Dr. Marian P. De Leon, University Researcher II and Curator of the Microbial Culture Collection of the UPLB Museum of Natural History was recently conferred as Certified Biosafety Officer during the Philippine Advanced Biosafety Officer Training (ABOT) Graduation Ceremony last 01 February 2019 at the Hotel Jen, Pasay City.

The ABOT is a five-week, intensive training program which provides new opportunities to qualified persons to improve Philippine public and animal health by expanding their knowledge on the increased biological risk of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and microorganisms with potential for dual-use. Likewise, the program aims to further strengthen the country's biorisk management system as authorities prepare the National Framework for Biosafety and Biosecurity.

ABOT is organized by the National Training Center for Biosafety and Biosecurity (NTCBB) and sponsored by the United States Department of State Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) and CRDF Global.

The training program, given in three sessions over a period of one year (1st Semester in August 2018; 2nd Semester in November 2018 and 3rd Semester from January-February 2019), is done through interactive lectures based on Global Biological Risk Management Curriculum modules, group exercises and workshops, hands-on demonstrations and field application trips to other facilities.

Dr. De Leon was accompanied by UPLB MNH's Director, Dr. Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez in receiving the certificate from Dr. Raul V. Destura, NTCBB Director and Dr. Armando C. Crisostomo, Vice Chancellor for Research, UP Manila.

During the program, messages were given by Dr. Raul V. Destura, US Defense Threat Reduction Agency Chief Major Jason Turner and Vice Chancellor Crisostomo, who represented UP Manila Chancellor Dr. Carmencita D. Padilla.

The ABOT Batch 5 is a diverse group of 24 research scientists, faculty members, administrators and medical practitioners from different universities, hospitals and institutions in the country.

Institutions represented were the Armed Forces of the Philippines Health Service Command, Ateneo de Manila University, UPLB BIOTECH, Department of Health Bureau of Quarantine (NCR and Cebu), Cagayan State University, Cebu Technological University, Department of Science and Technology Region 9, Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center, Manila Central University, Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center, UPLB MNH, Mindanao State University-Marawi, Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, Malacañan Palace Office of the Cabinet Secretary, Philippine Navy, Philippine Science High School-Western Visayas Campus, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, St. Luke's Medical Center, University of Negros Occidental–Recoletos, Universidad de Zamboanga, University of Santo Tomas, V. Luna Medical Center, The Medical City and Western Mindanao State University.

Participants of the ABOT are expected to apply their newly-acquired skills and competencies in developing biorisk management plans for implementation in their respective institutions.

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