The Philippine Biosafety and Biosecurity Association (PhBBA), with its objective of assessing the natural threats and awareness level of government agencies and departments, has conducted its 2nd Annual PhBBA National Symposium on “Good Practices for Preparedness & Response to Biological Threat: Working with Unknown Pathogens” this year, partnering with the Western Mindanao State University.
About 300 delegates from the Department of Interior and Local Governmnet (DILG), Department of Health (DOH), Local Government Units (LGU), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Education (DepEd), Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (PNP) gathered for the symposium held at the Grand Astoria Hotel from December 5-7, 2013.
A series of plenary sessions were set that were aimed at achieving the objectives of the symposium which were: to conduct focused discussions on the case studies of biological events, to review and identify biological threats reduction practices; to review and establish response capacities of concerned stakeholders including the multi-layer command systems and interoperability of preparedness and response functions; to utilize information and lessons learned from prior Bio-preparedness events to enhance national and local plans and activities; to review international, national and local documents related to Bio-preparedness events to enhance national and local documents related to Bio-preparedness and disaster response in the country using the case study method and exercises; to identify capacity building opportunities, gaps and seams in plants and areas of mutual concern; and to develop local Bio-preparedness planning methodologies where applicable.
Notable speakers from different departments discussed the following subjects: “Food Biorisk Management” by Dr. Marivic Vasquez-Poblete of the National Quarantine Office; “Biosafety and Biosecurity Practices” by Dr. Miguel Martin N. Moreno II from the St. Luke’s Hospital; “Working with Unknown Pathogens” by Dr. Edith S. Tria, PhBBA President; “Case Situationer: Plaque” by Director of Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Dr. Socorro P. Lupisan; “Biosafety Preparedness in cases of Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Floods” by PhilVocs IX Director Mr. Allan C. Labayog; “Morbidity and Mortality due to Epidemics in Evacuation Centers: A Case in Point” by DOH IX Director Dr. Nimfa B. Torrizo; “Military Undertaking in Response to Operations involving Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare” by LTC Reynold Parinas of the AFP; “Biosafety Preparednes in Academic, Crime and Health Laboratories in Zamboanga City” by Dr. Marilou C. Elago and Dr. Mario R. Obra, Jr.; “Risk Communications” by PhBBA President Tria; and “Anthrax and Response” by Dr. Fidel F. Malbas of the Department of Agriculture.”
Zamboanga City Mayor Hon. Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar delivered her inspirational message on the opening program, while Lt. Col. Ramon C. Zagala, AFP Spokesperson (Camp Aguinaldo) was the keynote speaker. Dr. Ederlinda M. Fernandez, Vice President for Planning, Administration and Finance represented WMSU in behalf of President Dr. Milabel Enriquez-Ho, while the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology was represented by the President, Dr. Milavel D. Nazario. CHED Regional Director Dr. Emmylou B. Yanga also graced the opening program.