Biotech saves lives: The Philippines health ministry

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“WITHOUT biotechnology, polio, measles, and other deadly diseases will be rampant. This reflects the importance of biotechnology in our daily lives and in the future to find solutions and alternatives to the current needs affecting the health of the (Philippine) population,” says Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Dr Enrique Domingo during the opening ceremonies of the 15th National Biotechnology Week (NBW) on Nov 25 at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Quezon City.

“The scientists have been harnessing the power of biotech even before the word ‘biotech’ was coined, and there is more to reap to achieve and sustain equitable access to health services, food security, safe environment, and development of industry,” he added.

DOH hosts this year’s NBW, leading other government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the monthlong celebration, with main activities scheduled on Nov 25-29. Bearing the theme Biotek: Makabagong Solusyon sa Kalusugan (Biotech: Modern Solution to Health Needs), the NBW recognizes the growing needs of the Filipinos and the potential of biotechnology to address these challenges. The activities include exhibits, symposia, fora, trainings, and awarding of the Fourth Filipino Faces of Biotechnology.

The NBW celebrations follow the Presidential Proclamation No. 1414 series of 2007 mandating the government agencies to formulate a program for a meaningful celebration of biotech developments every last week of November.

Dr Carmencita Padilla, Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Manila, delivered the inspirational message in the opening ceremonies. “We need scientists, funding, and enabling policies in regulation and implementation to make biotechnology move forward in our country,” she stressed. She lauded the government for its support to Filipino scientists who used to work abroad through the Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology. She also said that more funding is now available for biotech research in the country. She encouraged the scientific community to have dialogues with policymakers to facilitate the formation of enabling policies for the regulation and implementation of biotechnology in the country.

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The Petri Dish is malaysia’s first dedicated science newspaper. Through The Petri Dish we aim to engage the public on the latest developments on biotechnology.