The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—through its Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB)—is leading this year’s celebration of the National Biotechnology Week (NBW) from Nov. 23 to 27.

ERDB, the DENR’s research and development arm, has lined up online activities to mark NBW 2020 with focus on strengthening the economy while promoting biotechnology.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu underscored the importance of promoting biotechnology and its benefits amid the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the recent natural disasters.

Cimatu said biotechnology “sheds a gleaming light of hope that there are still interventions that can be done to resuscitate the economy and society.”

“With COVID-19 and Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, Siony, Tony and Ulysses happening in the same year, hopelessness seems abound. But through biotechnology, we want to show that there are still opportunities for growth and for refreshing changes in our contemporary world,” Cimatu said.

For this year, the NBW’s theme is “Bioteknolohiya: Pagbangon at Pag-asa tungo sa Matatag na Komunidad, Kapaligiran at Ekonomiya” to adapt with the current events under the new normal.

NBW has been annually celebrated every last week of November through Presidential Proclamation 1414 since 2004.

The event serves as an advocacy to increase awareness on biotechnology and its contributions to agriculture and food security, health care services, education, industrial and economic development, and environmental sustainability.

During the weeklong event, seven Philippine government agencies—together with private, local and international organizations—will enlighten the public on the misconceptions and negative connotations on biotechnology.

They will also showcase generated biotechnologies for medical, agricultural, industrial, and environmental applications; and increase public awareness, education, and understanding on the use and benefits of biotechnology.

“We hope that students, faculty, entrepreneurs, government agencies, non-government organizations, policymakers, media, and the general public will be able to join us in this week-long virtual event to get to know more about biotechnology,” Cimatu said. #