SESAM starts the Balik PhD Project in Angat Watershed

AngatThe Angat Watershed from the hilltop view deck of National Power Corporation.

A research team led by Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, Professor, School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), visited the National Power Corporation (NPC) office at Angat Watershed, last June 27, 2018, to meet with the officials of the NGC Watershed and Flood Forecasting divisions, as part of the Balik-PhD project entitled “Ridge-to-reef Disaster Risk Assessment and Climate Change Impact Assessment of Floods and Droughts in the Agricultural Sector of Angat Watershed, Philippines",

The initiative is under the University of the Philippines Expanded Modernization Program, which initiated the Foreign-trained “Balik” PhD Recruitment Program. The project aims to perform a two-year research project on disaster risk assessment and climate change impact assessment of floods and droughts using ridge-to-reef analysis in the Philippines. 

Mr. Ador Mallari, the OIC and Section Chief of the Angat Watershed division introduced a lot of information about the project site. The section chief mentioned that their department works on the rehabilitation of the river basin and the management of the reservoir. Meanwhile the flood forecasting and water management department, as explained by Mr. Manuel S. Lampitao Jr., is helping PAGASA in terms of monitoring tropical cyclones. On the other hand, with regards to flood forecasting, rainfall and water level data are being monitored as well. 

The research group also visited the office of the National Irrigation Administration– Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-UPRIIS) in Nueva Ecija and the Pantabangan Dam site with the endorsement of their Division Manager, Engr. Ernesto D. Ponce. Moreover, NIA staff, including Engr. Daryl Pascua of the Reservoir Division, presented a video about the Pantabangan Dam to the SESAM research team. 

The said Balik-PhD project will engage students and will later on be used as a learning tool as and additional experiential learning activities of the graduate students at SESAM. (Jimlea Nadezhda A. Mendoza)

UPLB holds meeting for possible collaboration with constituent universities in addressing water security issues


Water groupUP Constituent University Representatives (Photo by: Jimlea Mendoza).


The University of the Philippines Los Baños created the UPLB Interdisciplinary Interdisciplinary Program on Water (formerly Integrated Water Research Center), through Administrative Order No. 247, Series of 2017, as part of its interdisciplinary research thrust to RDE programs. The goal is to sustainably manage water resources for national development through interdisciplinary research, responsive policy, partnership and capacity building. One of the objectives of the UPLB-ISWC is to develop national and international linkages on water resources management through networking and partnerships with other state universities and colleges. 


Representatives from UP campuses Los Baños, Diliman, Manila, Baguio, Cebu and Visayas attended the meeting. UPLB Chancellor, In his opening remarks, Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. highlighted the importance of addressing water security in the country.  He added that water security agenda should be pushed by the UP chancellors and must take the lead in water research since it is a vast area of study to ensure water security in the country. 

Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, Chair of the UPLB Water Program, discussed the current efforts of the university in addressing water security problems. It was followed by a workshop moderated by Dr. Agnes C. Rola, Chair of the Networking and Partnership Committee of the Water Program. Each CUs presented the issues and initiatives on water in their respective areas.

The participants agreed to have a unified database which will serves as an inventory of water-related researches. For the ways for collaboration, plan is to have a system-wide structure that will convene the research and extension agenda on water. (Jessa O. Aquino and Catherine Gigantone)

SESAM Gives Recognition to 2018 graduates

DSC 0208 edited small fileClass of 2018 with SESAM Faculty and Staff.

The School of Envriomental Science and Management (SESAM) honored a total of 28 students who graduated this school year 2017-18, at SESAM Lecture Hall, last June 22, 2018. Among them are 21 Master of Science in Environmental Science; six Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science; and one Professional Master in Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management (PMTMEM).


This year’s top PhD graduate is Dr. Armi G. Torres, a researcher at Quantitative Aquatics, Inc., based at SEARCA, College, Laguna. Meanwhile, the top MS graduate is Ms. Leajim A. Villanueva, who is currently continuing her post-graduate studies, taking PhD Environmental Science.


This year also marked the graduation of the third batch of the PMTEM program, a joint offering of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), UP-Marine Science Institute and UPLB-SESAM. The lone PMTEM graduate for this school year is Mr. John Leo E. Holongbayan.


Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean, SESAM and Dr. Carmelita M. Rebancos, Professor and Chair of the Program for Instruction, SESAM, led the recognition and giving of the special awards to the graduates. 


