LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – Two noted Filipino research and academic administrators have underscored the key role of information and communication technology (ICT) in broadening the horizons of science and technology in the country.
“We recognize the contribution of ICT in advancing science and technology, practice, policy, and higher education toward inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD),” stated Director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) based in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).
“ICT-based tools, decision support systems, simulation and modeling, risk analysis tools, and robotic technologies, to name a few, can provide the valuable information for better decision-making on land use, resource management, and disaster risk reduction,” UPLB chancellor Fernando Sanchez Jr. also said.
Saguiguit and Sanchez spoke at the ICT-Asia 2015 held recently at SEARCA jointly organized by the French government through its embassy here headed by Ambassador Gilles Garachon, the regional science forum’s guest speaker, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The first to be held in the Philippines since ICT-Asia was initiated in 2004, ICT-Asia 2015 was hosted by SEARCA, UPLB, and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). It was attended by 51 scientists from France and 14 Asian countries.
Saguiguit said that ICT-Asia 2015’s four themes (climate change modeling and monitoring, ICT applications to food security, disaster risk reduction, and urban and rural informatics) align nicely with ISARD, SEARCA’s focal theme in its current Tenth Five-Year Plan (2014-2019).
Along this line, he added, Philippine government-hosted SEARCA signed in 2013 a memorandum of understanding for institutional cooperation with Agreenium, the French national consortium of eight institutions for agricultural research and education. SEARCA has also been collaborating with other individual French institutions.
“With the ICT-Asia Program, we hope our small part in co-organizing this regional workshop contributes to further Southeast Asian cooperation with French institutions in advancing research for agricultural and rural development in the ASEAN region,” Saguiguit said.
Sanchez also reported that UPLB has created interdisciplinary study centers dedicated to producing knowledge and innovations using ICT for its research activities.
He further stressed that his university has integrated ICT’s use into curricular programs and public service initiatives. ICT-Asia 2015, he added, validates UPLB’s research accomplishments on ICT’s use in agriculture and forestry, climate change, disaster risk reduction, food safety and security, and biodiversity.