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Students, researchers, regulators, and various patient groups gathered last October 30, 2019 in Acacia Hotel Manila for the Symposium on Biotechnology in Healthcare. Spearheaded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the symposium serves as a build-up activity leading to the 15th National Biotechnology Week (NBW) Celebration on November 25 to 29, 2019 with the theme Biotek: Makabagong Solusyon sa Kalusugan.

Usec. Enrique Domingo urged participants to support safe and responsible use of biotechnology, stating that healthcare innovations brought about by biotech are important in the implementation of health programs to forward Universal Health Care

            Undersecretary of Health and Officer-in-Charge Director General of the FDA, Dr. Rolando Enrique Domingo opened the event emphasizing the agency’s goal of increasing public awareness on biotechnology and its applications to human health. He highlighted the contributions of biotech in the development of rapid and efficient diagnostic tools, production of pharmaceuticals and provision of safe and effective healthcare methods that ultimately improved the quality of life of every Filipino, empowered marginalized sectors, and sustained inclusive economic growth in the country.

Seven experts in the field of biotechnology were present as speakers in the symposium. Dr. Saturnina Halos provided an overview of biotechnology and its application to various industries including pharmaceutical development, agriculture, marine life, livestock, and other emerging sectors. Putting focus on the role of biotechnology in healthcare, Dr. Nina Gloriani discussed applications in diagnostics, therapeutics and immunization. Dr. Ourlad Tantengco encouraged participants of the event to engage in research activities, presenting current studies in medical biotechnology being conducted in the Philippines.

FDA successfully conducted the Symposium on Biotechnology in Healthcare last October 30, 2019.  Ms. Joyce Circunay (leftmost) and Ms. Maria Lourdes Santiago (rightmost) led the awarding of Certificates of Appreciation for the speakers Dr. Ourlad Tantengco (second from left), Dr. Saturnina Halos, and Dr. Nina Gloriani.


Current innovations in biopharmaceuticals were introduced by Dr. Anabelle Villalobos, a Balik-Scientist of the Department of Science and Technology. She presented a global outlook on the development of new biologics which includes vaccines and biosimilars. Dr. Kris Lodrono, imparted her knowledge in vaccines and new technologies used in their development.  Dr. Benjamin Co educated the participants on the emerging class of biological products - biosimilars. He emphasized on how different international agencies regulate biosimilars and how the Philippines should stand in light of the increasing trend of development of these products. Ms. Elaine Llarena emphasized how important it is for scientific experts to refine their knowledge in risk communication. She sighted different scenarios where proper communication of risks can help build trust and improve public perception of biotechnology.

Speakers (Left photo) Dr. Anabelle Villalobos, Dr. Benjamin Co, (Right Photo) Dr. Kris Lodroño and Ms. Elaine Llarena showed zeal in answering questions from participants which include students, researchers, and regulators from various fields in healthcare.


The Department of Health, together with the Food and Drug Administration advocates for the safe and responsible use of biotechnology to ensure equitable access to essential medicines and innovative health technologies for the Filipino people. Through this symposium and the upcoming 15th National Biotechnology Week, these agencies aim to bring knowledge of these innovative technologies closer to the public. - FDA




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