MSI honors Gomez, renames its building

April 16, 2024
The UP Diliman (UPD) Marine Science Institute (MSI) recently honored National Scientist Edgardo D. Gomez, its founder and the institute’s prime driving force, by renaming its building as the Edgardo D. Gomez Hall (Gomez Hall) at the celebration of its 50th founding anniversary. Gomez (†). Photo from the UPDIO Archives Three UPD chancellors gave messages on the day the MSI paid tribute to Gomez, who was also one of the few university professors emeriti of the University. UPD Chancellor Edgardo Carlo L. Vistan II said Gomez proposed for the creation of the MSI with just two sheets of paper. He proceeded on affirming the institute’s achievements and role outside UP. “It is no exaggeration to say that the MSI is one of UPD’s most productive institutes, consistently contributing to the University’s publications,” Vistan said. “Beyond academia, the MSI is always working with government officials, NGOs , and stakeholders to bring marine science to the people. The MSI has shown how important scientific research is for building communities, supporting economic industries, and instilling a sense of national pride,” Vistan added. Rene Abesamis, PhD, an associate professor at the MSI and the event host, said the “MSI has always been committed to science that serves the people.” Meanwhile, former UPD chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo recalled how he came to know Gomez. “My grandfather Francisco Nemenzo, whom I called Tatay, was a marine biologist who devoted his career to the study of corals. It was from him that I first learned about Ed Gomez,” Nemenzo said. Nemenzo once invited Gomez to give a lecture in his Science, Technology, and Society class so they could “learn about the social context of science and how science connects with other disciplines.” “The main reason I invited Ed to my GE class was because he was, for me, the quintessential GE professor. A marine biologist with an undergrad degree in education, minor in English and the social sciences. He explained that the role of the scientists goes beyond writing scientific publications. Scientists should not only do science but should contribute to addressing problems of our people and our country,” he said. (From left) Tapang, the Gomez family, Vistan, David, and Nemenzo in front of the Gomez Hall marker. Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO Former UPD chancellor Michael L. Tan, whose written message Abesamis read, said, “I actually met him even before I became chancellor because I was appointed national academician in 2012 before becoming chancellor, and he was one of our most outstanding national scientists, a role model for us.”

UP Law is champion of 28th Stetson

April 16, 2024
Fresh from its win as world champion of the 2024 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the UP College of Law (UP Law) once again triumphed as the champion of the 28th Stetson Annual International Environmental Moot Court Competition (Stetson IEMCC). According to the Stetson Law website, this year’s theme is Mountain Gorillas and Impact Assessment, with the UP Law among the 29 universities invited by Stetson Law to participate in the international finals this April. UP Law Stetson Team poster. Image from the UP Law Facebook page The UP Law Stetson Team composed of Noel Francis Galinato, Miriam Celine Miciano, and Alia Dominique Yao competed at the Stetson IEMCC from April 10 to 13 at the Stetson Law in Gulfport, Florida, USA. The team had Marianne Crielle Vitug as coach and Rommel J. Casis as faculty adviser. Vitug is a lecturer and Casis is an associate professor at the UP Law. Meanwhile, Miciano was named the Overall Best Oralist at the competition’s preliminary rounds. For her part, Yao clinched two individual awards. She was the Best Oralist at the championship round and the Third Best Oralist at the preliminary rounds. In the article UP Law Bags Championship at 2024 Stetson Annual International Environmental Moot Court Competition published on the UP Law website, the UP Law Stetson Team had a “face-off with Singapore Management University on the issue of protection of a critically endangered mountain gorilla species threatened by oil extraction activities.” According to an April 14 Facebook post of the UP Law, “The Stetson win marks the second time this year that UP Law clinched the world championship at a renowned international moot court competition, a remarkable feat that shines the spotlight on UP Law as the leading institution in moot court competitions worldwide.” The post further stated, “The UP community rejoices and celebrates UP Law’s Stetson victory which seals the tradition of honor and excellence at the University.”

More UPD programs AUN-QA certified

April 15, 2024
Four programs of UP Diliman (UPD) have been certified by the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) University Network Quality Assurance (AUN-QA) this April. These are the BA (political science) of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, the BS (hotel, restaurant, and institution management) and MS (food science) of the College of Home Economics (CHE), and BS (tourism) of the Asian Institute of Tourism (AIT). Publicity material of the UPD Department of Political Science (DPolSci). Image from the DPolSci Facebook page According to the UPD Quality Assurance Office (QAO), these programs bear the same quality as the best programs of their kind in the ASEAN region. The AUN-QA certification is valid for five years. The QAO is the unit that guides, promotes, and implements quality assurance policies in UPD’s academic and administrative units. According to the AUN website, the AUN-QA is one of 17 thematic networks under the AUN. These thematic networks “act as specialized areas of academic cooperation that are deemed significant enough for a new secretariat to be established to tackle them. Each thematic network is given relatively high autonomy to pursue their own areas of higher education in ASEAN, whether it is focused on innovation or economics. They also benefit from being part of the AUN, being able to access a platform of collaboration between the AUN Secretariat, member universities, and other thematic networks.” According to an April 8 Facebook post of the UPD Department of Political Science, their program “is the first BA program in UPD to undergo AUN-QA program assessment.” Screenshot of the CHE short clip For their part, the CHE, in their April 10 Facebook post, stated that the achievement is “a testament to the dedication, hard work, and excellence of both departments .” Meanwhile, the AIT, in its Facebook post on April 11, stated that their program has been certified “to be on par with the academic quality of universities within the ASEAN region.” The QAO said that with the addition of the four programs, UPD now has five programs that are AUN-QA certified. The BS (statistics) of the UPD School of Statistics received its AUN-QA certification in 2022. Screenshot of the AIT short clip


