More than 100 participants join SESAM-CETD’s EIA 2022 training course

The School of Environmental Science and Management through its Continuing Education and Training Division (SESAM-CETD) successfully concluded its short online course on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2022 last August 22 to 26, 2022 via Zoom.

This is the 4th rendition of the EIA training being organized by CETD, which started via face-to-face in 2019. In 2020, SESAM-CETD collaborated with Isabela State University via Zoom, with 50 participants. Meanwhile, there were 65 participants in 2021. This year, a total of 103 participants joined the EIA online course, the highest number of registrants so far.

Among the 103 participants, 30.1% was from the academe; 22.3% from national government agencies and government owned and controlled corporations; 8.7% from the local government units; 18.4% from private institutions; and 20.5% from non-government organizations and environmental practitioners. This clearly signifies that growing demand on EIA training from various sectors and interests that SESAM must serve.

This short online course on EIA aims to provide participants with knowledge about the technical aspects and administrative procedures of the Philippine EIS System; discuss the key elements of the current EIA procedures and processes, including the existing laws and policies relevant to the conduct of EIA impart knowledge on how to identify and predict the impacts of proposed development projects and programs relevant to the fields of specialization of the participants; strengthen the technical capabilities of the participants in environmental management, especially in environmental compliance and monitoring; enhancethe participants’ skills and knowledge on how to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); andprovide a better appreciation of the application of science in the methods of EIA preparation.

Aside from University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), other speakers from government agencies and universities were invited to lecture on various topics related to EIA. Among those invited from UPLB-SESAM were: Dr. Decibel F. Eslava (Biophysical Assessment: Geology, Soil, and Land Use); Dr. Alma Lorelei D. Abejero (EIA in the Context of  Sustainable Development and Air and Climate); Dr. Loucel E. Cui (water Quality and Aquatic Biodiversity Assessment); Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez (Water Quantity); Dr. Badi R. Samaniego (marine  Ecosystem Assessment); Dr. Evaristo Niño T. Cando III (Social Impact Assessment and Health Impact Assessment); Dr. Eduardo C. Calzeta (Climate Change); Dr. Rico C. Ancog (Resource Economics Assessment); Dr. Marisa J. Sobremisana (Environmental Risk Assessment); Dr. Nicomedes D. Briones (EMP and EMoP).

Speakers invited from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) were Engr. Divina Camarao, Chief of EIA Section (Introduction and Overview of PEISS and EIA: EIA as a Planning, Management, and Regulatory Tool and Laws, Policies and Institutional Arrangements for EIA System) and For. Riza C. Arjona, Senior Environmental Management Specialist (Categories of EIA and EIA Process and Decision-Making). Dr. Pastor Malabrigo of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR), UPLB was again invited to discuss terrestrial biodiversity. On the last day of the training, Dr. Hussein S. Lidasan of the School of Urban and Rural Planning (SURP), UP Diliman lectured on review of EIA quality and decision-making. 

Dr. Lidasan also provided the critique of the workshop outputs of the participants, as they were divided into four groups. The four groups were given one topic each, which include expressway, quarry, reclamation and hydropower. In the workshop outputs,  all  the stages of the EIA process were presented, from project proposals to submission to EMB, Screening (Cat A- ECPS; Cat B-ECAs, Cat C-enhances the Environment or addresses the Environmental problem and Cat. D- not covered projects); conduct of IEC (information, education and communication);  Scoping (technical to public scoping); baseline data gathering on Land, Air, Water and People, including SIA, HIA (updated); TIA, ERA, Carrying capacity, technical review, public hearing requirements, decision-making, ECC release and monitoring/implementation.

According to one of the participants, Ms. Leilani Limpin, a private environmental practitioner, the training met her expectations of gaining knowledge in environmental impact statement and environmental impact assessment preparations. For his part, Mr. Francis Joseph T. Abello, non-government organization worker, the training helped his capacity in project monitoring and evaluation. With SESAM’s mandate on environmental education, research, and extension, CETD will continue to provide quality training courses such as the EIA. CETD will offer another next short online course on climate and disaster risk assessment (CDRA) on November 2022, via online conferencing.