Dr. Enrique P. Pacardo, Professor Emeritus, SESAM, delivered an inspirational parting message to the graduates in closing ceremony.  “You have entered the school to learn, now you will depart to serve. As for the things and issues you will be facing when you serve, use the scientific facts you learned. But it doesn’t tell you what to do, it is always your choice and there are many options on what to do with your scientific knowledge. Spread the gospel of environmentalism”, he stressed.


Aside from SESAM faculty and staff, parents and families of the graduates were also invited to witness the recognition rites. 

NAST to Award Best Paper to SESAM Dean, colleagues

Doc Dei pagasa satDr. Decibel Eslava, Dean of SESAM (right), collaborated with researchers from UP Diliman and former scientists of PAGASA-DOST and studied the harsh effects of tropical cyclones in the Philippines.

The paper, “Geohazards, Tropical Cyclones and Disaster Risk Management in the Philippines: Adaptation in a Changing Climate Regime”, is recognized as Outstanding Scientific Paper for 2018 by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST Phil). The article is a comprehensive presentation of the geographic and geologic settings of the Philippines that make it vulnerable to natural hazards; and, learning from the distressing experience of the country due to Typhoon Pharma (Local Name: Pepeng) that hit the northwestern part of Luzon in 2009, the authors recognize the urgency to implement geo-meteorological-related disaster risk management and climate change adaptation measures in order to save lives and properties during extreme climatic events. They consider heightened information, education, and communication campaigns; improved early warning systems; and climate-proofed land use plans as among the adaptation measures. 

To read more about the article, follow the link:

To be conferred with the remarkable award are Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava, a well-published geologist and currently the Dean and and Associate Professor of the School of Environmental Science and Management, University of the Philippines Los Baños, and co-authors: Dr. Carla B. Dimalanta, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, UP System and Professor, National Institute of Geological Science, University of the Philippines Diliman; Dr. Graciano P. Yumul, Jr. of the Monte Oro Resources and Energy, Inc.; Dr. Nathaniel T. Servando, former director of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration- Department of Science and Technology (PAGASA-DOST), and Dr. Nathaniel A. Cruz, Resident Meteorologist the GMA Network News. The awarding ceremonies will be held on 12 July 2018 at the Manila Hotel, One Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines during the Academy’s 40th Annual Scientific Meeting.


The Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM), now on its 20thyear, is the publisher of the award-winning paper. It is an international peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journal of the School of Environmental Science and Management, University of the Philippines Los Baños indexed by Web of Science Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters), Sciverse-Scopus, CABI, and ACI. It is also an awardee of the Journal Challenge of the Journal Incentive Program of the Philippine Commission on Higher Education. 

The NAST Annual Outstanding Scientific Papers Award is a recognition of the valuable contributions of Filipino scientists in the advancement of science and technology. It is given to qualified papers evaluated based on the 1) quality of content; 2) contribution to science and technology; 3) clarity of presentation; and 4) thoroughness of documentation. Moreover, it must have been published in any Philippine scientific or technical journal within five years preceding the award.

NAST Phil is an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology andis the country’s highest recognition and advisory body in the field of science and technology. It is mandated to recognize and reward exemplary achievements in the aforementioned fields as provided for in Presidential Decree 1003-A.

In 2014, a paper published in JESAM Special Issue No. 1, 2013 titled, “Improving the Validity and Robustness of a Harmful Algal Bloom Model through Genetic Algorithm-based Optimization”, was also awarded the same recognition by NAST Phil. (Cherry Sy-Padilla)

UEP Hosted the 7th ACES

ACES 2018ACES at UEP. About 200 Participants attended the 7th ACES last June 13 to 15, 2018 at the University of Eastern Philippines, Northern Samar.

The Philippine Environmental Science Association (PESA), in cooperation with the School of Environmental Science and Management of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and the University of Eastern Philippines (UEP) held the 7thAnnual International Conference on Environmental Science (ACES) last June 13 to 15, 2018. The conference was hosted by the UEP at their Catarman, University Town campus as part of their centennial celebrations.


With the theme, “Environmental Science, Green Technology and Society: Pushing the Boundaries towards Sustainability”, the conference aimed to update scientists, professionals, educators, advocates, development workers, and public servants on the following key environmental agenda: climate change, variability and air quality; environmental impact assessments; biodiversity and conservation; environment, resources and population dynamics; disaster risks management; land use and land cover change; human health and environmental hazards; best practices and green solutions for sustainable development; and integrated water resource systems.


