LBC convenes local and international experts for 4th International Livestock Biotechnology Symposium

About a hundred participants comprised of researchers, scientists, international experts, and other distinctive guests involved in livestock biotechnology attended the recently concluded 4th International Livestock Biotechnology Symposium. The event took place at the University of San Agustin, Iloilo City last July 15.  It was organized and spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture-Livestock Biotechnology Center (DA-LBC) with the support of Philippine Carabao Center at West Visayas State University, University of San Agustin, and Department of Science and Technology – National Research Council of the Philippines Division XIII.

In keeping with the theme “Demand-driven Innovation for a Resilient Philippine Livestock Industry”, invited speakers from Japan, Thailand, USA and Philippines have presented their research findings and significant discoveries concerning challenges in livestock production, animal breeding, antimicrobial resistance, food-borne pathogens, and agricultural biotechnology program.

Dr. Claro Mingala, DA-LBC chief, said that the demand for Livestock resources is rapidly increasing at the global scale. This can be attributed to the growing population, urbanization, and economic development. He emphasized that research and development initiatives, and capacity building in these biotechnological approaches will contribute to the efforts in attaining food self-sufficiency and security in spite of escalating demand.

Ms. Marie Joy Christine Jumalon, project management officer of the Department of Agriculture’s Biotechnology Program, mentioned that they are providing scholarship program to 5 different universities (Central Luzon State University, University of Southern Mindanao, Visayas State University, University of the Philippines Visayas, and University of the Philippines Los Baños) and supported 64 scholars since 2014  in line with the need to have more scientists and researchers in the field of agri-biotech.

Symposiasts were given time to ask questions to the presenters during the open forum. One issue was raised for Dr. Yoko Kato of Kindai University about the perception of the consumers on the consumption of cloned animals. She stated that the public are still having a negative insight about biotechnological products, which can be attributed to insufficient information to the society. She expressed that the people should be informed properly on the use and benefits of genetically modified products.

The last part of the event was dedicated to the media for the press conference and one question was asked for Dr. Arnel Del Barrio, executive director of Philippine Carabao Center (PCC). The query was about the influence of PCC in the Philippines and how is biotechnology is interconnected with PCC. Dr. Del Barrio discussed that PCC has a total of 12 centers distributed around the country and that there are more than a thousand of experts performing artificial insemination and crossbreeding intended for better and greater livestock production.

Overall, the symposium was an opportunity for all of the attendees to discuss and understand the issues and possibilities that our community can achieve through research and development with regards to safe and sufficient production of livestock which is beneficial on promoting a resilient, productive and globally competitive livestock industry.

PCC advances gender mainstreaming through GAD focal persons’ capacity dev’t

Dedicated to provide quality products and services that are gender and development (GAD) responsive, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) capacitated its employees through a GAD training-workshop to serve as primary drivers of gender mainstreaming in the agency.

This, according to Ma. Theresa Sawit, PCC GAD Focal Point System (GFPS) Undersecretary and Senior Science Research Specialist, was the main focus of the training-workshop on Gender Sensitivity, Gender Analysis and GAD tools held last July 10-12 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

“Gender mainstreaming is not merely for compliance but an initiative to provide quality services to our women and men clients. It involves the integration of GAD perspective in all agency’s programs, activities, and projects,” she said.

She added that a tool known as Gender Mainstreaming Evaluation Framework (GMEF) is being used to show how well an organization performs gender mainstreaming in four entry points such as policies, people, enabling mechanisms, and programs, activities and projects (PAPs).

“Compliance with the policy, however, would require capacity building mainly because none of the PCC’s GFPS members and program or project leaders have been oriented yet on how to use gender analysis tools designed for program or project implementation,” she said.

PCC invited Arlene Pascual, certified GAD trainer, to orient and train the participants on gender concepts and its application particularly on the use of gender analysis tools such as Harmonized Gender and Development Guidelines (HGDG) and the various checklists to mainstream GAD in all PCC programs, projects, and activities.

