ACIAR Country Manager talks about research partnerships in ‘Talakayan’

Talakayan Alagcan

Ms. Gay Maureen Alagcan, Country Manager of the Australian Center International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), discussed about the research partnership of Australia and the Philippines.


The UPLB Environmental Science Society (UPLB EnSci), in cooperation with the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), conducted the 40th Talakayan Series on Environment and Development (TSED) at the SESAM chimney, October 24, 2017.


The 'Talakayan' series is part of the regular activities of the UPLB EnSci Society and it invites different experts to discuss current issues happening in the environment. Sesam faculty, staff and students are invited to attend the lecture series, as well as other NGOs and sectors. 


This 'Talakayan' tackles the issue on the crafting and framing of environmental and developmental programs. Part of a job of a researcher is the writing of research proposals and packaging it to get possible funding from research grants. Funding agencies and organizations are considered vital stakeholders in the academe.


For this topic, the UPLB EnSci Society invited Ms. Gay Maureen Alagcan, country manager of the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to discuss how researches are crafted and implemented. Ms. Alagcan is also a graduate of BS agricultural Economics at UPLB.


“Donor organizations are development partners, ACIAR continues to invest and broker agricultural research partnerships in the Philippines”, Ms. Alagcan stressed. The top purpose of the cooperation is technical and advisory support and mobilizing private funding, according to Ms. Alagcan. “ACIAR also aims to improve the food security and natural resources management of the Philippines and we continuously support the improvement the capacity of our partners ”, she added.


Ms. Alagcan said that Australian Aid aims to promote prosperity, reducing poverty and enhancing stability. It includes a strategy for aid investment in agriculture, fisheries and water. “Most of the projects are conducted in the southern Philippines, since the region is more affected by issues of climate change and environment... and among the 17 ACIAR projects in the country, 4 are related to environment” she said.


According to Ms. Alagcan, a proposal starts with a research question. Further, she stressed that funding of project proposals are based on the expressed interest of the Philippine government and ACIAR conducts a thorough review to validate this. Then, ACIAR also checks the background or track record of the research agency who will implement the study. For example, she said that ACIAR and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquaculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) have already 30 years of partnership, and they look at the fruitful cooperation based on previous successful undertakings. Further, Ms. Alagcan also reminded researchers about proper time frame of their study. “ACIAR invest in a research for at least five years”, said Ms. Alagcan.


More than 100 faculty, staff and students attended this 40th Talakayan. Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, dean of SESAM, congratulated the UPLB EnSci Society for this latest Talakayan and assured that SESAM will continue to support the organization in this venture. 

Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. Reappointed!

Congrats Chancellor Sanchez2

SESAM Alumni hails integrative and interdisciplinary approach for environmental science

SESAM AWARDEES 2017 copyDr. Digna O. Manzanila (left), Dr. Rusty G. Abanto (middle) and Ms. Indira L. Widmann (right) were the 2017 Outstanding alumni of SESAM.

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) held its Alumni Homecoming Symposium at the SESAM Lecture Hall, October 10, 2017 with the theme “Strengthening Environmental Science as an Integrative Science”. This symposium is part of the celebration of the UPLB 99th Loyalty Day and Alumni Homecoming.

This year’s SESAM outstanding alumna for research and development is Dr. Digna O. Manzanilla, PhD Environmental Science, 2001 and a former Scientist II, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).  Dr. Manzanilla said environmental science is integrative science, since it combines different disciplines and it is systems oriented. “Environmental changes are at a rapid phase and it is more challenging” Dr. Manzanilla stressed.

On the other hand, Ms. Indira Lacerna-Widmann, MS Environmental Science 1997 and the Chief Operating Officer, Katala Foundation, Inc. is the outstanding alumna for wildlife conservation and community empowerment. The Katala Foundation is the leading NGO that protects the Philippine Cockatoo, which is mostly found in Palawan. “It is really hard to implement conservation programs, since it is not top priority of the government like providing food for the hungry, but there is always hope protecting endangered species… we work with communities and protect the Philippine Cockatoo on site”, Ms. Widmann said.

Dr. Rusty G. Abanto, PhD Environmental Science, 2010, is the 2017 SESAM outstanding alumnus for Institutional Leadership. Dr. Abanto is currently the president of the Camarines Norte State College. Dr. Abanto said his training at SESAM helped him to become a better administrator as he was taught on how to integrate systematically. “Environmental science is interdisciplinary, it means you need another science to solve a problem” Dr. Abanto said. An educator for more than 20 years, Dr. Abanto noticed that environmental education is just seriously offered during college. “I noticed that environmental education is just given to a child once he entered college, but it should have started much earlier, in the basic or elementary level” he added.

Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean, SESAM thanked all the SESAM alumni who visited and paid homage to their alma mater, as well the faculty, staff and students who helped in the preparations for the loyalty day and alumni homecoming activities. 

The alumni recognition and awarding ceremonies is in partnership with the SESAM Alumni Association, led by its President Dr. Rico C. Ancog. SESAM Alumni Association is an organization of SESAM graduates aimed at fostering a spirit of loyalty and professionalism. It aims to champion the strengthening of environmental science as a field of discipline and practice. Annually, SESAM and its alumni association selects distinguished alumni who excelled in their respective fields and practice. The awarding is in-line with the celebration of UPLB Loyalty Day.

