SEARCA in talks for PH-Thailand diplomatic ties' diamond jubilee

THAI Ambassador to the Philippines Tull Traisorat visited the Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) to discuss joint efforts in a year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of Philippines-Thailand diplomatic relations this year.

Received by SEARCA Center Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio and other SEARCA officials, the envoy was accompanied by Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission Rangsant Srimangkorn and First Secretary Witsarut Piyavongsomboon. During the visit, Traisorat lauded SEARCA's significant contribution to Southeast Asia's agriculture development and food security, especially in Thailand. He also thanked the center for its continuous support of the Thai people through scholarships and training programs.

With his announcement of a year-long anniversary celebration focusing on people-to-people connections under the banner of "Moving Forward to A New Era of Closer Friendship and Common Prosperity," the emissary invited SEARCA to participate in various events, including the kick-off celebration held last June 14 at Dusit Thani Manila and a symposium in August 2024.

Gregorio proposed a symposium that would involve organizations within the Los Baños Science Community that have collaborated with Thailand in keeping with the focus on people-to-people connectivity.

"This would directly showcase existing connections," he said suggesting a networking lunch focused on exploring public-private partnerships to further strengthen ties.

Gregorio said the invitees would include Team Thailand Plus, a group comprising Thai officers from the Royal Thai Embassy Manila, Thai ministries (Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Defense Attaché) and Navy Attaché, along with Thai conglomerates investing in the Philippines and SEARCA's network of institutions.

Building on these ideas, Traisorat proposed a collaboration between SEARCA and the Embassy on an anniversary exhibition.

The ambassador also shared insights from the visit of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to Banayon Elementary School in Leyte in 2016.

He highlighted the school's participation in a collaborative project with the Department of Education and championed by Princess Sirindhorn that promotes better nutrition and health among young students.

Traisorat explained that Banayon Elementary School (BES) implements a unique approach based on Thailand's "sufficiency economy philosophy," which emphasizes moderation, prudence and social immunity.

BES has established rice and vegetable farms, fishponds, and hydroponic facilities that follow these principles. Students harvest and sell the produce, with the proceeds going into a central fund used by the school. This successful model has extended beyond the school grounds, reaching the households of students and teachers, and even the wider community.

Impressed by this initiative, Traisorat expressed keen interest in discussing the project with SEARCA and exploring its inclusion in the anniversary exhibition.

In response, Gregorio shared the success of SEARCA's School-Plus-Home Garden Program (S+HGP) and its related projects on biodiversity enhancement and enterprise development in Busuanga, Palawan and Cambodia. He said SEARCA will invite BES to participate in upcoming S+HGP activities.

Gregorio led the SEARCA delegation to the reception hosted by the Royal Thai Embassy in Manila on June 14 at Dusit Thani Manila, celebrating the 75th anniversary of Thailand-Philippines diplomatic relations.