BSP honors Sweden’s king with prestigious Mt. Makiling Award

by Christele J. Amoyan with reports from Sweet Princess S. Matining

The Boy Scout of the Philippines (BSP) conferred to King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden the prestigious Mount Makiling Award on Saturday, January 25, during the 3rd One Regional Scout Jamboree at the Mt. Makiling Jamboree Grand Arena.

BSP President Binay hands Mount Makiling Award to King Gustaf of Swden during the regional scout jamboree in Los Baños.

The Mount Makiling Award is regarded as a rare recognition given to notable dignitaries including monarchs and head of states. The recognition rites was led by Philippine Vice President and currently BSP President Jejomar Binay.

About 7,000 boy scouts, including wood badgers and outstanding boy scout awardees, from Southern Tagalog, Bicol and National Capital Region witnessed the historic event.

King Gustaf arrived in the Philippines on Friday for his first visit to the country. Meanwhile, the King wished to pay personal visit to Tacloban survivors of the Supertyphoon Yolanda.

His Majesty, in behalf of the World Scout Foundation, donated $100,000 dollars to reinforce community disaster preparedness skills training to Yolanda-hit areas in the Visayas. Additionally, another $100, 000 will be given to support BSP projects.

“One of the first things the King will do is show respect for the people who lost their lives, and the people who lost their livelihood because he’s been very touched by the disaster,” told World Scout Foundation Director John Geoghegen.

According to Geoghegen,  the King was moved by the resilience of Filipinos to overcome Yolanda. He added that it is time now for the Philippines to change its name to the ‘Land of Smiles.’

After the honorary tribute, the King toured around the Jamboree site and had photo-taking session with the boy scouts

LB MHO offers free newborn screening, tubal ligation

by Monica Mirjana S. Cruz

The Los Baños Municipal Health Office (MHO), through the barangay health units, is now accepting registrants for the free tubal ligation on February 7.

Parents bring their babies for the various MHO services such as check-ups, vaccination, and new born screening at the Municipal Health Center of Los Baños.

The free tubal ligation is part of the Family Planning and Woman’s Health Program which started in the 1990’s. The activity is being conducted twice a year and is offered to mothers aged 25-40 years old opting for a permanent contraception method.

Municipal Health Officer Dr. Alvin I. Isidoro explained that there are cases when younger mothers with many children undergo this procedure. The free tubal ligation also requires the consent of the husband. Mothers may register at their barangay health centers or with their barangay health workers to avail of the February 7 free tubal ligation. Applicants will need to fill out a form and will undergo assessment prior to the procedure.

After the procedure, the mothers usually need one-week rest to recover. Dr. Isidoro added that the LB MHO also accepts mothers from nearby communities of Los Baños who want to avail of the free tubal ligation. The next free tubal ligation is scheduled in November 2014.

Aside from the free tubal ligation, MHO is also conducting an ongoing newborn screening under the New Born and Infant Care Program from January to June this year every afternoon between 1-4 pm.

The free NBS can be availed by infants of mothers who have visited the health center for check ups. The infants may also be referred by the barangay health workers to avail of the free NBS.

NBS helps determine if a child has congenital metabolic disorders with just a few drops of blood. The metabolic disorders include Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH), Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), Galactosemia (GAL), Phenylketonuria (PKU), and Glucose-6-Phosphate-Dehydrogenase (G6PD) Deficiency. These metabolic disorders may lead to severe anemia, severe mental retardation, cataract or even death if not prevented.

With NBS, these disorders will be detected even before the symptoms show up to help in its prevention. NBS is exclusive only for the infants of mothers who visited the health center for check-ups before they gave birth. The infant is to undergo the NBS 24 hours to 10 days after birth. Results are released after 1-2 weeks.

Red Cross LB holds Across Borders II for Yolanda victims

by  Stephanie Pearl DP. Orendain

The Red Cross Youth Los Baños held the fun run Across Borders II on January 18 at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) grounds.

Runners break into a start for the Across Borders II 3 km category.

Themed  “Run for Red Cross, Run for a Cause,” the activity aimed to support Red Cross medical missions and three blood drives. For this year, part of the proceeds collected will be donated to help the victims of typhoon Yolanda.

Fun Run Project Organizer Ruel Mikhael Benzon, shared that the event pushed through after overcoming difficulties in terms of finances and in securing partners. Among the Across Borders II partner organizations are the Laguna de Bay Running Team and UPLB student organizations.