UPLB and CIDA Partnership rekindled as Canadian Ambassador visits SESAM

The School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB) went down memory lane as the Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur paid a visit to the School last August 11, 2022. The Canadian government played a key role in the growth of SESAM in the early years through the support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). 

Among the SESAM faculty and researchers who were sent to Canadian universities through the CIDA grant in the 1980s to the 1990s were Dr. Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon, Dr. Leonardo M. Florece and Ms. Evangeline L. Alcantara. In addition, CIDA donated through the Environmental and Resource Management Project (ERMP), SESAM’s analytical laboratory.  This was a joint undertaking of then IESAM and the School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in February 1, 1991.

After the courtesy call to UPLB Chancellor Jose V Camacho, Jr., Ambassador MacArthur was delighted to see the old photos of the collaboration between the School and Canada in a mini photo exhibit at SESAM. He also visited the analytical lab and had a ceremonial tree-planting with Dean Rico C. Ancog and Dr. Enrique P. Pacardo. The activity was very nostalgic since it was similar to the tree-planting conducted by Dr. Pacardo with the then Canadian ambassador Andre Simard to the Philippines in 1991. 

During the meeting, Dean Rico Ancog expressed his appreciation of the ambassador’s visit to SESAM, in time to celebrate the School’s 25th year. “Having you here today is very heart-warming… and exploring a collaboration is a bonus”, said Dr. Ancog. He also thanked Canada through CIDA for their support in the growth of the environmental science in the country. “In every experience, we want to learn from it and connect it to our curricular programs”, Dr. Ancog added.

Dr. Pacardo, reminisced during the meeting that in the late 1980s people from different disciplines came together looking into environmental problems. “They came up with a holistic solution… this is how our environmental science came up”, Dr. Pacardo said. For her part, Dr. Espaldon said the support of Canada to SESAM created a snowball effect from the seeds of environmental science. “The methods are evolving, and now we are growing”, she added. Meanwhile, Dr. Nicomedes D. Briones, retired SESAM professor, recalled during the meeting that it was in February 1990 when the ERMP program collaborated with CIDA. “The ERMP contributed to the spread of environmental education in the Philippines”, he said.

Ambassador MacArthur said during the meeting that the embassy is already 50 years in the country. “Canada and Philippines have a lot in common in finding solutions in climate change… many years of partnership and collaboration from education to employment”, Ambassador MacArthur said.  

He added that in 2021, Canada has doubled its investment in climate finance, which include reforestation, climate smart agriculture, cooling of cities by planting trees and protection of wetlands. “We have a fast-growing partnership via MOU with academe doing collaboration with other researchers between universities”, Ambassador MacArthur mentioned. 

The ambassador also took notice the importance of the role of women in the academe, which will be key in getting support from any three granting councils of Canada. “I am very happy to see capable women here… and to be successful, you need to align your proposal to the 3 to 4 SDGs and should benefit women”, he stressed.

Joining Ambassador MacArthur during the visit were Mr. John Lok, Counselor (Development) and Head of Cooperation and Ms. Jona Cabaguio, Senior Development. Officer, Philippines and Pan-Asia Development Program of the Embassy of Canada. After the visit at SESAM, Ambassador MacArthur and his entourage also went to the International Rice Research Institute and the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity.

CALL FOR STUDENT APPRENTICESHIP

Graduate Mentoring and Apprenticeship Program (GMAP)

Term of Reference

  1. Do databasing on water-related articles and reports within UPLB and outside of UPLB;
  2. Conduct institutional assessments of water resource management particularly from Laguna Lake but not limited to;
  3. Help establish environmental science instructions-related databases;
  4. Help in developing the environmental science resource instructional materials;
  5. Help in the preparation of all the environmental science instructional activities;
  6. Do clerical jobs; and 
  7. Do other related tasks.

Deadline of application: August 26, 2022

Please email your letter of interest, detailed CV, proof of grades to Dr. Jessica D. Villanueva-Peyraube at jdvillanuevapeyraube@up.edu.ph.

