PCC director, researchers honored in PSAS golden anniversary

Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, executive director  of the  Philippine Carabao Center (PCC),  was cited as the 2013 lecture-honoree  during the 50th scientific seminar and annual convention of the Philippine Society of Animal Scientists (PSAS) held on October 22-25 in Tagaytay City, Cavite.



His significant contributions to the Philippine animal industry, including his advocacy on the use of biotechnology in veterinary and animal science as well as his more than two decades of heading the PCC, made him a unanimous choice for the honors, PSAS stated. Four other PCC staff were also cited during the gathering, which coincided with the golden anniversary of PSAS.



Dr. Eufrocina Atabay, head of PCC’s Reproductive Biotechnology Unit of PCC, was bestowed the PSAS  Bounty Agro-Venture, Inc. Distinguished Researcher in Veterinary Science Award in recognition of “her outstanding and original studies that led to the creation of innovative technologies in the field of veterinary and animal science.”



Meanwhile, Jose Canaria, senior science research specialist stationed at PCC at the University of the Philippines – Los Baños (UPLB), was hailed as PSAS-Equalivet, Inc. Outstanding Professional in  Veterinary/Animal Science Extension. As an extensionist, Canaria helped organize and assist various farmers’ organizations. He also conducted numerous trainings, workshops and seminars for the benefit of farmers.



Dr. Prudencio Pedro of PCC’s Repro-Biotech Unit and Catherine Dabalos of PCC at Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) were bestowed the “Best Paper” award for their respective researches.



Pedro’s paper titled “Buffalo and Bovine Embryo Development from In-Vitro Matured Oocytes derived  from Slaughterhouse through Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection Technique” was adjudged best paper under the biotechnology category. His paper merited him the same award during the PCC’s annual in house review held in May.



Dabalos’ study titled “Reducing Calf Morbidity and Mortality through Improved Housing Management and Early Introduction of Concentrates and Forage Grasses” shared the stellar award as the best paper in the applied research category.



Held annually, this year’s PSAS scientific gathering included a series of lectures and scientific seminars featuring topics that focused on developments in animal and veterinary science. It also highlighted the presentation of honors and citations to the organization’s deserving members in recognition of their outstanding contributions whether in the academe, research and extension, and in the animal industry as a whole.


PCC at USM director cited as outstanding USM alumnus

Center Director Benjamin John C. Basilio of the Philippine Carabao Center at the University of Southern Mindanao (PCC-USM) in Kabacan, North Cotabato was honored as an “Outstanding Alumnus” in the field of administration during the 61st USM Foundation Anniversary held October 1.


Basilio earned his BS and MS degrees at USM in 1983 and 1994, respectively.


He was recognized for his unrelenting efforts as PCC-USM center director aimed at improving the breed of the Philippine Carabao and serving as a catalyst in carrying out his administrative functions to the satisfaction of his constituents and for leading the center in meeting its goals as part of the PCC network of regional centers.


“His extensive collaboration with line agencies to speed up the implementation of the basic services for artificial insemination, bull loan program, technical assistance, trainings, carabao-based enterprise development, and coordination with LGUs, NGOs and farmer-cooperatives to expedite carabao development in Regions 11, 12 and ARMM has brought honors to his alma mater”, the citation stated.


In an interview, Basilio said that he dedicates the award to the whole PCC family. At the same time, he expressed gratitude for the support given him in pursuing the advocacy of promoting carabao development in the context of overall efforts aimed at improving the socio-economic well-being of small-hold farming families.


Atty. Christoper B. Cabelin, USM OIC-president, and Rep. Nancy A. Catamco of the 2nd congressional district of North Cotabato led the awarding ceremony held at the university’s Pres. Asinas Amphitheater.


Remote Isabela town on track in bid as PHL

Just one more and there will be 2000 of them.


The figure refers to the crossbreds in San Agustin, a town in Isabela, which is at the easternmost part of the province. The town is girding to be called the “Crossbred Carabao Capital of the Philippines.”


Last September 27, in keeping with the town’s tradition, proud owners of hundreds of crossbred carabaos paraded their hulking animals along the streets of the town. The animal parade was one of the highlights of the celebration of the town’s  “9th Nuang (Carabao) Festival” and the  commemoration of its 64th “Araw ng San Agustin” which lasted till September 28.


As of last count by the stakeholders of the bid of San Agustin to be the “Crossbred Capital”, there is already a total of 1,999 (and counting) crossbreds owned by the farmers in various villages in the municipality.  


The increasing number of crossbred carabaos in San Agustin is made possible through the continuous effort of the town’s local government unit to implement the use of artificial insemination (A.I.) program among thousands of its rural farmers in partnership with various agencies and entities.


According to Mayor Virgilio Padilla, their current status as producer of the most number of crossbreds among the different municipalities in the country was achieved with the help of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), which promoted the AI program to them in 1993, and with continuous support from Gov. Faustino Dy III of Isabela and other development partners.


It can be recalled that in 2011, Gov. Dy gave P5M to San Agustin to strengthen the town’s carabao development program.


As a result, Padilla said the farmers in their town continued to improve their economic status as the fund was given to construct a number of milking barns in response to increasing local fresh production.


Retired municipal Agriculturist Julio Lamug, who led in the implementation of the AI program when it was started in San Agustin about two decades ago, said that their town was able to establish a processing plant which is now on its second year of operation because of support from program partners.


The carabao improvement program continues to be the San Agustin’s banner program.


