University of the Philippines Los Baños
Horizon online
The UPLB Horizon is a newspaper/magazine that features articles on instruction, research and public service initiatives and programs, as well as information of general interest to UPLB and its publics. Some articles that are featured in it appear on the UPLB website. For contributions, email


The Environmental Management Bureau-Department of Environment and Natural Resources (EMB-DENR) granted UPLB an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) on April 25.


UPLB had submitted the Programmatic Environmental Performance Report and Management Plan (PEPRMP), which reported the different environmental measures it is taking to protect and mitigate adverse impacts that its activities and development projects may pose on community health, welfare and the environment.


It also serves to comply with Presidential Decree No. 1586 and DENR Administrative Order No. 2003-30, which are policies on the establishment of an environmental impact statement system among government and corporate institutions to maintain the balance between socio-economic growth and environmental protection.


Moreover, it serves as a planning tool to ensure that UPLB is strictly implementing environmental policies on its campus. It also functions as an environmental protocol to guide future development projects and programs in the University.


The certificate is a product of almost three years of environmental impact assessment conducted in the campus on the buildings constructed and renovated since 1982.


The project was started in 2013 by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA), through Engr. Joseph A. Pagtananan,  UPLB Pollution Control Officer, in collaboration with the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) through Dr. Nicomedes D. Briones, Dr. Leonardo M. Florece, and a team of graduate students and research assistants.


Engr. Pagtananan said that securing the ECC is just the first step in ensuring UPLB’s compliance with environmental policies.


“UPLB is now working on securing its permit with the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), which requires that we first have to get an ECC,” he said.


He added that they are currently proposing the creation of an environmental unit, which is specifically tasked to monitor and evaluate UPLB’s environmental compliance.


            “In our proposal, SESAM will oversee the unit, but OVCCA will also play a role in its administrative operations,” he said.

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Dr. Nora Cruz-Quebral, acknowledged “mother of development communication,” was the first to be featured in the UPLB Legacy Lecture Series (UPLB LLS), spearheaded by the Interactive Learning Center (ILC) to preserve, for posterity, the collective academic experience of its retired faculty members.

“Such rich academic experience is a valuable fount of scholarly knowledge and wisdom that could enrich learning resources for the students and enhance the sense of intellectual heritage among faculty members.” This was according to Dr. Maribel Dionisio-Sese, ILC director, who gave the opening remarks during the UPLB LLS held in cooperation with the College of Development Communication.

Dr. Quebral, professor emeritus of development communication, is  considered by her colleagues in UPLB to be a woman ahead of her time for pioneering development communication. She is also internationally acknowledged as the founding pillar of the field.

Dr. Portia G. Lapitan, vice chancellor for academic affairs, who gave the inspiration message on behalf of Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., described Dr. Quebral as a scholar whose knowledge, dedication and passion paved the way for the development of the discipline that UPLB is proud of.

Beginnings of development communication

Dr. Quebral opened her video lecture with how development communication, as a concept, was introduced on Dec. 10, 1971 at an UPCA symposium where she presented a paper entitled “Development Communication in the Agricultural Context.” The paper was later published by scholarly journals. 

According to Dr. Quebral, UPLB DevCom became the core of the first, and at that time, the only four-tiered DevCom academic program in the Philippines and in the world. “Today, there is a DevCom unit in international institutions and communication for development curricula not only in Asia but also in Latin America, Africa, and even in developed countries,” Dr. Quebral said.

Dr. Quebral discussed the following major traits that distinguished the Los Baños DevCom trademark: 1) the human interchange of information; 2) is a confluence of the development and communication processes; 3) end users were the poor and the disadvantaged in a developing society; 4) planned change for the better that started with the basics; 5) unit of study and analysis is more often the community rather than the individual; and 6) nonformal education mainly for out-of-school learners.

She said that the six basics of DevCom still hold true today, with some provisos and caveats. It is “change for the better, best defined by the concerned community with guiding inputs from external sources when needed.”

DevCom defined and practiced

Dr. Quebral has since revised the 1971 definition of DevCom twice, in 2002 and in 2012. With her latest revision, Dr. Quebral puts forth that “development communication is the science of human communication linked to the transitioning of communities from poverty in all its forms to dynamic over-all growth that fosters equality and the unfolding of individual potential.”

CDC deans were also featured in the video lecture to discuss the College’s extension work. Dr. Ma. Celeste H. Cadiz (1998-2006) talked about participatory development communication in natural resource management. Dr. Cleofe S. Torres, (2006-2012), gave an overview of collaborative change communication for Development (CCOMDEV), a global initiative that aims to build various stakeholders’ capacity in communication for agriculture and rural development.

