ISSAAS Philippines Holds its 10th National Congress in Bicol University

By ISSAAS Bicol Chapter

The International Society for Southeast Asian Agricultural Sciences (ISSAAS), Philippine Chapter has recently conducted its 10th national congress at the Bicol University Amphitheater, Legazpi City on September 28 to 30, 2010. The event had for its theme “Building Resilient Communities through Agriculture” in support of ISSAAS’ main objective which is to encourage the holistic approach to problems, and promote the progress and development of science and technology through research and publication.   

The event was a collaborative effort of ISSAAS Bicol Chapter and the Bicol University (BU). This year’s congress paved the way the exchange of knowledge and gave the participants an opportunity to learn from scientists and experts.

A total of 149 participants attended the congress, coming from different agencies in the country such as University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Bicol University (BU), Central Bicol state University of Agriculture (CBSUA), Catanduanes State Colleges (CSC), Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa, Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT), Partido State University (PSU), Camarines Sur Polytechnic College (CSPC), Sorsogon State College (SSC), Apayao State College, Benguet State University, Abra State Institute of Science and Technology, Isabela State University, Kalinga Apayao State University, Pangasinan State University, Occidental Mindoro State College, Mariano Marcos State University, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Agriculture (DA).
The congress formally started on September 28 with the BUNGCUL singers rendering the invocation and the National Anthem. Dr. Arnulfo M. Mascariñas, the ISSAAS Bicol Chapter President, formally opened the congress with his welcome remarks.  He warmly welcomed the participants, amid the cool rainy weather in Legazpi City and expressed the local chapter’s support and commitment to future activities of the ISSAAS.  He also expressed his gratitude to those who supported and cooperated in the conduct of the first ever national congress held outside the ISSAAS headquarters in Los Baños.

In the absence of Dr. Fay Lea Patria M. Lauraya, the BU President and Adviser of ISSAAS Bicol Chapter, Dr. Helen LLenaresas, the BU VP for Academic Affairs, delivered the message of the BU President.  The President’s message was an expression of gratitude to ISSAAS Philippine Chapter for bringing the national congress to the Bicol Region.  She also emphasized the value of partnership of the university and the organization which share common goals and uphold the same values.

The task of introducing ISSAAS to the participants was given to Dr. Roberto F. Rañola, ISSAAS-Philippines Chapter President. He also delivered his message emphasizing the possible implication of ISSAAS to agriculture and food security. He concluded his talk by congratulating the ISSAAS Bicol Chapter for hosting the national congress and announcing that the 2012 international congress will be hosted by the ISSAAS Bicol Chapter and Bicol University.

The first keynote address was to be delivered by Secretary Ramon Paje of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who hails from Bicol.  His tight schedule, however, constrained him from attending the congress.  But he was ably represented by his Regional Executive Director, Hon. Joselin Marcus Fragada, whom he requested to read his message at the last minute.  The message of Secretary Paje emphasized the importance of adapting to climate change in building more resilient communities, especially in Bicol, which is dubbed as “disaster paradise”.

One important highlight of the opening program was the oath taking of the first set of officers of the ISSAAS Bicol Chapter which was administered by Dr. Rañola.  This was followed by the oath taking of new ISSAAS members, media conference, and picture taking.

A total of 79 out of 96 papers submitted were presented during the two-day congress.  These papers were presented simultaneously in the parallel sessions under five sub-themes, namely, Climate Change Adaptation for Sustainable Agriculture (20), Ensuring Food Security (11), Sustainable Management of Bio-Resources (20), Agri-Entrepreneurship for Productivity and Efficiency (11), and Community Empowerment (17).  Along with the paper presentations, was the exhibit of posters in which a total of 25 posters were displayed.

On the first day of the paper presentation, Mr. Alejo Balaguer of DENR-Region V delivered the first plenary paper entitled  “Application of Geographic Information System on the Vulnerability Assessment of Watersheds as a Tool in Reducing Climate Change Impacts on Agricultural Production, Biodiversity Conservation and Environmental Hazard Avoidance: The Case of Yabo Naga Watershed, Camarines Sur ”.  The other plenary paper entitled “Impacts and Influences of Smallholder Upland Development Project in Alleviating Poverty in the Philippine Uplands” was delivered by Dr. Nena O. Espiritu from the University of the Philippines Los Baños on the second day.

Day one of the congress was concluded with a Fellowship Night which was sponsored by the Bicol University.   It gave the participants a glimpse of Bicolano hospitality, a taste of native food and encounter of the local culture.   The Fellowship Night also made way for the awarding of the Dr. Priscilla Sanchez Award to Dr. Tessie M. Merestela of Benguet State University.

The second day was graced by BU President Dr. Fay Lea Patria M. Lauraya and Honorable Governor Joey Salceda of the Province of Albay.  Dr. Lauraya gave a short message and later on introduced the second keynote speaker in the person of Governor Joey Salceda.  The good Governor showed his in-depth understanding and intellectual grounding on the theme, particularly climate change adaptation which he has championed at the very start of his first term in 2007.  The congress also gave the Governor the venue to update the participants on the status of the province of Albay in its campaign and advocacy on climate change adaptation, particularly in the agriculture sector.  He ended his talk with an assurance of support from the Provincial Government of Albay should ISSAAS decide to have its next international congress held in the province. 

At the closing program, Dr. Agustina Guttierez of Apayao State College was requested to give her impressions on the activity.  The participants, according to her, were very happy and impressed by the warmth of Bicolano hospitality as manifested by the BU staff/personnel, accommodation, and the venue.  Dr. Rañola also gave his own impressions before delivering his closing remarks.

On the third and final day of the congress, the Bicol University sponsored a field trip to some important landmarks in the province of Albay.  Those who joined the field trip got the chance to visit and see some tourist attractions like the majestic Mayon Volcano, Cagsawa Ruins, Kawa-kawa Hill, Ligñon Hill, Mayon Skyline, Tiwi Church, and Embarcadero.

Related downloads:
- Abstracts of Papers Presented
- ISSAAS Journal Volume 16 No. 2 (Dec. 2010)


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International Society for Southeast Asian Agricultural Sciences (ISSAAS)
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