altKey officers of the SEARCA Fellows Association of the Philippines (SFAP) met on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 at SEARCA, College, Laguna to discuss the year's accomplishments and to plan for 2012 activities. The meeting was held in conjunction with the week-long anniversary celebration of SEARCA’s 45 years of existence.

Dr. Cecilia N. Gascon, President of the Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) and of SFAP, presented the Association President's Report, which was highlighted by the creation of Working Committees for Membership, Networking and Resource Generation, Publication, and Education. She expressed that the big challenge to the association is how to sustain the interest of the members to actively participate in SFAP activities.

Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director, challenged SFAP to be SEARCA’s strong partner and to collaborate with the Center in worthwhile projects at the national and regional levels, in coordination with other SEARCA fellows and alumni associations in SEAMEO member countries. He stressed that SEARCA has started renewing and strengthening its ties with its fellows and alumni, by giving more attention to alumni-led projects and activities.

Aside from Dr. Gascon, the following attended the meeting: Dr. Samuel S. Mancebo, SFAP adviser and retired professor of UPLB College of Public Affairs; Dr. Ricardo Bagarinao, Registrar of UP Open University, Dr. Editha C. Cedicol,

Manager of SEARCA's Graduate Scholarship Department and Honorary Member of SFAP, and Mr. Rudy A. Fernandez, Journalist, Philippine Star.


Dr. Gascon revealed her plans to meet with Filipino alumni in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao as one of her priority activities in early 2012 as SFAP president. She encouraged every SFAP member to visit the website of the alumni at and submit updates of their profiles and contact details to SEARCA’s Graduate Scholarship Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Since the establishment of the graduate scholarship program of SEARCA in 1969, the Philippines has the most number of SEARCA graduate alumni which now stands at 335; this is followed by Thailand (304) and Indonesia (236). (Dr. ECCedicol)

alt“Let him who would move the world, first move himself.”

Quoting the famous philosopher Socrates, Ms. Natalie Lange of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) encouraged the recipients of this year’s DAAD-SEARCA Scholarship grant that with their decision to enhance their knowledge and skills, they have the ability to make the change for their country and the world. This was just one of the highlights of the DAAD-SEARCA scholarship grants handover ceremony held on 22 November 2011 at SEARCA in Los Baños, Laguna.

Ms. Lange expounded that the scholars’ affiliation with SEARCA also enables them to access a wide network of expertise that can help in their future endeavors. “By reaching out to each other and establishing ties, and overcoming boundaries, we can strive for a progress that all of us will benefit from,” she furthered.

SEARCA, in the realization of its mission and mandate, forges linkages with valued partners like DAAD, which has become a formidable partner of the Center for more than 36 years now. This was recognized and highlighted by Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. SEARCA Director in his welcome remarks.

According to Dr. Saguiguit, DAAD helps SEARCA in supporting graduate students from transition countries like Lao PDR, Cambodia, Myanmar and Timor Leste complete development-oriented courses in economics, natural sciences, and agriculture.

“We expect that our DAAD- SEARCA scholars will help address current and emerging issues in agriculture and improve livelihoods in their home countries through learnings from their academic programs,” Dr. Saguiguit stated.

Meanwhile, these words of inspiration were likewise upheld by graduate scholar Ergilio F. Vicente (MS in community development) who affirmed that the scholarship from DAAD and SEARCA can play a key, particularly to their country –

Timor Leste – which has experienced a rebirth after decades of political turmoil.

Along with Mr. Vicente, other graduate scholarship grant awardees present in the ceremony were Myint Myint Soe (PhD in entomology), Ana Jeannie R. Araujo (MS in community development), Mario Jose Morais (Ms in animal science), Natalino B. Martins (MS in animal science), Le Thi Thanh Loan (MS in agricultural economics), Khin Thanda Oo (PhD in horticulture), Quyen Din Ha (PhD in community development) all based in UP Los Baños; while Rey B. Lara (MA in urban and regional planning) was the lone recipient from UP Diliman.