Formerly called the International Conference on Environmental Science (ICES), the event showcased various oral presentations, speed talks and posters, which signified the variety of research and development works of scientists and other young researchers are doing in the country. Dr. Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon, SESAM Professor and ACES Scientific Session Chair, said that the research and creative endeavors in the field of environmental sciences are thriving in academic and affiliated institutions. “We have not yet reached the majority of 35 SUCs that offer environmental science in both undergraduate and graduate levels, hence there is a wider world out there that we need to reach to create a strong synergy among the scientific community”, Dr. Espaldon said.


DSC 6631aVillarKada

Dr. Maria Victoria Espaldon, SESAM Professor and Science Session Chair (left); Senator Cynthia Villar, guest Speacker (middle) and Dr. Ryohei Kada, Keynote Speaker (right), during the ACES at UEP, June 13-15, 2018. 


Dr. Ryohei Kada, a resource economist from Japan, is one of the keynote guest speakers of the conference. He emphasized the importance and connection between environmental risks and degradation with food and health security in Asia. Meanwhile, the presentation about the journey of environmental science in the Philippines of Dr. Percy E. Sajise, former professor of SESAM, was also played during the keynote session.


In her speech, Senator Cynthia Villar, invited PESA to join her to help in searching for solutions to our environmental dilemma. “We are in the best position to contribute through improving science and contribute to the Philippine society’s well-being”, the senator stressed.


The conference also invited five plenary speakers, namely: Dr. Christina Binag, Professor, University of Santo Tomas; Dr. Perry Ong, Dean, College of Science, UP Diliman; Atty. Asis Perez, former director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and now the Executive Director, Tanggol Kalikasan, Inc.; and Mr. Wilfredo Canto, DMO III, representing Mr. Livinio Duran, OIC-Assistant Regional Director for Management Services, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region VI. 


Around 200 participants from 28 provinces joined the conference. There were 90 oral presentations, 19 speed talks and 48 posters. During the third day of the conference, participants were treated to a field trip to the stunning rock formations of Biri Island in Northern Samar. Meanwhile, Mindanao State University (MSU) will be hosting next year's ACES meeting and it will be held at the MSU Tawi-Tawi campus.

Sajise Lectures on the Journey of Environmental Science in the Philippines

PES 2018Always coming back to share his insights. Dr. Percy E. Sajise discussed the history of environmental science in the Philippines at SESAM Lecture Hall last May 31, 2018.

It is not everyday that the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) has the opportunity to have one of its pillars to speak and share their wits to students, faculty and staff. But last May 31, 2018, its former dean, Dr. Percy E. Sajise visited the school and gave time to discuss his views on the journey of environmental science(s) in the Philippine context.


Dr. Sajise, who is a former dean of three colleges of UPLB, namely SESAM, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and College of Human Ecology (CHE), is currently an Honorary Research Fellow, Biodiversity International and a Senior Fellow of the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). Dr. Sajise is also a member of the editorial of board of the Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM).


On his lecture, he discussed the brief description of the key phases of the journey of environmental science, from its starting point in ecology up to related sciences. He also enumerated environmental problems and how it is interrelated with sustainable development goals. He also stressed the implications to the practice of environmental science(s) and the challenges for environmental institutions and networks.


Dr. Sajise defined environmental science as a “multidisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences to the study of the environment and the solution of environmental problems.” He added that the importance for sustainable development arose from the concern for the environment, due to the problems affecting human society.


He said in the Philippines, the starting point was in the 1970s, when courses or modules in ecology and environmental concerns were offered. Then in the 1970s and 1980s, the growing interest in ecology opened up the window of understanding on ecosystems and the influence of human activities. At present, interdisciplinary research program and institutionalization of graduate programs are being implemented in academic institutions. Currently, in the Philippines, there are more than 50 institutions offering bachelor of Science, 31 offering master of science, and seven offering Doctor of Philosophy in environmental scienceFurther, he said the formation of more environmental science networks strengthened the practice.


In the historical pattern of environmental problems in the country, Dr. Sajise said it has have been associated with some dominant human activities dealing with exploitation of ecosystems serving as the resource base; add to that the deforestation, unsustainable agriculture, mining and overexploitation of the aquatic ecosystems. It has been exacerbated by growing population, rapid urbanization and just recently in the past decades, climate change.


“In the 60s and 70s, the idea of climate change did not exist, nobody is talking about it”, Dr. Sajise recounted. He added “there is a need to super impose climate change in all types of environmental concerns, so please bring in climate change in your interests to make environmental science complete.” 

In the end of his presentation, he challenged the audience and said “We all have the responsibility to ensure a livable future for the coming generations... therefore, we need to coordinate, collaborate and consolidate our efforts and capacity to solve the environmental problems in our country”.