SESAM Compre Exam Schedule

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

What: SESAM Written Comprehensive Examination (2nd Sem, A.Y. 2020-2021)

When: May 12 to 13, 2021

Platform: VMWare and Zoom

Meetings and dry-run announcements will be posted.

For inquiries, you may contact Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez at pjsanchez@up.edu.ph (Compre Committee Chair)

Get Vaccinated, if its Already Available- Health Care Information Officer

The best vaccine against COVID-19 is the one which is available, according to Mr. Dwight Benedict V. Faustino, Chief Rehab Officer and Chief Information Officer, CareOne/CareServices/HealthBridge Management (USA). Mr. Faustino discussed various information about coronavirus last April 17, 2021 in his lecture entitled “SARS CoV-2 Anatomy, Infection Control and Industry Updates”. This lecture was in cooperation with the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) of the School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB).

Worldwide, Coronavirus has infected 141 million, with more than 3 million deaths. The United States has 31.7 million infections, with more than 567,000 deaths. While in the Philippines, there are more than 936,000 infections, with 15,960 deaths.

Mr. Faustino, a US-based licensed physical therapist, discussed the different symptoms of the disease. He noted that 70-90% who are symptomatic patients had fever, while 60-86% experienced dry cough. Aside from respiratory insufficiency, He also noted additional complications such as cardiac issues and stroke.

He added that aside from hand washing and sanitizing, the proper wearing of face mask is crucial and it must be worn at all times. Sanitizing rooms must also be done properly and regularly, from high dusting, spot cleaning, bathroom cleaning, waste collection, floor dust mopping to floor wet mapping. Further, he said distancing of personnel within hallways must be enforced to reduce close contacts and markings must be placed on the floor to avoid crowding.

Mr. Faustino said that in the US, the vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson are now being used. At present, the US already inoculated more than 200 million Americans or 25% of the population. Sinovac, which is the current available vaccine in the Philippines, is not used in the US, according to Mr. Faustino. “I am not too aware about Sinovac, but I can see China going back to normal already, so it means it’s working” Mr. Faustino added.

However, the new variants are also complicating the vaccine efforts, said Mr. Faustino, as four coronavirus variants such as the UK, Brazil, South African and Denmark variants will test the vaccines’ efficacy. 

Before he ended his presentation, Mr. Faustino reminded the attendees to always wear a mask, stay six feet apart, avoid crowds and get vaccinated when available. 

Project LIGTAS held its first online inception meeting with its partners

Project LIGTAS, a multi-institutional research project of the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) held its first online inception meeting with its partners last April 8, 2021. Project “Landslide Investigations on Geohazards Preparedness for Timely Advisories in the Philippines” or LIGTAS is funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) under the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) – Taipei Economic and Cultural Office’s (TECO) call for Volcanoes, Oceans, Typhoons, and Earthquake (VOTE). 

Project LIGTAS aims to generate site-specific landslide rainfall intensity-duration (I-D) thresholds for the mountainous areas of Luzon. These I-D thresholds will serve as the basis in formulation of site-specific and semi-quantitative early warning systems that can be adopted by the local government units.

Twenty-eight researchers and staff from partner National Government Agencies (NGAs) and State University and Colleges (SUCs) attended the online inception meeting of Project Ligtas. This inception meeting aimed to introduce the members of the project including its partner NGAs and SUCs, and also discuss the roles and responsibilities of each partner. Collaboration activities were also discussed which include installation of Automatic Weather Station in Benguet Province, capacity building on the use of the instruments, basic GIS, generating thresholds, and Early warning systems and protocols. 

The attendees of the said inception meeting were the representatives from partner NGAs such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), and DOST – Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). While the partner SUCs present were Batangas State University (BatStateU), Benguet State University (BSU), Cavite State University (CvSU), Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU), and Southern Luzon State University (SLSU). 

The roles of these partners are essential in achieving the objectives of the project from data collection, validation, and wider dissemination of information and early warning protocol. With the support of these partners, Project LIGTAS can now continue its activities and reach more stakeholders. LIGTAS website (www.ligtas.uplb.edu.ph) will also continue to provide information and the project looks forward to collaborating with other agencies for its sustainability.  Project LIGTAS is headed by its project Leader, Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava, and being supported by project staff from SESAM, CFNR, and UP-NIGS. (Beth Zaida Ugat, Rosemarie Laila Areglado, Maria Regina Regalado and Ericha Montecillo)

5 in 1: the First Living Dangerously Webinar for 2021

Not one, but five issues were tackled during the first Living Dangerously Series Webinar last March 29, 2021, presented by the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) of the School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB). Living Dangerously is a webinar series that tackles issues that continuously hound our environment. Five experts tackled various topics such as mangroves, biodiversity, geology, social sciences and marine ecosystems. 

The first speaker, Mr. Mario A. Cudiamat, is a mangrove specialist and Marine Protected Area (MPA) adviser of Calatagan Mangrove Forest Conservation Park (CMFCP), a community-based marine protected area in Calatagan, Batangas. His study entitled “Mangroves in the Philippines, Responding to Change”, stressed that Building resilience in socio-ecological system such as the case of community-based conservation requires an integrated understanding of the different dimensions of development such as socio-economic, institutional and ecological aspects.

