President Pascual to media: Scientific research in UP helps society

UP contributes to development with its high-quality research in science and engineering.

This was the message that President Alfredo Pascual imparted to the media in a brunch reception held on February 13 in UP Diliman.

Attended by 15 science journalists from 10 media organizations, the event showcased the university’s recent accomplishments in biotechnology, aerospace, and science education that have practical applications.

Among these are the products of UP Los Banos which help address our growing need for food security and nutrition. President Pascual said that biotechnology is now “within the radar of media due to the Supreme Court’s decision to suspend Bt Talong field trials” but it is a ruling which unfortunately impacts on the sectors of agriculture, fisheries, poultry and livestock as well as on the pharmaceutical and clothing industries. Bt Talong is a genetically modified crop developed by UP Los Banos.

2- Pres Pascual shows some Biotech Products (1)_2

President Pascual talks about some Biotech products. Biotech is a UP Los Banos research institute that specializes in agricultural, environmental, food and feeds, and health biotechnology. (Photo credit: UP System Information Office )

Also discussed was Diwata, the country’s first microsatellite. It was designed and built by an all-Filipino group composed largely of UP scientists and engineers. On top of this, the Diwata program has a team in UP Diliman that will put up a ground receiving station on campus. President Pascual emphasized that agriculture will benefit from these activities, given the microsatellite’s capability to measure the extent of farmlands, determine the growth stages of crops, and observe weather disturbances that can affect crop health and production yield.

The presentation ended with the Versatile Instrument System for Scientific Education and Research (VISSER), a homegrown technology that introduces the use of handheld electronic devices as an alternative to the traditional science laboratory setup. VISSER aims to raise the quality of science education by providing school laboratories with inexpensive yet modern technology. Under the K-12 program, all senior high schools that opt for the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education  track  will have to provide laboratories for their students.

Stressing the importance  of agriculture, President Pascual said that “in UP, we recognize that adding agriculture as an additional discipline will boost our country’s chances for increased national development, thus transforming STEM into STEAM.”

President Pascual during the Q&A (Photo credit: UP System Information Office)

UP views the Bt Talong, Diwata and VISSER as “gifts to the Filipino people.”

“Not all heroes need give up their life for country,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Gisela P. Concepcion. “Some offer their talents and genius not only to shape the minds that shape the nation, but also to shape our nation’s public agenda by moving our country’s national development forward through their scientific researches.”

For UP College of Mass Communication Dean Elena Pernia, the “media as gatekeepers of information need to present all sides of the issues, most especially when presenting controversial topics” especially since it is equipped to disseminate facts and figures on how the country can benefit from UP’s research and development initiatives such as the Bt Talong technology.

The brunch reception is part of a series that seeks to engage the media in a meaningful dialogue so as to provide timely, relevant and accurate information about current issues.

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