, environmental and habitat                               LETTER, p. 11
                                         knowledge and expertise.

The Role of Science and Technology in Development                                                                                    THE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES

                                  Indian President’s visit to UP
                                                                                                                                             Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo
                                                                                                                                                  Editor in Chief

                                                                                                                                                 Flor Cabangis
    “The whole purpose                                                                                                                          Managing Editor
      of education in a                                                                                                                          Conchitina Cruz
        country is to                                                                                                                            Associate Editor

        develop and                                                                                                                           Marvic M. V. F. Leonen
                                                                                                                                              Editorial Consultant
        enhance the
       potential of its                                                                                                                         Celeste Llaneta
                                                                                                                                               Jo Florendo Lontoc
      human resource                                                                                                                              Alicor Panao
    and transform it into                                                                                                                            Writers
        a knowledge                                                                                                                               Butch Perez
                                                                                                                                                  Layout Artist
                    –Abdul Kalam                                                                                                                 Levi Lusterio
                                                                                                                                            Forum Online Webmaster
                 President of India
                                                                                                                                                   Sol Barcebal
  President Kalam                                                                                                                                  Bart Ortega
                                                                                                                                                    Data Bank
  stressed this in a lecture
  on “The Role of Science                                                                                                                        Bong Arboleda
                                                                                                                                                  Jun Madrid
  and Technology in                                                                                                                              Photographers
  Development” at the
                                                                                                                                                 Gilda Caingat
  NISMED Auditorium,                                                                                                                              Obet Eugenio
  University of the                                                                                                                               Alice Abear
  Philippines Diliman on                                                                                                                         George Gabriel
  February 6. The lecture                                                                                                                      Administrative Staff
  was part of a four-day                                                                                                                          Tom Maglaya
  state visit that also                                                                                                                            Circulation
  resulted in four
                                                                                                                                         UP System Information Office
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