Eastern Samar State U benchmarks UPLB SESAM Laboratory and Graduate Programs

Six delegates from Eastern Samar State University (ESSU) – Salcedo Campus conducted a benchmarking activity with the UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) last 4 August 2022. The Delegates is composed of faculty members and administrative Staff of ESSU namely, Ms. Rizza Josefina T. Doguiles, Dr. Noba F. Hilvano, Ms. Amalia Paraluman B. Lombrio, Ms. Jennifer T. Besalda, Ma. Nina O. Oguing, and Ms. Leovie Joy A. Lopez. 

Dr. Hilvano, a faculty of ESSU, is an alumnus of SESAM. She was also recognized for her research achievements and contributions to the scientific field during her PhD in Environmental Science program in the recent UPLB Commencement Exercise.

The Instruction Division of SESAM headed by Dr. Jessica Villanueva-Peyraube coordinated with ESSU for this visit. Dr. Villanueva-Peyraube along with another faculty member, Dr. Janice Sevilla-Nastor, and SESAM researchers namely, For. Sofia A. Alaira (Head, Continuing Education and Training Division), Dr. Alma Lorelei Dj. Abejero, Dr. Thaddeus P. Lawas, Ms. Cherry S. Padilla, and Ms. Rosemarie Laila D. Areglado, met with the guests at the SESAM Boardroom on behalf of Dean Rico C. Ancog. 

“We are grateful that you chose SESAM for this activity and I hope that this meeting will be fruitful for you and your university”, said Dr. Villanueva-Peyraube. 

Dr. Villanueva-Peyraube started the discussion with a presentation of the graduate programs and the research structure, initiatives, and projects of SESAM. She highlighted that students are very welcome to participate in the current projects being implemented by the School. This is part of the mentoring strategy of SESAM to its students.  

For. Alaira then presented the services offered by the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD). She also invited ESSU to participate in the future trainings to be conducted by the CETD. Meanwhile, Dr. Abejero presented the capabilities of the SESAM Environmental Laboratory and the different equipment and instruments available and can be used by students, faculty, and researchers for sample collection, preparation, and analysis. Dr. Sevilla-Nastor, on the other hand presented the SESAM Simulation Laboratory and discussed the laboratory’s functions for database and processing. 

After the presentations, ESSU toured SESAM facilities, including the Environmental Laboratory and Library. ESSU is currently offering a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and through this visit, ESSU looks forward to a collaborative undertaking with SESAM in the enhancement of their academic programs as well as capaciting their human resources. (RDAreglado)

UPLB-SESAM honors the Graduating Class of 2022 via Testimonial and Recognition Program

The UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management (UPLB-SESAM) paid tribute to its 27 graduates from mid-year 2021 to 2nd Semester of the academic year 2021-2022 last August 3, 2022, via a Testimonial and Recognition Program held at UPLB Copeland Gymnasium. Among the graduates, 19 finished the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science, five (5) graduated Doctor in Philosophy in Environmental Science and three (3) finished Professional Masters in Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management (PM-TMEM). 

This year’s testimonial was graced by the UPLB Officials including Chancellor Jose V. Camacho Jr., Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Nathaniel C. Bantayan, College Deans, Dr. Rico C. Ancog (SESAM), Dr. Elpidio M. Agbisit, Jr. (College of Agriculture and Food Science), Dr. Ricardo M. Sandalo (College of Human Ecology), Dr. Jomar F. Rabajante (Graduate School), and Directors, Dir. Greg T. Pawilen (Office for Institutional Development in Higher Education), Dir. Jose Limbay Lahi O. Espaldon (Ugnayan ng Pahinungod), and Dir. Marian P. De Leon (Museum of Natural History). 

In his welcome remarks, UPLB-SESAM Dean, Dr. Rico C. Ancog mentioned the United Nation General Assembly declaration that everyone on the planet has a right to a healthy environment. In line with this, he reminded the graduates that the recognition of the human right to a healthy environment must be supported by a realistic, achievable, and science-based developmental framework that is enabled by dedicated, purpose-driven, very well-trained, and solutions-oriented individuals upholding honor and excellence. 