“Development is about attaining a full and satisfying life for all and it is a shared responsibility. You are all contributors to it,” Pascual said.

She emphasized that the development projects that PCC will implement should address gender issues by identifying gaps or differences between men and women and understanding why these gaps exist and persist.

PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio, on the other hand, shared the agency’s compliance pursuant to the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) or RA 9710 and the General Appropriations Act (GAA) on formulating its annual GAD plans and budgets to mainstream gender perspectives in its policies, programs, and projects by allocating at least 5% of its total budget to GAD activities.

“We have existing programs, trainings, and projects that involved men and women clients that’s why we didn’t really start from zero when it comes to implementing GAD activities but the problem is we still have to improve documentation so we can effectively analyze GAD-related data,” Dr. Del Barrio said.

“I can assure that we, at the top management, are very supportive of the GAD projects and programs. We will experience a lot of benefits if we start embracing the full context of GAD,” he added.

Dr. Del Barrio also underscored that carabao, which is the main commodity of the agency, is just a tool for development. It is a tool to help improve the lives of men and women farmers.

The training involved discussions, workshops, and action planning to institutionalize the use of HGDG in PCC’s programs, projects and activities cycle.

It was participated in by PCC’s GAD Focal Point System members, research and development program or project leaders, and ICT and infrastructure project leaders.

PCC conducts annual R4D In-House Review

Ensuring the congruence of the Philippine Carabao Center’s (PCC) research & development (R&D) efforts to its national research for development (R4D) agenda is an objective that PCC aims to achieve annually in its R4D In-House Review.

This year, 39 researches were evaluated during the review held last July 3-5 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

“By conducting this yearly, we are not only able to showcase the outputs of the R4D component of the Carabao Development Program but we are also able to monitor and evaluate both completed and on-going researches,” Dr. Annabelle Sarabia, R&D division (RDD) chief said.

The research papers were grouped into six thematic areas: Biosafety, Production Management System, Product Development, Socio-Economic Dimensions of CDP Implementation, Genetic Improvement-Animal Genomics or Genetic Diversity and Cryopreservation, and Genetic Improvement-Reproductive and Cryopreservation Techniques.

Dr. Caro Salces, PCC deputy executive director, emphasized that evaluation of research papers will pave the way toward determining new strategies that can help usher progress in the carabao industry.

Based on the results of the evaluation, recognitions were given in five categories.

The research “Microsatellite-based parentage verification of bovine breeds in the Philippines” by Melinda Reyes, Noriel Esteban, and Dr. Ester Flores won as the “best paper” in the completed research category; the “Comparison of animal relationships and milk yield breeding values obtained from pedigree BLUP and single-step GBLUP in Philippine dairy buffaloes” by Dr. Jesus Rommel Herrera, Dr. Ester Flores, Dr. Naomi Duijvesteijn, Dr. Nasir Moghaddar, and Dr. Julius van der Werf is the “best paper” in the student category; Lilian Villamor was hailed as the “best presenter” for her presentation of “Genetic Diversity of the Philippine Carabao Using mtDNA (COI) and Microsatellite Markers (FAO STRs)”; PCC-RDD’s Biosafety and Environment Section, and Reproduction and Physiology Section have the “Most Number of Approved Research Proposals for the Year 2018” with four proposals each; and the Animal Breeding and Genomics Section have the “Most Number of Presentations” during the review with 10 presentations.

The external evaluators invited by the PCC were Dr. Amado Angeles, director of Dairy Training and Research Institute (DTRI) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB); Dr. Consuelo Amor Santiago Estrella, associate professor at the Institute of Animal Science (IAS)-UPLB; Dr. Ian Kendrich Fontanilla, director of UP Diliman’s Institute of Biology; and Karla Joy Ty, DTRI-UPLB university researcher. They assessed the technical integrity, relevance, and merits of the presented papers.