For her part, Dean Velasco (2012-present) shared to the audience CDC’s experience in advocacy, communication and social mobilzation (ACSM) initiatives and extension work in community communication aimed at making environmental messages “more audible to the intended public” as well as strengthen local health and nutrition in LGUs.

Dr. Quebral concluded with a reminder that the discipline should not concern itself with labels but with its essence.

“Development communication has gone by some other tag in the past and may be called differently in the future. Its present name could go out of fashion after a while.  Not likely  to disappear,  though,  is  the  idea  that  underlies  it:  that  the  art  of [human]  communication,  infused  by  social  science  principles, can  be  consciously  directed  towards  improving  people’s  lives. This is the essence of development communication, regardless of how it is labeled or what else may be imputed to it.”

A glimpse into Dr. Quebral’s life and works

Aldo Gavril T. Lim, faculty member at the College of Development Communication (CDC) and executive producer and director of the video lecture, presented an overview of the life and works of Dr. Quebral.

Dr. Nora C. Quebral is a former independent consultant in development communication and the founding president of the Nora C. Quebral Development Communication Center, Inc. She holds a Ph.D. in communications from the University of Illinois and an MS in agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin. She graduated magna cum laude in UP Diliman with a BA in English degree.

She worked at UPCA as a copy editor of its technical journal and rose from the ranks and eventually became the director of the Department of Agricultural Communication and the Department of Development Communication from where the CDC started.

            In 2011, she was given an Honorary Doctorate by the London School of Economics and Political Science for pioneering work in development communication. Other awards she received were those given by the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, St. Scholastica’s College, Philippine Council for Agricultural Resources Research and Development, and Philippine Association of Communication Educators Foundation, Inc.





Champions of inclusive business models in agriculture. Panel discussants and University officials pose for posterity during the forum on inclusive business models for agriculture. (L-R) IPB Dir. Sta. Cruz; Dr. Dinah PT Depositario, chair of the Department of Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship; CA Dean Supangco; Dr. Serlie B. Jamias, vice chancellor for community affairs; PCCI President Barcelon; Ambassador Dee; Former UP Regent Gonzalez; Former UP President Javier; PCCI Dir. Amores; Atty. Inciong; and CTTE Dir. Baticados   (Photo by CV Labe)


The Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) turned 41 on June 3 and to kick-off the celebration, hosted a forum entitled “Inclusive Business Models to Move Agriculture Forward,” at the IPB Seminar Room on June 2. The forum is IPB’s response to the continuing decline of the Philippine agricultural sector, and aimed to provide a solution by linking farmers to the food and beverage industries of the Philippines.


“The agriculture sector is not doing well,” said Dr. Emil Q. Javier, one of the founding pillars of IPB and chairperson of the Coalition for Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines (CAMP). He said that agriculture in the Philippines is based on small fragmented landholdings, which through the generations have become smaller and smaller. According to him, the solution is to organize farmers so that each small farm can be operated as part of a larger management unit through cooperatives.



George T. Barcelon, the event’s guest of honor, commended IPB on its choice of theme for its relevance and timeliness. Mr. Barcelon is the president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and has a continuing advocacy for a competitive and productive agricultural sector in the Philippines. He also believes that the inclusive business (IB) concept will mutually benefit farmers and the business community by alleviating the life of small farmers in the rural communities as they can become suppliers of higher value-added products. The IB concept has become an integral part of promoting growth of small and medium enterprises (SME) throughout the country. Barcelon expressed his hopes that it would be able to do the same for Philippine agriculture.


Mr. Barcelon was joined in the panel of discussants by the following: Ambassador Donald G. Dee, honorary chair and COO of PCCI; Robert C. Amores, president of PHILFOODEX, director of the PCCI Agriculture Committee and CEO of Hi-Las Marketing Corporation; Alfredo M. Yao, former PCCI president and founder of Zest-O Group of Companies; Dr. Nelia T. Gonzales, former UP Regent and pioneer agribusiness entrepreneur; Atty. Bong Inciong, president of United Broiler Raiser Association; Glenn N. Baticados, director of the Center for Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship (CTTE) of UPLB.


Ambassador Dee pointed out that agriculture in the country is composed of various stakeholders that are all stand-alone and the linkages with one another are non-existent. That is why the need for IB is becoming more apparent and the inclusion of farmers in the supply chain is a must. Amores suggested that farmers organize themselves into small groups, not necessarily as cooperatives, but to promote the pooling of their produce to sell to one buyer. In defense of small-scale farmers, Atty. Inciong said that IB models that involve small-hold farmers cannot survive on private support alone.  The government needs to actively participate in terms of subsidy, credit and crop insurance support.


Los Baños mayor, the Hon. Cesar P. Perez joined in the discussion and expressed his opinion that devolution of agriculture to the local government has created a problem because of the lack of support from the national government. Furthermore, with the declining land area for agriculture, Mayor Perez suggested that control over land conversion policy should be handed over to the local government unit. He also talked about the declining number of young farmers who chose to be engaged in farming.