“As you go back to your respective job posts and you continue with your respective careers, be resolute with your passion and dedication as we have a country to serve, and the earth to protect and conserve, and much more now as we have the human right to a clean and healthy environment for everyone to uphold”, Dean Ancog added. 

Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr also congratulates the SESAM graduates. In his inspirational message, Chancellor Camacho gave his trust to the graduates that they will bring with them the discipline they learned at SESAM in pushing forward to conserve the environment whether in research, extension, and instruction. 

“Take pride but do it with humility, compassion and hope”, Chancellor Camacho said. He reminded the graduates to be a reliable steward of the environment. 

The guest speaker for this year’s testimonial ceremony was Dr. Cielito F. Habito, Professor of Economics, Ateneo de Manila University. Dr. Habito said he is really honored to be invited as he congratulated the SESAM graduating class together with the parents and professors.  In his speech, he illustrated the interconnectedness of all things in the world. From the problem in human resources of the country, the loss of human potential that was due to malnutrition in a very young age to the problem of increase in prices of commodities that is due to the infrastructure development in the cities. He also presented solutions on problems through looking into the interconnectivity of different factors and through understanding of this growing interconnection across different policies. 

Dr. Habito shared the reason why we spent so many years in life pursuing education in general and higher education in particular which was first resonated with him from the speech of the former UP President Nemenzo by which he said “UP education is not just to obtain information, not just to expand one’s knowledge but ultimately to gain wisdom. And wisdom is defined as an ability to use knowledge to solve the world’s problem”. 

“You have spent years here in UP not because you want to win quiz contest, not to impress people in your knowledge but I truly hope that you can confidently say as new Masters or Doctors in Environmental Science that you have gained the wisdom to solve the world’s many problem interlinked and interconnected as they are towards achieving a better Philippines and indeed a better world”, said Dr. Habito. 

After the pinning ceremony, SESAM awarded a medal and a certificate of early career research productivity to Wencelito P. Hintural in recognition of his tireless endeavors in environmental science-related research work early on during the Master of Science in Environmental Science Program.

In recognition of their outstanding academic performance in the environmental science program and earning the highest General Weighted Average (GWA), the School also awarded plaques and medals of academic excellence to Mr. Johannes Reiner G. Asio (GWA: 1.1364) and Ms. Darlene P. Lovina (GWA: 1.1471) for MS and PhD in Environmental Science, respectively. 

Certificates and medals for research productivity was also awarded to Ms. Gabrielle Ann V. Posa and Ms. Noba F. Hilvano in recognition of their research achievement and contribution to the scientific field during the MS and PhD in Environmental Science program, respectively.

The recipient of this year’s Outstanding Leadership Award was given to Kendrick Mico L. Faronilo in recognition of his leadership excellence and contribution to the national environmental science community during his Academic Program.   

In his testimonial speech, Mr. Johannes Reiner G. Asio shared his experience during his stay in UPLB for the program and his learnings as a graduate student in this time of pandemic. He thanked his family, friends, adviser and committee members for their support. 

“As graduates of environmental science, we have the responsibility to create ‘wicked solutions’ for various ‘wicked problems’ as we reach our goal of sustainability. We should remember that for every setback, there is opportunity”, said Mr. Asio. 

Representing the PhD Graduates, Ms. Lovina reminisced her memories as a PhD student of SESAM. She said that her stay at the University was worthwhile and productive through the presence of people and institutions. She thanked SESAM for imparting its knowledge and expertise and for its guidance. 

“SESAM has been a good model in upholding honor and excellence in education, research, and extension. May this strong foundation create a ripple effect emanating from us and spread to various communities. Let us find a solution for a sustainable nation”, Ms. Lovina added. 

Before the closing, the SESAM Graduating Class of 2022 recited the oath of Graduating Class which was led by the President of SESAM Alumni Association, Dr. Mari-Ann Acedera. The closing message was then delivered by Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon, SESAM Professor and UP Scientist. 