Queenie Ann L. Curayag (PhD in food science and technology, UPLB) and Daud Samsudewa (PhD in animal science, UPLB) could not join their fellow scholars for the handover ceremony.

To close the hand-over ceremony, Dr. Editha C. Cedicol, manager of SEARCA’s Graduate Scholarship Department challenged the DAAD-SEARCA scholars, who have been chosen through a very rigorous screening process to do their best and “obtain their degrees and make us proud.”

Since 1969, SEARCA has helped produce high-calibre professionals in Southeast Asia through its graduate scholarship program. The DAAD has been a staunch partner of SEARCA in the realization of its mandate for quite a time now. At present, the DAAD-SEARCA scholarship program has awarded a total of 332 graduate scholarships, and a number of these graduate alumni are now occupying leadership positions in various government and international institutions.



altMs. Lucille T. Minguez, was recognized by the Philippine Civil Service Commission, as part of the Northern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (NOMIARC) which won the 2011 PAG-ASA Awards Group Category. NOMIARC, which is part of the Department of Agriculture Region 10 bested four other government organizations to bag the PAG-ASA award, which according to the civil service commission is given to an individual or group for outstanding contributions that directly benefit more than one department of government on a certain degree of standards.

The eight-member group, which Ms. Minguez is a part of, is headed by its Team Leader Mr. Carmelito R. Lapoot. The team, together with other civil service awardees were conferred the award during the celebration of the 111th Philippine Civil Service on November 9 at the Malacañan Palace. Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, representing President Benigno S. Aquino III, led the awards rites assisted by Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chair Francisco T. Duque III.

Ms. Minguez an agricultural technologist at NOMIARC, finished her master’s degree (Plant Pathology) at UP Los Baños in 2011 through SEARCA’s graduate scholarship program.

The graduate scholarship program, among other core activities has enabled SEARCA to help produce

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high calibre Southeast Asian professionals in agriculture, natural resources and related fields. For more than four decades now, the Center’s graduate scholarship program has benefited more than 1,400 professionals in the region which include around 320 Filipinos. (JSLaranas)



altThe scientific paper of Dr. Michelle Grace Paraso that revealed the negative effects of estrogen among the male carps in Laguna Lake was cited as best paper during the 48th Philippine Society of Animal Science National and 29th Visayas Scientific Seminar and Annual Convention. The convention, participated in by animal and veterinary science professionals in the country, was held at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City from 26 to 28 October 2011.

Dr. Paraso’s scientific paper entitled, Vitellogenin induction and gonad abnormalities in male common carp (Cyprinus carpio) introduced in Laguna de Bay, presented the results of her PhD dissertation, funded by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) as part of her full scholarship grant with the Center.

The study, which was conducted in the 2010, revealed that the presence of a primary female sex hormone, estrogen, in the waters of Laguna Lake caused reproductive abnormalities in the male common carp just a few months after their exposure. Signs of reproductive abnormalities include delay in maturation of germ cells and cuts and abrasions in the testis, and the presence of an egg yolk protein precursor called vitellogenin that normally exists in an ovary.

The scientific paper was co-authored by Dr. Severino S. Capitan, Professor 12 of the Animal and Dairy Sciences Cluster, College of Agriculture in UP Los Baños (UPLB), who also served as Dr. Paraso’s thesis adviser.

Dr. Paraso currently works as Associate Professor 2 of College of Veterinary Medicine in UPLB. She graduated with a PhD in Environmental Science in April 2011 where she received the UPLB Academic Excellence Award. (JSLaranas)

PHL_Subade.jpgDr. Rodelio F. Subade, Economics professor at the University of the Philippines Visayas was conferred the rank of UP Scientist 1 during the UP Scientific Productivity Award Ceremony on 28 October 2011, at the Ang Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman, Quezon City.

The prestigious award bestowed by the UP system is given only to high caliber scientists who have consistently played a significant role in the development and advancement of the industrialized world through the painstaking generation of new knowledge, new discoveries, and inventions.