More than 100 participants attended the R4D In-House Review, mostly employees from PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool, PCC regional centers, and students of Central Luzon State University.

The last day of the review was capped off with an orientation seminar on the Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009 or RA 10055 with the topics on Basics of Intellectual Property Protection and Application, and Insights on Prior Art and Claim drafting.

The act provides for “the framework and support system for the ownership, management, use, and commercialization of the intellectual property (IP) generated from research and development funded by government and for other purposes.”

Atty. Lucieden Raz, Technology Licensing Office head of the Technology Application and Promotion Institute,PCC IP officers Charity Castillo and Kristine Prades served as speakers. Ownership of IP and revenue sharing between researchers or authors are the key stipulations of the act that were discussed.

Dr. Eufrocina Atabay, PCC scientist I and IPR focal person of the PCC Intellectual Property and Technology Business Management (IP-TBM) team, said that PCC is now actively pursuing the commercialization and protection of its technologies through its IP-TBM team.

In 2018, PCC started a partnership with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) in the conduct of PCC’s intellectual property business operation. Last march, the IP-TBM office and marker at the Livestock Innovations and Biotechnology Complex in PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool were formally launched.

PCC initiates youth program for impact zone cooperatives

Against the backdrop of increasing number of youths who are more inclined to pursue other disciplines than agriculture, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) initiated a campaign that would inspire the “second liners” in carabao-based farming businesses.

This, according to Dr. Liza Battad, chief of Planning and Information Management Division (PIMD) and the lead organizer of the activity, is the main objective of why they conducted a one-day orientation on cooperative youth development program at the PCC national headquarters last July 4.

“We want to inspire the cooperative members and officers to start developing a program for their sons and daughters or the youths in their community so that they will be prepared to take on the responsibility as the “successor” or “second liner” in the farming business,” Dr. Battad said.

PCC invited three youth leaders from the Lamac Cooperative Youth Planet (LCYP) to share their proven framework in cooperative youth development. Justine Lynn Limocon, LCYP youth coordinator, and LCYP staff members Kevin Paslon and Adner David Repollo have been leading a strong force of some 14,000 active youth members in Parian, Cebu City.

Limocon and Paslon said the LCYP implements a five-component youth development framework. These are “aflatoun”, capability building, hub, gender equality and sustainable agricultural education program (SAGEP) for the youth.

Each component strategically prepares and nurtures the youths to imbibe the core values that are essential to empowerment. At an early age, they are taught to save money, discover and enhance their talents and skills, gain profits, conceptualize and realize a business, and become gender sensitive.

“With these preparations, our members are also trained to see that agriculture has a future and they are consequently ushered to cultivate that passion for agriculture within them,” Limocon said.

LCYP, according to Dr. Battad is an outstanding youth cooperative which was established in 2004 and operating under its mother cooperative—Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC). Currently, LMPC has 84,000 members and operates multiple businesses.  With over 14 branches across the Visayas, LMPC has Php1.7 billion total assets.

After the orientation on LCYP, the speakers facilitated a planning workshop for the conduct of a youth camp for the children of cooperative members in August. The said workshop is aimed at creating an atmosphere for the cooperative’s youth participants to appreciate their family dairy business, inculcate the values and principles of the cooperative movement, and build individual character, confidence and leadership skills as a way of preparing them to be the next line leaders of their cooperatives.

“Being young is not an excuse to do great things,” Paslon said. He explained that at a very young age, the youth should already be trained because they believe that “there is no success without successors”, which means that sustainability of any development initiative cannot prosper without continuity.

“Cooperativism is a very meaningful movement. Through this, we can develop and transform the nation,” Limocon happily said.

The orientation was attended by officers and members of various dairy cooperatives in Nueva Ecija such as the Catalanacan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Licaong Dairy Producers Cooperative, Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative and PCC Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Cooperative.

