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Investing in nutrition and food security

2022 MARKS the 100th anniversary of the UP Vanguard, Inc. (UPVI), one of the oldest organizations in continuous existence at the University of the Philippines (UP). The theme for this year’s celebration is “Paglilingkod at Paninindigan” which speaks volumes about the Vanguards’ service to the country as well as the resolute conviction to stand up and stand their ground for what they believe in.

To kick off its centennial activities, UPVI is hosting a series of online seminars that started with “Investing in Our Human Capital for the Next 100 Years: An Enabling Policy Environment for Philippine Education” on Aug. 22, 2022. Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) President and economist Dr. Aniceto Orbeta, Jr. was the keynote speaker.

The panel of reactors consisted of lawyer Emerico de Guzman, Human Capital Committee Chair of the Management Association of the Philippines; professor Dr. Dina Joana Ocampo of UP Diliman; Dr. Vicente Fabella, president of Jose Rizal University; and Marco Dominic delos Reyes, policy and advocacy manager of Philippine Business for Education. Serving as the moderator was Dr. Winston Conrad Padojinog, president of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P).

Last week, the second installment of the UPVI’s Centennial Webinar Series was about “Investing in Food, Nutrition, and Preventive Health Security for the Next 100 Years: An Enabling Policy Environment for Philippine Agriculture and Agro-Industrial Sector.” This time there were two main speakers: Dr. Bernardo Villegas of the UA&P Center for Research and Communication, and PIDS Senior Fellow Dr. Roehlano Briones.

Some of the leading lights in Philippine agribusiness served as panelists, namely Land Bank of the Philippines President Cecilia Borromeo; Federation of Free Farmers Vice-President Raul Montemayor; Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food President Danilo Fausto; Agrea Philippines President Cherrie Atilano; Dr. Ramon Lorenzo Guinto, chief planetary health scientist of the Sunway Center in Kuala Lumpur; with Confederation of Filipino Consulting Organizations Director Pablito Villegas as the forum moderator.

Both speakers indicated that food security is intimately intertwined with the quality of basic education in the Philippines. They pointed out that the prevalence of undernourishment among Filipino children handicaps them in obtaining quality education due to the damage on their brains caused by the lack of food. The panel of reactors addressed the maladies of our dysfunctional food and agriculture system while providing solutions to the health insecurity of our nation.

Since its founding as a fraternity in 1922, UPVI has had a long, fruitful history of partnership in nation building and contributing to the cause of the country’s premier state university. It has produced a long list of top officials in the military, the national government, and the private sector.

UPVI will hold its Grand Centennial Homecoming on Dec. 10, 2022 at the University Amphitheater of UP Diliman. To be launched on that date is a coffee-table book titled The Chosen Few: Centennial of the UP Vanguard. The book’s editorial board is headed by Executive Publisher Gilbert Raymund Reyes, executive editors Dan Albert de Padua and Edwin Villarico, and Project Coordinator Christine Marie Cura-Biola. It is co-published by Media Wise Communications, a multi-awarded agency led by Ramoncito Ocampo Cruz.

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARDSFor its 109th year, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) recently announced its 2022 Distinguished Alumni Awardees. Named as this year’s UPAA Most Distinguished Alumnus was Congressman Edcel Lagman, who obtained his Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) and Bachelor of Laws degrees from UP Diliman.

Lifetime Achievement Awards were conferred on professor Rigoberto Advincula (Bachelor of Science in Chemistry; lawyer Leovillo Agustin (Associate in Arts and Bachelor of Laws); Leopoldo Clemente, Jr. (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration); Dr. Jose Juliano (Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, magna cum laude); Dr. Ceferino Maala (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine); and professor Josefino Toledo (Bachelor of Music).

These awards are based on the concept that the prestige of the institution is increased when the prestige of the alumni increases. It may be recalled that in 2020, the UPAA decided to give only one unprecedented collective award to all UP health frontliners across the globe who heroically continued to serve in their various lines of work while facing the hazards brought by the COVID-19 contagion.

The opinion expressed herein does not necessarily reflect the views of these institutions and BusinessWorld.

J. Albert Gamboa is the chief finance officer of Asian Center for Legal Excellence and chair of the FINEX Media Affairs Committee.  #FinexPhils

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