Science agency bets on biotech for food security, better healthcare

MANILA, Nov. 26 (PIA) -- With agricultural productivity, food security, and public health at the top of its agenda, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) spearheads the celebration of National Biotechnology Week (NBW) 2015.

Celebrated annually every third week of November, NBW showcases the latest inventions and innovations in the field of biotechnology as a response to meet the challenges of climate change that have great impact on farm harvests, crop yields and climate-related diseases. It bears the them “Kaagapay ng Mamamayan sa Pambansang Kaunlaran.”

“We answer the problem posed by climate change to agricultural productivity, food security and health care by harnessing the power of biotechnology, of using safe but highly effective scientific processes in improving crop varieties resistant to extreme weather conditions and developing breakthrough drugs in combating recurring and emerging diseases,” said DOST Secretary Mario Montejo in his speech read by Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, executive director of DOST’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development during NBW’s opening ceremony on Monday.

The week-long celebration will feature, among others, new inventions and innovations developed by local scientists and researchers in different fields of agriculture and aquaculture, in creating environment friendly fertilizers, improving crop varieties, discovering pest-resistant seeds, formulating indigenous drugs and medicines. All these are being initiated through the use of biotechnology as a science for creating better crops, better products and better processes.

“At the current pace of global biotech R&D, our potential to improve medicine, agriculture and industry will be greatly enhanced,” Montejo added. “For example, by consulting personalized medical profiles, doctors will be able to identify genetic risks for chronic illnesses and tailor their medical advice to individual patients.”

Montejo also stressed the necessity to continuously open channels of communication about new issues and their implications. “We all need to pay more than lip service to engaging the public in discussions about the science of biotechnology. Surely fostering such engagement is a mutual concern. We can certainly learn from each other's experiences in this realm,” he said.

NBW is slated to run until November 28, 2015. The events lined up include exhibits, forums on biotechnology use in agriculture, aquaculture, environment, health, nutrition and other applications. There are also career talks to entice high school and elementary student to take up courses related to biotechnology.

NBW is co-organized by DOST with the DOH, DA, DENR, DILG, DTI, DepEd, CHED, and the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines. (DOST/RJB/JCP/PIA-NCR)

 © 2015