Aside from the graduating class, their parents and friends also witnessed the testimonial and recognition program. SESAM Faculty members and Affiliate/Adjunct Faculty members, REPS, Project Researchers, Admin Staff, and Alumni also attended the event.  Strict health protocols were observed during the two-hour program, requiring every attendee to weak face masks, with seats spaced a meter apart. (RDAreglado)

Balik Scientist hosted by Bicol-U visits SESAM for academic and research collaborations

The Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) aims to help the country by encouraging highly trained overseas Filipino scientists, professionals, and experts to return to the Philippines and share their expertise for the acceleration of the scientific, agro-industrial, and economic developments of the country. 

Last July 1, 2022, Dr. Myra Villareal, a Balik Scientist from the University of Tsukuba in Japan visited UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) and presented opportunities for academic and research collaborations between two institutions. 

The meeting revolved around the possible services SESAM can offer to Dr. Villareal and to Bicol University (BU) as Dr. Villareal’s host university for her Balik Scientist Program. With Dr. Villareal is the Dean of the College of Science of BU, Dr. Jocelyn E. Serrano, and BU Research Staff, Ms. Anna Liza T. Bongalonta, and Ms. Eliza Joyce M. Perillo. 

Dr. Villareal and the delegates from BU were welcomed by SESAM Dean Rico C. Ancog together with SESAM Faculty members, Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez and Prof. Eduardo Roquino and Researchers, For. Sofia A. Alaira, Cherry S. Padilla, and Rosemarie Laila D. Areglado. 

For academic collaboration, Dr. Villareal introduced the Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship by Japanese Grant (JDS) that offers scholarships for Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Doctors in Philosophy in Environmental Studies. She also presented different programs of the University of Tsukuba and proposed to set up project proposals for collaborative research between the two countries.

SESAM Dean Rico C. Ancog emphasized the interdisciplinarity of SESAM. “The engagement of SESAM will be coming from our strength”, said Dr. Ancog. He also mentioned that SESAM is open for partnership with the Bicol University for possible joint research proposal and research implementation. 

With the mandate of the UPLB as a national university, SESAM is poised to empower and capacitate state universities and other institutions such as BU through collaborative undertakings in human resource development.  

SESAM offered short training programs that BU may avail for capacitating its human resources. Dean Ancog also mentioned the Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM) that can support the needs of BU for mentoring on journal management and scientific writing. (RDAreglado)

Australia’s Commission for International Agricultural Research visits UPLB-SESAM

After a courtesy visit to UPLB Chancellor, Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr., the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) led by Dean Rico C. Ancog, held a meeting with Professor Andrew Campbell, the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) last 25 July 2022 at SESAM boardroom as part of Prof. Campbell’s  visit to the Philippines. 

The delegation consisted of Professor Campbell, ACIAR Philippines Country Manager Hazel Aniceto, and ACIAR Philippines Assistant Country Manager Mara Faylon. This meeting is in line with the implementation of two projects on OneHealth/EcoHealth that ACIAR will be funding. Focused in the Philippines, the first project will analyze integrated policy options on African swine fever, avian influenza and antimicrobial resistance. On the other hand, the second project will also utilize the OneHealth approach for the identification of livestock management interventions for selected countries in the Southeast Asian region.

The SESAM cohort also included faculty member Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez and Researchers, Dr. Yusuf A. Sucol, Dr. Alma Lorelei DJ. Abejero, Enp. Jessa O. Aquino, Ms. Catherine B. Gigantone, and Mr. Robert Patrick M. Cabangbang. Ms. Jewel Cabardo of the UPLB College of Economics and Management was also present in the meeting.

ACIAR CEO Professor Andrew Campbell stated that this partnership between ACIAR and UPLB-SESAM in the implementation of research is vital in meeting sustainable development challenges in the years ahead. 

The ACIAR is the Australian Government’s specialist for agricultural research within the Australian aid program. It aims to achieve more productive and sustainable agricultural systems for the benefit of developing countries and Australia through international agricultural research partnerships. 

Before visiting the Philippines, Prof. Campbell also went to Vietnam in June 2022 and other Southeast Asian Countries in the past years to explore research opportunities with Australia. (RDAreglado)