Mr. Cudiamat, who is taking PhD in Biology specializing in Mangrove Ecology and Conservation at De La Salle University-Dasmariňas, mentioned that the peoples’ lack of knowledge in ecological dimension, hampers the mangrove rehabilitation. “If we would like to solve problems in the marine ecosystems, we must also address the issues in the terrestrial areas, such as garbage, agricultural run-offs and the sharing of knowledge to communities”, he added.

The second speaker, Dr. Christine Casal, presented her study entitled “Predicting Loss of Marine Species Using Biodiversity Information Systems”. Dr. Casal, who is currently Project Officer of the Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate the Agriculture as an Industry (Project SARAI), was PhD in Environmental Science graduate in 2007. Formerly with FishBase Information and Research Group ,Inc. (FIN), Dr. Casal was involved in the SmartSeas Project which aimed to create a checklist of species for the marine key biodiversity areas to document biodiversity in Verde Island Passage, Lanuza Bay, Tanon Strait, Davao Gulf and Southern Palawan. 

Dr. Casal added that the main issue was the scattered, often inaccessible and expensive information sources for marine biodiversity. However, she was able to teach many communities especially the fisherfolks “We always remind fishermen to harvest fish which already reached maturity to sustain the population of the species” said Dr. Casal. 

For his part, Dr. Juan Miguel Guotana, who recently obtained his PhD in Earth Science from Kanazawa University in Japan, discussed his study entitled “Carbon mineralization in ultramafic rocks: possibility of geological CO2 storage”. In his presentation, he mentioned the global carbon cycle affects the warming of the atmosphere, which should be limited to 2oC, but preferably at 1.5oC, (UNFCCC, 2015). His study suggested the removal of CO2  from the air by increasing carbon storage in soils and biomass; direct air capture using synthetic sorbents; and carbon mineralization vis enhanced weathering. 

He mentioned that this could be possibly done in the country, by collaborating with geothermal companies or at mine sites, in conducting experiments using drills. He added that using adsorbent material to capture carbon, is not economically feasible for large scale industrial application, since it uses turbines which consumes a lot of energy.

The fourth speaker, Mr. Ed Roquino, focused on the nexus of water scarcity and water security and their socio-natural production and political ecology. Mr. Roquino, who is taking PhD in Environmental Science, presented his research entitled “Rethinking water-society relationship through the hydro-social lens”. He said hydro-social framing can determine the true value and price of water resources by ethnography– looking at the inter-connectedness of water and the ecosystem. 

 “We have to look at the agency of water- the intent of water. Water transform one phase to another… it can give life, It can be destructive, thus we must recognize all these framing of water.”, Mr. Roquino stressed.

The last speaker, Dr. Sheila Vergara, a marine ecologist and a graduate of PhD Environmental Science and Management, focused her research on coastal resources management, as indicated on her presentation entitled “Business as usual is risky business: the case of marine conservation in the ASEAN region”. 

Dr. Vergara, who is currently the Director of the Biodiversity Information Management of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), said that using management effectiveness tools, depending on your sources and accessible data, can help develop tools for the capacity effectiveness of MPAs. “These management tools are flexible, you can track outcomes of the criteria, some data are more technical, while some are socio-economic” she added. 

More than 100 participants attended this first Living Dangerously Webinar Series for 2021, as SESAM looks forward to inviting more speakers to discuss burning issues about the environment in the coming months.

PFPA Awards SESAM Dean the Sinag Medallion

The Philippine Federation of Professional Association (PFPA) bestowed Dr. Decibel Faustino-Eslava, Dean of the University of the Philippines Los Baños-School of Environmental Science and Management (UPLB-SESAM), the Sinag Medallion in recognition of her distinctive contributions and accomplishments as a geologist in the academe/research and development. 

The award was given during the 8th PFPA Excellence Awards last February 27, 2021 at the UP Bahay Ng Alumni, UP Diliman, Quezon City. Aside being the current Dean of SESAM, Dr. Eslava, is also a UP Scientist III under the UP Scientific Productivity System. 

A member of the World Academy of Sciences Young Affiliates, Dr. Eslava has various scientific journal publications in the field of block rotations, paleomagnetics, geochemistry and environmental geology. She is also a member of the Geological Society of the Philippines, National Research Council of the Philippines, Philippine Environmental Science Association, Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, Global Young Academy, the World Academy of Sciences and the Future Earth-Philippines Network.

The Sinag Medallion is given to professionals with exceptional achievements and exemplary contributions to the community and society for national development; who uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct in the practice of profession and faithful adherence to the codes and guiding principles of professional practice; with exemplary contributions that lead to the upliftment of the profession, the professional practice, the professional product and the professional organization; and with exemplary participation and achievements in international professional affairs, thus giving honor and recognition to the country.

As one of the Professional Distinction Awardees this year, Dean Eslava received the Sinag Medallion, in the familiar silhouette of the Philippine Sun, which symbolizes the acclaim and gratitude of the PFPA for the professionals through their respective parent organizations.