Dr. Subade graduated with a PhD in Environmental Science at the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 2004 under the SEARCA Scholarship Program. He recently completed his term as Director of the UP Visayas Institute of Fisheries, Policy and Development Studies. According to Subade, the completion of his degree program has helped propel him from Associate Professor to the rank of Professor 7, among other career advancements.

The UP Scientific Productivity System was established by the State University’s Board of Regents during its 1199th meeting on 26 August 2005 to encourage and reward scientific productivity. Through this accolade, deserving scientists are given the rank "UP Scientist" for a

specific period of three years with a monetary award.


Two outstanding Filipino SEARCA alumni were awarded the SEARCA Re-entry Program Grant that will provide seed funds to conduct their respective research projects.

Dr. Rusty AbantoDr. RusAisa Manlosaty G. Abanto, Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean of the Camarines Norte State College (CNSC) in Daet, Camarines Norte is conducting the project entitled Modeling Ecological Solid-Waste Management at the CNSC Labo Campus. Apart from the re-entry grant, CNSC and the Local Government of Labo also provide counterpart fund for Dr. Abanto’s research project.

On the other hand, Ms. Aisa O. Manlosa, Instructor at the College of Arts and Sciences, Caraga State University (CSU) in Butuan City is leading the study entitled Flood Damage Assessment at Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, Philippines. CSU and the Local Government of Jabonga also provide counterpart fund for the study.

Dr. Abanto finished his PhD in environmental science in 2010 from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) under the SEARCA-DAAD scholarship program. He was the recipient of the Special SEARCA-Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program Training Scholarship for Southeast Asia, where he underwent a three-week intensive summer course at the University of Califorina (UC), Berkeley, USA in July 2011.

Ms. Manlosa completed her MSc in environmental science in April 2011 from UPLB also under the SEARCA-DAAD scholarship program. During SEARCA’s Special Graduate Seminar Series in August 2011, she served as one of the resource speakers and presented the paper entitled, Willingness to Pay for Layawan Watershed Protection, Oroquieta City, Philippines.

Both Abanto and Manlosa were recipients of the UPLB Academic Achievement Award for graduating at the top of their respective classes.

The SEARCA Re-entry Entry Program is a strategy employed by SEARCA to ensure immediate impact of its capacity building program, and widen the reach of the Center in contributing to agriculture and rural development in the region. Through this Program, graduating scholars or newly graduated scholars may submit a re-entry plan/project proposal that will be conducted in collaboration with his/her institution or other interested institutions in the home country. The Re-entry Program provides financial support of up to US Dollars Five Thousand (US$5, 000) to selected research projects that have the endorsement and counterpart funding from the institution of the selected candidate. More information on the Re-entry Program can be found at the SEARCA website at


Dr. Virgilio Julius Manzano

Dr. Virgilio Julius P. Manzano Jr., is the new Dean of the College of Engineering at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Batac, Ilocos Norte. His designation as Dean took effect on June 10, 2011. At the same time, he is the director of the Ilocos Norte Science Community (INSC).

Dr. Manzano finished his doctoral degree in Agricultural Engineering at UP Los Baños in 2000 under the SEARCA scholarship program. He came back to serve MMSU, his alma mater, in June 2005 and became chairman of the department of agricultural engineering and concurrently in-charge of the Integrated Experiment Station for Department of Agriculture agencies at MMSU.

Prior to his designation as Dean, Dr. Manzano served in a number of leadership position in various professional organizations -- he was national president of the Philippine Society for the Study of Nature (PSSN) in

2008, executive director of the SEARCA Fellows Association of the Philippines (SFAP) 2004-2009. At one time, he was also vice president for Luzon of the Association of Agricultural Engineering Department Chairmen in the Philippines.

In 2009, Dr. Manzano was granted a 6-month post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Tokyo, Japan, by the Matsumae International Foundation (MIF).

As Director of INSC, Dr. Manzano leads a multi-sectoral organization consisting of academic, S&T, local government, health, training, and research agencies aimed at accelerating economic development through an intensive advocacy of S&T in the province.