Hosted by Engr. Alvin Joseph Dolores and Ms. Unice Roa, MS Environmental Science students and members of the UPLB Environmental Science Society, the symposium was attended by more than 100 SESAM alumni, faculty, staff and students.

SESAM joins 99th Loyalty Day parade

Loyalty day 2017

The School of Environmental Science and Management participated in the 99th Loyalty Day Parade at the D.L. Umali. Freedom Park, October 10, 2017. 

This year’s theme of SESAM for the parade is “Rising Up for the Environment!” All components of nature-- forests, oceans, flora, fauna and even the mythical creatures such as giants, dwarfs, fairies and jungle beings are all up-in-arms against the destructive activities done on the environment.

The UPLB Environmental Society performed a traditional dance with a modern twist from the rock version of the song entitled “Masdan mo ang Kapaligiran” by Xanctuary, based on the original song of the band Asin. The annual parade is one of the most awaited events during loyalty day, which is participated by UPLB units, organizations, students, jubilarians and even government and international organizations within the Los Baños vicinity. 

Climate Change Secretary urges Academe to link science to policy and practice

2Sec. Emmanuel de Guzman of the Climate Change Commision said all must work together to create highly adaptive communities.

“There is a need to link science, policy and practice in the context of climate action” said, Mr. Emmanuel De Guzman, Secretary and Vice-Chairperson, Climate Change Commission (CCC), during his keynote speech at the 2nd  International Conference on Climate Change Research and Development and 6th National Climate Research Conference held at the New College of Arts and Sciences Auditorium, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

Sec. de Guzman stressed that the CCC wants to ensure all climate change programs are mainstreamed to national, local and sectoral plans to establish climate-resilient and climate-smart communities.

The conference is a joint activity of the National Academy of Science and Technology-Department of Science and Technology (NAST-DOST), UPLB, CCC, Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), Oscar M. Lopez Center (OMLC), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Studies and Research for Agriculture (SEAMEO-SEARCA).

With the theme “Linking Science and Policies
to Climate and Disaster Risks Management“, the conference aims to further enhance the scientific learning ground and practical exchange platform for sharing expertise, practices, and experiences on climate change and disaster actions that will benefit communities, the government, industries, the academe, and other key sectors involved in nation-building.

Dr. Renato Solidum, Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change and Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), DOST, elaborated the importance of knowing the climate issues and further developing strategies to combat the harsh effects of climate change. “Let us develop more technologies for climate change mitigation and adaptation” Dr. Solidum said.

In his message, Dr. William Padolina, NAST, echoed the statement of Sec. de Guzman regarding the importance of the collaboration of science and policy in climate change. Other NAST Academicians also present were Drs. Rafael Guerero, Eliezer Albacea, Guillermo Tabios III and Ceferino Maala.

Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, co-chair of the UPLB Climate and Disaster Risk Studies Center (CDRSC), said this conference is in-line with the center’s motto “finding solutions towards resilient communities”. UPLB students, faculty and staff attended this conference, as well as representatives from the national government agencies, local government Units (LGUs) and international research organization. Various papers and posters were presented during the plenary and parallel sessions.


UPLB-CDRS Center to host 2nd ICCCRD 2017



The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB)-Climate and Disaster Risks Studies Center (CDRSC), in cooperation with the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and Climate Change Commission (CCC) will host the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change Research and Development 2017 (ICCCRD 2017) and the 6th National Climate Research Conference 2017(6th NCRC 2017), on September 27 to 28, 2017 at the New College of Arts Sciences (NCAS) Auditorium. This event is also supported by Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Oscar M. Lopez Center (OML) and Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research for Agriculture (SEAMEO-SEARCA).

This conference aims to provide a forum for presentation and discussion of recent scientific information and research findings on hazards, disaster risks and impacts of climate change on global and local levels and their interventions; Allow for exchanges of knowledge, products and practices, and sharing of learnings and experiences on climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM); Define commitment and identify leadership roles on climate and disaster research and development; Strengthen linkages, networks, partnerships and collaboration in research, extension, scholarship, academic and scientific discourses, exchange programs; and Synthesize climate research and development agenda and identify gaps and challenges for climate and disaster risks management.

Among the topics to be discussed will be climate and disaster risks management measures and strategies; general topics on climate change and disaster hazards/risks at different levels; enhancing adaptive capacity and building resilience of local communities; and Low emission practices and green technologies.

Created in May 2007, the CDRSC is hosted by the School of Environmental Science and Management. It is tasked to coordinate the climate change initiatives of the university. It is an interdisciplinary studies center whose members are professors and senior university researchers from the different colleges and school of UPLB. The Center is mandated to implement holistic inter- and trans- disciplinary research, development and extension (RDE) programs/ projects/activities towards the development and formulation of enhanced adaptive capacities, mitigative policy/technology measures, and coping strategies for agriculture, food security, the environment, and natural resources. The Center has also successfully organized national and international scientific meetings on climate change in the past years. The UPLB-CDRSC invites members of the Academe, research institutions, government agencies, LGUs, private groups, NGOs, CSOs to attend this event.