The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is hosting this year’s celebration of the National Biotechnology Week (NBW) at its head office in Quezon City from November 21-26, 2011.

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the week-long celebration is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1414 issued in 2007 to promote the safe and responsible use of modern biotechnology and its products to achieve food security, equitable access to health service, sustainable and safe environment and industry development.

Anchored on the theme: "Bioteknolohiya para sa Kalikasan, Kalusugan, Kagandahan, Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran. Ok ang 5K sa Biotech: Suportahan at Tangkilikin Natin!” Paje said the event will put together some of the country’s best minds and undertakings in biotechnology with the end in view of making biotechnology available and understandable to the general public.

“The whole event will provide an opportunity for the public to learn first-hand that biotechnology can be as much a part of the average Filipino’s daily life as it is in medical care, crop production and businesses,” Paje said.

He also said that biotechnology can greatly help reduce stresses on the country’s natural environment as it can also harness nature to make the environmental safer, stronger and more productive.

“Already, biotechnologists have identified organisms that feed on toxic algae, chlorinated solvents, and heavy metals, making them valuable for pollution control,” Paje said.

The first day of the 6-day celebration (Monday, Nov. 21) will be highlighted by the following activities: The DENR chief will give the opening remarks, to be followed by the keynote speech of guest speaker, Senator Edgardo Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

Also expected to grace the occasion are heads of other member-agencies of NBW Committee to include the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Department of Health (DOH). Together, the agency heads will join DENR Secretary Paje in officially declaring the opening of the 2011 NBW Week Celebration, as well as in opening the NBW Photo Exhibit to the public.

The afternoon of Nov. 21 is slated for the conduct of the poster presentation contest to be handled by the DA.

Activities lined up for Nov. 22 (Tuesday) include scientific seminars and forums highlighting biotechnology research, development and applications on topics such as “Tools and Techniques in Genomics Research,” “Checking Water Quality using Microarray Technology,” “Screening Genetic Defects in Livestock using Molecular Method,” “Pharma from the Seas: Anti-pain, Anti-cancer Substances,” “Getting Rid of Heavy Metals,” Bio-ozonation for Recycling Water and Combating Harmful Algal Blooms.

On Nov. 23 (Wednesday), the DOH is expected to lead in the day’s public forum on Healthcare Biotechnology, Food Safety, Dengue Control and Management, Biolarvicidal Product against Dengue Mosquito, Development of GM Mosquito and Development of Tetravalent Dengue Vaccine.

On Nov. 24 (Thursday), a seminar on golden rice and a scientific forum on biotechnology for communicators will be handled by Biotechnology for Life Media and Advocacy Resource Center, while DA will tackle how to bring innovations from laboratories to market. The presentation of the Jose G. Burgos Awards for Biotech Journalism is also slated on this day to give due recognition to media for their outstanding contribution in pushing the frontiers of scientific inquiry through their writings.

Friday (Nov. 25) will be highlighted by a business forum to be handled by the DTI, to be followed by a scientific forum on environment and natural resources by the DENR. Also set for discussion during the day are topics on phytoremediation for a greener and cleaner environment, the application of biotechnology in solid waste and of bioremediation in polluted rivers. A national biotechnology education conference for teachers shall simultaneously be conducted during the day at the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority Convention Hall, also located along Visayas Avenue, Quezon City.

The closing and awarding ceremonies will be held at 1 o’clock in the afternoon of Nov. 26 (Saturday). Prior to this, representatives of the eight member-agencies of NBW Committee will conduct a review of Presidential Proclamation No. 1414.