Three more graduate alumni from the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) have joined the elite group of University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) outstanding alumni. Dr. Chamnian Yosraj and Dr. Boonyawat Samakkee both from Thailand, and Dr. Carmencita Kagaoan from the Philippines,were chosen by the UPLB Alumni Association (UPLBAA) to receive the Distinguished Alumni Awards in celebration of the 93rd Loyalty Day and Alumni Homecoming of the state university.
The state university’s first college, the College of Agriculture, conferred to Maejo University President Dr.ChamnianYosraj the outstanding alumni award in Institutional Organization and Development. Dr.Yosraj was a SEARCA scholar both for his master’s (1983) and PhD (1990) degrees in animal science. The College of Forestry and Natural Resources named Dr.Samakkee Boonyawat “Most Outstanding Alumnus.” Dr.Boonyawatcompleted his PhD in forest resources management in 1986 and is now an Associate Professor at the Department of Conservation, Faculty of Forestry, in Kasetsart University.
The School of Environmental Science and Management gave recognition to Dr. Carmencita V. Kagaoan for her exemplary role in the environmental sustainability of agricultural resource management in the Philippines. Dr. Kagaoan is the Institutional Development Division head of the Philippines’ Bureau of Agricultural Research and was a SEARCA PhD scholar in 2005.
The three SEARCA alumni will receive their awards on 9 October 2011 in UPLB during the Alumni Fellowship and Awards Night.
Every year, the UPLBAA gives public recognition to its exemplary alumni for their remarkable achievements and outstanding leadership in their respective fields of endeavour. The awardees are nominated and selected by the respective college alumni associations. Last year, two SEARCA alumni -- Dr.Narong Sompong (PhD, Community Development, 1991) and Dr. Yolanda T. Castañeto (PhD, Forestry, 1997) -- were bestowed the said award.
SEARCA is one of the regional centers established by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) that helpsdevelop highly qualified professionals working in agricultural and rural development for positions of leadership in the region. As of school year 2010/2011, SEARCA has granted 1,271 full graduate scholarships, of which, 1,106 study programs (468 PhD, 638 MS) had been completed.


Dr. Zosimo M. Battad was appointed as Chancellorof

the University of the East (UE) Caloocan Campus, effective May 2011.

He took over the position of Dr. Fedeserio C. Camarao, whose term ended in April 2011. At 50 years of age, Dr. Battad is considered the youngest chancellor of the campus.



He holds the academic rank of Professor VI and was the President of Pampanga Agricultural College (PAC) for two terms, from 1999 to 2007. Throughout his successful career, he has received more than 50 major awards and accolades in recognition of his accomplishments in the fields of agricultural technology and animal science.
Dr. Battad was a recipient of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) SEARCA scholarship grant for his master’s degree in Animal Science, which he finished at the University of the Philippine Los Baños in 1985. DAAD has been a consistent donor the SEAMEO SEARCA Graduate Scholarships.Dr. Battad also served as the President of the SEARCA Fellows Association of the Philippines (SFAP) from 2005 to 2007 and was re-elected for another term from 2007 to 2009.

Dr. Rusty G. Abanto has been recently appointed as dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the CamarinesNorte State College, in Daet, CamarinesNorte, Philippines. His appointment took effect on 1 August 2011. At the same time, he also serves as the Planning Director of the said state college.

Dr.Abanto is a SEARCA graduate alumnus who finished his PhD in Environmental Science at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in 2010. He has been with the state college since 1997 as an Instructor and rose to the ranks until he was chosenas Planning Director in 2005.|
Prior to his new appointment, Dr.Abanto participated in a three-week intensive summer course at the Universityof California (UC), Berkeley, USA entitled Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), funded by UC Berkeley and SEARCA. Held from 24 June – 16 July, the ELP is organized by UC Berkeley’s Center for Sustainable Resource Development; and aimsto broaden knowledge and strengthen leadership skills of mid-level development and environment professionals in addressing complex environmental issues to reduce poverty and social conflict.