To move agriculture forward and to develop and promote IB models, PCCI said that it was considering future collaboration with UPLB and other research institutions.



In his closing remarks, Barcelon emphasized the importance of national consultation with different key players, especially with the new administration. “Change will not happen fast. Adapting the policies and implementing the actions might take years, even decades. However, with stronger partnerships and PCCI’s continued commitment to IPB and to UPLB, Philippine agriculture will continue to move forward one small step at a time,” said Mr. Barcelon.


Family day and alumni homecoming


On the second day of the celebration, the institute held a family day and alumni homecoming to celebrate milestones and successes achieved in its 41 years of existence.


In his welcome remarks, Dr. Pompe Sta Cruz, director of IPB, recognized the efforts of IPB’s constituents to make the Institute what it is today. He also recognized the Institute’s “lights and pillars” who continue to guide it in achieving its goal, which is to develop crop varieties to help farmers.


On behalf of Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez , Prof. Rex B. Demafelis, vice chancellor for research and extension, commended IPB on its “brilliant science and public service” and assured the support of the University as IPB continues to face challenges.


Dr. Enrico P. Supangco, dean of the College of Agriculture, emphasized the importance of service and collaboration in the achievements of CA and IPB. He called upon IPB to continue its service and reminded them that they are working together “for the farmers and for the Filipino people.”


For the inspirational message, Dr. Emil Q. Javier, founding director of IPB, former UPLB chancellor and former UP president, commended IPB for its innovative ideas and its leadership by citing contract farming, an agricultural scheme which the institute advocates.  “UPLB and the agricultural system should shift their focus from just [developing] small farms to integrating them with the food and beverage sector,” said Dr. Javier.



Also present at the anniversary celebration and homecoming were National Scientists Dr. Dolores Ramirez and Dr. Ricardo Lantican, and Dr. Eufemio Rasco, Jr., former director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute and IPB director.


The Institute also gave service awards to its staff who have been serving for 10, 15, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years. IPB was established on June 3, 1975 to be the national biotechnology research and breeding center for all improved crops except rice. It traces its roots from the College of Agriculture – Plant Breeding Division.




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If there is one thing that could aptly describe Giselle P. Hernandez, she is a woman who does not shy away from challenge. Her courage and determination paid off when, with a rating of 86.10%, she ranked sixth in the 2015 Philippine bar examination.

Giselle is a UPLB alumna, BA Communication Arts class 2005, cum laude. She taught English subjects at the Department of Humanities from 2005 to 2010 before studying at the UP College of Law.

According to her, she credits UPLB as fundamental to her law studies. “UPLB taught me to embrace who I am and to have confidence in my capabilities.  UPLB helped me develop my self-confidence and communication skills, both of which are important to me in my career as a future lawyer.”

Studying law was wrought with challenges, she said. Most of her time was devoted to reading and though she was an eager learner, she was not exempted from stress. She told of how she experienced the much-feared terror tactics of law professors in UP Diliman. “I cried after one of my professors took me to task for my terrible recitation in his class,” she said. However, she was quick to acknowledge that she was at fault for coming to class unprepared. She now says that the professor is one of her favorite professors.

Giselle persevered in her studies. She realized that she could be a good law student if she chose to, and thus, pushed herself to become even better. “I refuse to shortchange myself,” Giselle said.  She made the most of her time and supplemented her studies with experience from work as a legal researcher at the Department of Agrarian Reform and, later on, at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

Law school was tough but Giselle found a way to make it fun. She made many friends and became part of UP Portia Sorority. She was also a volunteer of the UP Law Bar Operations Commission. At the end of law school, she triumphantly declared that it was all worth all the challenges and tears.

Giselle is delighted to reap the benefits of her hard work and to celebrate her victory with her loved ones. “I was happy when I learned that I placed in the top ten, but happier because I made my family proud” she said.

Asked where she wants her legal career to take her, Giselle said, “I do wish to be the Ombudsman someday.” But for now, she just wants to learn everything there is to learn about the practice of law, especially those that are not taught in law school.  She is now working for a firm that offers excellent training to young and future lawyers.

With each challenge that she courageously faces up to with grit and determination, Giselle is certain to go places and have a successful career.


Service to the nation through instruction, research and extension served as the main theme of the first day of the Higher Education Administrators’ Development Seminar (HEADS) on June 8 at Shercon Resort and Ecology Park in Mataasnakahoy, Batangas. The seminar is being attended by vice chancellors, deans, directors and chairpersons of UPLB.

Powerhouse speakers, which include Dr. Emil Q. Javier, former UP president, and Prof. Randolf S. David, professor emeritus of sociology at UP Diliman, highlighted the importance of addressing the needs of the country as UP fulfils its mandate as the national university.

