Crop Biotech Update

Workshop Highlights Role of Science Communication in Advocating Philippine Modern Biotechnology

June 15, 2022

A two-day training-workshop was conducted by ISAAA Inc. to enhance the science communication skills of 30 participants from 15 government offices and the academe in the Philippines. The event aimed to train the participants in developing policy briefs, determine the role of science in today's culture as well as culture's influence on how science is practiced, and utilize science communication skills, which include the use of social media, to relay science-based information to specific audiences.

The participants, composed mostly of regulators, researchers, and senior officers who are managing government agency programs and projects, were nominated by their respective agencies to apply science communication in their work environments to help craft policies on agribiotechnology and use communication to promote the advances of technology using science-based facts. The workshop was held in Acacia Hotel Manila in Muntinlupa City, Philippines from June 7 to 8, 2022 in partnership with the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) Biotech Program Office (BPO). It also serves as Level 1D of DA's track-specific ladderized training program under the Progressive Manpower Enhancement Program (PMEP).

DA-BPO Director Dr. Claro Mingala provided the opening remarks of the event. The training-workshop was divided into five sessions, with the first one introducing the concept of science and science communication to the participants. Dr. Maria Inez Angela Ponce de Leon, an Associate Professor of the Ateneo Manila University and former personnel of the ISAAA SEAsiaCenter (now ISAAA Inc.), explained the nature of science and the different models of science communication. This was followed by the second session on writing science where Ms. Lyn Resurreccion, a science journalist of the daily broadsheet Business Mirror, discussed the media perspective on biotech communication and popular science writing. Dr. Agnes Rola, Professor Emeritus of the College of Public Affairs of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, lectured and gave an exercise on how to write a policy brief.

The third session covered public speaking with Dr. Ponce de Leon. The fourth session was conducted to introduce scicom strategies for social media. The resource speakers were from the Global Knowledge Center on Biotechnology namely Ms. Kristine Grace N. Tome, Program Officer II, who talked about using Facebook for science communication, Ms. Clement Dionglay, Project Associate, who discussed the impact of Twitter and blogs on science communication, and Mr. Eric John Azucena, Senior Information Management Specialist, who provided tips on using photography as a visual, non-verbal form of communication to promote science.

The training-workshop rounded up the activities by helping the participants assess their communication skills and competencies. In the fifth and final session, Dr. Ponce de Leon gave a talk about who individuals are as communicators and proceeded with an exercise that simulated a press conference. The objective was to use the new knowledge and skills gained by the participants from the past two training days.

The closing remarks were delivered by ISAAA Inc. Executive Director Dr. Rhodora Romero-Aldemita. The event was moderated by Mr. Panfilo de Guzman, ISAAA Inc. Senior Associate Scientist.

For more information about the training-workshop, email zbugnosen@isaaa.org.

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