Moving toward a socially sustainable Philippines

March 26, 2024
The Philippines needs to strengthen its existing support programs, such as those for indigenous people (IP), women, and climate change resilience, to step closer to social sustainability, according to Louise Cord, PhD. Cord is the World Bank global director for social sustainability and inclusion in the World Bank’s sustainable development practice. Cord said social sustainability occurs “when communities and societies are able to work together to deal with common challenges such as flooding, droughts, poor quality education, a poorly stocked health center in a way that all people thrive over time and in a way that people consider to be fair and just.” Cord. Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO She said some of the Philippines’ economic indicators in the past few years are strong, such as a drop in inequality and strong poverty reduction metrics. To move towards social sustainability in the Philippines, Cord proposed actions in the areas of women empowerment, digital services, and programs for IP. Cord made a case of social sustainability particularly for the country’s IP communities. She said the IP’s remote ancestral lands contain many “important minerals whose value will grow.” She proposed developing a digital portal to centralize data such as the locations of ancestral lands and the services available to IP. Cord also proposed creating integrated packages for remote communities that provide “access to digital resources, access to transport, access to local infrastructure.” She added that access to digital services could improve the role of women and other marginalized groups by enabling and expanding their access to markets. Cord said digital services would also enable women and marginalized groups to “talk with one another across communities and to learn from one another. And to track funds to build accountability at the local level using a cellphone to be able to have an app to track funds.” The World Bank official cited the work of the National Commission on Indigenous People’s (NCIP), which she said could be bolstered by giving them more resources to go out to the IP communities. “ so happy that an institution like the NCIP provides that support. What I would like to see is that they won’t have to come all the way to Manila to make their claim. That there are easier access to systems, to have a voice at the local level and have themselves be heard,” Cord said. While a lot is being done to build climate change resilience in communities, Cord said there needs to be more initiatives, particularly in infrastructure and service delivery. “All of this is absolutely key, but we also need resilient communities, because…

UPD campaign yields 43% reduction of plastic use

April 08, 2024
The Pilot Project for Plastic-Free Vending in UP Diliman (Plastic-Free Vending in UPD) that encouraged the removal or replacement of plastic containers among food vendors in UPD resulted in “considerable reductions in the use and disposal of single-use plastics among customers, with an overall reduction of 43%.” Compostable cups being used in a food kiosk. Screenshot of YouTube Video Pilot Project for Plastic-Free Vending in UPD The result was part of the report Breaking the Plastic Habit: A Guidance Note and Practical Toolkit (Report) published by the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN (ERIA) and East Asia and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). According to the Report, “the project was designed to conduct a three-week trial run of plastic-free policies in selected food stores and ambulatory vendors and food kiosks on the campus.” The Report stated that Plastic-Free Vending in UPD has four pillars of intervention. These are the “development of a comprehensive communication strategy,” “sustaining the prohibition of selling drinks in plastic bottles and offering discounts to customers who choose to bring their own reusable food containers,” providing “compostable alternatives to plastic food packaging,” and the “implementation of a proper waste segregation system in partner sites.” Information campaign materials on display in a canteen. Screenshot of YouTube Video Pilot Project for Plastic-Free Vending in UP Diliman (UP TFES) Aside from “a significant decrease in the amount of plastic waste produced by the participating vendors,” the Report also stated that there was an increase in the amount of compostable waste collected by the Diliman Environmental Management Office (DEMO) materials recovery facility. In addition, the Report mentioned these results “will have positive knock-on effects on the campus food production system.” The leader of the project Plastic-Free Vending in UPD was Noriza T. Sadie, an assistant professor of environmental and energy engineering at the UPD Institute of Civil Engineering (ICE). It was conducted by the UPD Task Force on Environmental Sustainability (TFES) in partnership with ICE and DEMO. The project was supported by a grant from the ERIA and IGES. The results of Plastic-Free Vending in UPD published in the Report, together with the results of three similar pilot projects in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam were used to produce the toolkit Breaking the Plastic Habit: Toolkit for Designing Behavioural Insight Interventions (Toolkit). Vendor serving food on a compostable plate. Screenshot of YouTube Video Pilot Project for Plastic-Free Vending in UPD The Toolkit can be used by administrators or leaders aiming to move people away from using single-use plastics in a group or community “through behavioral interventions, emphasizing the…