Ubay LGU pilots ALS – Education and Skills Training on Dairy Buffalo Production

The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Ubay recently launched the country’s first ever Alternative Learning System – Basic Education and Skills Training (ALS-BEST) on Dairy Buffalo Production.

ALS, being the flagship program of the Department of Education (DepEd), provides a viable mechanism to reach Filipino youth as well as adults who are unable to access or who have dropped out from formal schooling.

“This ALS-BEST is a modified ALS system that aims to produce completers who are not only able to catch up with basic education, but have also acquired technical competencies suitable for immediate employment,” said Mario Limocon, Project Focal Person of the LGU during the launching program on June 8, 2019.

The municipality of Ubay, being the only LGU proponent of the program, selected the Dairy Buffalo Production as the skills training to be married with the system. This was after the result of series of consultation-workshops with different stakeholders in the town. The presence of Philippine Carabao Center at Ubay Stock Farm (PCC@USF) and its established programs and outputs helped a lot to hasten the drafting of the project proposal.

Gaudioso Calibugan, Agriculturist II of PCC@USF and one of the skills facilitators, said that carrying out the ALS-BEST program is very timely coinciding with the implementation of PCC’s Farmers Livestock School on Dairy Buffalo Production or FLS-DBP, of which he said, will be the guiding module for the skills training.

FLS-DBP, which originated from the PCC national headquarters, is a learning modality that offers technology options to farmers. It includes topics focused on dairy buffalo raising, feeding and health management, milk and meat processing, waste management and financial management. It is participatory, hands-on and interactive and conducted right at the farmers’ locality.

“Originally, this FLS-DBP runs for more than 30 weeks, just in time when the academic requirements of the ALS module are completed,” Calibugan added.

The ALS-BEST project is a collaborative effort with a total budget of Php2.7 million. The DepEd ALS- Office of the Secretary allocated an amount of Php1,074,645. This was transferred to the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) then to the proponent. The remaining Php1.6 million is shared among LGU-Ubay, PCC@USF, and DepEd-Bohol.

“There are 50 enrollees for this project coming from the different barangays in Ubay. They are out-of school-youths and adults who have not finished nor entered high school and with at least one carabao to start off,” Limocon said.

“Aside from the academic lectures and skills training, it also has values and life skills interventions such as sports activities, festival of talents, anti-drugs campaign, HIV/AIDS awareness, and lectures on climate change mitigation, risk reduction and management, and GAD/Child trafficking,” he added.

Hon. Constantino Reyes, the municipal mayor of Ubay, expressed his full support, through Edwin Reyes, who represented him during the launching activity, as he believed that this effort could alleviate the livelihood of the Ubayanos.

On the other hand, Dr. Gundolino P. Bajenting, officer in-charge of PCC@USF, challenged the learners to do their best especially in ensuring their 100% attendance to all the sessions and maximize this privilege not just for their own sake but for their contribution later on to the local dairy industry once they start milking.

Assisting Limocon and Calibugan in the implementation of this project are: Amalia Cutamora of LGU as the admin assistant; Romeo Mariño and Rocelita Soria, ALS teachers; Elsa Hingpit of DepEd-Bohol; Leinefe L. Aton and Dr. Bernard Bacule, FLS accredited facilitators of PCC; Annabelle Jayco and Marissa Tuazon, staffs of Sustainability and Participation Through Education and Lifelong Learning (SPELL); Maxwell Cutamora of LGU Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO); David Cutamora and Benedicto Bicada of ALSC; staff from Philippine National Police (PNP) – Ubay; and other values and life skill resource persons which will be identified later on.

PCC@USM initiates ISO 9001:2015 awareness, RCA

To continue in ensuring quality products and services, the Philippine Carabao Center at University of Southern Mindanao (PCC@USM) initiated awareness seminar on ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9001:2015 and workshop on root cause analysis (RCA) on June 25-27, 2019.

The said three-day activity was part of a transition process as it was just certified as ISO 9001:2015-compliant in January 2019 after it had established its Quality Management System for the implementation of quality products and services that conformed with standard requirements.

