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Vietnamese Scientist Receives DL Umali Award

Dr. Vo Tong Xuan, a Vietnamese scientist who obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture (UPCA) in Los Banos, Laguna in 1966 when the late Dr. Dioscoro L. Umali was the dean, was recognized once more last November 27, 2008 when he became the first recipient of the Dioscoro L. Umali Achievement Award in Agricultural Development. Earlier in 1993, Dr Xuan received the Ramon Magsaysay Award_for Government Service.

Dr. Xuan received the D. L. Umali Award during the 42nd anniversary celebration of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), which is based at UPLB. Three authorities in agriculture, Dr. Emil Q. Javier (president of the National Academy of Science and Technology or NAST), Dr. Arsenio Balisacan (SEARCA executive director), and Nelia T. Gonzales (president of the Dioscoro L. Umali Foundation or DLUF), presented the award.

The award is a brainchild of SEARCA, in partnership with NAST and the DLUF. It comes with a cash prize of US$10,000. Dr. Xuan was easily singled out by the selection committee, says Dr. Javier, as he has all the traits that qualify one to receive the award. The citation for his award reads:

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Lady Marine Scientist Leads in Saving Davao’s Endangered Sea Turtles

Five species of endangered marine turtle have recently came back to lay their eggs along the shores of Davao City, and its people is bent on extending a new brand of hospitality.

Thanks to the help of scientists and experts like Dr. Della Grace Bacaltos, associate professor of the Southern Philippines Agribusiness and Marine and Aquatic School of Technologies (SPAMAST) in Malita, Davao City. The Save Davao Gulf Foundation, Inc. (SDGFI), headed by Councilor Leonardo Avila III has succeeded not only in increasing the level of people’s awareness on the importance of protecting our native pawikans (sea turtle), but more importantly in winning the support of affected communities in preserving Davao Gulf’s biodiversity.

Avila said sea turtles sighted along the shores of Davao City may feel relatively safer because even the children in the City are aware of the negative consequences of killing pawikans. As a matter of fact, the city’s hospitality is not only extended to the pawikans returning to its shores to lay their eggs but also to the weak and injured ones, by providing rehabilitatiori tanks at the Marine Sanctuary in Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya, Davao City.

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