Joining the two were Dr. Grace Aguiling-Dalisay, dean of the UP Diliman College of Social Sciences and Philosophy and former director of UP Pahinungod, and Dr. Merlyn Mendioro, director of the Institute of Biological Sciences and former coordinator of the National Service Training Program (NSTP) of the College of Arts and Sciences. The discussions of Dr. Dalisay and Dr. Mendioro also centered on public service as they tackled the principles of Pahinungod and the NSTP, respectively.

World Bank Manila’s Justine Espina-Letargo, communications officer and leader of the Bank’s external relations team in the country, also graced the seminar. Her introduction of the Bank’s Knowledge Development Community also promoted the pursuit of national development through knowledge sharing and dissemination.

Nation first

Dr. Javier, who talked about “Raising the visibility of UPLB in the academic community,” called for the participant-leaders to cement UPLB’s status as “the best university of the Filipino people.” He said that UPLB’s purpose and first responsibility is to serve the country, and added the need for the University to keep up with the rest of the world.

With these premises, Dr. Javier proposed a paradigm shift for UPLB so that it would respond to the changing socio-economic landscape while harnessing the University’s intellectual assets. This includes focusing from subsistence farming to integrating farmers into agribusiness, particularly in the food and beverage manufacturing industry; aiming to be the best engineering university in the country; and pursuing academic programs on eco- and agri-tourism. “If you want to have visibility and impact, we must shift paradigm,” he emphasized.

Meanwhile, Prof. David, in his talk on “Academic freedom and ethics in the academe,” situated the role of UP in the Philippine society. “The nomenclature ‘national university’ suggests to me not just a recognition, but an explicit affirmation of the direct linkage between the University’s mission and the nation’s future,” he stated. “We are also taking upon ourselves a role to serve not only as the vanguard of the nation’s consciousness, but also to spearhead its transition to a fully modern society.”

Prof. David urged the academic heads to focus researches on various realities of the country and the world, including mass poverty, hunger, climate change and biodiversity threats, to name a few. He also emphasized the importance of integrating  research in graduate training, and reiterated the need to expand graduate programs.

Wisdom in management, pedagogy

Dr. Javier imparted to the participants three lessons in managing institutions. First is inspiring subordinates by having a clear sense of purpose in the organization. Second is crafting a strategic plan to articulate the directions and priorities of the organization. Third is managing by directly interacting and communicating with subordinates.

 On the other hand, Prof. David articulated two auxiliary or supplementary functions of UP whose “centrality to the University’s presence in the society” cannot be ignored. First is raising the level of public discourse. “Universities like UP are uniquely positioned to intervene in the on-going public discussion of issues and problems,” he said, and later discussed its ethical implications.

Second is forming UP students as future leaders of the nation. “Among the things we teach our students is precisely that they must learn to differentiate, for example, that what is good for their family is not always good for the country; that what is profitable is not always legal; that what is legal may not always be moral,” he explained.

Public service through NSTP, Pahinungod

“If you think about public service, you have to equate it with NSTP,” said Dr. Mendioro in her discussion on NSTP. She emphasized that the latter is as important as other subjects in the University. She revealed that students’ feedback indicate that it is through NSTP community outreach activities that they have realized the essence of being “iskolar ng bayan.”

Dr. Mendioro shared to the participants how the NSTP’s literacy program had helped public elementary schools improve their performance in the National Assessment Test and how its civic welfare programs  assisted the Los Baños Municipal Health Office to identify households that need health intervention.

On the other hand, Dr. Aguiling-Dalisay, who talked about UP Pahinungod, said that volunteering is an integral part of and a pathway towards achieving the goals and objectives of higher education, the latter being expected to ensure that UP graduates are relevant and good citizens. She said that for an activity to qualify as a volunteering activity, it should be done out of freewill, not for financial remuneration, and for the common good.

She said that through Pahinungod, UP students, faculty and staff who join volunteering activities in far-flung communities, are able to discern the real important things in life.

Knowledge sharing and dissemination

Ms. Espina-Letargo oriented the participants on World Bank’s Knowledge for Development Community (KDC). “KDC was envisioned to be a network of learning institution. It has grown into 19 centers,” she said. “It is committed to sharing knowledge for development, a hub for dialogues on development topic and a change agent for transformational leadership.”

As one of the member universities of KDC, UPLB enjoys access to knowledge resources, including print and online publications, of the World Bank. Ms. Espina-Letargo expressed her hopes that UPLB and the Bank would engage in further KDC partnerships.

The second day of HEADS will cover topics on rules and protocols of a national university, managing academic discussions, operational efficiency through information technology, and team and people building skills. HEADS is being spearheaded by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs under the leadership of Dr. Portia G. Lapitan. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)