2020 Outstanding Alumni Articulated Environmental Leadership in Their Respective Fields

Three environmental science alumni were feted during the 2020 School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) Alumni Symposium via Zoom last October 21, 2020. The symposium was part of the 102nd University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Loyalty Day Virtual Celebration with the theme “Sustaining the UPLB-Alumni Alliance”.

During the opening program, Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean of SESAM, asked the three outstanding alumni awardees “how to be you”, as she admired their exemplary public service and research. For his part, Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., Chancellor (MS Environmental Studies ‘95), also a SESAM alumni, expressed his gratitude to the three distinguished alumni awardees, who exemplified this year’s symposium theme “Articulating Environmental Leadership Under the New Normal” in their respective professions. Meanwhile, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, SESAM Professor and president, SESAM Alumni Association congratulated this year’s outstanding alumni and thanked them for sharing their stories and current endeavors that may also inspire students and fellow alumni as well.

The 2020 Outstanding Alumnus for Environmental Science Education was awarded to Dr. Eulito V. Casas, Jr. (PhD Environmental Science 2005) for his academic leadership at UP Visayas Tacloban College in teaching the value of biodiversity conservation and resilience that helps promote the formulation of critical habitat, river buffer and natural park management plans and climate-proof the mangrove ecosystems in Western Visayas. Dr. Casas is currently a Professor and Chair, Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, UP Visayas Tacloban College. In his presentation entitled “Environmental Science Education and Advocacy amidst Climate Change: The Story of a Typhoon Yolanda Survivor”, he highlighted the ecosystems- based approach in the management of fisheries. “There must be a balance between human beings and ecosystems”, Dr. Casa said. His endeavors also cuts across different fields, as he ventured also in communication and the social aspect of environmental science to help communities recover from the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

Dr. Allan L. Poquita (MS Environmental Science 2000; PhD Environmental Science 2011), was awarded as 2020 Outstanding Alumnus for Government Service for championing the application of environmental science concepts in advancing major aquaculture and fisheries programs and projects of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Region 7, where he is the Regional Director. In his presentation entitled “Establishment of Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs) in the Visayas : Some Key Lessons Using Environmental Science Lens”, Dr. Poquita discussed the involvement of all stakeholders from all levels from the academe, fisherfolks, scientists and communities as well in establishment of FMAs.

The third alumni awardee for this year is Dr. Victorio B. Molina (PhD Environmental Science 2011). He was recognized as the 2020 Outstanding Alumnus for Public and Environmental Health Research for his contributions in advancing the applications and inter-linkages of environmental science with public health, civil engineering and environmental and sanitary engineering. Dr. Molina, a Professor at the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Public Health, UP Manila, presented his published PhD dissertation entitled “Carcinogenic Health Risk of Arsenic in Fish from Laguna de Bay”.  He pointed out that the bioaccumulation of heavy such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury is severely affecting the lake. “The Laguna Lake pollution load is giving stress to its ecosystem”, Dr. Molina said.

Dr. Mark Dondi Arboleda, Associate Dean, Graduate School and Alumni Relations Officer, SESAM, facilitated the open forum. More than 60 participants attended the online symposium, co-organized by the Continuing Education and Training (CET) Division and supported by the UP Information Technology Center (ITC).