Nineteen individuals finally graduated as the Philippines’ First Certified Biosafety Officers (CBO) last Monday, 12 September 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Manila, Philippines. This is a project of the U.S. Department of State – Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP), through The Philippine Biosafety & Biosecurity Association, Inc (PhBBA) and in cooperation with the UP Manila – Institutional Biosafety Committee (UP-IBC). The occasion was graced by dignitaries form the U.S. Embassy, BEP, PhBBA, UP-IBC and VIP / Admin representatives of the graduates’ institutions.
An Advanced Biosafety Officers Training Course (ABOT) was conducted by the The Philippine Biosafety & Biosecurity Association, Inc in cooperation with the UP Manila – Institutional Biosafety Committee and funded by the U.S. Department of State – Biosecurity Engagement Program. The course lasted for 8 whole weeks, spread out in a 9 month period i.e January to September 2011. ABOT trainned 20 aspiring biosafety officers for an intensive study and mastery of Biosafety & Biosecurity and the new concept of Biorisk Management and BioRAM. The oath-taking ceremonies of the new CBOs, (tentatively scheduled in the last quarter of 2011) will be announced and conducted by the PhBBA.
The course was the first certificate program in the Philippines. It envisioned to develop a pool of local trainors who will undertake advocacy and continuing education on laboratory biosafety and biosecurity. The program consisted of 7 modules carried out through a series of lectures (by international and local experts and consultants), hands-on exercises, laboratory visits, seatworks, homeworks, intersession assignments, revalidas and oral presentations by the individual participants, and in groups.
The course trainors were; Mr. David Bressler of the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, Ms. Marian Downing of Alliance Biosciences, Dr. Robert Heckert of BEP and Robert Heckert Consulting, LLC, Ms. Christina Thompson of Alliance Biosciences and Dr. Cecelia Williams of Sandia National Laboratories. The course coordinators were Dr. Raul Destura of UPM-IBC, Dr. Edith S. Tria of PhBBA and Dr. Robert Heckert of BEP.
The graduates, and now the 1st certified biosafety officers of the Philippines are (in alphabetical order):
- Ms. Nancy S. Abes of Philippine Carabao Center
- Dr. Marie V. Abenes of Dept. of Agriculture – Bureau of Animal Industry
- Prof. Morohen T. Altura of University of the Philippines (UP) – Manila
- Ms. Concepcion F. Ang of UP – PHilippine General Hospital
- Dr. Myrna P. Angeles of Zamboanga City Medical Center
- Dr. Vermando M. Aquino of UP – Diliman
- Dr. Ernesto C. Balolong, Jr. of UP – National Institutes of Health
- Ms. Genevieve V. Bayas of De La Salle University – Dasmarinas
- Mr. Mark Albert S. Benito of The Medical City
- Dr. Vanessa Rose S. Damasco of DA – Bureau of Animal Industry
- Ms. Maria Monina S. Flores of National Bureau of Investigation
- Ms. Maria Katriana C. Canlas of Ateneo De Manila University – Loyola Schools
- Ms. Caludette V. Guray of Tropical Disease Foundation
- Ms. Brenda N. Lucas of Southern Philippines Medical Center
- Dr. Socorro P. Lupisan of Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
- Dr. Miguel Martin N. Moreno II of St. Luke’s Medical Center – Quezon City
- Capt. Herbert G. Pasucal, MD of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center
- Dr. Valerie Anne T. Tesoro of National Kidney and Transplant Institute
- Dr. Edith S. Tria of San Lazaro Hospital