The Philippines celebrates the 12th National Biotechnology Week (NBW 2016) from November 21-25, 2016 focusing on the theme, Biotechnology: Partner in National Development. Different government agencies and non-governmental organizations participated in the week-long celebration through conduct of talks, exhibit, and contests nationwide. The Department of Agriculture spearheaded this year's celebration.
During the opening ceremonies held in the Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Quezon City, former senator Dr. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. said that safety issues on biotechnology should be dealt with by biotech scientists, who are experts on the field. He encouraged other stakeholders to help in public awareness about the GM crops guided by scientific knowhow.
One of the highlight activities of the NBW 2016 was the "Filipino Faces of Biotechnology" held on November 21 where nine esteemed scientists, farmers, and communicators working on biotech research and advocacy in the Philippines were awarded. The awardees were Dr. Saturnina Halos of DA-Policy; Dr. Desiree Hautea of UPLB; Dr. Benigno Peczon of the Coalition for Agriculture Modernization of the Philippines, Inc.; Dr. Nina Gloriani of the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines; Dr. Flerida Cariño of the DOST-Biosafety Committee; biotech corn farmers and advocates Rosalie Ellasus and Edwin Paraluman; and media experts/communicators Dr. Edith Burgos and Ms. Lyn Resurreccion of Business Mirror. Each was distinguished through his or her own passion and contribution to developments in biotech in the Philippines. All the awardees expressed the need to further new technologies and products of biotech in the country to address current and future needs and challenges in agriculture and food.