About 500 participants took part in the 3 km, 5 km, and 10 km categories with 435 recorded finishers; 259 for 3 km, 138 for 5 km, and 38 for 10 km.

Francisco Kalibo, a 54-year old runner said that he joined the event in support of the Red Cross’ mission. He has been an active participant of the Red Cross’ fun runs for five years now. UPLB alumna Catherine de Guzman said that she came back to participate in the event because of her new year’s resolution to join 10 running events for the year. “I just enjoy running,” she added.

Across Borders II winners are as follows:

Across Borders II Top 3 Winners by kevinrasing

Visit the Across Borders II Facebook page for more photos and complete list of rankings.

LB GAD Office forms GAD fed, lists 2014 projects

by Arbil SR Bucatcat

On January 16, Thursday, the Gender and Development (GAD) Office called for a Reorientation Meeting of GAD Focal Points and Lady Kagawads at the Workshop Room of the new Los Baños Municipal Building. This is in line with the municipality’s goal to make Los Baños a gender-sensitive municipality.

Los Baños GAD Officer Karen Lagat Mercado explained that the annual 5% GAD fund is currently not being utilized for GAD projects and activities in the barangay level. Instead, it is being added to the barangay general fund.

The Federation of GAD Focal Point was created during the meeting to ensure that GAD projects will be implemented this year. According to Mercado, the formation of a federation is a great help in establishing contacts in the barangay level. Concepcion DV. Lobos of Brgy. Bambang was elected president of the federation.

For 2014, GAD will employ the grassroots approach, in cooperation with the barangay contacts, to ensure that women and the LGBT community are represented and can participate in various GAD projects. This involves the proper allocation, disbursement, and utilization of the 5% GAD Fund to respond to various needs of all genders in Los Baños community. With this new approach GAD aims to equip and empower officers in planning and evaluating GAD programs and activities in the barangay level.

The GAD office presented their plans for 2014 during the meeting. These projects include Damay sa Kapwa, Responsible Parenting, Kasalang Bayan, Livelihood Trainings and Seminars, Cooperative Development, Women’s Month, Health Cervical Cancer, Buntis Day, and Operation Bukol.

The DAG Office is one of the newly established municipal units under the Republic Act 9710 Magna Carta of Women that “mandates all government offices, including government-owned and controlled corporations and local government units to adopt gender mainstreaming as a strategy for implementing the law and attaining its objectives. It also mandates (a) planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation for gender and development, (b) the creation and/or strengthening of gender and development focal points, and (c) the generation and maintenance of gender statistics and sex-disaggregated databases to aid in planning, programming and policy formulation.

12 schools gather in UPLB for 9th nat’l GeneSoc genetics camp

by Rachel N. Nuñez with reports from Arneth D. Abad

A hundred and twelve (112) high school students and 20 teachers representing 12 schools from different parts of the country took part in the two-day 9th Genetic Camp held on January 18-19 at the UP Los Baños (UPLB) Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) in Los Baños, Laguna.

Mr. Jickerson Lado of the UPLB Genetics and Molecular Biology Division facilitates the workshop on teaching genetics participated by science teachers of participating schools.

Officially endorsed by the Department of Education (DepEd), this year’s camp themed “GENEnovation: Paving the way for Medical Improvement through Pharmacogenomics,” highlighted pharmacogenomics -a new field in genetics that produces tailor-made drugs suited to each person’s genetic make-up, which targets to create cheaper and personalized therapies.

The UPLB Genetics Society (Gene Soc) 9th Genetic Camp aims to promote appreciation of Genetics and its developments. According to Kate Samaniego, this year’s Genetic Camp head, the growing interest in the medical field was their inspiration for this year’s camp.

Participating schools include Aurora National Science High School, Caritas Don Bosco School, Joroan National High School, Laguna College,  Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus, Quezon National High School,  Ramon Magsaysay High School, Rosario Quezada Memorial High School, San Juan National High School, St. Anne College, St. Jude Catholic School, and Tabaco National High School.

Professors from the UPLB Genetics and Molecular Biology Division served as resource persons for the camp including Dr. Rita Laude, Dr. Ma. Genaleen Diaz, and Dr. Merlyn Mendioro.

The UPLB Genetics experts were accompanied by Dr. Geraldo Balaccua of Pascual Laboratories, Inc. and Dr. Francisco Heralde who are both specialists in pharmacogenomics. Drs. Balaccua and Heralde discussed the process and application of pharmacogenomics.