Ms. Minda R. Diloy, IQMR and Ms. Thaleeya O. Santiago, DCO were invited as resource speakers that tackled on the principles of Quality Management Services, Clauses of ISO 9001: 2015 and its differences with ISO 9001:2008.

Meanwhile, lecture and workshop on the classifications, approaches and methods on identifying root causes were done. This allowed PCC@USM technical employees to identify the root cause of a given problem and made corrective actions that will help in eliminating nonconformities. The workshop on RCA was dubbed as a “tool in problem solving”.

It is further stressed out that the ISO sets the requirements for the standardization of every institution in order to satisfy its clientele.

The said activity aims to value the importance of the interrelated participation of all employees, and to orient them to the general objective of ISO and its value to the institution. In addition, the activity was a step in the preparation for a surveillance audit of ISO body in October 2019.

ISO is a worldwide federation of national standards body to assess the organization’s ability to meet customer, statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to the product, and the organization’s own requirements. It promotes the adoption of a process approach when developing implementing and improving the effectiveness of quality management system aimed at enhancing customer satisfaction regarding quality products and services.

Newly trained facilitators gear up for FLS-DBP in Zambales, some provinces in Mindanao

Broader efforts in the conduct of FLS-DBP are expected to come into being as participants finished their stint at the Farmer Livestock School on Dairy Buffalo Production (FLS-DBP) Facilitator’s Learning Workshop held from June 18 to June 28 at the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) National Headquarters and Gene Pool in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

In a span of 10 days, representatives from select local government units (LGUs), cooperatives and farmers from Zambales and Mindanao engaged in simultaneous lessons and hands-on activities on Dairy Buffalo Production from raising healthy and productive dairy buffalo to maximizing the benefits that can be derived from carabao-based enterprises.

“We use the term facilitators because in FLS-DBP we utilize an interactive type of learning that is not monopolized by the lecturers but something that encourages everyone involved to participate in,” Dr. Eric Palacpac, chief of Knowledge Management Division (KMD), said.

A set of FLS-DBP modules co-created by the PCC’s FLS-DBP committee with Ms. Anna Marie Alo, a pioneer FLS developer from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development, served as guide in the conduct of the workshop.

The FLS-DBP module developers present during the workshop were Dr. Annabelle Sarabia, PCC’s Research and Development Division chief; Dr. Daniel Aquino, PCC at Central Luzon State University center director; and Dr. Palacpac.

FLS-DBP is a modality that offers technology options to farmers and lasts for about 34 weeks. It requires participants to have three milking buffaloes, animal shed, and to sign a voluntary pledge to attend the scheduled meetings.

Meanwhile, Dr. Arnel Del Barrio, PCC executive director, noted that FLS-DBP can help alleviate poverty by equipping participants with knowledge and honing their skills in dairy buffalo production.

“During the PCC’s anniversary, a dairy farmer entrusted with a dairy carabao approached me and said that she is no longer a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary because of her income in buffalo dairying. This shows the impact of PCC’s efforts,” Del Barrio said.

He added that the dairy industry will further flourish by next year upon the full implementation of RA 11307 or the “Masustansiyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act” that ensures market for dairy farmers. Under the law, milk was included in the national feeding program to fight hunger and undernutrition in the Philippines.

The first FLS-DBP facilitator’s learning workshops happened in Nueva Ecija and Ilocos Norte in 2015 while from 2016 to 2017, the pilot batches of FLS-DBP from Guimba, Talugtog and San Jose in Nueva Ecija finished the training. Since then, FLS-DBPs and facilitator’s learning workshops were conducted by PCC in partnership with LGUs and other government agencies.

FLS-DBP facilitators Erwin Valiente, Rovelyn Jacang, and Charlene Corpuz of the KMD administered this FLS-DBP facilitator’s learning workshop involving 21 participants.