The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is committed to building opportunities in biotechnology to help address climate change and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth for all Filipinos.

The DENR, currently headed by Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, made the commitment during the opening program of the 18th National Biotechnology Week (NBW) held on Nov. 21 in Pasay City.

Speaking on behalf of Loyzaga, DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones said biotechnology offers powerful solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change.

With climate change already present and serious, Leones said the global phenomenon “compels us to act expeditiously and wisely, especially since the answer to the climate catastrophe requires systematic transformation in the fusion of various disciplines.”

“Biotechnology is one of the tools that we can use to boost economic growth, create jobs, develop healthcare solutions, improve agri-food systems, and rehabilitate and protect our environment and natural resources,” he pointed out.

The DENR expressed its strong support for the NBW celebration, believing it was an opportune forum for sharing the biotech advancements in the different fields of specialization, and for crafting scientifically informed decisions in the agency’s areas of concern.

The DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), led by Director Maria Lourdes G. Ferrer, is the official representative of the agency for the said event. ERDB previously hosted the 16th NBW in November 2020.

This year, ERDB hosted sub-events for the NBW celebration from Nov. 21 to 25. These included Enviotech, which features biotechnology research and applications that were presented by various Filipino biotechnology scientists, and Enviocon, a mobile photo essay contest for the youth.

For his part, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said that this year’s NBW “takes on a special meaning as the COVID-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus the opportunities that biotechnology may bring.”

“Biotechnology’s breakthrough products and technologies feature multifaceted benefits. Aside from creating vaccines that combat debilitating diseases, biotechnology can produce clean energy, reduce our environmental footprint, feed the hungry, make industrial manufacturing processes safer, cleaner, and more efficient,” Pascual said.

NBW is celebrated every third week of November by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1414. The weeklong celebration aims to highlight the many contributions of biotechnology in agriculture and food security, equitable health care services, development of industries and business enterprises, sustainable environment, and economic development, among others.

This year’s theme is “Responding to the Challenges: Business Opportunities in Biotechnology.”

Various national government agencies, non-government organizations, state colleges and universities, and private academic institutions participated in the event. ###