Dr. Heralde, associate professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of the Philippines Manila, said that the event is an opportunity to disseminate the new study to a wider audience.

It’s good that this event is for the high school students and teachers so that they will become more aware of the advances in science and technology, genetics, molecular biology, and pharmacogenomics and their current applications in the Philippines. In one way, we encourage these high school students to go to the field of science because there is a need for more Filipinos to engage in the field and apply this in the local setting,” Dr. Heralde explained.

“Right now, with all these development in molecular biology and genomic research, you see that there is a lack of information dissemination on the various local and therapeutic drugs. There is an opportunity for us to apply these new tools to benefit the Filipinos. Essentially, that is my motivation to use my knowledge to develop new therapies to benefit the Filipino people,” he added.

 When asked about some concrete actions needed to promote the use of pharmacogenomics in the industry, Dr. Heralde explained, “We start with the education; it has to be injected in the curriculum. I’m glad that the Gene Camp is organized but only few students can participate so it has to be wider. We need to focus on the new generation. The ones on top should influence the policy-makers. Let them appreciate the value of this kind of work in pharmacogenomics. Also, in one way, we work with some government agencies like Food and Nutrition Institute. Usually, their findings are used as basis for policies.”

School representatives intently work on their posters. Patrick Chan of St. Jude Catholic School emerged victorious for this year's Genetics Camp poster making contest.

Kristan Licaycay, third year high school student from Aurora National Science High School, found the camp activities interesting during the first day of the event particularly the experiments they conducted in the laboratories where they had DNA isolation and had observed mitosis on onion root tip cells. “Matutunan po namin ang application ng pharmacogenomics at kung paano namin ito magagamit sa society especially po sa school,” Licaycay shared.

One of the highlights of the Gene Camp was various competitions such as the Genetics Inter-High School Quiz Contest, essay writing contest, poster making contest, slogan making contest and debate. The winners in the events are as follows:

Special  Awards

  • Emson Mari Pumar (Most Bibo Kid): Laguna College
  • Marion Alfonso Naynes (Face of the Day-Male): St. Anne College
  • Erika Ong (Face of the Day-Female): St. Jude Catholic School
  • Andgrel Heber Jison (Fashionista Kid Award-Male): Caritas Don Bosco School

Major Competitions

Genetics Inter-High School Quiz Contest

  • 1st place: Mark Joseph Pasciolco, Laguna College
  • 2nd place: Ardee Caro, Philippine Science High School-Iloilo
  • 3rd place: Matthew Tan, St. Jude Catholic School

Essay Writing Contest

  • 1st place: Anlene Jane Rocha, Tabaco National High School
  • 2nd place: Isabel Louise Reyes, Laguna College
  • 3rd place: Katrina Claire Marcalda, Quezon National High School

Poster Making Contest

  • 1st place: Patrick Chan, St. Jude Catholic School
  • 2nd place: Patricia Andrea Orio, St. Anne College
  • 3rd place: Ronielle Emmanuel, Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus
Slogan Making Contest
  • 1st place: Erika Ong, St. Jude Catholic School
  • 2nd place: Nathaly Kate Bohulano, Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus
  • 3rd place: Alfred Van Darell de la Cruz, Laguna College


  • Best Speaker: Franklin Cercado, Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus
  • Best Debators: Joshua Surquia (Quezon National High School), Duane Tenorio (Quezon National High School), and Franklin Cercado (Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus)

Over-all Champion: Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus

Teachers from the different schools also attended a special workshop to improve their teaching strategies on genetics. Mr. Jickerson Lado, an instructor from the Genetics and Molecular Biology Division and junior adviser of the Gene Soc, conducted the workshop.

On his seventh year to witness the event, Mr. Lado noted the improvements with the systematic and organized flow of the camp“The preparations for the started March last year and I’ve seen the effective leadership of the steering committee head, Ms. Kate Samaniego. Moreover, it’s a first time that the Gene camp had participants from the Visayas,” Mr. Lado said.

“Ang daming teachers yung natutuwa dahil yung expectations nila ay na-exceed namin at mas maganda ang na bring ng Gene Soc for this Genetic Camp. And that is very rewarding kasi when we’re doing this, ang gusto lang namin is to share information. That’s the primary objective of the organization which is to promote and create awareness of the science of genetics. Add na lang or bonus kung magsasabi sila na ang ganda at nag enjoy sila,” he added.