The “Nuang Festival” is held annually as highlight of the town’s founding anniversary celebration to underscore the achievement of the farmers in their participation in the CDP and in attaining production of crossbreds in increasing number for their livelihood activities.


In the recent “Nuang Festival”, different competitions involving the crossbreds were also held wherein the “Best Buffalo in Milk Production”, “Best Dairy Carabao”, “Best Dressed Buffaloes”, “Best Draft Carabao” and “Best Carabao in Running” were selected.


The owners of the winning carabao crossbreds received cash prizes. The farmers who participated in the parade likewise were each given P200 to defray their expenses in bringing their crossbreds to the town proper for the parade.


Three officials of PCC took part in the event and spoke during the program. They were Dr. Annabelle Sarabia, operations chief at PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool; Dr. Edwin Atabay, center director at PCC at Central Luzon State University; and Prof. Frank T. Rellin, center director of PCC at Cagayan State University.


They lauded leaders, the farmers and other stakeholders in their continuing efforts to upgrade the breed of the town’s native carabaos to produce more milk and meat for the benefit of farmers, in particular, and San Agustin in general.


Farmer-trustees train on bull management

Farmer-trustees in the National Impact Zone (NIZ) of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) underwent a three-day bull management training on September 26-28 at the PCC National Bull Farm in Barangay Joson, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.


The training was organized under PCC’s Dairy Herd Improvement and Enterprise Development Program (DHI-EDP) and conducted by technical staff of PCC at Central Luzon State University (PCC-CLSU).


The participants are dairy farmer-members of Guiset Organic Farmers Credit Cooperative, Bagong Pag-asa ng Magsasaka Multi-Purpose Coop, Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Producers Coop, Brotherskeeper MPC, Sunbeam MPC, Ayos Lomboy Dairy Coop, Pulong Buli Primary MPC, San Rafael Dairy Producers Coop, Catalanacan Primary MPC, Agpapa Irrigators Association, Samahan Sta. Monica para sa Likas Kayang Pag-unlad, San Manuel Dairy Association, and Bibiclat Dairy Producers Coop.


The training was conducted based on the results obtained from the assessment and planning conducted by the DHIP team. Among others, it was found out that some NIZ cooperative- members who were beneficiaries of the bull deployment program were urgently in need of upgraded skills in reproductive management of the animal entrusted to them in order to attain the goal of healthy calves’ production.


Thus, the training sought to instill heightened awareness about good bull management among the participants to help address concerns in the reproductive aspect of the animals in consonance with the genetic improvement program of PCC.


“This training was actually a preparation so that when they received their loaned bulls, they already know the proper handling and management for their bulls to be more productive,” Reyner Tomas, PCC science research assistant and NIZ bull loan coordinator, said.


He added that the participants who requested for the bulls are those in areas not reached by AI services.


The PCC-CLSU experts who served as resource persons during the training included Dr. Edwin Atabay, center director of PCC-CLSU; Dr. Fe Venturina, artificial insemination (AI) and bull loan coordinator; Hernando Venturina, national bull farm head; Nomer Garcia, forage and pasture production and management unit head; Perla Florendo, animal nutrition head; Ruby Gabriel, assistant bull loan coordinator; and Christine Adriano, assistant training coordinator.


Discussions and orientation on group activities as well as evaluation and registration were facilitated by Jessie Elmar Malamug, training coordinator, and Phoebe Burnot, training quarter in-charge.


In his lecture, Atabay emphasized the importance of and the impact of the carabao development program (CDP) on the lives of farmers by upgrading native carabaos to the status of high milk producers.


“The CDP is a social program for the welfare of the rural farmers. It involves the utilization of AI and bull loan. In social transformation, we need farmers like you to implement the CDP through bull loan program,” he said.


Atabay added that the training envisioned to help the farmer-participants to know the basic practices on carabao production and be aware on the various signs that carabao exhibit during its estrus cycle. He also stressed that when a female buffalo fails to get pregnant after its three consecutive cycles through AI,  it should only then that the bull  be used for natural mating.


“We have to consider behavioral signs of estrus such as swelling of the vulva and reddening of the vaginal epithelium, mucous discharges of varying viscosity, restlessness and lack of appetite, frequent urination, bellowing, mounting other animals in the herd, and standing still when mounted by a bull or other female buffalo,”  the PCC at CLSU head said in his presentation.


Dr. Fe Venturina, on the other hand, provided tips on how to properly check the female carabao when it is in heat. She said that of all the signs of carabaos in heat, the most important is that they “stand still when mounted”.


She also said that in the bull loan program, bull handlers can ask for a fee from the farmers who own the carabaos serviced by the bull. The bull handlers likewise get an incentive for every calf drop from the bull-mated buffaloes if they are qualified under the applicable PCC requirements.


Aside from lecture-discussions, experiential learning was also utilized wherein the participants underwent hands-on sessions on bull-taming, handling and management of bulls during semen collection, hay and silage making, and care and management of bull breeding.


“Malaking tulong sa’kin itong training kasi ngayon may siyam akong kalabaw, malayo ang AI technicians sa’min kaya lumilipas ‘yong paglalandi na hindi agad naee-AI. Nag-bull loan ako para kung sakaling makitaan ko ng senyales ‘yong apat kong inahin ay may nakatugon na agad akong bulugan (The training helped me a lot as I currently have  nine buffaloes and our area is far from the AI technicians, thus the estrus passes without being inseminated. I loaned a bull so that when I see signs of estrus on my four breeders I have a bull on hand for mating),” Glenn Bert Alonzo, one of the participants from Brotherskeeper MPC, said.